Notes from Student Handout
September 10, 2008
N = 13
These notes reflect the individual written comments of each student participant, grouped
into the relevant area. Students were asked to respond to the following question: “In
thinking about the functions you perform as a student, what information technology
tools or support would have improved your experience or would you hope that
future students would have access to? What would’ve made your experience better?
What should our student IT priorities be for the future?”
Applying to UW-Madison:
Financial aid allows us to skip over and return to different sections of the application.
If missing some information, I couldn’t continue on even though I had information
for other sections at that time.
Mostly minor points and are too technical and specific; could provide good search
appliance (e.g. Google search)
Housing – when I applied, it was difficult to assess accurate room layouts and
dimensions, so it was entirely random when ranking buildings
When I was registering I had no idea about the options and varieties of majors offered
here on campus – maybe if there were a computer tutorial that explained the process
of picking a major according to interests
I applied in 1998 – it was a paper process for graduate school. In recent applications
for grants, the system is all electronic and I imagine it is so for applying to UW.
I found all of these to be quite functional.
I believe a little bit more information about financial aid would be great. It may be
put in a more significant, eye-catching place.
Paper applications still important; it is safe to assume UW students have access to a
computer and resources to help; such assumption is not true for applicants.
Electronic application worked well and was easy
As a feature, have a computer match roommates with similar lifestyles even if
interests are different for UW Housing.
I do recall that when applying I had to choose which school to apply to, without really
understanding that – I applied to CoE when I wanted L&S.
Email when a referee fills out a letter of recommendation so applicant is aware of
status. Overall, the process is pretty good although some department websites and
info are way dated.
A specific list of the materials (transcripts, letters of recommendation, etc.) should be
online as they are successfully received by the admissions office. This would avoid
confusion and unnecessary calls to the admissions office.
Registering for Classes:
I don’t like that the timetable updates only every 24 hours. This is misleading to some
students who want to enroll in a course that is maybe open or already full.
As a transfer student, I didn’t understand DARS at first and felt very confused and
worried that I had enrolled in courses that weren’t beneficial. DARS also doesn’t
always work on the first try – sometimes have to do it two or three times to be able to
select my degree.
Not intuitive; hard to navigate; NetID is redundant; email quota is too low in these
days of cheap storage
The online timetable has worked well – the PDF format is more complicated and less
accessible. Advisor schedules and profiles would be helpful
Difficult to find specific info on individual majors; class websites/descriptions hard to
Courses – maybe have guidelines set out for someone according to their major
I actually do not like the format for the online timetable through My-UW. I can’t tell
you how, but there has to be a smoother way to survey the entire source.
I would like to see the timetable of courses include links to more descriptive
explanations of courses (i.e. when scheduling, click on a course and it takes you to a
comprehensive description of the course).
Too many restrictions on picking out a course. So many classes are only for certain
students because of FIG or freshmen only. Students just keep getting bombarded with
Once I forgot the default password for my NetID. I needed to make a phone call to
get a new one. Is it possible to just email and verify my ID?
Grid view is my most used feature; I would love to enter the class I want and the
software to pick out a schedule or two to choose from
Delays in the Student Center are a critical issue.
Keep the old timetable! The process of registering for a class is far too complex. I
treat it like installing a program: I just keep clicking next until it’s done. It’s just
DARS is too limited. Why can’t I give it a future list of classes I want to take and it
just give me a yes/no that I’ll graduate?
PeopleSoft can be overwhelming, but overall it’s pretty straightforward. It isn’t very
“forgivable” – won’t let you double-book classes in anticipation of dropping one in
The email to get your NetID is a “wall of text” – very overwhelming at first
Sometimes the server gets into a blank page that makes the student have to start over
and get lost in the process. I think this should be improved.
Server to Student Center: sometimes tends to be confusing and the pathways are not
very clear. This should be improved.
WiscMail is horrible! It’s very boring to look at, and I really like the way Google (g-
mail) is set up. It keeps a record of past contacts you sent so you don’t have to look
up or save a contact in a folder.
I’ve had plenty of emails not go through because when I go to send it, it kicks me out
and my message isn’t saved! Google saves messages into drafts every few seconds.
Usenet servers abandoned
Email – the increase in storage a year or so ago was great, but we still need more
storage space. Also, it’s not as functional as others, such as g-mail. Organization, font
changes, attaching documents, etc. = difficult to impossible. MadCat is totally
Increase the email mega-bite capacity. It is important to keep in mind that over a four
year period a lot more emails are important to keep than say just a one or two-year
With email, we need more storage capacity. As a grad student, I have multiple folders
of on-going projects, past grants communications, etc., that I like and need to refer to.
The Oracle calendar interface is bad. Also, the lack of support is bad.
