DartHub to replace BannerStudent

by Eileen Brady | 4/6/18 2:30am


On April 16, Banner Student will undergo its first update in a series of upcoming changes. Banner, the College’s student information system, will be renamed DartHub and have a redesigned home page that gives students the option to customize features. After this initial remodel, the College will continue to redesign the rest of the Banner system.

DartHub will be customized based on the school a student attends — the College of Arts and Sciences or one of Dartmouth’s graduate schools — and include the links that any given student likely uses most, according to student and academic systems director Samuel Cavallaro. A series of guiding videos will also be included in DartHub’s launch to introduce students to the new design and features, according to Cavallaro.

“Banner was implemented at Dartmouth in the nineties and was way overdue to be upgraded,” said Cavallaro.

He added that Dartmouth Information, Technology and Consulting wanted to provide a more modern and usable user interface with the update, in addition to incorporating student feedback. Implemented suggestions include a calendar feature that can set reminders and the ability to access students’ discretionary spending fund information on the site.

Cavallaro said that student input was key to the upgrade and was sought at every stage of the process. Once initial versions of DartHub had been created based on student-created mock-ups, other students from all Dartmouth schools were asked to react and give feedback. The feedback process shaped DartHub into the version that will be released on April 16, according to Cavallaro.

In fact, Cavallaro said the task to update Banner began 18 months ago when it was suggested by “Improve Dartmouth,” a student group that funnels ideas for change on campus from members of the community to the College administration. Cavallaro’s team was then approached by a group of Dartmouth computer science students who had the same goal.

At the time, Cavallaro said that it would be difficult to implement changes to Banner, given its framework. Roughly six months after the initial suggestions for change were made, however, the Banner vendor released a software update that allowed the College to redesign the system, Cavallaro said.

“It was perfect timing for what our students were telling us,” he said. “This allowed us to spin off a project to start addressing the needs.”

Even after the launch on April 16, ITC will be seeking student feedback, according to College vice president and chief information officer Mitch Davis.

“This is only the first stage,” Davis said. “We want to know, ‘Is this the right path?’ If it isn’t, we hope students will give us some feedback.” He added that feedback can be given through a tab on DartHub or directly through emails to Davis or the ITC team.

Sharidan Russell ’18 said she had seen the publicity for the launch and hopes the update includes a better-looking interface, as the current one seems “outdated.” After seeing the promotional DartHub video, she said it delivers.

“I really like the way it’s organized,” Russell said. “It seems ... easier to navigate and much more user-friendly. It went beyond what I was thinking.”

Armando Pulido ’19 said he is fine with the current Banner homepage and does not have any particular hopes for the update. After seeing the DartHub video, he identified trade-offs in the new design.

“I like that everything’s in one place,” he said. “I think if they’re going for simplicity, though, it’s a downgrade. I do think it makes things more accessible, as long as people know how to use it.”

ITC will upgrade Banner Student between April 14 at 7a.m. and April 16 at 8a.m.