There has been buzz around campus in recent months about the new student information system that will replace OASIS and IMS. Laura Jolly, vice president for instruction, answered questions for Columns that faculty, staff and students have been asking about the project and the implementation of the new system. Jolly is a member of the Project Leadership Team for the ConnectUGA Project.
Columns: What is ConnectUGA and how is it related to the new system?
Jolly: ConnectUGA is the project name for the implementation of the University of Georgia’s new student information system. This is a multi-year, multi-million dollar university-wide project that will replace the multiple aging legacy systems and databases with a modern and sustainable technology platform. The new system, which includes the integration of new Banner software, will support our information system and will allow one central location for student information.
Columns: Why is UGA getting a new information system?
Jolly: OASIS (Online Access to Student Information System) and IMS (Information Management System) are more than 40 years old and rely on multiple data systems.
Over time, this collection of systems has become more difficult to use given the rapid change of technology. The Banner software will make managing student data much easier for the university and will create a more convenient Web-based format for students.
There also will be much more functionality for faculty and advisers with self-service components available to them.
Columns: What UGA departments are involved in this project?
Jolly: Numerous offices across campus are involved in the planning and implementation of the new system, including the offices of Undergraduate Admissions, Registrar, Financial Aid, Bursar/Student Accounts, Curriculum Systems, Enterprise Information Technology Services, all schools and colleges, and other offices and departments that access student data for normal business operations.
Columns: What is the timeline for completion?
Jolly: The first rollout of the new system begins in September for prospective students applying for fall 2014 admission. The next phase will incorporate current student information for financial aid and scholarships and class registration in March 2014, and then a rollout of student accounts. All components of the new system are expected to be live by June 2015.
Columns: How will this benefit faculty, staff and students?
Jolly: The primary difference between the current legacy systems and the new information system is that faculty, staff and students will have information they need at their fingertips.
Administrative staff will be able to pull data reports directly using a reporting tool through Banner and create interactive reports. The system will provide a platform for more advanced services in the future, such as dashboards and predictive analysis.
Faculty will be able to view their class schedules, rolls, wait lists and assignment information, as well as view and enter student grades. Advisers will be able to look at students’ academic grades and records.
Students will experience a Web-based interface to log in and access class registration, financial aid, student records and student account information in one location.
Columns: What will the new student information system be called?
Jolly: We are getting input from current students to name the Web-based interface of the system accessed by students, which will be decided in the coming weeks.
Columns: What will UGA do with the information once it is housed in one database?
Jolly: The information in the new system will allow faculty, staff and advisers to gather information more easily to support students by enabling them to pull reports through the system.
Columns: How secure will the information be in the new system?
Jolly: UGA will follow current university protocol in place for information security, abiding by Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act laws and other rules for student information. Additionally, access to Banner for administrative offices is protected by the ArchPass, UGA’s two-factor authentication service.
Columns: How will the transition from the legacy systems to the new student information system impact offices that are part of the project?
Jolly: Everyone working on the ConnectUGA project is committed to maintaining the best possible service during the implementation period. However, many of the staff members involved in the project may not have the ability to respond as quickly to regular requests for support and services as portions of the new system go live.
We ask for patience and understanding as those offices work through tight project deadlines and requirements, keeping in mind that the new system ultimately will provide improved service to our students, faculty and staff.
Columns: How can we get more information about the new system and the project?
Jolly: Go to http://connectuga.uga.edu for more information or to submit questions.
Faculty, staff, advisers and anyone who wants to know more about the project and the implementation of the new student information system may attend the ConnectUGA Project open forums held the second Wednesday of each month from 8:30-9:30 a.m. at the Tate Student Center Theater.