Richards: Student services cri(SIS)

Towards the end of last month, the Case Western Reserve University Division of Student Affairs released an announcement in The Daily that they are “in the later stages of choosing an engagement platform to replace OrgSync.”

The OrgSync platform is a service the university has used to coordinate community engagement for students for the past several years. OrgSync is one of the several such services known as a Student Engagement Platform (SEP), which is defined by Student Affairs as an “application that assists student engagement and participation in activities outside the classroom.”

Residential colleges, clubs, sports and activities use OrgSync as a hub for connecting students to the community outside of their academic lives, which, for CWRU students, isn’t exactly a top concern. Despite this fact, Student Affairs reasons that OrgSync needs a replacement service.

Describing the transition, it states that OrgSync would be “merged with another service,” creating an updated platform titled Campus Labs Engage that revealed significant changes which “prompted a review of our community needs and other competing platforms.”

While OrgSync becomes “OrgSunk”, other (and quite frankly more important) campus-wide online platforms such as the Student Information System (SIS), which is used to schedule classes for students, make tuition payments and more as well as CWRU’s Human Capital Management (HCM) system for work-study and CWRU employees remain in dire need of upgrades.

It’s widely agreed upon that both services are remarkably difficult to navigate, extremely unfriendly to users and confusing to the point of causing headaches. Though the recent introduction of the SIS mobile app is much easier on the eyes and quite straightforward to get to where you want to go, the website continues to make class selection painful for students each semester.

OrgSync has served the campus without issue these past years, bringing much needed improvement to the realm of the college experience on campus. Though this transition isn’t at all bad, it simply raises questions as to why our prehistoric academic and financial interfaces haven’t received the same treatment.

Academics is where CWRU holds its name, so updates to these websites would benefit the student body much more than transitioning from an already functioning engagement platform to one that might just function a little bit better.

In the meantime, you can track the progress of the transition into our new SEP on CWRU’s Division of Student Affairs website. You can share comments and ideas on what you would like to see in the new platform as well.

Jason Richards is a first-year computer engineering major. He has spent much of his CaseCash this semester already on Mitchell’s Homemade Ice Cream.