Agee: LioNet system ‘a wonderful improvement’ for University

LioNet will become a reality for Missouri Southern students April 2.

This new system will end the use of students’ social security numbers and make it easier for students and faculty to access more information. The Banner-based program will replace the current LionLink on Southern’s Web site. Students will have more options through the portal.

“We’ve had a lot of people doing a lot of hard work on this,” said Sandra Gieson, project manager of the Banner Software System. “We have really good technical people and good programmers who are very amazing.”

The transition phase began before last summer moving in stages through the campus called modules. The current change is activation for student use. Kevin Pyle, computer operator in the Computer Center said converting to the new equipment is a long and significant process.

“This is a big deal,” Pyle said. “After it’s done it’ll be more efficient. We wouldn’t be doing this if it wasn’t for the better.”

Dr. Terri Agee, vice president for business affairs, said this was definitely a good move.

“This is a wonderful improvement,” she said. “It’s something we’ve wanted for a long time.”

LioNet will possess all the options the current LionLink offers plus several more. Students will be able to:email, form groups, check financial aid status, graduation dates, transcripts, request transcripts, check on the transcript status, check personal information in the system, enroll in classes, drop classes and search to choose a specific instructor for any course. Gieson said students’ control over their accounts will not cause any trouble in the main scheme of the system.

“That’s the beauty of all of this; it’s all integrated, it all works together,” Gieson said. “Any changes you make it’s automatically going to be changed in the server.”

This system will not be completely laissez-faire however. Rules about the software will be posted like announcements.

“There are still going to be restrictions like there are now, like if you’re a freshman you can’t register online now, but if you are authorized to register yourself this is where you’ll do it,” Gieson said.

The format of the system is “user friendly” and the new features don’t apply just for students.

“There will be tabs across the top based on your role here at the University,” Gieson said. “If you’re an employee and faculty and a student you’ll have all of the tabs. Employees can fill out time sheets; faculty can help with registration, rosters or grades.”

This new system will not affect Blackboard. Gieson said this learning tool will continue to aid faculty. She also said LioNet’s security will be better than the current system.

“It’s all encrypted, it’s all very secure,” she said.

In order to keep security tight, new pin numbers and student ID’s will change. The University sent letters to students from the security office to inform them of the change. At a later date, another letter will be sent to the students with the new number.

“From now on, any new students will receive that when they get their acceptance letter,” Gieson said. “You’ll get two different letters, like when you get a credit card, in case someone who shouldn’t gets ahold of one of them.”

In the current mainframe system, students access degree audit by picking up their DARS report. In order to keep the new system connected, there will be a new degree audit called CAP (Curriculum Advising Planning).

“It’ll be very similar to the DARS, it’ll serve the same function it’ll just be integrated into this system,” Gieson said.

After April 2, Gieson’s work still will not be done.

The next module will be the alumni offices over summer.

During the Board of Governors meeting March 23, Agee said LioNet is working according to plan.

“We haven’t missed a deadline yet,” she said.

If students have any problems with Lionet, please call the help desk at the Computer Center. The first day of available online registration will be April 6.

“I think it’s going to be great,” Gieson said.