I don’t use calendaring because it is too difficult. When I did use it, there were no
reminders of a scheduled event or something else I had written down. Other times, the
program just deleted what I just typed up. I haven’t used the calendaring in MyUW
I like Learn@UW. Some professors put PDF reading materials in the MyUW –
Academics. It took me some time to find another link to trace the articles.
Professors express verbal disgust with Learn@UW. I like using it.
Many professors have course homepages – I have to use Google to find them.
The classes that have a mailing list to mail to all TAs and the professor have better
I use Google Calendar for scheduling and g-mail for my campus mail.
Kiosks are important as professors communicate more and more via email.
Calendaring needs to be in common use, so make it easier/more friendly.
It’d be great if it “worked automatically” to add classes and events.
Grades on Learn@UW are wonderful. It’d be great if it were more widespread.
Email could be better/more intuitive/less “main frame.” Need a better space to put
documents; the space on MyUW is cumbersome.
A “Googledocs” would be better – sharing documents is really great.
Professors should have their web pages and homework assignments under MyUW.
An automatic reminding system for assignments and final examinations would be
I heard that our accounts end soon after we graduate. These emails should be
forwarded to our new alumni accounts or just let us keep these accounts.
I do get some junk mail stuff – is UW selling us out? I also know that as a student org
officer, I can’t send pretty emails to my members; can’t add pictures or cool colors –
Tech away helpdesks – do a good job in generic help. For tech-specific problems,
DoIT has experts probably – hard to access. A central newsgroup perhaps?
How accessible will it be to transfer to alumni services? Our current WiscMail
accounts should remain active for several months or forward to a new account.
Transcript ordering has gotten easier, but still difficult to get to. Also, some schools
don’t charge for their transcripts.
I definitely recommend allowing access to email post-graduation for at least a certain
amount of time until we are well-equipped with all the info we need and have
established contact information in with another server.
I would like to keep my email address after graduation. I did not know that was an
In biochemistry we’re constantly asked for NetID access by graduate students,
visiting scholars, etc.
I’d like to keep my WiscMail account after graduation.
Is it possible to apply for transcripts online now? How do we pay for that?
I would like my WiscMail mail to forward for a few years to a @wisc.alumni.com or
something of that sort.
I would like to be able to see my transcript post-graduation.
I’m not familiar with what happens with email accounts. Perhaps there’s room for
improvement. As a senior, I should probably know.
Being able to access wisc.edu for at least one year (maybe two) after graduation
would be nice. Ordering transcripts online (without an additional fee) is very
Emails re: job fairs/opportunities would help
Lifetime access to wisc.edu email for alumni
Educate all library staff about different software – I’ve needed help plenty of times
with Dreamweaver and Photo Shop, and many know little or no information
Have the DoIT help people in the café at the times when they are supposed to be there
– they haven’t since school started (Sun-Thurs, 7-9 pm).
Indexing – address names; g-mail is educational; email desktop clients
Need more kiosks around campus
Notes from Flip Charts
Student Strategic Planning Session
September 10, 2008
Applying to UW-Madison:
Should continue to allow paper applications
Helping students know which major/college they can apply for (currently not clear);
also show requirements for each college
Overall seems pretty smooth
Was not aware of all the resources that exist on the web
Publish master list of deadlines (i.e. SOAR and housing)
Should be able to see what documents have already been received by UW
Not able to pay online (after some point in the process; can’t go back)
Registering for Classes:
1. Identify classes and times (Auto-register by clicking “next”)
2. Register schedule – student center gets blank page (The home page with menu is
confusing. Have menu that is always on the left side.)
3. Select schedule – know what they already have; should show a total list of prior
4. Schedulizer should propose viable options.
5. Notifications when re-opened – open up seats a few at a time. It shows as closed
but in reality was still open. Some require instructor approval.
Should know options for registering
Registration restrictions/Add/Drop (hard to change to get a needed class)
Dual majors – meeting and knowing requirements
Timetables – online link to course description/department requirements
Applications – no log of which records/documents have been received
Registration is stressful – only short time given
Takes too long to find class status
Could students have access to previous syllabus?
