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Davis, California

Friday, April 19, 2024

MyUCDavis dons a new look

The newly redesigned student portal became accessible on Oct. 1 and has generated various opinions since its launch date.

MyUCDavis set out to update itself after students voiced frustrations with having to navigate through multiple websites with separate log-ins to reach their desired site. In addition to the students, Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi requested a proposal for a “one-stop center” for administrative functions in 2011.

The less than $200,000 project began with students’ interests in mind. The portal’s design was based largely off a survey conducted in 2012 for a Davis Honors Challenge Project. The opinions of 625 student participants as well as a focus group were considered for the renovation.

4,000 students also participated in polls created by Student Affairs Marketing and Communications on the older website to provide input on what changes they wanted to see. The survey revealed that classes, course registration and email were most important to students. The portal’s name remained untouched due to the amount of students who were already satisfied with it.

The finished product is a result of a campuswide effort.

“In November 2012, the Student Affairs Office of Technology took on the task of developing a fully integrated student portal with a single point of authentication.  Through collaborative partnerships, nearly 20 campus departments participated in the design and development of the new portal,” said Associate Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Lora Jo Bossio in an email interview.

The College of Letters and Science collaborated with the developers of the site, Student Affairs Office of Technology, to incorporate the college’s new student advising portal.

“To create the best experience for students, we brought together not only the administrative units but also the academic units,” said Elias Lopez, university registrar and executive director of the Student Affairs Office of Technology.

The “Aggie Feed” tool was also contributed by UC Davis’ Information and Educational Technology.

Although students are primarily affected by these drastic changes on the site, improvements for staff and faculty are to be seen soon.

“MyUCDavis is geared toward the entire campus: faculty, staff and students, and the improvements began with the student portion so that they would benefit immediately. The faculty and staff improvement portions will come shortly so that we improve the overall benefits of this portal for our entire campus community,” said Morna Mellor, Senior Director for Production Services and Director Enterprise Applications and Infrastructure Services of Information and Educational Technology.

Some of the notable features of the new portal include access to Smartsite and academic advising tools, “Aggie Feed” for campus announcements and a “Quick Tasks” drop-down to meet with an adviser, register and search for classes, view financial aid, view pass times and to pay tuition.

So far there have been various reviews on the website’s transformation. The greatest being that the change has been difficult to digest.

“Before, it had the classes to the right that had all of your information and I haven’t been able to find that. So I’ve been just going to SISWEB which shows all that,” said fourth-year evolutionary anthropology major Kelli Sullivan.

“I’ve been here for a year and using it to get onto my email mostly. And then it was easier because I finally figured out where everything was. Then it got changed and now I can’t find anything anymore,” said third-year English major Robert Foran.

“You have to search for all the links and everything. It was just simpler before,” said first-year psychology major Melissa Cruz.

For those who seek more convenience in their lives, the site has integrated a “Contact An Expert” feature, which allows students to send questions to campus experts ranging from portal tech support to graduate studies, who can find the requested information for you.

In addition to students being the most influential in the portal’s reshaping, MyUCDavis utilizes a “Feedback Bar” to extend the opportunity for students to express their ideas for improvement.

“We started this with students in mind, and we’re working to make sure that our decisions are continually fueled by students’ needs and preferences,” said Associate Vice Chancellor Bossio.

The site also proves to have students who welcome the redesign.

“I think the new site has a more focused and professional appeal to it. It’s also great because it’s easy to navigate,” said second-year managerial economics major Maya Murao.

“It looks cooler than the previous one, more modern. It seems to load a little slower, but that may be for many reasons. Overall the new site is a good upgrade,” said third-year computer science major Justin Lee.

The changes don’t stop here, however. This upcoming January, MyUCDavis will include a completely new SISWEB, containing “a shopping cart, calendar and a place to check holds and registration errors.”

NICOLE YI can be reached at campus@theaggie.org.

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