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New version of PeopleSoft to debut later this month

by Richard Veilleux - October 6, 2008

A new and improved PeopleSoft system will be unveiled this month, full of changes that should make life easier for faculty, staff, and students.

“There are big benefits to the new system,” says Registrar Jeffrey von Munkwitz-Smith. “The terminology is better, it’s easier to navigate, and I think it will make planning and data gathering easier.

PeopleSoft Version 9.0 is expected to be active by Monday, Oct. 13. Its release comes almost exactly seven years after the system debuted at UConn in October 2001, with registration and student records. It was later expanded to other departments and more have been added since, but this is the first major upgrade to the system since 2002.

Among the major changes, he says, is a “Faculty Center” web page with links to enrollment and grading that makes it much easier for professors to do their work. The current system requires a series of clicks to enter grades or review class rosters. PeopleSoft 9.0 also lets faculty send e-mails to individual students, the entire class and advisees, or subsets of each. And, he says, it allows faculty access to much more information.

Work is also underway to make it possible for instructors to upload grades from HuskyCT or from spreadsheets. This function is expected to be ready in time for grade submission in December.

For students, there is a “Student Center” which, among other things, allows students to track their progress toward a degree and, if they notice a course they’re missing, they can click on the specific course and will be able to go into the registration function to sign up.

Students also will be able to grab an enrollment ‘shopping cart,’ and load it with the courses they want. The carts are also accessible to academic advisors, who can see what the students are choosing. This should facilitate discussion when they meet, von Munkwitz-Smith says.

Because it’s getting to the point where Oracle, the company that owns PeopleSoft, will no longer service the 8.0 version, von Munkwitz-Smith says, a number of other universities also are upgrading their systems.

He says people with whom he has discussed the upgrade are generally pleased with the new system. They say faculty in particular are happy with the look and feel of PeopleSoft 9.0. More universities will be bringing the new version online between now and December.

Von Munkwitz-Smith says October was chosen as the best time to launch the upgrade at UConn. “It’s the least disruptive for all of our operations,” he says, “a few weeks before spring registration, and a few months before faculty have to enter grades.”

Dan Mooney, director of enterprise administrative applications at UITS, who is responsible for project planning, direction, and resource acquisition on the PeopleSoft project, says dozens of UConn staff have been involved in the upgrade.

“It’s a large project by any standard,” says Mooney.

Staff from University Information Technology Services are now conducting training sessions for administrative users of the system and instructional designers from the Institute for Teaching and Learning are developing online modules to help faculty and students adjust to the new PeopleSoft system.

Instructor/advisor help is available at http://www.peoplesofthelp.uconn.edu/

Student help is available at http://www.peoplesofthelp.uconn.edu/studentindex.html

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