Out with StagWeb, in with my.Fairfield

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Course registration. Financial aid. Work orders.

For as long as any current Fairfield student has been at the University, the school’s online StagWeb portal has served as the means of access to these services.

But on Jan. 21, Fairfield University officially switched from the StagWeb portal to the newly launched my.Fairfield portal. The new portal had been in development for several years.

“A replacement for StagWeb was first discussed about four years ago when the University recognized that StagWeb had not undergone a review in a number of years,” said Fairfield’s Chief Information Officer Paige Francis.

The University formed a committee that spoke with focus groups made up of students, faculty and staff in order to gauge the amount of interest in a new site, said Francis. It also referred to the University’s Educational Technologies Committee for input.

After developing multiple possible solutions for the need for a platform upgrade, the University settled on “a commercial product based on an open source platform…MyCampus,” said Francis. Development and design of the new, more centralized portal began in the summer of 2011, led by a portal implementation committee.
My.Fairfield may visually remind students of the former StagWeb portal, such as the weekly calendar feature. Francis explained that this is because StagWeb and my.Fairfield are different means to the same platform. The platform, Banner Web (Self-Service), which is utilized by many universities, has remained the same. It was only the portal to the platform – StagWeb – that changed.

“My.Fairfield is simply providing a path, a ‘window’ of sorts, to get to the Banner Web platform,” Francis said.

A new mobile phone app has also been launched, allowing users to access the my.Fairfield portal from their phones and handheld devices. A complaint that has surfaced along with this, however, is that student Gmail accounts are still not accessible on mobile phones even with the app.

Francis said that they are “exploring options” for ways to offer such access to Gmail, and that both the app and the portal itself will develop more and gain more functionality over the upcoming months.

So far, student reception of my.Fairfield has been mixed. Justin Nowicki ’13 said, “People are naturally resistant to change. Personally I don’t like it, as it is hard to find some features. [But] over time, it will be more accepted.”

Others have questioned the timeliness of the launch. Jen Lowe ‘13 said that she is impressed with the improvements Fairfield has been making to online student services but thinks the timing of the switch was inconvenient. “Personally I believe that launching the new site over the summer with the new academic year would have been a better choice,” she said.

Francis said that my.Fairfield was introduced to the staff over the summer and then to the rest of the University in the fall while StagWeb was still functioning so that University members could get used to using the new system before StagWeb was entirely decommissioned. The transition also coincided with that of Fairfield’s incoming class of 2017.

Francis, who is new to Fairfield and began her position just recently on Jan. 7, said that she looks forward to the possibilities and functionality that my.Fairfield holds.

She encouraged students to reach out with feedback and concerns.

“Our role in the technology department is one of service and support,” she said. “Student need is a priority and our goal is, from this point forward, to exceed all expectations.”

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