Penn InTouch debuts changes


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The new Penn InTouch home page includes expandable menu items, "Quick Links" and the user's photo.


Two years of an extreme makeover finally paid off.

The Penn InTouch renovation project went live last weekend, leaving its collaborators - Student Registration & Financial Services, Information Services & Computing and two advisory committees - very satisfied with the results.

"Staff are very enthusiastic about the new system and are adapting well to the new features," Regina Koch, the information technology director of SRFS, wrote in an e-mail. "We also got great feedback from students," she added, mentioning positive comments about the aesthetic appeal and efficiency of the updated site.

According to both Koch and ISC Vice President Robin Beck, the planned interface changes and additions were not adjusted much since they were set in April.

Alterations include expandable menu items, convenience links across the top of the page, as well as featuring the student's PennCard picture in the bottom left-hand corner to remind the user that he or she is logged in.

Out of the numerous changes, the revised registration process is anticipated to be "very well-received," Beck wrote in an e-mail.

"The few people who have used Penn InTouch already seem to like the Course Search and its integration with registration," Beck added.

Though incoming freshmen will encounter only the new version during their advance registration period, older students will be able to compare with the old version and provide better feedback, Beck wrote.

Some might even recall their own first experiences.

"I vividly remember sitting at my kitchen table the summer before freshman year with spreadsheets, booklets, and papers out in front of my computer trying to schedule classes," rising College junior Matt Amalfitano, the vice-chairman for external affairs of the Undergraduate Assembly, wrote in an-email. "It was miserable; but starting with . the new Penn InTouch, students have it much, much easier!"

Those involved in the development agreed that collaboration was key in the endeavor.

"Rollout of the new InTouch was a huge undertaking," Koch wrote, "and a lot of credit should go to the talented technical staff at ISC, who along with SRFS, were zealous and relentless in their dedication to refining the system and attending to innumerable details."

Amalfitano emphasized the efforts of the Student Advisory Board, particularly those of lead student '09 College almnus Anthony Maggio, writing, "His leadership, hand-in-hand with SRFS, really drove the tangible change you see on the site now."

However, further changes are still to come.

"Clearly the most prominent change is aesthetic," rising Wharton sophomore Faye Cheng, UA secretary and member of the Penn InTouch Student Advisory Board wrote in an e-mail. "The Penn InTouch project . is one that is constantly a work in progress."

Rob Nelson, the director of undergraduate education in the Provost's office, mentioned ISC's plans for a renovated PennPortal, but Koch wrote that information about any further projects can be expected later in the fall.

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