Students need Web integration

By Editorial Board

Ten minutes of online housekeeping, as experienced by a Columbia student: Go on Oasis to check if your scholarship was processed by Student Financial Services. Next, look through the Campus Resources page to find a print lab with a laser printer for your presentation. Shoot, it directed you to Columbia’s website, and now there is no handy link to get to Loop Mail. A few clicks later, you get to the e-mail login.

After reading through the student newsletter, you want more information about an upcoming campus performance, which links to the Student Loop website. That reminds you, it’s time to start hunting for a new roommate. Would it be better to post an ad through the Student Loop network or through Columbia’s network on Facebook? While mulling it over, you head to a class forum on Facebook to ask a question about homework. Then over to Moodle to check for feedback on your latest assignment.

That’s a lot of websites.

Columbia has acknowledged Oasis’ pitfalls for years, but while rumors of revamping the system perpetually circulate and normally fall flat, students have been left with a hodgepodge of other replacement platforms to obtain the resources they need. Unfortunately, no single online Columbia program has the capability to do it all.

Interestingly, several features these newer websites offer are available through Oasis, but features like the student forums and weekly assignment postings can be so difficult to navigate the information is more easily retrieved elsewhere.

There is little continuity in the online experience of Columbia students. One class might use Moodle, another has its own blog to post assignments. Once in a while a teacher is brave enough to traverse Oasis’ murky tunnels. The original student portal has a lot of useful classroom tools, but the effort it takes to use these tools correctly is unacceptable given today’s technological capabilities.

It has been confirmed that students will see some changes to Oasis by next fall. The registration and advising portals will be revamped, but the system will still revolve predominately around those services.

There are too many sites navigating students away from our out-of-date student portal. We need the best features of these websites combined to create a fresh, fully integrated online experience.