Students can relate to D2L being on the fritz, especially at a crucial time, like the night before a term paper is due.Most students know what it's like to deal with D2L being down at inconvenient times, like the night before a term paper is due.
""This is really why we wanted to say ‘goodbye' to our legacy systems,"" said Tom Bourgeois, director of enrollment management at the UA.
On Thursday, approximately 40 students got an overview of the new UAccess student version from Bourgeois and Suellyn Hull, director of payroll-disbursement services.
UAccess will eventually combine the various functions provided by programs such as D2L and Student Link into one unified interface, using PeopleSoft, a systems management program. PeopleSoft is already in use at around 600 universities nationwide, including Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University.
According to Bourgeois, the change was prompted by several factors, including the lack of support for outdated technology, the underpowered mainframe that serves UA, and over-reliance on additional systems, such as Student Link and Webroster, which strained the current system's capacity.
""We're not trying to solve all of the problems of the old system,"" Hull said. ""Our world is too complicated for that. Understand, though, that even though the new system won't do everything perfect initially, one day it might get there.""
The transition from the old system to UAccess will take place over the course of the next year, beginning Jan. 25. Students' demographic and biographical information will be handled through UAccess Student Center. Eventually other UA services, particularly the admissions and financial aid Web sites, will be available solely through UAccess.
The new system promises to be easier to use, but Bourgeois said it will be apparent once students use the service.
""Change is always easier to understand before it arrives,"" he said. ""The impact of a new system is always felt not before it happens, but after.""
To make the transition easier, the UA is offering a variety of tutorial services, mostly online. Additionally, all on-campus computing resources, such as the Office of Student Computing Resources, will be trained to answer questions about the UAccess system. A frequently asked questions list will be available soon on the project Web site.
Bourgeois and Hull will hold discussions the second and fourth Thursdays of every month. The next session will be held Jan. 28 at 3 p.m. in the Catalina Room at the Student Union Memorial Center.