The App Cycle Management feature provides admins with a dedicated space where they can oversee the availability of the terms of study for which applicants may apply to programs.
An admin has the ability to enable the use of Deployment Rules for an app cycle from the App Cycle Management page. This action fundamentally changes how that app cycle operates within Terra Dotta in that it no longer uses classic process maps to deploy process elements applicable to program applications in a specific app cycle. Instead, a rules-based deployment system (e.g. Deployment Rules) is used.
App Cycle Management is part of the Configuration menu of the Admin Console.
This article discusses the following topics related to App Cycle Management:
- Important Considerations
- Access & Permissions
- Understanding App Cycle Management
- App Cycle Configuration
- Managing Programs Accepting Applications Per App Cycle
- Suggested Sandbox Exercise: Setting Up an App Cycle to Use Deployment Rules
- Video Instruction
As you explore the use of rules-based app cycles with your office, make note of these important considerations:
- The Applicant Experience must first be enabled on your site in order to use Deployment Rules with an app cycle. When Deployment Rules have been enabled for use with an app cycle, the app cycle is referred to as "rules-based".
- Deployment Rules and App Cycle Management work in conjunction with one another. Deployment rules are created in order to specify which criteria must be met in order for specific process elements to be deployed to a program application that has been created in a rules-based app cycle. Therefore, if you want to use rules-based deployment for process elements, you must do so in conjunction with the use of rules-based app cycles.
- When creating an app cycle in App Cycle Management, an opening and closing date must be used. These dates are essential for certain processes in the system. See the "Access and Permissions" section of this article for more details.
- The use of Deployment Rules means a move towards transitioning to the end of using the classic process map functionality on your site. This change must be fully communicated to all staff admins before the transition from process maps to rules-based deployment occurs. It is recommended that you reset site permissions accordingly to prevent staff from making changes to process-map related items in the main "Process" menu once you transition to using Deployment Rules.
- After you begin using Deployment Rules on your site, it will be difficult to revert back to the use of process maps. If your process maps are not configured correctly, this will create problems for applications that are in these app cycles. Therefore, it will be required that you submit a Support request as only a superuser (e.g. someone who has the Maintenance: Unrestricted Access permission) can disable Deployment Rules. Additionally, the Terra Dotta Support team will need to ensure that your process maps for your app cycles are configured properly before a return to process maps is made.
App Cycle Management can be accessed as follows:
1) From the Admin Console, navigate to the "Configurations" menu.
2) Click on "App Cycle Management".
This feature is available for use by administrators with the following permissions:
- Process Admin: Application Cycles (View)
- Users with this permission have read-only access to Deployment Rules.
- Process Admin: Application Cycles (Add) or (Edit)
- Users with this permission have read-write access to Deployment Rules.
Additionally, in order to enable the use of Deployment Rules for an app cycle, the following conditions must be true:
- The Applicant Experience must be enabled.
On the App Cycle Management landing page, a numeric year dial allows an admin to navigate from one year to another to view app cycles for those respective years.
App Cycle Management organizes information with columns (from left to right) as follows:
- This is the application term name.
- Terms are listed based on how they are ordered (i.e. their ordinal position) under Settings > Terms. For long-term clients who created terms in the past and have not since used the ordering system to arrange the preferred order of their terms, the terms will display in alphabetical order by default until any re-ordering action is taken.
- Set your app cycle to active or inactive.
- Deadline Date
- This is the final date on which the software will allow someone to apply to a program in a specific app cycle. It is also the date on which applicants are expected to have completed their existing applications.
- Decision Date
- This is the first date on which an applicant is allowed to receive a decision regarding their application. Prior to this date, an application will remain in "pending" status. This is also the date on which an "Accepted"/"Committed" applicant can access the post-decision phase of their application.
- Opening Date
- This is the date on which your app cycle in "Active" status will begin accepting applications for programs to which this app cycle's application term has been assigned. Use of this setting makes it so that an admin does not have to return to an app cycle to set it to "Active" on a desired date. This desired date can now be configured as the opening date.
- The opening date is not the same as a start date.
