It’s the first thing overly eager pre-frosh see as they plan their first semester at Penn, and it’s the last thing seniors check before they are cleared to graduate. And in recent history, Penn InTouch, with its archaic design and clunky interface, has been the shame and chagrin of every Penn student.

Needless to say, we were very happy to hear that the Web site’s makeover was finally complete. And while the freshman year photo splayed on the front page upon login was a terrifying reminder of our not-so-glorious past, for the most part we were pleased.

The streamlined course registration process is perhaps the most welcome of the changes – especially with the integration of the Course Search and Planning tool. Furthermore, easy access to GPA’s and unlimited transcript views will ease nerves when it comes time for instructors to post grades.

But the designers could have taken it further. In integrating Penn Course Review and Blackboard, they could have turned Penn InTouch in to a one stop shop for all our academic needs – imagine the Wawa of Penn Portal.

The biggest disappointment was the academic planning worksheet, which remains as difficult to use as ever. After the course registration tool, the worksheet is the most important and widely used feature on the site; and we think it could use some improving.

As incoming freshman and upperclassman alike finalize their schedules this summer, we hope they will find the new Penn InTouch a user-friendly tool. But only time will tell if the changes go deeper than a just fresh coat of paint.

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