Administration postpones WebSTAC improvement
In an effort to make its online resources more accessible, Washington University has taken steps to install infrastructure for a single sign-on technology called WUSTL CONNECT.
Last week, a new version of WebSTAC was launched that included a new login interface. The new version provided integration with the single sign-on technology and interfaces for logging into student and faculty applications, including WebSTAC, WebFAC, Telesis and eGrades.
But students may have been confused when they logged onto WebSTAC on the morning of Sept. 15, as the site had reverted to its old version.
According to Sue Hosack, director of the Office of Student Records, the new WebSTAC was in effect for slightly more than 24 hours, and was shut down because a potential security flaw had been identified after the launch.
There were several students and faculty members who reported problems while attempting to log into the new version. Although the new login system handled more than 5,000 logins in a 24-hour period, only one percent of users had difficulty logging in.
When faculty members attempted to log on, the Student Information Services—or student identification—login numbers worked, but the social security number logins did not.
Most faculty members login with their social security numbers.
The new login system was meant to be the first phase of the deployment of WUSTL CONNECT, a technology solution developed by the University and meant to ease the experiences of those logging onto University applications.
WUSTL CONNECT’s focus, according to Ken Trammel, director of application and development in the information services and technology department, is to unite all the Web applications that University students use under one login system with one password.
The system has been in development since the beginning of this year, and will include WebSTAC, Telesis, WebFAC, eGrades, University College Online and Student Health Services.
Trammel says that the benefits of the integration of University applications with WUSTL CONNECT will have more pluses than minuses.
“There are no significant changes to the applications that students use at this time. However, after logging into WUSTL CONNECT users will automatically be logged into other WUSTL CONNECT enabled applications like WebSTAC and Telesis,” Trammel said.“The initial focus is single sign-on for the various applications used by the students, faculty and staff at Wash. U.”
According to Trammel, in January the University will be launching integration with wireless networking, the South 40, the Career Center and other applications.
A revised schedule for launching WUSTL CONNECT will also be announced soon with communications to students, faculty and staff via e-mail, and is expected to launch no later than Oct. 15. This communication will detail all future changes and will include instructions for registering for a new, personalized login ID.
In addition, Trammel says that next year the University can anticipate additional integration between individual schools in the University in order to incorporate additional applications and e-mail under a unified system.
While many students have yet to experience the unified login system, some are excited for it to launch and feel that it will make online management of their academics more intuitive.
“That’s freaking awesome,” senior Kaif Mansuri said. “It’s a pain to continuously put your login information every time to anything. The simpler the better.”
Other students look forward to the system because they say that it will allow the University to keep up with the status quo.
“Other schools integrate everything, why can’t we?” junior Ryan Gill said. “This has been long delayed and it’s about time.”