June 12, 2003 – Vol. 22 No. 18

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    New cMore site to reorganize Web space to make self-service easier

    By Josh Schonwald
    News Office

    During the next Fall Quarter, the University will introduce a new service for students that will put them one click away from checking their grades, reviewing their financial information or checking the status of their medical insurance.

    The University is in the process of developing a Web site, called cMore, which aims to be a "portal for student services."

    The new Web site will reorganize Web space, consolidating the self-service components of many of the University's offices, such as the Bursar's, College Aid, the Dean of Students and the Student Health Center.

    cMore was born out of discussions with students, faculty and staff, which began when Thomas Black, University Registrar, came to Chicago from Duke University last summer. He began working with NSIT to design a portal to better fulfill a wide range of student needs.

    Black said the goal for cMore is very simple. "We want to help students save time."

    Making things easier for students, Black said, is largely an organizational challenge. Many student services already are available online. Currently, the project, which is being supervised by Therese Nelson, Director of Web Services at NSIT, is in the process of reorganizing information under the URL cmore.uchicago.edu. Another goal, Black said, is to design a user-friendly interface.

    Ultimately, instead of students having to visit each individual College office's Web page--where they would have to navigate through the pages separately--cMore will put student self-services at one address. "They won't have to understand the workings of each office, or the hierarchy," Black said.

    The name cMore is a play off an idea that Andrew Abbott, the Gustavus F. and Ann M. Swift Distinguished Service Professor in Sociology, introduced in his Aims of Education address last September. Abbott described how an educated person can "see more" in a particular circumstance than an uneducated person.

    The cMore idea was presented to the University's Student Government last winter. Beginning in February, a task force of 13 students conducted focus groups to identify what would be most useful to students.

    "Students were extremely receptive to the concept of having one access point for information that would typically require interaction with lots of different offices," said Enrique Gomez, Student Government President. Students made some practical recommendations, he said. Currently, cMore is being designed by NSIT and will evolve over a period of many months.