MAASTRICHT. There is going to be a new student portal. The present MyUM for students will be replaced. Whereas students now have to find information about their subjects, grades and timetables through different channels, they will soon be able to do so through a single portal.
The main aim of the Student Portal is to present all information clearly and easily for students through a single channel. At the moment, having logged into MyUM, students need to go to Timetable for their rosters, to SAP for their grades, and to EleUM for subject-related information. “Sometimes students need to log in three or four times,” says project leader Marc Dolman. “As a solution, grades and timetables are often posted in EleUM as well, but that is not what the system is meant for and it makes things quite chaotic.”
With the new portal, students will only need to log in once. A menu provides access to their subjects, where they can immediately see for which subjects and exams they have registered, as well as the grades they have acquired so far. By clicking on a subject, they can view the information added by the lecturer in the electronic learning environment. “We are still using various systems, it is just that the user will no longer notice it. Nothing will change for the lecturers and education administration; they will continue to enter the information into the appropriate systems. The portal then collects the information and allows students to seamlessly switch from one system to another.”
The new portal is easy to use on a tablet or smartphone. “This is already possible at the moment, but it is not really user-friendly,” says Dolman. “In the new version, the programme recognises the device used and adapts the lay-out accordingly.” So students can access the subjects they are taking in the menu, but also the timetable that states which lectures or group tutorials they have that day. If there is a new message, an orange notification will accompany the appropriate menu option. There is also a page containing links, for example to faculty news, the university library, and the UM website. “This works like a kind of app store. All available links are listed and students choose the links that they find useful and place them on their own page.”
The portal was set up together with students. “Students from the University Council were in the steering committee, we worked closely with the Student Project Team, and we organised a student panel on several occasions, where we presented our plans,” says Dolman. “They pointed out things to us that we hadn’t thought of. An example is the page containing links. As an organisation, one would be inclined to provide everyone with all available links. Students find that an excessive amount of information. They prefer to choose what is relevant to them.”
A pilot project for three to four hundred students has been planned at the end of the year. “It should be an intuitive programme. But is that the case? Can they find everything easily? Is something disrupting the process? We have not yet set a date when the portal will be available to everyone; we will first process the students’ reactions and experiences from the pilot phase. Quality is paramount.”