New Student WWW Service Launched at A&M International

Students at Texas A&M International University will now have a version of the University's World Wide Web Home Page specifically created to address their needs.

The new service provides students with direct on-line Internet access to course availability, financial aid information, personal address information, updated schedules, unofficial transcript information, account balances, holds, grades and even provides for online admission application.

The service is the first of its kind in The Texas A&M University System and among two active systems in the State, said Dr. Stephen Brown, Dean of Student Affairs. It will be launched Oct. 27.

"This will be the first program of its kind in The Texas A&M University Sytem and our pilot project is being eagerly viewed by other universities. It works as a private, security coded link from our Home Page that will allow students direct access to information they need. Online information access is the standard of information retrieval now and we are happy to provide students with this service. We will also soon be adding direct registration via this service," Dr. Brown explained.

Brown said the effort was the result of a strong developmental partnership between the Division of Student Affairs and the University's Office of Computer and Telecommunications Services.

"This has been an incredibly interesting research and development effort and we believe that our students will be duly impressed by our investment in and utilization of today's technology. On-line access will translate into real-time savings to our University including reduction in paper and staff time and resources," he said.

Brown noted that a contest has been launched among the student body to name the new service and training sessions for its use are already underway.

"We'll be offering a $200 book scholarship to the winning nomination that provides a name for this service. We've already had some interesting entries and hope to render a decision soon," Brown explained.

A&M International president Charles Jennett said the University has had a distinct advantage in planning its technology commitment into every aspect of the new University's design and construction.

"It's not many universities that can make such commitments from the start. We've embraced an open-ended technology architecture built upon a fiber optic data backbone that allows the University the flexibility to embrace new and developing technologies, assuring that the University remains on the cutting edge of communications and computing technology," he explained.

Jennett said this has helped enable the University to continue to offer new services and capabilities and strengthen its linkages to other educational communities.

"For example, we're now linking with other school systems in our area to help assure that education can have true K-lifetime access to resources," he noted.

The new initiative will further capitalize on existing technology that includes over 900 computers on-campus, 8 student labs, academic enrichment center and library workstations, email and Internet access for all students, faculty and staff, the Trans Texas Television Network (TTVN), which affords telecommunication and teleconferencing capabilities, and a constantly growing World Wide Web presence.

Current student access computers allow A&M International students an on-ramp to the information superhighway, including access to Internet information, multi-media abilities, other library holdings and more. The University's student housing complex, University Village, also includes free Internet student access with full T1 access in all student rooms and an on-site computer lab.

A&M International launched its own HomePage on the World Wide Web over two years ago, allowing browsers worldwide information on Texas's newest University. University Home Page visitors can now read the University's history, follow a map to the University's new campus, learn about its degree programs, request an undergraduate or graduate application or read about research efforts of faculty.

The Home Page also includes an interactive Online Calendar of University events, current and archived news and information about the University, a floor-by-floor library tour, faculty profiles, special services for journalists, and, of course, email addresses for all members of the University community, including students, faculty and staff. Individual Home Pages for many faculty and staff have now been authored.

Additional links can take visitors to the University's research initiatives such as the Office for US-Mexico Relations, Border Trade Institute or Center for the Study of Western Hemispheric Trade. Links to other information sites on other Home Pages such as those of The Texas

A&M University System, and foreign study campuses are also possible.

For additional information on the new student service, please contact the Division of Student Affairs at 956.326.2275.

University office hours are from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at pais@tamiu.edu