- An opening date must always be used as it is important for certain processes and features in the software. One example is with use of the "Open App Cycles Only" filter in Application Finder.
- Closing Date
- This date is comparable to having an end date for your "Returnee" phase. When the closing date of an app cycle is reached, applications in the app cycle will no longer be included in the refresh requirement activity that occurs when the scheduled task runs. When applications would no longer need to be updated, then consider this as the closing date to assign to your app cycle.
- This is not the same as an end date.
- A closing date must always be used as it is important for certain processes and features in the software. One example is for the scheduled task which runs and updates applications in rules-based app cycles. The system looks at applications in app cycles that have a closing date assigned in the future when determining which applications get updated by the task.
- Indicates if an app cycle is using process maps or Deployment Rules.
- A "check" icon is visible when rules-based deployment of an app cycle is in use.
- Click the edit pencil to modify settings to your app cycle.
With App Cycle Management, an admin can manage two key aspects of an app cycle:
1) The Configuration of an App Cycle
With the use of dates, an admin can set up app cycles now so that they are ready for use at the desired time later. By using an opening date, an admin can set an app cycle to "active" status now, yet the app cycle will not begin receiving applications until the desired opening date arrives in the future. A closing date clearly defines when an an application is no longer included in the refresh activity of the scheduled task.
In addition, as mentioned above, opening and closing dates are essential for certain processes and features in the software and are required fields when creating app cycles in App Cycle Management.
Each app cycle continues to store a designated decision date and deadline date for program applications.
2) The Activation of Deployment Rules for an App Cycle
Deployment rules consist of a set of defined conditions that, when met, trigger the deployment of defined process elements to a program application. This process is also referred to as rules-based deployment. Rules are created in the Deployment Rules section of the Admin Console, and they are activated in App Cycle Management when an app cycle begins using rules-based deployment.
Instead of using a process map to select and manage which process elements are deployed to program applications, app cycles using Deployment Rules use rules as the criteria to determine which process elements are deployed to program applications.
To configure an app cycle in App Cycle Management:
1) Navigate to Admin Console > App Cycle Management.
2) Click on the "+" sign in the lower right corner of the page. This will open a new "App Cycle Configuration" display. All fields are required in order to save changes.
3) In the field for "Term", select the desired application term from the drop-down menu.
Important Note: Application terms are created by navigating to Process > App Cycles and clicking on "Add Term Record". It is from this list of available application terms that the "Term" drop-down menu populates its values.
4) In the field for "Year", select the desired year from the drop-down menu. The current year will appear by default.
5) In the field for "Deadline Date", use the calendar widget to make your selection.
6) In the field for "Decision Date", use the calendar widget to make your selection.
7) In the field for "Opening Date", use the calendar widget to make your selection. This is the date on which an app cycle set to the status of "active" will start to automatically accept applications.
Important Note: You must set your app cycle to "Active" so that when the opening date arrives, the app cycle will begin accepting applications. If the opening date arrives and the app cycle is not set to the status of "Active", then the app cycle will not being accepting applications.
8) In the field for "Closing Date", use the calendar widget to make your selection. This is the date on which applications in the app cycle will no longer be included in the update activity when the scheduled task for rules runs.
9) Click the "Status" toggle to the desired setting. A status of "Active" means that your app cycle will begin accepting applications when the date selected for "Opening Date" is the current date.
10) Click the "Use Deployment Rules" toggle to the desired setting. A status of "Active" means that your app cycle will use rules-based deployment.
11) Click "Save & Close" to preserve your changes. If any fields are left blank, then this button will remain grayed out until each required field is populated with data.
The app cycle will now appear on the main App Cycle Management page of the corresponding app cycle year.
Example: An admin configures an app cycle for 2021 that uses Deployment Rules. The app cycle has been assigned an opening date of August 1, 2020 and will automatically start accepting applications on this date.
After the app cycle is configured, it appears under the year "2021". A check mark appears in the "Rules" column to indicate that this app cycle uses Deployment Rules.
