By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

News: MyCWU replaces Wildcat Connection


MyCWU replaced Wildcat Connection on Jan. 27, but the launch has resulted in technical difficulties and mixed feedback.

The website interface and services that had been located under Wildcat Connection exist in MyCWU, but the system still faces technical difficulties.

“People have been having troubles with [MyCWU] depending on the web browser you’re on,” Sean Donnell, senior computer science major, said. “I’ll give it a least a week before I judge it.”

Donnell tried to access his account using Mozilla Firefox; it took some time before he managed to get into his account. Once on his account, some of the boxes  read “Error Getting Content.”

The same was true when Sarah Sexton, senior Computer Science major, tried to access her account on both Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer. When she tried accessing her account on both web browsers, five minutes passed and the screens remained blank while the swirling, loading symbol spun indefinitely.

Sexton had other concerns besides lethargic loading speeds. She was concerned that her mom, like other individuals who have difficulty grasping the use of technology, will have to be introduced to and learn how to use MyCWU.

In addition to browser issues, speed and potential parental confusion, other students simply did not know MyCWU was launched on Monday, let alone even existed.

Some students and faculty are also concerned with logout security. When a user logs out of MyCWU, a message prompts them to close the entire web browser in order to log out completely. If the user fails to close the web browser, anybody can click the ‘back’ button and see their account information.

This may not be a problem when a user is on their personal computer, but it could be a problem if the user is not prudent in closing the web browser completely on a public computer.

“Closing the whole browser to be completely logged out seems like it would be a security problem,” Lisa Euster, a references librarian, said.

Euster also expressed concerns that MyCWU does not work with old versions of web browsers.

Some student employees are concerned about not being able to access important documents located on MyCWU.

“I wish I could get into my W-2,” Kelsey Miller, a junior chemistry major, said.

Despite bugs and glitches in MyCWU, the administration has their rationale behind replacing Wildcat Connection: technological improvement.

MyCWU is a major component for the series of technology infrastructure projects known as Improving CWU Applications and Technology (iCAT). According to Gail Farmer, a change manager in Human Resources, MyCWU is the “capstone project” of the iCAT series.

“This is about the university’s commitment to upgrading its hardware and software resources to better serve the campus community, faculty, staff, and students. We identified things that could be upgraded, changed, made better, and this was one of the areas,” said Stevan DeSoer, Chief Human Resources officer.

According to DeSoer, the need to update old systems prompted the administration to commence the MyCWU project. Implementing the new portal took years of extensive planning, months of preparation and hundreds of hours of programming, but the administration called the change imperative.

“Technology is improving and we wanted to take advantage of that, and the Board of Trustees was very supportive of that endeavor,” DeSoer said.

Commitment to the project required a myriad of resources to be harnessed for the project, including skilled students and faculty as well as contractors and consultants.

“We’re a public institution, so you [need] to do requests for proposals, get bids, contracts, hire people, order equipment. That part is the simple part, then you have to figure out how to make it work, and that effort has been pretty intensive for the last fourteen months,” DeSoer said.

Some of Central’s own faculty members and students contributed their input to MyCWU. In fact, according to Farmer, student focus groups first began testing the beta versions of MyCWU last March.

“We had students come in, and they were impressed with [the beta version]. Then we made some changes, and brought them back again. We’ve had lots of student input along the way,” Farmer said.

That student input included the Associated Students of Central Washington University Board of Directors (ASCWU-BOD), the main student government body on campus.

These early beta versions were only available to a small group of students, but the entire student public has been given opportunity to test more recent version of MyCWU since the beginning of winter quarter 2014.

Testing stations are set up in the SURC, library and Black hall. These stations will remain open for one more week after the official launch.

Some students took the opportunity to check out MyCWU. Program specialist Veronica  Gomez-Vilchis supervised the testing stations.

“I just like the fact that everything is there on one page. Another cool thing is you can move things around, so you can customize your page,”  Gomez-Vilchis said.

According to  Gomez-Vilchis, approximately 80 percent of people who tried the beta version of MyCWU were Central students, and most of those students gave positive reviews.

“What I’m hearing from students is that it’s very user friendly and everything is there,”  Gomez-Vilchis said.

According to DeSoer and Farmer, the administration is confident in MyCWU’s growth potential as it progresses into the future of Central.

“This is our commitment to improving our applications and our technology. It was just time to improve,” Farmer said.

The administration has created a MyCWU help hot line, which will be open for thirteen hours a day, following Monday’s launch. Their number is 509-963-2277; the help desk is 509-963-2001.

According to DeSoer, MyCWU is designed to give students the ability to do their work and manage their information the way they want to, not the way the administration thinks they should.

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