UI upgrades student record system


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In a world in which phones and Apple products update every few months, the University of Iowa’s student information records system is 30 years overdue for an upgrade.

For the past 30 years, admissions, financial aid, billing, student records, and academic advising have all kept records on students in those given areas on what is called a mainframe system. Under the mainframe system, each of these offices had its own records, and it was difficult for the four offices to interact and share records as well as add new information to the system.

At an impressive price tag of approximately $5.6 million, the UI has developed a new student record system called MAUI (made at the University of Iowa). UI officials say this new system will benefit both students and these offices. By mid-December, it is anticipated that the mainframe system will be phased out and MAUI will be fully live.

“Project MAUI creates a single integrated system of student information,” said Michael Noel, senior IT director and codirector of Project MAUI.

Noel said with this new system, new software will be added so that students will eventually be able to register for classes on their phones as well as add and drop classes for up to nine weeks.

Project MAUI began in 2006, and parts of it have slowly been activated, most of it unnoticeable to students. In November 2011, ISIS 2.0 created the most noticeable changes thus far. ISIS 2.0 looked just like the original ISIS, but it added some new features, such as the “what if” option for the degree audit and the new search options for courses.

On the faculty end, Thomas Kruckeberg, a senior associate registrar and functional leader of Project MAUI, said MAUI makes it a lot easier for records to be managed and takes less time to add new programs tocourses.

“It allows us to let departments more effectively look and manage what courses they have and offer you the most courses,” he said. “It’s really built to give maximum effectiveness.”

Kruckeberg said with the old system, it was difficult for departments to add new courses. Officials had to write down what course they wanted and the course description by hand, and then the registrar had to approve it, double-check the wording with the department, and then type it into the mainframe system.

“[With MAUI], if too many students are signing up for a course, [the department] can know right away and add another section right away,” he said.

Kruckeberg said all they would have to do is type into the MAUI system what course they are adding and the description. The registrar is then notified through MAUI and can verify there is a faculty member and location for the course and it appears on ISIS instantly.

Beth Cole, director of systems in the Office of Financial Aid, said MAUI will make communication with students far more efficient in the Financial Aid Office.

“We are going to more of an automated email communication system with the students,” she said.

“We’re [currently] relying on the post office, but we’re thinking in today’s world, electronic communications is the way to go. It’s faster … it goes directly to the students and their families. You’ll get it almost real time.”

Cole said settings will be coded into MAUI so that the system will recognize when certain things come up in the Financial Aid Office that students need to be aware of. Automatic email notifications will be sent out instead of postcards in the mail.

“MAUI has been good for our offices … it forced us to think about everything we do and try to make it better,” she said. “Anything that is better work-wise for us is better for the students. If it takes less work, we’re going to be faster for you. We consider ourselves to be a service office, and anytime we can provide faster service, it’s a win-win situation.”

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