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OASIS to shut down Thursday for updates

OASIS is getting a makeover.

The site, which is fully titled the Online Access Student Information System, is scheduled to be shut down from 5 p.m. Thursday until 8 a.m. next Tuesday.

Efforts to inform students, staff and faculty have been made, with a Halloween-themed reminder posted under the “System News” section of OASIS and on the main page of myUSF.

The closing of OASIS will affect several campus operations, including the Cashier’s Office, which will be closed Friday and Monday, according to a memorandum from Leellen Brigman, associate vice president for enrollment planning and management, and Gail Evans, director of operation analysis and OASIS functional project director.

Processes and updates through the Office of Financial Aid, Admissions Office, the Office of the Registrar and the Student Academic Support System (SASS) will also be delayed. To better accommodate these delays, the last day to withdraw from classes for fall 2006 without academic penalty has been extended by one day to Nov. 4.

Brigman said students should plan around the OASIS closure to get things done.

“Get all your business done before 5 p.m. on Thursday or be able to wait until Tuesday morning when the new system’s up,” Brigman said.

Banner, the software that powers OASIS, will be upgraded from version 6.0 to version 7.3. With the upgrade, students will see mostly cosmetic changes in OASIS, with a new design and better content organization with tabs.

“The major new change for students once the new system is up; it looks a lot more modern,” Brigman said. “The screens have tabs like you see on other things across the top that look like card tabs. It’ll have those things for navigation.”

The changes will not affect the site’s capabilities, such as registration or paying bills.

“It’ll be things that you’ll recognize, and it’ll be things that you’ll adapt to probably very easily,” Brigman said.

One of the reasons given for the time of the shutdown was so that it would not interfere with student registration.

“We didn’t want to do it during the registration windows,” Brigman said. “We’d have to run two major systems if we hadn’t gone on to the new one. So we’re doing it before registration. We picked this as our best window of opportunity with the least amount of scheduled activity – in other words, the calendar for the students is the least impacted. We looked at a number of dates, including having people here over the Thanksgiving weekend, but then we would have had to run two systems during the registration window.”

In addition to a new look, the new version of Banner also contains Common Matching, a feature that prevents duplication of students in the system. This feature had to be added to past versions of the software.

“It’s allowing us to not have to carry forth custom modifications,” Evans said.

Another feature of the software, called Fine Grain Access, restricts administrators from operating outside their individual department or area of specialty.

“Fine grain access allows us to limit their update capability on one application,” Evans said. “It helps us to fine tune and get more robust on our security.”

Concurrent Curricula is another feature available on Banner 7.0, but it will not be used by the University right away. According to the memorandum, this feature allows “multiple curricula or fields of study – college, major, concentration and degree – to be maintained in priority order on the student record.”

According to University registrar Angela DeBose, 3,900 students are pursuing more than one major. Because of that demand, it is likely this feature will be used in the future, but cannot be used at this time as it conflicts with the University’s academic policy.

“Right now we have an academic policy that restricts students to three majors that they are pursuing at one time,” DeBose said. “We’re going to stay with the current academic policy and practice.”