University to combine myU and One Stop into central site next fall

The project is part of a comprehensive software upgrade priced at $84M.
November 06, 2013

The University of Minnesota is set to replace its myU portal for students, faculty and staff on all campuses by next fall.

The new portal, which has yet to be named, will combine parts of One Stop and the current version of myU into one centralized system.

The project is part of the University’s Enterprise Systems Upgrade Program, a comprehensive, $84 million software upgrade.

Parts of One Stop will still exist when the new site launches, but myU will be defunct.

Students, faculty and staff will be able to customize the portal and view personalized information like grades, financial aid, paycheck distribution and class registration, said project director Susan Geller.

“The vision is that people are going to go to the new portal because they know that when they go there, it’s going to tell them something that they’re so glad they didn’t miss,” she said.

The new site is the product of years of complaints from people at the University who don’t know how to access their personal information, which is currently split among several entities, Geller said.

“People have talked about how it doesn’t make sense that we have different front doors to access individualized information for a long time,” she said.

Before the enterprise upgrade was approved last year, there wasn’t a good way to address issues with University websites, said Santiago Fernandez-Gimenez, ESUP assistant program director.

He said University officials knew of complaints regarding the lack of centralization in websites, but creating the new portal wasn’t cost-effective until the $84 million upgrade was approved.

“We wanted to make sure the new portal would be created in the most efficient way possible,” Fernandez-Gimenez said.

The new portal project kicked off last February, when officials from all five University campuses held joint listening sessions and workshops with students, faculty and staff to pinpoint problems with existing portals and determine what users would like to see in a new version.

Public relations and communications senior Vishakha Mathur said she attended one of the workshops and suggested the University converge personalized information from myU and One Stop to “eliminate confusion” regarding each website’s purpose.

She said combining the two websites into one portal could especially benefit students who are new to University technology.

“It can be difficult to go hunting for information on different portals,” she said.

Business and marketing education junior Samantha Dolezal said she thinks many students don’t consistently use current University websites like myU and One Stop because they aren’t always useful and they aren’t aesthetically pleasing.

“The setup is very bland, there’s too many words and you can find a lot of the information on both portals in other places,” she said.

The University released a rough draft of the new portal in mid-October for students, faculty and staff to evaluate and offer feedback on what can still be improved.

The site draft is cleaner than its predecessors and includes a wide spread of information on the home page, including adviser contact information, upcoming events and “today’s classes.”

Jon Jeffryes, an assistant University librarian, attended workshops with the new portal’s designers to gauge opinion on the rough draft. He said making the site customizable makes it easier for users to get the information they need.

“The rough draft seems to be much less overwhelming than what we have currently,” he said. “It seems like relevant information will be easier to access.”

Geller said the new portal won’t be a finished product when it launches next fall.

“We want to make sure that the foundation is right, so we can grow and adapt the portal to people’s needs in the future,” she said.

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