Planning system Mapper 'on life support,' says EIS director

Written by: 
Emmalee Smith

The student scheduling system Mapper is in a fragile state and could end in a matter of days with the upgrade of the PeopleSoft Student System, according to Jeff Strain, Enterprise Information Systems director. He said Mapper is hard to maintain and is not up to date due to the uniqueness of the system.


We have it on life support,” said Strain, “and hope to keep it there until the move to Workday. The upgrade to the PeopleSoft student system, where Mapper gets most of its data, is not going to be friendly to such a fragile system.


If it does die, we have something to fall back on. And the good part is it’s easier to switch from PeopleSoft to Workday. … We can’t go to Workday yet because their feature is new, but in two years we’ll hopefully get to that.”


Don Colton, the retired dean of computer science at BYUH, made Mapper about 20 years ago, said Strain. When Colton retired, EIS was left to keep up the program, which Strain explained was created in a language that hasn’t been used to create other websites.


“Mapper doesn’t make sense for such a small school to keep up with,” Strain added. EIS has contracted with Don Colton to help with certain break fixes.


Mapper is custom and we’re the only school using it. The new student center is PeopleSoft where a lot of the functionality is Mapper-like. It’s more student focused. They would decide their schedule themselves and then take the map to the advisor. Mapper is unique in that it requires the advisor to create the map rather than the student.”


The decision was made in 2016 to use functionality in PeopleSoft in the case that mapper died, said Strain. Now, they just have to configure the system and release the functionality.


Rose Ram, the associate academic vice president for curriculum, said the advisers are working very hard on switching all the information from Mapper to PeopleSoft.


Randy Olson, a junior from California studying finance, said, “[Mapper] doesn’t seem user friendly. I really had to focus to find things so I could organize my life. I’d highly recommend [the switch]. Change is good. We can’t progress without change.”


Shimran Sharma, a freshman from Fiji studying biomedicine, said when she first started Mapper, “I found it confusing, I couldn’t get it.” She had her friend explain it to her for her first semester. “It needs updating. With every new change there’s always complaints, but change is good.”


Strain compared the change to switching browsers from something you’re used to such as Chrome to something different like Internet Explorer. “They both do the same thing just in a different way,” he said, “and much more complex”.


Adam Lehi Aloc, a senior from the Philippines double majoring in business and hospitality and tourism management, said, “I’m glad because I’m graduating so I don’t have to go through changes. I will miss Mapper because I’ve been using it my entire stay here and I’m used to it.


“I think they should have trained someone to handle Mapper. But it’s good because PeopleSoft is what they use in the office for finance and HR.”


The new system will allow the students more control of their class schedule, said Strain, and allow them to plan their semester and take it to their advisor to review.


PeopleSoft Student System was upgraded on Saturday, Feb. 17.

Date Published: 
Saturday, March 24, 2018
Last Edited: 
Saturday, March 24, 2018