NDUS goes mobile

October 6, 2015

The North Dakota University System moved forward with a recent development that gave students, faculty and staff more extensive access to the tools they need to succeed.

In the past few months, considerable enhancements have been made to the NDUS Mobile Portal, which serves as the mobile access point for both Campus Connection and the Human Resources Management System.

Implementation differed slightly, based on need. For the Campus Connection mobile site, students and faculty now have a much broader experience. Students are now capable of viewing and registering for classes, check class schedules, view grades, and more. Faculty can review their teaching and exam schedules, check on class and grade rosters, and view lists of advisees.
HRMS users are able to access payroll, benefits, holiday and employee information for those they supervise.

Thomas McNaughton, director of campus solutions for Core Technology Services, said that the implementation of PeopleSoft originated at Valley City State University and Mayville State University in 2003, with all campuses using the new software by 2005. Since that time Campus Connection had remained as a non-mobile site until recently. The decision to make PeopleSoft data accessible through a mobile application was done because of the advancement of technology and the ever changing world we live in, in addition to the amount of students and faculty using smartphones.

“Our student populations have been at the cutting edge for many years with most students carrying two or three mobile devices at one time, including laptops, phones and iPads,” McNaughton said. “Mobile Campus Connection complements the existing services by providing students, faculty, and staff with the ability to immediately obtain and process important student, faculty, and campus information through smart phones and mobile devices. We implemented a previous version about two-and-a-half years ago that allowed the student to see, but not fully interact with the mobile interface.

“During this last year we upgraded and added functionality to allow true interaction to the Campus Connection site,” he added. “Actions include everything from registering for classes to seeing their exam schedules. It also allows faculty to use their smart devices to view their students, e-mail them all at once or look through rosters.”

McNaughton said the main benefit of the mobile implementation would be in giving users the ability to accomplish tasks in a mobile device format.

“The application flexes to fit the device and can actually be used with standard browsers on desktop computers including IE, Firefox and Google among others,” he said. “The real power is that there is no application to download, but web-enabled pages. A simple book mark on the devices browser is the only user action necessary. The URL for Campus Connection is m.cnd.ndus.edu. From there any of the institutional pages are available to view with plenty of information for the guest user including building location and school specific news if provided.”
So far, the site has seen user numbers in excess of 11,000 users in the fall semester of this year.

“The project would not have been such a success without all the CTS team members at and those institutions that provided feedback during testing,” McNaughton added.

Teri Thorsen is the director of financial and human resource management systems, the team that administers and maintains numerous business software products and provides support for campus users.

“The HRMS team administers and maintains Oracle’s PeopleSoft Human Capital Management software product,” Nielsen said. “The team also administers and maintains the Kronos, Windstar and OrgPlus softwares. We provide support for campus ‘centralized’ users, primarily in the Human Resource, Payroll and Budget offices. We also respond to requests for information from a variety of sources.”

Thorsen noted that the most crucial thing her department does is try to stay ahead of technology changes, and to stage implementations of new technology accordingly. The implementation of the mobile site for HRMS was a natural step in that process.

“We’re fortunate to work in the higher education industry; the students keep us on our toes technologically,” Thorsen said. “They’re demanding more mobile solutions. While that tends to put more pressure on the Campus Solutions team, we know that today’s students are tomorrow’s employees, so the wave is headed our way.”

The creation of the mobile site will expand access, something Thorsen said is a most welcome development.

“People want and expect access to information anytime, anywhere,” she said. “The vast majority of employees on campus don’t go into PeopleSoft HCM on a regular basis, so knowing where to navigate to find information can be a little overwhelming. The mobile app is much more simple and straightforward. That way, when they’re home around the kitchen table talking to their spouse or partner about how much vacation time they may have, or what insurance coverage they have, that information is at their fingertips.”

She added that for employees who supervise others, getting certain information through the mobile app is easier through the mobile application than from PeopleSoft.

“For example, if you want to see the employee information of a person you manage, but who is not your direct report, you can easily drill down through the chain of command to see the employee’s department, position title, … [contact information] and names of their direct reports all on one page,” she said. “You can also call or email any of the employees in your chain of command directly from within the app and your mobile device.”

The URL for mobile HCM is m.hcm.ndus.edu, which can be accessed through Chrome, Firefox, IE, or Safari browsers.