Systems Feedback (Advising & Learner Success)<br />Access Accounts<br /><ul><li>Friends of Penn State and Penn State Access Accounts have the same userID. Causes authentication issues for students who use the same password for both, which prevents them from accessing Libraries, Webmail, eLion, etc.
Adult learners frequently stop out for a semester or two to deal with life issues and then want to return. The University shuts off their Access Accounts if they don’t register for a course in the very next semester. If the student stops out for a year, they have to go through the whole process of requesting an account again; if they only stop out for a semester, the WC can reactivate their accounts for them. Other schools make this much easier for their students—as soon as those students register, they’re immediately given their access account and access to their courses. We make them go through several manual steps to get their access back if they stop out for even a semester.
Here are only two examples of when this has created issues for students:
CE Student: A CE@UP student did not enroll in classes for her final semester; instead, she filed her intent to graduate and was going to take CLEP exams to get credit for her final degree requirements and then graduate. Because she wasn’t in classes in the final semester, the University closed her Access Account, which meant she didn’t have access to take the CLEP exams. She had to pay the University to get temporary access to her account so that she could take the CLEP exams.
WC Student: A WC student was set to graduate this semester, but wasn’t taking WC courses this semester—instead, she was taking courses at another school that would transfer in to World Campus and complete her degree requirements. The University closed her Access Account, even though she had filed her intent to graduate, creating issues. Because all we had was her PSU e-mail address – and it was deactivated – we couldn’t communicate with her easily. She had to proactively reach out and tell us her personal e-mail account and we had to be the liaison between the student and the college to get her graduation indicator set, which would normally be something the student did through eLion using her Access Account.
Locking the Access Accounts of adult learners who stop out makes it almost impossible for us to reach out to them during the stop-out period unless they proactively contact us and let us know their personal e-mail addresses (because they set their PSU Access Accounts to forward to a personal e-mail account, which we don’t always have on record; even when we do have another address on record, they frequently change from Yahoo to Gmail to Comcast, etc.).</li></ul>ANGEL<br /><ul><li>Lack of consistency in course design depending on GRS level—incredibly confusing for our students
Does not support the latest versions of Internet browsers (Internet Explorer 9 in this case)
Daily maintenance window continues to be an issue for (and frustrate) our students, especially military students stationed in time zones for which the maintenance window falls during their workday. Adult learners are juggling multiple responsibilities and sometimes the only time they have to work on their courses is 5:00 a.m. (or for students on the West Coast, 2:00 a.m.), which is in the middle of the downtime.
Student express lack of confidence in trusting the exam timer is accurate
Students express difficulty in finding grades easily; it used to be its own tab, but now it’s hidden under a Reports tab and students have to submit a query to get their grades; some students lose interest
Sometimes students will have difficulty connecting to the ANGEL site for a few days and then they can connect without issue. This seems to be an issue with between the University’s ISP and some geographical locations.</li></ul>eLion<br /><ul><li>System will not let traditional-age Penn State students register for courses at both World Campus and another Penn State campus; student has to either register for all WC courses or for all courses at another campus; in order to register for WC courses, students have to change their location to World Campus (even if they’re not in a WC program); this is particularly an issue for courses that fill quickly.
A specific example of this: A traditional-age student who lives in the Philadelphia area is in the WC BSBIC program; he wanted to mix WC and Abington courses one semester, but would have had to change his location to Abington. If we’re truly one Penn State, why do we make it so difficult for students to take courses wherever it’s most convenient for them in a particular semester?
This is not an issue for adult learners because they’re tagged with the adult indicator in ISIS, but as the number of traditional-age students wanting to pursue online degrees increases, this issue will need to be resolved.
The current Course Watch List in eLion puts adult learners at a disadvantage. Currently students can receive text messages when a course they want is open for enrollments. If an adult learner doesn’t have a cell phone with Web access, they have to either wait until they get home (or can get to another computer) to get registered. This frequently means they’re too late to get an open seat. We need a system that will allow students to sign up for seats and then get notified in the order in which they signed up – setting a time frame for when they will have to register or lose their held seat to someone else. It’s somewhat of a “virtual stampede” for available course seats and RI students are frequently at the advantage because they’re constantly connected to the Internet through their smartphones.</li></ul>ISIS<br /><ul><li>If an adult learner stops out for a semester, ISIS doesn’t retain their student status. When the student returns and tries to register for a course, they can’t. They call their adviser, who has to figure out why they can’t register—if they see it’s because they’ve been changed to “no status” in ISIS, the adviser has to manually notify the WC Registrar, who has to manually go into ISIS and put a status in for the student so that the student can register. This was particularly problematic this semester. Some students submitted a reenrollment form (paying a $20 fee) unnecessarily—they didn’t need to submit the form, but didn’t know how else to get registered.
Still no location indicator for CE@UP students
No campus or college codes for World Campus students—makes it almost impossible to track students and get accurate data
Still no identifier for certificate students. The certification application process happens outside of ISIS, which means everything is manual.</li></ul>University Libraries<br /><ul><li>Has the same maintenance shutdown as ANGEL and causes the same issues/frustrations for students</li></ul>Webmail/E-mail<br /><ul><li>Penn State Webmail is not a user-friendly alternative to using a 3rd party email client. Issues with trying to reply through the Webmail interface, sorting, composing, and deleting mail, etc.
Getting Penn State email to work through 3rd party clients (Outlook/Thunderbird) can be difficult for students. There is conflicting information on the ITS sites—in some places the information tells students to set up their incoming e-mail server to the Penn State staff e-mail server, which will not work for students. Also in the documentation, they tell the students to set up the outgoing server to be the PSU server, but many ISP’s will block using PSU’s outgoing server and require the user to use the ISP’s outgoing mail server. This is not addressed in the ITS documentation. </li></ul>Miscellaneous<br /><ul><li>Lack of common standards between World Campus and Academic Units about when courses turn off and for how long they are available to students after course is over.
Our HelpDesk does not have course content access (and when asked for has not been granted) on the Academic Unit sites E-education/Elearning servers.
If a student is having an issue with the course content, the HelpDesk is unable to verify the error and properly troubleshoot for the student; instead, they have to send a request for help to the appropriate WC or Academic Unit staff and wait for their response before being able to resolve the issue for the student. If given the ability to pinpoint the issue/error, the HelpDesk could resolve the issue quickly for the student.
Access to the servers would not require administrative rights to these servers. Even giving the HelpDesk “student” access would give them the ability to verify the type of issue the student is having.
There is no system to do degree audits for prospective students—prospects have to go through the application process and then work with an adviser before they get an official degree audit that shows them what they need to do (what credits transferred). Students “shopping” credits get frustrated because they’ve wasted money and end up going somewhere else (where more of their credits transferred).
Some students in INART courses have difficulty using the codes they’re provided in their textbooks to access course content. This typically happens because a student has purchased a used textbook and the cost has expired—however, this becomes a quagmire of red tape for the students since they have to work with the book publisher for resolution. This does upset our students in these courses, but it’s more of a publisher issue than a Penn State system issue.