After taking spring break off, students returned to their computers to find a new MyUSF homepage format featuring OASIS and CANVAS portals as well as a new spot for notification.
The new format, however, is not the only update MyUSF has in store.
While the first change to MyUSF was made over spring break, Christopher Akin, senior director for information technology (IT) with USF Communications and Marketing, said changes will continue to be made through summer and fall. The most immediate change that MyUSF will undergo will be the return of the student schedule on the MyUSF homepage in response to students being displeased after it was taken away during spring break.
“One thing that [the team working on the MyUSF changes] heard loud and clear is students wanted to be able to see their course schedule at the start of the semester, right on the homepage and we will be adding that and linking into Canvas from there so that’s one of the very first things that we’re going to address,” he said.
Unlike other recent platform switches, like BullSync and Schedule Planner, the MyUSF platform is not being changed because of consolidation or a contract end but rather because the system has not been changed or adjusted for almost 10 years, according to Akin.
“MyUSF hasn’t had a refresh in quite a while and technology has advanced quite a bit in that time,” he said. “It was on older technology that was housed here at the university and so in the process of moving all of our technology to the cloud, which is a way to store and operate data without it being stored in hardware, this was a good opportunity to move MyUSF to the cloud and modernize the technology in the process.”
The university has been in the process of moving all of its technology to the cloud since last year in an effort to have all of the communications and marketing material in one place. This transfer allowed for the revitalization of MyUSF because the previous platform had become largely outdated.
One of the reasons the IT team felt the previous MyUSF webpage was outdated was the poor performance of the interface on cellphones. Akin said his team wanted a site that would be easier to use on the MyUSF mobile app.
He also said the new MyUSF interface is more easily individualized to each student who uses it, which is something he and his team are excited about.
“When you look at MyUSF, you’ll see ‘My Notices.’ That’s in the upper left hand corner and that’s where various departments at USF will publish announcements to specific cohorts or groups of individuals,” Akin said.
“So we’re going to get more and more personalized with those announcements, rather than seeing an announcement to all juniors in a specific college, rather than everybody seeing everything, you’ll only see the announcement if you’re a junior and in that specific college which is personalized.”
Students will be able to customize the “My Notices” feature on the homepage of MyUSF within the next four months, according to Akin, and opt in to specific announcement categories and interests before the fall semester starts Aug. 23.
“Maybe you’re interested in the arts, but maybe not athletics or vice versa, you would be able to tick those things off and so we’re trying to show people more of what they’re interested in or things that are applicable to them, versus just sending everybody everything,” Akin said.
One feature that may not be ready by the fall but is also on the itinerary to be added to MyUSF within the next year is the ability for students to become what Akin called a “community champion.” This tab of MyUSF will allow students to more easily download brand material, like backgrounds for Microsoft Teams.
The updates to the website will continue to happen every three months, according to Akin, and will largely be based on feedback received from surveys sent out to students. Akin anticipates that these quarterly updates will happen indefinitely so the system does not become outdated again.
Since each update is based on student feedback, Akin is optimistic MyUSF will ultimately be fully tailored to the needs of the student body.
“I am excited to get the right information to the right students at the right time,” Akin said. “We are trying to communicate more effectively and this is one of the tools that we hope will help with that.”