May 14, 2001 Vol. V, No. 16

Web Registration to Debut at CSUN This Summer for Fall 2001

Planned Web Service Portal Will Give Students Web Access to Wide Range of Campus Info and Services

As part of the priority to make Cal State Northridge a more user-friendly campus, the university this summer will launch a new campus web site where students will be able to register for their classes online for the first time ever and access a wide range of other services and information.

CSUN officials said the new system, a so-called web service portal, should cut student lines in the Admissions and Records Office, make students' class registration process each semester quicker and easier, and open a new venue for web-based communication on campus.

"In a sense, this is e-commerce for us. This is the business we do," said Spero Bowman, CSUN's chief information officer and head of Information Technology Resources, which developed the new system. "This is personalizing technology to make your life more convenient and effective."

The most important feature of the new system will be bringing web-based class registration to the campus. CSUN officials said they expect web registration to very quickly overtake the current telephone-based touch-tone registration (TTR) system, although that will remain in place to accomodate students without computers or who have special needs.

"Now when students are coming to this institution, they expect to be able to do these kinds of things online," said Lorraine Newlon, CSUN's director of admissions and records (right). "I expect we will have a massive switch-over [from TTR]. To me, I think web registration is going to be easier to use, period. It should be very well received by students."

CSUN officials are planning to roll out the new system sometime in June, meaning it should be available to most students registering during the summer for the fall 2001 semester. The new CSUN Web Service Portal will operate from the web address of my.csun.edu, where students can log-in with their seven-digit ID and four-digit PIN number.

The resulting, personalized web page will incorporate links to a wide array of information customized for each student, including their current and prior class schedules and grades, financial aid award information, and campus payments status. Students also will be able to print unofficial transcripts, and pay registration and parking fees via credit card.

"CSUN for a long time has been a technological leader. That just hasn't been very visible to students," said Bob Stark, ITR's director of application development, who led the ITR team that developed the new system during the past 18 months. "Now we're trying to roll out that technology for the benefit of students."

In one example regarding registration, the current TTR system requires students to register for one class as a time, and they can stay on the system for only 10 minutes at a time because of limited phone lines. The new web registration system will enable students to pick their entire schedule with a mouse click, and it will not have the same time limit.

When students register online, they also will be able to mouse click to individual class descriptions from the university catalog, click a class location listing to get a map showing the building on campus, and even the professor's web page, if available. The new web system also will show class footnotes, important details about specific classes.

Another new feature of the Web Service Portal will be students' ability to update their personal information online such as mailing address, e-mail address and phone number. Until now, such changes required a visit to the Admissions and Records Office, where one survey showed about 60 percent of students waiting in line wanted to make such changes.

Another new feature of the system, likely to get even greater use in the years ahead, is the ability to direct customized messages to students on their "My CSUN" web page. Those could include items such as reminders for campus appointments.

The new portal will replace a prior campus system, Looking Glass, which had some similar features. The ITR staff members responsible for the new system are information technology consultant Patty Hackl, project lead Phil Chan, and programmers Ping Jiang, Dan Meehan and Lily Ye.


@csun | May 14, 2001 issue
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