IT workers are centered on upgrading Banweb slightly than discovering replacements – The GW Hatchet
Officials are no longer considering phasing out the Banweb management system, but are making incremental updates to improve the existing websites.
In January 2018, officials announced that GW would move away from Banweb after its provider Ellucian Banner discontinued the version. This summer GW Information Technology took over the Banner 9 Administrative Pages, an updated version of the system. Jared Johnson, the interim chief technology officer, said officials are now focused on modernizing Banweb’s capabilities.
“As of 2019, GW IT has focused on updating the functionality of the GWeb self-service product through an iterative release cycle,” Johnson said in an email.
Administrators previously said in January last year they would review the banner roadmap with “campus partners” to review future features for implementation.
Johnson said the first most noticeable improvements came last summer when IT released “a whole new course registration experience for students.” Later that year, the department unveiled a new employee dashboard, he said.
He said technology officials announced last fall an updated version of DegreeMAP that includes “advanced planning tools” for students and academic advisors.
DegreeMAP was started at GW in 2011 as part of a contract with the software developer DegreeWorks, which is operated by Sungard Bi-Tech Inc., California.
Officials introduced a number of updates to the system in December, including a mobile-friendly “look and feel” and improved planning to help advisors determine the requirements for graduation. The updates also included new features to aid concentration and display the status of students’ graduation requests.
IT staff also announced a new “reporting format” that adds the ability to conduct a “historical audit” as well as “what-if” reports and other tools to help students and consultants with registration , so the office of the registrar.
The “historical audit” gives students a “snapshot” of how close they are to completing a particular program. With the “what-if report” feature, students can visualize the path to completion of various grades and concentrations, as well as the associated course loads.
The students said they had mixed experiences with the changes to Banweb and DegreeMAP. While some said the website worked faster and was easier to navigate, others noted that some features had been replaced with tools that were difficult to use.
International affairs student sophomore Ananya Sampath said Banweb’s performance and registration systems were “below average”.
“The website kept crashing during class registration and I found that I often had to wait in long lines to get assistance from GWIT,” she said. “Overall, I honestly felt that there could be more effort to make enrollment technology able to support all students while enrolling with fewer obstacles.”
Sampath said she didn’t notice many updates, and information like academic credentials and credits earned remained difficult to find as students had to go through a few different websites on Banweb to view it. But she said the registry has become “smoother” and the general system seems to be working faster.
Sophomore Christian Williams, majoring in Psychology and Political Science, said the updated version of Banweb was a little easier to maneuver as some pages and tools were more intuitive to find. But he said the system would tell him to exit his internet browser if he was logged in for too long – which was not the case with the older version.
“Since I’ve been virtual, I’ve felt like I’ve adjusted pretty well to whether it’s Banweb or DegreeMAP, old or new,” said Williams. “I thought the old systems worked fine, but I understand why they were updated, especially since the older version of Banweb was already unpopular from what I heard, at least from what I heard.”
According to Vishva Bhatt, a junior major in international affairs, Banweb and the registration process have become easier to navigate over time. She said she found that some parts of the website reorganization, such as the academic exam services and website design upgrades released in December, made Banweb’s navigation “more user-friendly”.
“It had to make some adjustments because it was new, but it’s much more organized and intuitively more sensible now,” said Bhatt.
She said that the newly updated DegreeMAP is much easier to use with its “new mobile-friendly appearance”. She added that using the new academic planning tools can be confusing, and it is often easier to plan what future classes and credits she will need independently or with an academic advisor.
As the COVID-19 pandemic forced GW into a virtual environment, students had to enroll for classes from home, with most of the support from the IT department being via video calls.
Sophomore Thomas Litchfield, an international affairs major, said IT officials had replaced the registration page’s schedule viewer with a “less useful” version.
According to Litchfield, the remote schedule viewer was more compact and easy to view for later use. He said the version now available on the registration page does not fully capture a weekly schedule on the screen and is difficult to copy or scan.
“I think it’s fine, but it can be a little annoying to use at times,” Litchfield said.