The discussion across the UT System about MyEdu in the past few weeks has taken many interesting twists and turns. While there has been much controversy and negative publicity, we think it is important to come together and acknowledge that MyEdu can be a fantastic service for students on this campus, but only if we work together as a University to make that happen.
The investment of $10 million in this technology company by our Board of Regents was unexpected. Given the reduced state allocation to the University and our continued need for more faculty and better services, MyEdu may not have been where the University would put that $10 million if we had the choice. Furthermore, many of the details of the transaction have been less than transparent. Both of these factors cause concern, but they are immaterial now as the campus considers what kind of services MyEdu can offer current and future Longhorns.
Most students on campus are already users of MyEdu, and the partnership with the UT System can only make MyEdu a more accurate and relevant tool. With the right sort of input from students and faculty, MyEdu will be able to build new applications to meet campus needs. There have been concerns about accuracy and access to appropriate information, all of which are well-founded given MyEdu’s current interface. But our newly formed partnership should enable the University to integrate MyEdu’s features with accurate data and the services the University already offers. This new arrangement will help MyEdu to improve significantly in the quality and quantity of services it can offer.
MyEdu has the potential to combine many of the tools that students use into one interface that will simplify and improve the registration process. It has the potential to bring together the interactive degree audit, course schedule, calendar, course evaluations and related tools. Students could be able to see what courses they need to take, read faculty reviews and information, see how classes fit in their schedule and decide which classes will help them complete their degree in a timely and efficient way. Right now, figuring out that information requires many clicks and open widows on a computer. A new, reliable MyEdu can bring all of this together in one easy-to-use and accessible place.
The University currently has some great services available for students, but some are hard to find and most do not connect to one another. UT has made a lot of progress, but much room for improvement remains. If it works as promised, MyEdu will be able to help students navigate a better and more efficient online academic experience and path to their degrees.
It is in the best interest of students and the rest of campus for us to work together and make MyEdu great for UT. This will not be a quick or easy process, but through thoughtful and honest conversation, hard work and good will, we believe that MyEdu can become a valuable part of the college experience. It is, at the end of the day, a service for the students, and one that all of us should work to make the best that it can be.
Butler is president of Student Government; Friedman is chairman of Faculty Council; and Nietsche is president of Senate of College Councils.