Amongst many changes at Cogswell that have occurred in the Fall 2018 semester, one of the most recent changes, which has had a significant impact on students, is the launch of the new student portal. After years of using an old, outdated system, Cogswell finally launched a student portal that was easier to navigate, and is more mobile-friendly. The opening of the portal overlapped with the Spring 2019 registration, which gave everyone a chance to get familiar with it.
In the long run, the new portal will be valuable for students and academic advisors. However, with the overlap of Spring registration, there have been mixed reactions. Most of the issues were caused by the slow data transfer from one system to the other, so information about degree audits and classes weren’t showing up initially. “The classes don't have the day and time on the registration page or the courses page,” says senior GDE student Kris Tiskeviciute. Being unable to see when a class is scheduled makes avoiding time overlaps tricky. “In fact, when the portal first launched, several students had issues trying to simply access the portal. “It auto signs me out when I log in and puts me in an endless loop,” senior GDA student Eric Everson tells the Chronicle.Data transfer issues aside, the appearance of the portal has also caused different reactions. The most noticeable change is the bold red color that is prominent. Some students, like DAT student Jon Cowles, believe the look is appealing, telling us that the portal is “nicer looking and doesn't give the constant ‘pop-up blocker must be disabled’ craziness.” The removal of the “please enable pop-ups” box is definitely a relief, but some students aren’t thrilled about the new design. “I feel like there is a lot of empty space that could be filled or have the text larger,” says DAA student Sarah Burns. While the portal’s color scheme and spacing may not have a huge impact on its functionality for registration and accessing information, little improvements could certainly give it a boost in the right direction.
Luckily, the major issues with the portal are already being solved. “I can assure you that we’re not unique in experiencing issues with data conversion,” CAO Brian Shepard tells the Chronicle. Transferring tons of data about each student and their GPA, financial information, and class credits is a timely task, but Shepard’s statement tells us that soon all will be in order. “Our new Student Information System includes all kinds of different portals,” Shepard continues, “and data reports that should have profound improvements in efficiency for almost everyone at Cogswell once it’s fully implemented and operational.”
The decision to launch the new student portal in early November was questionable, as it delayed registration by a few days. Fortunately, Cogswell administration is still confident that after all the kinks are removed, it will be beneficial for everyone. Shepard concludes, “It’s one of those growth experiences that feels painful while it’s happening, but the results once it’s completed should be really nice for all of us.”