March 19, 2019

Mobile-friendly online tool helps ease students' academic journey

UCalgary’s redesigned student centre provides convenient access from anywhere
Third-year student Kiley Carson checks out UCalgary’s redesigned online student centre.

Third-year student Kiley Carson checks out UCalgary’s redesigned online student centre.

Nouran Abdellatif

“I can’t believe it’s finally happening,” says dance and kinesiology student Melinda Coetzee.

There’s a lot of excitement for something as seemingly mundane as a redesigned online tool.

But this is a big deal. Really.

On March 10, the Office of the Registrar launched the university's new student centre. If you’ve never taken classes at the university, you probably haven’t visited the student centre, but for every single UCalgary student, it’s an important part of their academic experience.

Using your phone to view a website not built for the small screen can be frustrating. Now, imagine trying to complete important tasks like registering for classes or paying tuition fees. For the growing number of students using their phones for these types of tasks, the university’s new mobile-friendly student centre will make life a little easier.

“Currently a third of students access the student centre using mobile devices,” says Steve McLaughlin, associate registrar for planning and systems. “With this upgrade, we expect to see mobile access by students to greatly increase — and for students to have a much better experience using the student centre.”

The new mobile-friendly design will allow students to more easily enrol in courses, check the class schedule, and complete other tasks related to their academic journey from anywhere. 

Students using the tool will also notice a simplified page layout, a graphical navigation menu and a more intuitive organization of academic information.

“It’s really easy to navigate and I think it’s more user friendly,” says Coetzee. “I like how the class schedule and the classes you’re shopping for are right on the front page.”

“Information is displayed clearly and all the features are available,” adds computer science student Kiley Carson, particularly noting the convenience of having the schedule builder as part of the web experience. “It’s nice to have easy access on your phone, especially if you need to enrol in a course by the deadline.”

The way the student centre functions has not changed, so all links, transactions and requests will remain as before.

One new feature that will help university staff better support students online and by phone is the option to experience the student’s view in a read-only format.

“Faculty advisers are excited to use this new tool,” says Lesley Gerein, academic advising senior specialist. “It will make it easier to help students navigate their Student Centre and allow more time for in-depth advising conversations.”

The project team consulted students, the Students’ Union and the Graduate Students’ Association throughout the redesign process and did rigorous testing on different mobile devices. They will continue to monitor performance to ensure a positive user experience.