News: Wildcat Connection will be replaced by new portal system, MyCWU, on Jan. 27

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BY BARBARA LEWIS, Staff Reporter

Central will replace the Wildcat Connection on Jan. 27 with MyCWU, a project that has taken 13 months to complete.

The new portal is being implemented with the intent that users will be able to access the information and services they need more easily.

“It’s a quick way for people to come into a system and get to whatever else they need to do with a minimum number of clicks,” Sue Noce, project manager for MyCWU, said.

The goal of the switch is to make it simpler for users to access their information. In the new system, fewer logins will be necessary.

The new system, MyCWU, will integrate Safari, Groupwise, Blackboard and other current data sources that are accessible from the current portal into their ‘single sign on’ function, as well as adding Canvas.

Canvas is a functioning alternative to Blackboard that is currently being tested on some curricula.

In addition to this, MyCWU should help reduce the time and effort that it takes to navigate.

“You have to go through a lot to get to Safari,” Emily Hanson, junior psychology major, said. “Reducing the number of clicks is a good idea.”

Some services may get moved around and find new homes, such as video streaming, which will be relocated to the Public Affairs department page.

The new system will still be a portal and use most of the same data sources, but will implement them in different ways, with the aim of making the interface easier and quicker for the user.

The new homepage is intended to centralize the currently scattered information that is available, making it easier to access.

It will also include different homepages for student, faulty and staff.

“Once you sign in, the system is going to know who you are and what roles you have in the university, so then it can present to you what options are available,” Noce said.

In addition to having the homepage determined by the individual’s role on campus, MyCWU will also allow users to customize their homepage.

The available customizations  include the ability to add widgets and delete unwanted information.

“We’re just trying to streamline our systems, make it easier for people to conduct their business,” Gail Farmer, administrator of equal opportunity and professional development, said.

MyCWU is part of the Improving Central Applications & Technology (iCAT) effort, which is composed of 12 separate projects, and was budgeted for $3.4 million.

The push to improve Central’s applications and technology is an ongoing effort to bring Central’s technology up to date.

The idea is to make all of Central’s technology more user friendly.

iCAT started in October 2012 and is expected to be fully completed by June 2014.

The project is expected to cut down on paper use on campus, as well as reduce the time it takes to complete daily tasks, such as scheduling.

Throughout the process, CedarCrestone Quality Assurance managers will work with Central on the quality and timeliness of the projects.

In anticipation of new users on the system potentially needing assistance, booths will be set up in January at the SURC for people to test out the new portal and get help if needed.

“If you are not at all tech savvy, you can get lost,” Chris Dohaniuk, undeclared sophomore, said.

Central has been conducting focus groups to find out what users accessed most frequently, so they could have a better idea of what to put on a default homepage.

Right now, MyCWU is in a testing and training phase in which focus groups will be held that students, and anyone else who serves a role at Central will have the option to take part in.

Students looking for more information can contact Noce.

“People should be on the lookout for more info in January,” Farmer said.

Some students do not foresee MyCWU having a significant effect on their academic life.

“I really don’t care, I pretty much don’t even go on portal that often,” Kristjan Kay, undeclared freshman said.

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News: Wildcat Connection will be replaced by new portal system, MyCWU, on Jan. 27