New web network aims to ‘Unify’
Online system set for password consolidation
Nov. 1 is the projected date Georgia College will switch its online student services to a new, centralized operation.
The Unify system will take the place of the now absent myCATS.
“We think taking people to a simple webpage, and having them log in and then giving them links to the resources, so they can click and go,” Chief Information Officer Robert Orr said. “Keep it simple, keep it fast, keep it easy, with some very good password tools, is the way to go.”
Unify is an effort to consolidate passwords and online accessibility for students and faculty on campus.
“Right now, we have too many passwords on campus,” Director of Technology Support Services James Carlisle said. “What we’re trying to do is make it simpler, so that you have one username and password.”
Instead of going to multiple sites for campus-related work, Unify will be a one-stop location.
“We want this to be the de facto place that people go for their information,” said Jamie DeFoor, manager of Windows and Unix administration systems, “and we want it to be a really useful site.”
Defoor said myCATS was already dated when it was first brought to campus.
“You can only feed the dinosaur for so long,” he said.
When the Gmail service was introduced on campus, there was not a good way to port it to myCATS, so its services became more obsolete.
“Personally, I’m happy to see it go. It was very challenging for us to keep that system up and running because that technology was quite old,” DeFoor said.
MyCATS isn’t the only thing being phased out. GeorgiaVIEW is also on its way out, and its replacement, Desire2Learn, is projected to be out by January 2013.
“Desire2Learn is going to have a lot more functionality,” Carlisle said. “It’s going to be mobile, and it’s going to have a lot of features that faculty have been asking for.”
Unify is supposed to house all campus-related material and serve as an easily accessible reference point.
“From my standpoint, we’re looking at this to be a utilitarian site, it’s not intended to be as much about bringing a lot of interesting, new things, it’s more about giving the campus a springboard for the things they do day-to-day,” DeFoor said.
When Unify launches, Gmail will not be a part of the initial version, but it is looking to be included in future versions.
“It’s (Gmail) in future versions. It’s being looked at. And in future versions, I believe there’s going to be added benefit, way down the road, of trying to get student logins to computers, and it would be the same username and password as unify and your email,” Carlisle said.
Also in the future is a mobile app for Unify, but its time frame is yet to be specified.
“When students get notified there’s an opening in class, they can go right in on their mobile phone and register,” Orr said. “I think it’s going to take a while to get there, but we’ll be starting conversations here pretty quick.”