University site gets a mobile-friendly facelift
September 28, 2017
A new school year is bound to bring lots of new changes and surprises. Among this year’s many changes was a complete makeover of Santa Clara’s eCampus system.
eCampus is a learning management system where students can perform a variety of different academic tasks, such as viewing one’s transcript, class schedule or finances.
Over Labor Day weekend, eCampus was completely redesigned to a different layout.
“We were starting to get really close to a deadline where our version [of PeopleSoft] wouldn’t be supported,” said Bob Owen, CIO and Vice Provost of Information Services. “An enhanced user experience, not only for the students, but also for the faculty and staff that use the HR and finances parts of it, was a big driving factor.”
Alongside this, Kaz Joseph, Director of Enterprise Applications, said that the staff wanted to release this upgrade before the new school year.
“The fact that we roll this out in time for the new school year was a big deal,” said Joseph. “We were trying to cram a lot into one upgrade cycle, which took us several months to do.”
The new version of eCampus was made available to all students on Sept. 5, which was roughly around the time new student orientation and the second session of summer classes ended.
When asked about why the upgrade was rolled out at this specific time, Owen said that right before the school year was a time where they could troubleshoot and were not as heavily at risk if something did go wrong.
Joseph and Owen also made it clear that every step of the maintenance process was scripted, which is why they needed a three-day weekend to pull off the upgrade. Joseph said that his staff performed multiple practice runs before Labor Day weekend to ensure the upgrade went up smoothly.
Arguably the most noticeable feature of the new eCampus layout is a front page that consists of eight tiles that students can use to access the various features of eCampus. The old version of eCampus featured a large front page with multiple sidebars and drop-down menus.
One of the primary reasons for this new tile-based layout is its compatibility with mobile devices. This allows students to access the features of eCampus more easily, as they do not necessarily need to be sitting down at a computer in order to register for classes or reference their schedule.
“Everybody’s on their phones these days, between classes or wherever they are, so the ability to access the information [of eCampus] from their fingertips is huge,” Joseph said.
Another reason behind the new tile-based layout was an enhanced user interface for students and faculty. According to Joseph, various student test groups were formed to provide feedback on the new developments and what could be improved in comparison to the old eCampus layout.
Joseph said that his staff is still working on improving the new eCampus layout, as they have received more feedback from students since the upgrade was made available.
Some upcoming fixes to the current layout include making it easier to search for various actions and organizing the tiles so they have a more balanced quantity of actions.
“I’m extraordinarily proud of my staff. We were under the gun, we had to get it done and they did an exceptional job,” said Owen. “A lot of planning and a lot of practice went into this. They executed this perfectly.”
Contact Grant Pustelnik at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (408) 554-4852.