On Oct. 9, the University of Georgia’s Banner system, Athena, was upgraded to have a new, user-friendly look and feel. This updated version of Athena benefits students, faculty and advisors and provides updates to several modules, including Personal Information, Student, Registration, Student Account and Faculty and Advisor modules, as well as enhancements to the modules’ functionality. These updated modules are easier to navigate and are mobile friendly.
One of the most notable changes to the student-facing Athena is that the Student, Student Account and Personal Information modules are more easily distinguishable.
“This separation of information has been a nice change and greatly reduces my navigation time on Athena,” said Crawford Terry, a senior management information systems major.
The Personal Information module was consolidated to a new, one page format with easier navigation for reviewing and updating contact information. Students also have the ability to update their preferred name on this page instead of visiting the Office of the Registrar.
The Student Services module navigates to a new landing page with links to various student services. One service is a new feature for students called Student Profile; this will give students a personalized view of their academic information and links to other resources.
“Before the upgrade to Athena Banner 9, finding some of my student information was difficult. The Student tab included everything from your personal information on file to applying to graduate. It would sometimes take me a few minutes to find the correct page I was looking for,” Terry said. “After the updates to UGA Athena, I’ve found myself navigating through information more efficiently with the separation of the ‘Student’ and ‘Student Account’ tabs. The Student tab now includes university related information such as registering for classes or requesting a transcript. The Student Account tab now allows me to view student payment information, clearing an acknowledgement hold, or making payments to my student account.”
Students will notice new landing pages for both Student Services and Student Account. The Student Accounts landing page provides the same helpful links to various student account information in a new user-friendly format. From the Student Accounts landing page, students can access their student account and related acknowledgement hold(s), grant authorizations and view their tuition cost estimate for the upcoming term. The new Student Services landing page includes links to pages such as enrollment verification, viewing an unofficial transcript and registration.
“We are very excited to provide students with several new features in Athena that will improve their registration experience,” said Fiona Liken, associate vice president for instruction and registrar. “In addition to Athena’s new look and feel, students can now easily see if they have any holds preventing registration and learn how those holds can be cleared.”
When navigating to the Registration module, the user will be directed to a new landing page that will include icons to various aspects of registration, one of which is a new feature called Plan Ahead.
“I think a cool new Registration feature in Athena Banner 9 is creating a plan. When my time ticket for registration comes around, I know that I can load in my plan and get the classes that I need without any trouble,” said Victoria Korotkov, a senior management information systems major and Master of Science in business analytics graduate student.
Plan Ahead is a place where students can plan their schedules in advance and save their plans in Athena; the students will then be able to register directly from that plan when registration opens. Korotkov said this feature “improves the overall registration experience in Athena and makes the typically stressful process more user friendly.”
The Faculty and Advisor module navigates to a new landing page that includes links to various Faculty and Advisor services. Faculty will notice updated pages for viewing class information, schedules and other faculty services within Athena.
“At my two previous institutions, we had the option to print out photo rosters for each class, and this was how I was able to try and start learning student names before the semester started. I’ve been hoping we would eventually get them here, and I’m glad they were implemented in the Athena Banner 9 upgrade,” said Kyser Lough, assistant professor of journalism. “I know it might seem like a small thing, but it means a lot to how I try and connect with students by learning their names quickly.”
Advisors will also notice a new feature from their view of Athena. The Advising Student Profile provides advisors an individualized view of a student’s academic information.
Ilir Hasko, associate CIO for student information services, is pleased with the upgrade and the benefits that the Athena upgrade will provide.
“The Athena upgrade was one of the final major milestones of a multiyear initiative that constituted a complete revamp of the technology supporting our enterprise student systems. Aside from the technology and performance improvements, our main goal with this initiative was also to improve the user experience of our students, faculty and staff through an enhanced user interface and added configurable functionality,” Hasko said. “While I am very excited about some of the new features that include Plan Ahead for easier and faster class registration process, and a configurable Class List that includes student pictures, I am thrilled that this Athena upgrade has also served as a steppingstone that will enable us to further enhance the Athena user experience in the near future.”