The date has been set when Barnard students can log off eBear for good.
Barnard College Information Technology plans to replace the technologically outdated online academic portal with inside.barnard.edu—but not until December 2014.
Carol Katzman, vice president for information technology at Barnard said that students have long voiced concerns over the limitations of eBear, which students and faculty use to access academic resources like registration, tuition information, and faculty advising.
“It’s not always clear to navigate,” Fiona Wilson, BC ’16, said.
The site is organized by nine tabs, but most of the functions that students regularly use fall under the registrar’s tab.
“There are a lot of tabs that I’ve never visited,” Samima Habbsa, BC ’13, said. “There are only two things I actually use it for—to check my grades and registration.”
Some of the site’s underused tabs include a Morningside Heights directory and a message board that has not been updated since 2004.
But a fundamental resource like an academic portal “should be a gathering place for students,” Katzman said. “I believe in an electronic community.”
BCIT now has the technology to create a superior online portal that will address these issues, thanks to new developments from its software company Ellucian, Katzman said.
Still, the project is in only the early stages of development. Katzman said that BCIT is focused on building the basics of the new website, what she called the “essential portal.” A mock-up should be available for students to view by next semester, Katzman said.
“They’ll see a new environment where all their web-based applications will be located and branded for Barnard,” she said.
BCIT will then begin work on adding functionality to the portal so it can fully replace eBear, collaborating with faculty members and administrators to make sure the new portal fits their needs. Until then, students will continue to use eBear.