Registration will be easier

November 30, 2006, volume 37, no. 7
By Diane Luckow

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New enhancements to SFU's campus-wide PeopleSoft Student Information Management System (SIMS) will go live February 20, 2007, just in time for summer registration.

Janet Backe, director of major projects for information technology, says staff, faculty and students will all notice a marked improvement in the software's navigation, displays, student registration, and scheduling.

The upgrade features an environment similar to Windows or Macs, with easy-to-navigate folder views. A new student services centre aggregates all functions on a single page to give a bird's-eye view of everything students need, including grades, courses and finances.

Registration, which will use a familiar “shopping cart” analogy, will be much easier, says Backe. Students can view only those courses not currently filled or all courses available on a chosen day.

A new faculty centre displays information in a more user-friendly manner and enables faculty to upload grades to the grade roster. They can also view a course's grade distribution in a coloured bar graph.

For the first time, staff handling students' phone and web inquiries will be able to key in a student's number and see the same page display that the student is viewing. Other major improvements include the ability to download class roster data to Excel spreadsheets with a single click and to schedule classes on a single summary page.

Staff training workshops will take place in January and February but Backe doesn't expect the learning curve to be difficult, since the underlying system is the same and the new user interface is so intuitive.

A team of more than 30 people, including co-op students and seconded staff members, have been working on the $2.9 million upgrade project full-time since last March.

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