MyAccess Gets Slight Makeover
Published: Friday, October 11, 2013
Updated: Friday, October 11, 2013 02:10
The Office of the Registrar began to roll out of a number of largely visual changes to MyAccess last weekend ahead of an expected larger overhaul to the system.
These changes included collapsible menus and a feature that allows students to easily browse back through previous pages. The website now features a modernized layout, replete with a new color scheme, sparser text, larger menu buttons and more readable page descriptions.
“For many students and faculty, the look and feel of MyAccess has been a little drab,” Student Systems Director Patrick Versace said. “It will probably be about a year before we see the complete update.”
Versace said that he hopes to completely implement the changes by next fall, but the timing is not yet determined.
Georgetown MyAccess is a localized version of the Banner student software from Ellucian Systems, which the university adopted in 2009. Banner is used by many colleges and universities to manage student and faculty accounts.
“Each university can localize that part of the product to some extent, so our localization of the self-service component of Banner is what we call MyAccess,” University Registrar John Q. Pierce said.
The software is updated yearly by the company that owns it. Most updates regard compliance with federal financial aid regulations, as well as minor system updates. This year, however, Banner will receive more substantive updates from Ellucian.
“The adjustments that have been made are not changes that have been designed at Georgetown, but rather we’re implementing new code that has been released by the company,” Pierce said.
One major feature that may be introduced within the next year features increased integration with Degree Works, a degree audit page that allows students to view what requirements they have left to fulfill.
“You might start in Degree Works and be able to find what you want to take, click through and it will register you there.” Pierce said.
The course registration process may soon change as well.
“There are a number of changes being discussed internally, including changing to a real-time registration system,” Versace said.
However, the university is exercising caution before introducing any major changes.
“We’ll be reaching out to the student tech committee to form test groups for the new features.” Versace said. “We think that as students and faculty see the updates, they will real-ly like what they see.”
Many of Banner’s updated features are for the administrative side of the program and will not be seen by students.
“It’s still in development, but one of the features we are hoping to roll out in time for grading in December is nothing that the students that will notice, but it provides the ability for faculty to extract a spreadsheet from Blackboard for example and upload the grades directly into Banner,” Pierce said. “We tested it this spring, and people said that their time spent entering grades went from an hour to 10 minutes.”
Last year, the Office of the Registrar, in conjunction with Students of Georgetown Inc., introduced Classy, a service that allows students to search for classes on an outside site and more easily visualize potential schedules. The registrar’s office plans to support any updates and increased use of this service, although no specific plans are currently in place.
“One of the problems was that students were thinking they were registering for a course that turned out to have had a schedule change in Banner,” Pierce said. “My interpretation is that students found it useful, so I would like to continue to support it.”
Corp Marketing Director Emily Coch (COL ’15) said that the service will continue.
“We’re continuing to develop the features of Classy to better meet the needs of all students,” Coch said. “We’re collaborating with the university on increased integration. … When December comes around, you’ll see it again, hopefully with some updates.”