New my.SDSU initiative seeks more modern online student experience

by Aretha Matsushima, Staff Writer

The new my.SDSU program looks to integrate web portal and the Student Information Management System to facilitate a more modern online experience for accessing student information.

SDSU Chief Information Officer Jerry Sheehan said the my.SDSU project is an effort to modernize and replace the current student information system by transitioning from primary systems including web portal and SIMS to PeopleSoft Campus Management Solutions. Currently, web portal and SIMS are the two systems that students interact with when they apply for admission and financial aid. 

“22 of the other California State campuses use a tool from PeopleSoft called Campus Management Solutions, and we’ll be moving to that platform also,” Sheehan said.

SIMS, the backing system that stores student data and functionality, facilitates information such as financial aid, registration, among other functions, Sheehan said. 

Sheehan said the shift to PeopleSoft will create a significant change by integrating web portal and SIMS, allowing students to have access to all their information in one system. 

“The reason this is important to students is that there are a variety of things right now that are difficult for students to do given the multiple systems that we use,” Sheehan said. 

In addition, Sheehan said PeopleSoft has a more modern infrastructure from a usability standpoint when dealing with mobile devices and student access. When utilizing current systems such as web portal on a phone, it is setup as the web version which can be difficult to use, Sheehan said. 

“If you’re accessing information on a tablet or on a phone, you’ll be able to have the same degree of interactivity and usability as the computer version,” Sheehan said. 

Sheehan said the project began during the summer and the main focus is on the next incoming class during October of 2020. 

“This is sort of a large, complex system change which is why it’s going to take us about 18 months to make the transition for admissions,” Sheehan said. 

Criminal justice sophomore Melissa Perry said she believes the my.SDSU project is valuable because it would improve mobility of interaction between students and faculty, especially for commuter students like herself. 

“Being a commuter student, I find it a great idea since many commuter students are not on campus all the time, compared to students who live on campus,” Perry said. “This causes them to feel a disconnect from the school, but this program would allow them to feel more involved knowing that they are able to be apart of the school from home.”

Sheehan also said although the initial focus is on admissions, other functions will be slowly integrated in the future. 

“As we make the shift, there will be a number of other changes and tools that will manifest themselves over time,” Sheehan said. “These would be things such as the waitlist, some of the ways they enter grades and advising students.”

There is not a specific scope established for the future yet, but the project committee is currently working towards a divine plan for how the system will function, Sheehan said. 

“This will be conversations that we will have with the project committee which has representation from the university senate and associated students, along with other domain experts who are responsible for the business operations of the university,” he said. “Also, our admissions and financial aid efforts who are all coming together to determine what the initial system would look like.”