By Tangerine Levy
I tried to access MyMC February 14 and was shocked to see a notice on the Montgomery College website that the MyMC site would be changed on February 15. However, when I clicked on MyMC, it had already been changed. I was faced with a new login screen!
I was stunned. Initially, I was wary of entering my user name and password because I was unsure if the website had been hacked.
The fact is that I was trying to upload homework on Blackboard and I had no choice, but to just do it and hope for the best. Were the changes in the website legitimate? That thankfully, proved to be the case.
I still cannot get over the fact that I do not recall seeing any notice on the main MC website before the change happened. I have been using the MC website almost every day since the semester began because I need to access BlackBoard—just like any other student.
There should have been more effective and timely notification to the college population prior to the changes taking effect, especially when there are many online classes and all courses require BlackBoard. The following notice was placed on the school’s website on February 12, 2016:
“Published: Feb 12 2016 2:55PM
On February 15, 2016, the Office of Information Technology (OIT) will be introducing a redesign of the MyMC portal. An Advisory Team representing all areas of the College, along with an Information Architecture team, worked for 20 months with extensive Collegewide feedback and testing from students, faculty, and staff to create the new and improved MyMC portal.
What can I expect from the MyMC Redesign?
- MyMC usernames and passwords will remain the same for a seamless transition;
- Improved content and layout to make MyMC more intuitive and enhance the user experience;
- A rebrand to match the current MC brand;
- Responsive design to provide the best experience on computers, tablets and smart phones, and
- Use of icons to easily locate important and frequently used information
IMPORTANT UPDATE: The College will temporarily suspend access to the current MyMC portal during the upgrade period. The upgrade period will be Sunday, February 14, 12:01 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. All MyMC functionality will be unavailable during this time. This includes Blackboard, grades,registration, transcripts, payments, and timesheets. Please note, the Claim Your Account website will be down for maintenance starting at 5 p.m., Friday, February 12 and will be back up on Sunday, Feb. 14 at 6 a.m. During and after rollout the Office of Information Technology will continue end user testing as well as establish a formal management process to ensure MyMC remains current and relevant. We look forward to your feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org “
According to the notice, one of the reasons for the changes was to make the system compatible with smart phone and tablets.
The fact is that late on a Friday afternoon, two weeks into the Spring semester, with little regard for those taking on-line classes, and apparently after working on this project for 20 months, the new website interface was launched. However, it was launched at a time when there was no help or instruction available to people whom encountered problems accessing the system, which included their college e-mail.
For example, the old e-mail was suspended when the semester began and there was inadequate instruction on how to save one’s important e-mails from the old system. The instructions were inadequate because they were convoluted and complex.
There should have been bold notices placed around all campuses, on all building entrances about the upcoming change so that the students who do not frequent the college e-mail would be alerted to the upcoming changes.
For example, the old e-mail system ended and told users that they had until February 12, to copy and save any important old e-mail to some other place. Between the time that the old e-mail ended and the new e-mail launched, students could not receive e-mails.
I had much trouble using the new e-mail because it is not user friendly. For example, just try to find the address book or contacts, and yes, all your old contacts are gone.
Professors were also notified late about the changes and there were apparently many issues with accessing Blackboard.
In the future, there should be adequate and effective notice of changes to the college’s website and pages. It benefits no one to find out about such changes at the beginning of a weekend when no one is available to trouble shoot, especially when there are so many online classes and when there is so much correspondence between students and professors via e-mail.
Please leave the late Friday afternoon announcements to the politicians. Students and professors at Montgomery College deserve more consideration and there is no excuse for the lack thereof.