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Easily manage your postgraduate students’ information

Managing postgraduate students is a lot of work, but NAO can help you.  Have you ever wished that information about postgraduate students of your Faculty or Department was more readily available?  If you have never used NAO before, now is the time to to find out more and save yourself a lot of trouble in future.

The following remarks have been made about the system and you can decide for yourself whether they sound promising or not:

“Why haven’t I heard about the system before … grrrr.”
“NAO is the best thing that has happened in my career during the past few years!”
“Wow! Now I never have to hunt for a student number again … “

NAO is the abbreviation for Nagraadse Akademiese Ondersteuning/Postgraduate Academic Support; a web-based system designed specifically for staff members involved with the management of postgraduate students.

Honestly, you can get rid of the spreadsheets you have used year after year to keep track of important information, because everything you need is  available via NAO, fresh from the central system every single morning.

Below is a list of various types of information available to make your life a bit easier:

  • Undergraduate final year students (for recruitment purposes)
  • Applicants from elsewhere – see how far the applications have progressed
  • Registered postgraduate students
  • Postgraduate students not registered yet
  • Lists of graduates form previous years
  • Historic information as far back as 2000 

Excel reports are available with as little effort as a mouse click, to enable you to do further data crunching,  filter options will narrow down your searches to only the records you are interested in and data on the screen can be sorted by clicking column headings.

At a glance and without lifting a finger the system shows whether a student

  • is from abroad as well as his/her nationality,
  • is currently being funded or has received funding in the past,
  • already has a study leader and / or thesis title captured to the central system,
  • has passed away and
  • information such as SU number, nickname, surname, programme, anchor module, email address, telephone number and much more is also immediately available. 

Something extra about the system worth mentioning, is that e-mails can be sent to groups of students.  Just create your own wording in both English and Afrikaans and e-mails will be sent to students in the correspondence language which they have chosen at registration. The same wording can be used year after year, for example to remind slowcoaches to register before a certain date to avoid paying a fine!

You will be able to create your own notes per student (e.g. John was out of action for a certain time as a result of influenza), get access to full study records, check funding to make sure departmental bursaries were awarded and get hold of lots more information.

The best news of all is that Study Leaders and Thesis Titles can be captured to the central system via NAO, which will spare you a lot of worrying about your hard drive crashing and destroying all your hard work of the past 6 months!

If you need more information, click here to see a Powerpoint presentation. Send email to Rita de Jager, Head: Postgraduate Academic Support at rd@sun.ac.za to be given access, scheduled for a training session or to ask further questions about NAO.

[Article by Rita de Jager with much appreciated input from prof Keith Palmer, Dept of E & E Engineering]

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