The Evolution of MyUCLA
This year marks the twentieth anniversary of one of the most innovative student services portals in the country: MyUCLA. The site began in 1997 as a way to deliver important information and applications to students about a wide range of topics, such as financial aid, academic records, events, and housing. But after ten years, the site was experiencing problems. Rapidly changing technology and a lack of cohesiveness among disparate online applications made the site fragmented and frustrating to use. Students had to navigate and keep open many separate and individually branded sites while they viewed admissions decisions, filed statements of intent, accepted financial aid packages, and completed other campus-related activities.
Editorials in the Daily Bruin called for better unification among all the applications students needed to use.
Information Technology Services, Student Affairs, and Undergraduate Education wanted to fix this problem. In 2011, the departments began to collaborate on a solution, and within two years, they had transformed MyUCLA into the “integrated web experience” that it is today. The new site offered a more modern, more intuitive user interface, many redesigned and enhanced features, and a common navigation system for all participating applications. UCLA’s single sign-on authentication (SSO) maximized the functionality provided by different campus organizations while leaving intact the underlying architecture of their websites.
The new MyUCLA was so successful that it replaced MyFAO and URSA, two critical applications that had been serving students since 1995. Today, students use MyUCLA for almost everything: real-time access to academic, financial, and personal records, class enrollment, information about campus events, jobs, housing, organizations, and many other resources. Faculty log in to edit and grade student papers, and staff use it for job-specific applications and to keep track of what’s happening at the University.
In 2014, MyUCLA won gold in the Larry L. Sautter Awards for Innovation in Information Technology, an annual program sponsored by UC’s Information Technology Leadership Council. The MyUCLA Sautter Award application explores the history of myUCLA and the unique and ongoing partnership that makes the site possible.