Wednesday, May 1, 2013

CUNY First Already Failing at BC

In another victory for administrative incompetence at CUNY Central, Brooklyn College faculty learned this week of another capability we used to have that CUNY First will eliminate. For the last several years BC faculty have been able to access student photos along with their class rosters. This feature is extremely useful in large class sections and some faculty even produce seating charts to help them remember student names more quickly. It can also be a big help when evaluating class participation.

CUNY First in its drive to commonality at the lowest common denominator cannot reproduce this function.

Perhaps more importantly, CUNY First will not produce rosters with the email addresses that students actually use, since it will only display official CUNY email address assigned to students when they are admitted. Since almost all entering students already have email addresses, this is extremely counterproductive.

To its credit ITS at Brooklyn College is developing a series of workarounds to preserve these services by funneling the CUNY First data back into the BC Portal. That means that for some things you’ll need to go to the Portal and for others CUNY First. For faculty this means more work, more confusion, and a less seamless experience of managing student data. The opposite of what we were promised by CUNY Central.

Finally, CUNY is still reporting that many students who log into CUNY First are seeing the logo of other colleges on their CUNY First start up page after they claim their CUNY First ID. This is because CUNY bought off the shelf software designed for others and has been desperately, and in many cases unsuccessfully, trying to adopt it to one of the largest and most complex university systems in the world. Why? So they can exert greater centralized control over curriculum, budgets, and student data. For more see our earlier post on CUNY First.

If you know about more failures with the CUNY First system, please let us know:

Below is Mark Gold’s email to faculty:

CUNYfirst Class Rosters

The rosters available within CUNYfirst do not have student photos or alternate email addresses and CUNY has no timeline for enhancing them.

Since these are critical resources for BC faculty, ITS has worked to feed daily CUNYfirst data extracts to the BC Portal rosters.  The legacy rosters with photos and alternate email addresses are available on the WebCentral portal HOME page in the "My Teaching Schedule & Rosters" channel.  They are now available for Spring 2013, and will be available for Summer and Fall 2013.  Note that starting with Spring 2013, student EMPLID's have replaced the legacy SS #'s.

Please note that CUNY has just migrated hundreds of thousands of complex student records to a new system, where information is stored with new values and in new ways.  Our analysis indicates that the quality of the data we are receiving is good, but we fully expect to continue finding conversion issues for months to come.   If you think you see any anomalous or incorrect information on your rosters, please do not hesitate to alert me at, so we can investigate.

1 comment:

  1. The BC Portal is currently reporting: "CUNYfirst works best with Firefox v3.0 and later, Internet Explorer v7, 8, 9, and Safari v3,4,5. Do NOT use Google Chrome! Make sure your browser is set to allow pop-ups from the CUNYfirst site."

    That's right. CUNYfirst doesn't work with Chrome.

    So, CUNY adopts a enterprise management system that doesn't work on the most popular browser used today. Hmmm...