An upgrade to the systems that UMD uses is just around the corner, a change that administration believes will benefit students, staff and faculty in the years to come.
The changes to the system, dubbed the “Upgrade,” will go live to the entire U of M system on April 20, after a 10-day period of system upgrade when limited services will be available. This “cutover period” will interrupt the use of some services, such as bill payment, class registration, graduation planner, and students’ access to their accounts. Once the Upgrade is complete, students will access many services using the new MyU portal.
The reasoning behind the upgrade is that the current system, which has been in place since 1999, is outdated, according to Carla Boyd and Susan Bosell, members of the UMD Upgrade Leadership Team. The Upgrade is part of a multiyear process to improve the core Enterprise Systems.
“It’s a very significant upgrade,” said Boyd. “We’re not changing all software — but we’re radically changing services to provide better efficiencies and technologies.”
The new system will be faster and more powerful than the current system, and will set the U of M system up to be ready for new and emerging technologies that may become available. A focus on efficiency was placed on the Upgrade, according to Boyd.
“One of the first things to know, especially for UMD students,” said Boyd, “is the MyUMD portal is being retired, and being replaced with a brand new MyU portal, which will be a centralized, streamlined, one-login place to access a lot of the services . . . One login, and (students) will get the services they need to do their work.”
In addition to the these changes, the homepage of the new MyU portal will have news and announcements for students, as well as an improved tool bar that will give easy access to things like Moodle, library resources and other tools for students. A “recommended” menu on the tool bar will give personalized recommendations based on tools and resources a student uses often. A third dropdown menu allows students to bookmark pages on the MyU page.
A notifications tab that looks similar to the ones used on Facebook and Twitter will alert students to tasks they need to complete, such as verifying their health insurance or financial aid issues.
Registration and waitlist options are also getting an upgrade. Students will add classes to a shopping cart to plan and register for the upcoming semester. In addition, a student will automatically be enrolled from the waitlist when space becomes available in the class. It will generally work on a first-come, first-serve basis, so if Student A signs up before Student B and they both appear on the waitlist, Student A will be enrolled before Student B when space becomes available.
Students will be able to access all of their grades, both current and past, in the new Grades tab under the Academics menu. Here they can also request enrollment verification and order transcripts.
Under the Finances menu, students can view and pay their bill. They can also check their financial aid opportunities on the same page. However, if students have questions, the OneStop website and counselors will remain a resource. Students can also print their 1098-Ts in the new system.
Because registration for summer and fall terms have already begun, the changes to the system, including the cutover period, will not affect a student’s ability to register for classes. Moodle and eGradebook will not be affected by the cutover period either.
The UMD Upgrade Leadership Team is holding an All Campus Upgrade event on Monday, April 13 from 1 – 3 p.m. in the Kirby Ballroom. The event will focus on the Upgrade’s changes, with sessions focusing on HR, finances and student services. They also hope to have a demo of the new portal ready for students, staff and faculty to see and interact with.
“We are hoping to get students at that event to be able to see how things will look for them in the new system,” Bosell said.
For student employees, reporting hours that they worked will change from a paper timesheet to an online version. “I think that’s a really great change, and it will make it more efficient for everybody involved,” said Boyd.
When student are done registering for Fall 2015 classes, the cutover period will begin. In a little more than a week, the new and improved system will hit students’ browsers.
“I think the key point to emphasize is that the University of Minnesota is looking to change and improve its services,” Boyd said. “It’s going to be on multiple fronts, and we think it’s going to be a positive change for students, faculty and staff.”
For more information, visit http://upgrade.umn.edu/student/index.html
BY SAM STROM