Last modified: Wednesday, March 24, 2004
Indiana University students to begin using Student Information System
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University students will be using a new computer system to register for fall 2004 classes beginning later this month.
In addition to registration, the Student Information System, which is replacing outdated computer systems, encompasses wide-ranging functions including financial aid, academic advising, billing, admissions, records, grades, degree processing, data analysis, and reporting of student-related information. The university also is changing to a randomly generated identification number for each student; Social Security numbers will no longer be used. This will provide greater privacy and security for students at Indiana University.
The university has used an admissions component of this system for several years. Implementation of the remaining functions began in July 2003 and will continue through December.
"Our first computer systems were built in the late 1970s, and our technology no longer supports everything we need to do. Though our systems have served us well over the years, it has become increasingly difficult for us to keep our many applications running or to enhance them to provide the services that students, faculty and staff want," said Norma Holland, IU associate vice president for information systems.
"Implementation of the SIS includes all functions, but student registration will be the largest and most visible part of the implementation," said Don Hossler, IU associate vice president for enrollment services. "As with any major systems implementation, we know from other universities that have undergone similar transitions that we may have some problems. But we'll quickly resolve any issues that arise and serve our students, faculty and staff at a very high level.
The SIS is the largest component of the university's overall information systems upgrade. The project, using PeopleSoft software, began in 1999, and the total cost is approximately $52 million. Several other Big Ten institutions and other universities throughout the country have implemented similar systems.
The purchase of a product such as PeopleSoft requires tradeoffs. Indiana University will receive automatic upgrades to the system and programming time will be reduced. The new admissions and recruitment systems previously were not available. There are components of the previous system that will be lost during the initial implementation, however, and they will be recreated over the next several years.
Registration for IU Bloomington students will begin on April 5. Registration has begun or will begin soon on other campuses, including the university's Columbus facility.
IU's OneStart portal (http://www.onestart.iu.edu) will be the entry point for SIS functions for students, faculty and staff. There will be a transition phase while students, faculty and staff learn to use OneStart and the SIS. The SIS ultimately will give students improved access to their own information and allow them to perform their own student services online at almost any time and from any location.
IU's campuses are using various means to inform and train students, faculty and staff about the changes and how to access assistance if there are questions or difficulties.
"In the past five years, other public and private institutions have replaced their aging student information systems. It's a complex process to do this because such an effort is labor-intensive and requires universities to re-examine their existing practices and policies," Hossler said. "That has been our experience. We expect to complete this effort in the next nine months. Once we're finished, we can go about the process of fine-tuning the software and adding important functionality that will move us forward for years to come."