The MyCSUSTAN Portal will be undergoing an almost complete system redesign Monday, Feb. 11. The staff in Vasche Library's Office of Information Technology (OIT) have created a space for users with their convenience in mind.
The project began a year and a half ago, according to OIT Analyst and Programmer John Rezendes. The reimagined MyCSUSTAN page will be "a one stop shop" for an experience the system's users may soon appreciate.
"I'm impressed by how far we've been able to dig into some parts of it and structure it," Rezendes said.
OIT's programmers wanted to give users the convenience of signing into their accounts just one time to jump applications provided through Stan State. The new system will also unveil new ways of interacting with old tools that users may not have realized were available to them in the past.
Director of Information Services and Learning Services Corey Cardoza said just a few conveniences of the new system will include direct links to Blackboard, Canvas, library resources, campus email, printing balances and emergency alerts, as well as Stan News updates. All these functions will be on one "landing page."
Cardoza added that a feature of the redesigned MyCSUSTAN site that may particularly interest users is the"real-time view of any computers that are available in our labs."
"As the semester gets busy, if a student needs to find an open computer in one of the labs, this will show them every lab on campus and how many machines are available," Cardoza said.
He hopes this new tool, shown to users as a pie chart, will be useful during finals.
The team at OIT collaborated with administration, communication workgroups, Enrollment Services, Financial Aid and other offices to prioritize information for the largest group using it: Students. However, it was the programmers at OIT who really transformed the new system.
During early brainstorming sessions, they looked at frameworks that were similar to what they wanted until they found the one that was almost exactly what they had in mind. What they started with, Rezendes said, was a weather application.
"Originally it required that each user create their own dashboard," OIT's Administrative Analyst Programmer Craig Boucher said, "And we just knew that was going to be way too much support, so we extended it so that there could be default views."
When Boucher took on the project it really started "getting some teeth to it," Rezendes said.
Boucher's goal was to focus on the "widgets" of the system, such as financial aid updates and registration holds, as well as vacation time for employees using the system.
"The portal offers the ability for students to customize their own page, so by default students get a student dashboard page," Cardoza said. "If they were an employee, they can have an employee page, but they can also have a custom page where they can customize other links they want to see, which can be links external to Stan State like a favorite Google search page or a favorite news site they like to see every day."
One of the challenges the programmers faced was figuring out a way to log out of multiple applications once they were able to develop a way to log into them.
After the portal's debut, Cardoza hoped to include yet another tool within the system later this semester called "Study Space Availability."
"When spaces to study are limited," Cardoza said, referring to the library's upcoming renovation, the tool will show available classrooms for students to use as study space. Unlike computer lab availability, classroom spaces will most likely be shown in the form of a grid rather than a pie chart, according to Cardoza.
He added that the system redesign will not be a replacement for the campus website.
OIT's programmers also proposed the idea of a video that might outline how to use the system redesign for the most optimal user experience.
This story has been updated to change the date of the MyCSUSTAN Portal redesign, which has been moved to launch on Feb. 11 instead of Feb. 4, according to Rezendes.