CofC Registrar in process of upgrading, transitioning school website
Updated: Dec 8, 2022
by Jack Solano
When the College of Charleston moved its self-service banner from MyCharleston to MyPortal during the spring 2022 semester just before summer/fall registration, students were forced to adapt to a new system on the fly.
“Everyone knows how stressful registration time is especially as an upperclassman because you want specific classes which run out quickly," said senior Nick Moore. "Every minute is valuable because everyone in your class tries to register at the same time.”
That led students to wonder why the decision was made to move to MyPortal, especially during student registration - one of the more chaotic times for students.
“Students live through the school’s website. When you become familiar with it, everything is easy and you can focus on work,” Moore said. “Change is always difficult.”
But there were legitimate reasons to make the transition, namely the technology was outdated.
“MyCharleston is 12-year-old technology. We want to upgrade the security,” says Provost Aimme Pfeifer of the Registrar's office.
Safeguarding students’ information was the leading factor in the decision to make the switch.
“Banner isn’t just registration. It holds all students, financial aid, the Treasurer’s office, and other aspects,” Pfeifer said, explaining that it’s a complete student information system to access course information, register for each semester, keep track of tuition payments, etc. “All those pieces are within Banner. It’s kind of like a puzzle. …Think of MyCharleston as an ‘old gate.’ We’re simply upgrading it.”
The College is leveling up - a move that was essentially forced by Ellucian, the company that owns Banner. Pheifer noted that Ellucian said it will not support CofC if it does not make the necessary upgrades.
The good news is that the College is planning on a full transition from the MyCharleston (Banner 8) system to the MyPortal (Banner 9), but is currently integrating piece by piece.
Self-Service Banner provides students, faculty, and staff access to personal information, student records, financial aid information, pay information, and tax forms. Access.
The transition period allows IT and the Registrar to work together to integrate the necessary components to complete the website
The main issue students have with the transition is that they had to toggle between the two website versions for a while to find different components.
Moore notes that while the transition is still happening, he’s finding MyPortal more and more useful as applications are added.
“What I’ve noticed is that although the portal is a separate website at the moment, it is almost more useful now than MyCharleston just because of how much it’s added,” said Moore.
Pheifer explained that when the website is down for a bit, it's because IT is patching and working to move applications from MyCharleston to MyPortal.
One of the main changes students notice is that when they log in to MyPortal, they have to go through Microsoft authentication. Whereas all that was needed to get into MyCharleston was to simply log in.
OAKS not affected by change to MyPortal
The sudden change in scenery for the way students access the school's website has also brought attention to the College’s learning management system, OAKS.
OAKS has not changed despite the transition, but one professor believes the power it holds still is not being exploited properly.
Dr. Ewan Kingston, a philosophy professor, asked one of his classes about the best way in which he could communicate with his students.
Many of them pointed out how announcements he posted on OAKS were missed because they were instead constantly checking for emails with their professors' names on them for updates.
“I think students haven't been getting the announcements they need for two reasons. The first being that the ability to change what kind of notifications you get is buried in a submenu so students probably don’t know that they can customize their notifications,” said Dr. Kingston
There are ways to receive emails directly from OAKS, but some students are not aware of this unless their professor tells them.
“The other is the subject line of emails of notifications that aren't helpful," Dr. Kingston said, noting that they do not provide enough information to attract attention.
Dr. Kingston hopes that the transition period from MyCharleston to MyPortal might be a good time to help shed light on the more expansive capabilities of OAKS.