Report lays out blueprint for MyCampus 2.0

[box]Euan McTear[/box]

After consultation with students, staff and the development team behind the controversial system: MyCampus and its introduction last September has been reviewed. The ‘Lessons Learned’ panel used the report to list the range of issues experienced, while outlining 17 recommendations on how the system should be modified for the future.

The report splits the main issues of concern into eight “themes”, which they asked both students and staff to rank in order of importance. From the 88 staff that responded, user interface was the highest ranked, while the same theme was also a concern to the 265 students who replied and ranked it second.

This issue of the user interface was clearly a concern all round, with Recommendation No.6, regarding user interface, explicitly given the highest priority of all recommendations. The goal stated is to:

“Improve the navigability and clarity of language, supported by improved on-screen messages/information, user guides for each aspect of the system and on-line help for all users. Usability and the user experience of staff and students must be given a very high priority”

Related issues included compatibility with browsers such as Chrome and Safari; the lack of confirmation messages on completing an action; and issues with Americanized (yes, we are being ironic, ed.) terminology. The controversial “shopping cart” language was also cited.

The report suggested increased user training to improve interaction with and navigation around the parts of the existing software that cannot be fixed in the near future. As part of this recommendation, a handbook will be put together for advisers and other appropriate administration staff.

The report was clear, however, that this was not to be a criticism of the way the university’s advisers conducted themselves last autumn and the report even praised their “extreme efforts.” It was, rather, the extra burden put on the advisers that was criticised. The report says:

“During registration and enrolment with MyCampus, unrealistic expectations were placed on, for example, Advisers of Study because lines of communication and responsibility were not clear.”

It noted that when students were unclear over where to direct their queries, they generally turned to advisers. As a result, a new, “properly trained help desk” will be set up with a target response time of 24 hours.

Of the many other issues raised and represented in the eight themes, enrolment and timetabling was another hot topic and was ranked as the most important by students.

Proposed changes in this area included the removal of the ‘Course Catalogue,’ so that students would be forced to select classes through ‘MyRequirements,’ eliminating the option of selecting courses that conflict with the degree progression plans of students. Also recommended was providing a means for students to view their current timetable while selecting the remainder of their classes.

Since the launch of the software, one aspect of the project team’s work which Secretary of Court, David Newall, has been quick to praise is that the deadline for implementation of MyCampus was met. However, while noting that a delay would have increased expenditure, the authors of the report attributed many of the problems to a determination to meet the go-live date, which was said to have “compromised decisions.”

Other recommendations of note include plans for academic and administration staff to be added to the MyCampus project board, proposals for international students to be able to provisionally enrol while awaiting confirmation of funding, and increased interaction between students and advisers.

The report is available here, and to all students on your MyGlasgow home page.


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