In App Cycle Management, it's possible for an admin to manage which programs are accepting applications for a specific app cycle. From the main display page, locate your desired year then term (for example: Summer 2021). In the "Actions" column, click on the "Manage Programs" globe icon.
This action routes you to view a listing of all programs in that app cycle, their deadline and decision dates, and a column from which you can deactivate or activate the program for that respective app cycle. It is also possible to take action on multiple programs at once using the batch action column.
For admins looking to get started with testing out the use of rules-based app cycles in their sandbox sites, here is a suggested exercise.
1) Make sure that the Applicant Experience is enabled on your sandbox site. This setting is located under Settings > System Features > Interface Settings.
2) Select an app cycle to configure for use with Deployment Rules. You might consider creating a term specifically called "Rules Term" if that helps designate this term as using Deployment Rules (as opposed to process maps) in your sandbox site.
3) At this point, you might ask: Do I need to uncheck any requirements that might exist for this app cycle's process map? The answer is no. The process map will become irrelevant once the app cycle is switched to rules-based deployment.
4) Navigate to Admin Console > App Cycle Management to configure your app cycle. Do not set your app cycle's status to "active" yet because you have not yet set up your Deployment Rules that will be used to deploy process elements to program applications in this app cycle.
5) Navigate to Admin Console > Content Management. Review each process element to ensure they are configured with the desired content.
6) Consider additional configurations to review. These might include the following:
- Applicant Parameters
- Program Parameters
- Rec Types/Recommendations
- Programs. Using Program Wizard, make sure that you have at least one program set up on your sandbox site for testing purposes.
7) Navigate to Admin Console > Deployment Rules. Think about the content (e.g. process elements) that you'd want to deploy to a program application when certain conditions are met. Then use this to guide you in setting up some initial rules.
8) After you've created a set of Deployment Rules and set them to active, navigate back to your app cycle in App Cycle Management and set it to active status so that it will now begin accepting applications. Note that if you've set an opening date for the future, then the active app cycle will not start accepting applications until that date in the future.
9) Create an application for the program you created in step #6.
10) Log in as the applicant to review the Application Page and see what requirements were deployed as part of the program application from the applicant perspective.
App Cycle: Spring 2021
- Using Deployment Rules
- Opening Date: September 1, 2020
- Decision Date: November 15, 2020
- Deadline Date: November 1, 2020
- Closing Date: December 31, 2021
Applicant: Nina Mustang
- Applicant Parameters
- Allergies = Nuts
Program: Study in Brazil
- Program Type: Outgoing
- Program Location: Florianopolis, Brazil
- Recommendation Requirements: 1 Rec Type of Faculty/Staff
Program: Discover Bretagne
- Program Type: Outgoing
- Program Location: Cancale, France
- Recommendation Requirements: None
Content Management: Process Elements Created
- Recommendation Forms
- Fac & Staff Recommendation: Academics
- Fac & Staff Recommendation: Conduct
- Learning Content
- Traveling with Food Allergies
- Travel Safely
- Passport Copy
- Funding Information
- Study Abroad Questionnaire
- Travel Risk
- Signature Document
- Verification of Eligibility
Deployment Rules Created
Rule #1: All Fac/Staff Recommendations
Rule #2: Applicants with Food Allergies
Rule #3: Non-U.S. Programs
Rule #4: Spring 2021 Outgoing Study in Brazil
Nina applied to the Discover Bretagne program for Spring 2021. Based on the Deployment Rules that had been created, Nina sees the following application requirements. Only the conditions for rules #2 and #3 were met. Therefore, only the process elements for these two rules were deployed.
Nina also applied to the Study in Brazil program for Spring 2021. Based on the Deployment Rules that had been created, Nina sees the following application requirements. The conditions for all four rules were met. Therefore, all process elements for these four rules were deployed.
When Nina sends her recommendation request to the desired faculty or staff member, they will see both recommendation forms deployed by rule #1.
Configuring an App Cycle
This 17-minute video provides instruction on how to set up an app cycle to use Deployment Rules. Topics covered include reviewing your site's term order, selecting an opening and closing date, and walking through an example of what an app cycle might look like on your site.