The Office of the Chief Information Officer presented its forthcoming centralized information portal, Georgetown360, which will be rolled out at the end of the month for the School of Nursing and Health Studies.

The new portal, Hoya360, will integrate all current sources of club and academic information for Georgetown students in one location. A version of the portal has already been implemented for faculty, while a version for alumni will be formally launched with the student portal by the end of the month, according to the platform website.

Currently, Georgetown utilizes a variety of different systems and websites for students to access information, including MyAccess, Blackboard, Canvas, and the Georgetown University website. With the implementation of Hoya360, some of those services may be gradually retired.

FILE PHOTO: STEPHANIE YUAN/THE HOYA
University Information Services is preparing to launch a pilot version of the new information portal Georgetown360 for the School of Nursing and Health Studies next month.

Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer Judd Nicholson said the idea for a new system arose from two areas: a desire to revamp the alumni relationship network and student-voiced concerns about locating information.

“When you become an alumni, we want to talk to you and have conversations with you that’s representative of your experience at Georgetown, and we did get a lot of complaints from students about not being able to find things, not knowing who to go to,” Nicholson said. “Those two ideas, those two issues, really converged together.”

Nicholson said the rollout will begin with NHS students because its population is a model of the greater school community.

Nicholson said the larger hopes for this initiative include introducing Hoya360 in the School of Continuing Studies, the Georgetown University Law Center, the Georgetown University Medical Center and the other graduate programs, as well as creating a portal for parents to access important information.

While the idea for Hoya360 emerged about five years ago, it only began to take shape two years ago, with the design process beginning last year. The portal itself is based on Salesforce, a widely-used customer relationship management software.

Many student groups contributed to the project, including the Georgetown University Student Association’s Student Technology Advisory Board and the NHS Academic Council.

Senior Assistant Dean in the NHS Doug Little said the initiative is a community effort.

Both Nicholson and Little emphasized the fluid nature of the platform; after the initial implementation, there will be continual updates and new features every few months.

“Part of the beauty of this platform is we’re able to continue to iterate and make it better,” Nicholson said.

In addition to function, the development of Hoya360 also focused on the site’s aesthetic, keeping in mind the desires and expectations of its target audience. Student input was brought in from the beginning and it has helped focus the platform on the user experience and make it unique.

One of the largest challenges throughout this project was the integration of older Georgetown technologies, such as MyAccess into the new portal.

“There were a number of technical challenges, and it’s been a long process, so I think the other challenge I would say is keeping people engaged and excited and informed, and making sure we consider stakeholders’ input,” Nicholson said.

The entire concept of Hoya360 represents a way that Georgetown is adapting and keeping up with the changing technological world and being responsive to student needs, according to Little.

“When you talk to alumni about what defined their time at Georgetown on the hilltop, they use the word home. We really wanted Hoya360 and the overall GU360 project to strengthen that sense of home while they were here for the four years on the hilltop, and then extend it to when they leave the hilltop,” Little said.

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