Build a search bar and they will come.

myHilltop is the “one-stop shop” for campus services at St. Edward’s University. It’s the primary gateway to key university services including course registration, grade entry and timekeeping.

5,000
Graduate and undergraduate students
900
faculty + staff
50
undergraduate major programs
7
graduate programs

Back to the Future

St. Edward’s University was living in the past. They had an outdated campus portal that was neither searchable nor mobile-friendly. You can guess what effect that had on student usage.  Add in the technical complexity of the ancient portal and it all but ensured IT staff would be required to maintain all of the content.

Powered by results from usability studies across all users, it was time for a change. Users demanded a better experience. Some redesigns and overhauls of the existing portal wouldn’t cut it. It was clear that a new solution was required.

In researching the best solution, OneCampus by rSmart rose to the top. During a four-month pilot of OneCampus, students, faculty and staff were all exposed to the improved MyHilltop experience.

“We learned a number of things during our pilot,” said Nicole Hill, Product Owner. “Students loved the interface. They just understood it, without much instruction or guidance. Build a search bar and they will come.”

Different lexicons across campus were also discovered during the pilot. What one individual would call a “maintenance request,” another would call a “work order.” These types of discoveries were key to refining task titles, descriptions and tags to ensure the site was truly searchable.

St. Edward’s was looking, primarily, for three features in a new portal: searchability, responsive design and a customizable user experience. “OneCampus had all three in spades,” said Hill. “The interface is intuitive, particularly for students, and features like ‘favorites’ worked well for allowing users, particularly staff and faculty, to build, more or less, their own dashboard.”

We were able to give departments more autonomy over their business processes with minimal involvement from the Office of Information Technology
Nicole Hill, St. Edward's University, Product Owner

The Results?

Similar to launching any new technology, there was some wariness among faculty and staff at St. Edward’s University. “Now, with more than a year with OneCampus, it’s clear we made the right choice and the feedback we’ve received is almost uniformly appreciative,” said Hill.

Because the back-end admin experience is user-friendly and versatile, St. Edward’s University quickly moved to a distributed publishing model. This model allows functional areas largely to control their own content with minimal administrative oversight from IT.

“We were able to give departments more autonomy over their business processes with minimal involvement from OIT. For our part, we’re thrilled to be out of the role of middleman and in many cases, these departments have turned into the biggest champions of myHilltop.”

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