MyNIU helps keep students plugged in

By Aaron Brooks

Let us face it, MyNIU was only relevant to students once a semester when registering for classes. Now, with its new face lift, MyNIU looks to serve students daily needs with quick access to BlackBoard, Webmail and a myriad of other links to help students stay involved on campus and on top of their academics.

The thing I and most other students whom I talked to like about the upgrade is everything is located in one place. As senior psychology major Daniel O’Sullivan said, “With the old system you had to click through six links before you found what you were looking for.”

Certainly the new MyNIU makes it easier to navigate our virtual university by giving students a single home page which remains open while they access different links like class search or the Northern Star.

Another plus about the new MyNIU is a student’s ability to personalize it. Simply click on personalize content and you can choose feeds from NIU Athletics to NIU Today. Krista Fultz, senior corporate communications major, likes how MyNIU incorporates information about her major.

“It keeps me up to date with what is going on,” Fultz said.

I do appreciate the personalization feature, but I also have one suggestion: expand it. I do not see any reason why Student Organizations cannot have feeds that students can subscribe to as well; sure would be a better way of communicating than hanging up fliers.

Although I had one suggestion, I have multiple criticisms. It is nice that the MyNIU is more appealing, but in some ways it’s like putting lipstick on a pig. Great, helpful links and academic tools are in one spot, but the enrollment, degree progress and campus finance functions are still less than functional.

Fultz, who has always had problems retrieving a discernible billing statement found no improvement with the new MyNIU. “I wish it were more like that of a credit card statement and was sectioned off in semesters,” Fultz said.

Furthermore, the Degree Progress Report is still a jumble of requirements, gives little direction on “what ifs,” and is incapable of accounting for double majors.

And finally, enrollment would be made much easier if you could filter classes by time, day, professor and even number of students enrolled.

All in all, MyNIU has improved in ways that will make it easier for students to become knowledgeable about their academics and extracurricular activities. Taken together with other technological tools like the NIU smart phone application, it is easy to see that the university has been making every effort to keep its students plugged in.