UNIT launches new homepage, portal

Kate Drew

This August, UNIT launched a revamped version of the Villanova University homepage, complete with the myNOVA portal.

The portal page allows students, faculty and staff to access all of their Villanova-related information from one place.

The homepage has been redesigned to target external audiences, while the myNOVA portal is designed to serve the needs of the Villanova community.

Planning for this portal began last summer when a series of student focus groups on campus expressed dissatisfaction with Novasis.

Students were frustrated with the site because it required a separate login from the homepage, and many felt that their information was scattered in too many different places.

In creating myNOVA, UNIT focused on addressing the needs and wants raised by students within these focus groups.

“We wanted to create something that actually meets the students’ needs,” said Tiffany Hanulec, senior database administrator for University Information Systems.

With the development of the my-NOVA portal, UNIT has attempted to gather all of the information relevant to students, faculty and staff in one place. The different features provide access to information that has always been available but was housed in various areas.

The portal draws all of this information together so that it can be more easily accessed.

The myNOVA portal combines all of the features found on Novasis, WebCT and WildCard Account Services.

The Home Tab includes the most recent Wildcat Newswire, a VU Directory Search feature, campus news updates and useful links.

In addition, the portal also includes a tab linked to the Falvey Library website.

Feedback on the portal has been generally positive. Students have found myNova to be cutting edge in terms of meeting their needs.

“I have found myNOVA to be really useful. The links are all right there — e-mail, WildCard, WebCT, so it lets me get to the different sites quickly,” said Kelly Catalane, a senior finance major.

Although the response to the portal has been favorable, several questions have developed about how to navigate the site.

UNIT has expressed that the launch is a work in progress and changes have already been made to reflect students’ concerns.

For example, some personal information provided in the portal has recently been made more private. Students were concerned that their information could be viewed when logging onto the portal in public places.

In response, UNIT launched the addition of a “Just for You Tab” within the portal. This tab links to information that students may like to keep private, such as an individuals’ account balance.

Other changes have been made in response to feedback as well, such as adjustments to the overall color scheme of the site.

Also, UNIT will be adding a VU Groups tab to the portal. This is a completely new feature that will allow students to network with other members of the clubs and activities they are involved with on campus. The tab will link to a Facebook-like interface that includes information about various groups at Villanova.

UNIT expects to continue to make changes based on feedback and is considering holding more focus groups in the future to better address students’ needs.

“It is something that we are going to be working on constantly to improve,” Hanulec said.