We have today released a new version of the enrolment process into all staging websites. This is the culmination of several months design, implementation and testing; and it represents the fourth iteration of the enrolment process that we’ve implemented. Each time we try to add more flexibility but still keep the enrolment process as simple as possible for the student. We know that with every step the student is asked to complete some may decide to abandon their enrolment.

We are pleased with the testing (both technical and usability) that we’ve done so far, and we know this process is core to our business and yours. So we’ve put the system into staging with a plan to release this into production on Monday 18 February. Your feedback (good and bad) is very welcome either on this forum or directly to our support channels. You may also want to take this opportunity to show all your staff the changes just in case you have students phone in with questions.

The key new features are:

1. Payment choices on its own page

By separating payment (credit cards and other options to come) onto its own page we’ve been able to simplify some of the screens and hopefully make it clearer to the students.

2. Add a payer who isn't one of the students

This has been a common request, and although it was always possible to add a student without enrolling them in anything, the process is now clearer on how to add a payer who isn’t one of the students. On the final credit card page there is an option to choose the payer from the list of enrolling students, or select a new person.

3. Add promotional code or voucher

Not only can you add promotional codes in other parts of the website, but you can also do it right on the enrolment page. Plus the same entry field will be used for the upcoming gift/voucher functionality. onCourse 5.0 will have the required voucher functionality to tie into this feature.

4. Minimum payable

Support for another feature soon to land in onCourse is the ability for you to set a minimum payable amount for classes which is less than the total fee. This is especially useful for expensive classes over $1000 where VET guidelines say that you should not charge students the full amount in advance.

5. Previous owing

If a student already owes you money then they are prompted to pay it here. They can however skip that payment, since you don’t want to discourage new enrolments by pressuring them to settle previous owing amounts which they may still be paying on a payment plan.

6. Credit available

Students might have a credit note available. They can use this feature (which they are only able to access with a password) to pay for the enrolment (partially or fully) against their credit. This is extremely useful for students who have just had another class cancelled; now you can send them back to the website to enrol in an alternative class without having to process this enrolment over the phone. The password they need to access this credit is the same as the one they use to access skillsOnCourse.

The new payment page with the locations of the new features shown. Previous owing and credit available display in the same area - in this example the student has a credit.

7. Design improvements and better handling of tablets and mobile devices

We have spent a lot of time on the details to ensure the enrolment process is robust in all modern devices and scales well to different screen sizes.

8. Display of discounts

In the course and class detail pages, multiple discounts at the same price are now concatenated into one item. We had some colleges with 6 to 10 different discounts and that was very messy.

Additional options are now available in onCourse 4.0 which allow you to suppress discounts from the course detail page, but still be available to students in the enrolment process. This is very useful for (say) a ‘staff discount’. You don’t want to generally advertise it, but you want it available for students who have been preselected with the appropriate membership or concession type.

Membership discounts now display and apply automatically and there are improvements in the handling of concessions which are self-selected by students.

9. Collection of mandatory student data

If you set a field (for example the ‘home phone number’) to be mandatory in the onCourse CMS, the enrolment process will now capture that specific piece of information even if the student already exists in your system. This is particularly useful if you have a waiting list or mailing list which collects only the minimum amount of information (name and email), but then you want to force students to enter more information about themselves when they enrol.

A returning student, asked to provide additional data that wasn’t previously supplied

10. Waiting lists and mailing lists

These features have now been aligned with the enrolment system. Users who add themselves to either a mailing list or waiting list will now get exactly the same experience as when they are enrolling: this makes it clearer and more intuitive. In the onCourse CMS you can define which fields are shown and which fields are mandatory for each of these processes. We have also removed the floating dialog for the waiting list entry which tended to not work as well on mobile devices.

We hope you enjoy all these new features. This is a pretty important set of updates. Our testing has been lengthy, but we do suggest you look through it for your own site to ensure that all your design customisations apply as you expect. Remember this is only in staging, so go to http://yourcollegename.staging.oncourse.net.au to see your changes.