AccessPlus services attract student use

Carrie Kreisler

AccessPlus has become an increasingly vital tool for ISU students as new services continue to be added.”Just within the last year, additional financial aid, dining, long distance, class registration and class schedule services have been made available,” said Larry Newhouse, information systems leader for the Administrative Data Processing Center.Newhouse said AccessPlus has provided immediate access to students’ personal information since 1995 and is continuing to expand its services. “Each year since its inception, traffic on the system has more than doubled,” he said.Registrar Kathleen Jones said the site had 1.3 million hits from July 1999 to June 2000. “I estimate that, by the end of this year, we’ll have somewhere between 2.75 and 3 million hits,” she said.Jones said AccessPlus picked up 66,000 hits in the month of December alone. “We now have 142,000 hits [since July] and we had 76,000 before December,” she said.The increase in the number of hits is largely due to grade reports being available only online last semester, Jones said, because paper grade reports were not mailed out to all students.”Grade reports changed the work flow as to when we find out about different kinds of problems,” she said. “We got calls immediately saying ‘I should have gotten this grade’ or ‘I didn’t get my math grade.’ It was a burden, but a positive burden. We were in the position where we needed to update grades as soon as we got them.”The site got about 1,000 hits an hour for this fall’s final grade reports, and Jones said she could “sit and watch the counts go up.””If we told everyone to log on [to AccessPlus] on the 22nd [of December] we would have had a disaster,” Jones said. “The load was fairly well distributed over a 24-hour period. Some people checked their grades at two in the morning and some checked at two in the afternoon.”AccessPlus also has been used by more than 300 residence hall students during their online vote for their favorite foods. Winning foods will be served in the special “dot-com meal” on March 8, said Carol Petersen, Friley food service manager.Students also can change their meal plans or add Dining Dollars to ISU cards through AccessPlus, said Kent Johnson, dining systems coordinator. Tim Burgess, systems analyst for the residence halls, said he does not know how many people have used the online services. He said the information will become available as more students become aware of the services. Newhouse said the system offers many further opportunities.”Future development includes use of your university ID, rather than your social security number, for improved security, additional personalization of your AccessPlus menu and enhanced navigation,” he said.