When you register – see a sample of lecture notes, or evaluation of professor from
previous years (prior knowledge) to decide if you want to take a class
Timetable should add description of the classes
Registration – seats open should be updated more often
Make Student Center more like timetable
Class websites are all on different places (i.e. servers or Learn@UW) and are hard to
find on the timetable
Grades should all be on – inconsistent use by professors (some do/some don’t)
Many professors are negative about it being hard to use
Students generally like Learn@UW but some have problems accessing files
Many faculty don’t know how to use Learn@UW or just don’t want to use it (i.e.
getting handouts in class instead)
First thing you should see on Learn@UW is course content – not search
Get more faculty to use the new textbook feature
Easier to get through via Student Center
Would like to be able to access previous semester’s courses – to review if needed for
grad school applications
Make Learn@UW easy to get through MyUW
Would like to know where to go to Learn@UW podcasts; new technologies (classes)
CALDEV interface is much better than Oracle Calendar interface
Move forward to an iCal-type format – subscription based
Events in a much more pause-able format
STS Ask a Trainer – haven’t been there
Maybe have librarians take the STS courses/be able to answer the questions
Offer resources for launching a website
Publicize available Help Desk resources to students
Make K.B. more interactive – wiki functionality?
WiscMail storage space should consider expanding in space from year to year
(professors sending large files)
WiscMail is no comparison to Gmail (i.e. saving drafts, visually boring, saving
addresses/indexing, many steps to do anything, searching addresses, maybe default to
WiscMail is not intuitive (web client)
Spam filter for WiscMail is very good
WiscMail needs more storage.
WiscMail is reliable; like browser compatibility
- desire for class email groups/list serve (easy to search for this!)
- fix back button
- doesn’t have AJAX functionality (like Gmail)
- some like email all in one place (forwards)
Get an “alumni” wisc.edu after graduation that forwards wisc.edu account emails for
a longer period of time
Require transcript before you graduate; make it easier after you graduate
MadCat search is difficult – it lacks a free-form search like Google
Too spread out and there should be a free text search – not by key words
Login should be more like other UW services – seems un-secure
Not very intuitive – maybe something similar to Google Docs
Would like common collaborated space
A domain name outside “.wisc”
Ability to host a Wiki or a blog
Wireless – make it seamless
VPN-like security for wireless
Additional notes from the half of the student group that discussed priorities for
Course Work and Graduation/Post-Graduation. Note: These may replicate the flip
chart notes, to a large degree.
Top Priorities – Course Work
• Gmail has features that wiscmail does not offer • Saves contacts • Saves drafts • Allows
adding photos and use of color • Constantly need more storage • Want indexing to find
older messages • WiscMail has too many steps / to many procedural things to get things
done • Want better contact look-up • Default contact search should be to UW not your
address book first • Educational apps from Google would add lots of features • Know
about security issues with Google • Wisc email is more reliable • Like browser
compatibility with WiscMail • Want class email groups – listserv like o Want easy search
for this o Want privacy/security so others outside of group can’t spam • With existing
class listservs, students frequently reply to the list and not the prof – creates too much
spam • Gmail uses more AJAX – better user experience. WiscMail web not a good client.
• Using a local client solves many of these problems but then you have to have a laptop •
Want ability to pull-in multiple accounts to one place • UI not intuitive • UW has good
spam filters – works well
• You really want to have a book to deal with MadCat.
• Library lacks a free form search.
• Use Google to find ISBN and then can use MadCat.
• Or use local library system to find book – avoid using MadCat.
• Search parameters are clunky and yield too many results
• See class in L@UW and want to get content. Content area for course work is hard to
find and download. Content should be first/easier to find.
• My UW - Schedule in grid view errors-out.
• Cool if old classes could be archived. Would like to go back and review class work
• Not intuitive
• Didn’t know you could share documents with others • Has lots of potential but barriers
to use are prohibitive • Would like common collaborative space – just go to Google docs
because it is easy
Top Priorities – Graduation / Post-Graduation
• Get and alumni / wisc.edu mail address after graduation that forwards
wisc.edu account email (forwards for a longer time)
• Want to know where I can go to learn about podcasts – how to create
them, use them… want a DoIT class
• Professors not using L@UW. Profs either not wanting to use it or don’t
know how to use it.
• Few professors using book listing in student center
• Calendar – event calendar still manual. Would be convenient to se iCal
or other formats that could be pushed out for updating student calendar
• When register would like sample lecture notes, evaluation of course or
professor, something to help when registering for classes in dept you
• Café hours at library not staffed when they are supposed to be there.
Librarians try to be helpful. Perhaps have librarians take STS courses.
• Can My Web Space have a domain name?
• Want social software separate from course management system
• Want to be able to host wiki or blog just like you have an email account
• Class information only updates every 24 hours – want the student
center more like the time table and update more often
• Want more deep technical mailing list for help – wiki space for the
knowledgebase so there could be more specific contributions
• Modern classrooms are very important. Van Hise is very poor.
Projectors and podiums for faculty to plug-in are missing. They envy
• Every building has a different wirless network – would be nice to have
all on UW-Net. (noted that we’re working on roaming wireless)
• Make more people aware of VPN capability. Separate client for VPN can
be a problem – need diff password.
• Login should be more consistent across apps/services