Technology Source

ESP on-line is empowering students
For the past nine months, Emory students have been checking their grades, course schedules, financial aid and billing information conveniently from any suitably configured computer connected to the Emory campus network.

Emory Student Profiles, or ESP, is a service using a new Emory information facility called InfoCentral. Students no longer have to wait agonizing weeks for their grades to arrive via regular mail. Nor do they have to keep track of a Registrar's Office form requesting updated personal information. Students can simply sit down at a computer, log in to ESP, and enter their new home phone number or check their grades the minute they are released. Since ESP directly accesses Emory's operational student information databases, changes made by students or by administrative staff are available immediately to anyone authorized.

ESP, formerly Project X, debuted last April and was initially available in the Cox Hall Computing Center and a few other computing labs on campus. Project X was an instant success. Students came to Cox Hall and activated their accounts and had instant access to information that was previously available only through trips to the Registrar's, Bursar's and Financial Aid offices in Jones Center. Since its inception, ESP services have been used more than 100,000 times. December had the heaviest usage to date with more than 25,000 accesses.

The majority of students use ESP for access to grades and course schedules, but many are also checking their financial aid packages and updating their personal information. College senior John Park said, "I've used ESP to check my grades, but I also updated my personal information because it was so easy." He had never returned the form to the Registrar's Office in the past, he said.

ESP is now available in many computing labs on campus including all managed by the Information Technology Division. It is also available for students' use on their own personal computers. For on-campus students, InfoCentral and ESP are part of the standard Emory ResNet package. Off-campus students can download ESP software from the Web by using EmoryConnect.

Creating an ESP account is easy for students. New students create one automatically this year when they activate their Dooley/Eagle account. Returning students simply select the Network ID Creation and Maintenance option within InfoCentral and enter their current Dooley/Eagle login and password. Their account is active within 15 minutes.

Effective security measures are in place to ensure the privacy of passwords. To simplify access, ESP logins and passwords are synchronized with Dooley/Eagle passwords to provide a single, logical login user ID for access to all services.

Emory faculty and staff may soon be able to take advantage of InfoCentral technology as well. ITD is currently investigating the feasibility of providing personnel information such as benefits and salary directly to Emory employees. Additional extensions to the services provided for students are also being planned. To further simplify both the use and support of the InfoCentral environment, direct access using a Web browser is also under investigation.

ESP conveniently provides students with a single source for pertinent information that is vital to their success at Emory. It also improves the accuracy of student information to the University by allowing students to enter information directly into University databases and thereby eliminating possible errors than can come from keying in paper forms. The ESP service provides accurate and timely information to students on campus or off, at almost any time of the day or night that they find convenient.

If you have additional questions about the ESP service, call the Information Center at 727-5250 or look at the ESP Web page at < ESP/>.

Renee Daehler is assistant computer lab manager in ITD Computing,
and Susan Ament works in ITD Information Systems.

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