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eLion Gets a Grand, New Makeover

Penn State has finally heard the students’ pleas to change up some of the technology we use on a daily basis. As a College of Communications student, I have the opportunity to test out a brand spankin’ new version of…eLion. Were you expecting me to say ANGEL?

When I first logged into eLion, I was greeted with this screen, (while I was simultaneously getting fail whale’d by Twitter. Sigh.)

I liked that I was given the option to choose either the new eLion, or just continue using the old version. Of course, I also felt like an elitist, simply because of the message: “Your account has been selected to be a part of a unique pilot program introducing users to the newly redesigned eLion.” Felt good to be the 1%.

Moving along, as soon as I hit the  ‘Pilot eLion’ button, I was pleasantly surprised. Gone are the days of an web page whose appearance was stuck in the 90’s, and in its place was the Message Center. As soon as I logged in, I was greeted with messages, although I was disappointed to see that there wasn’t a notification that said I had a new message. That appeared to me much later, when I realized that it wasn’t from the Registar or Student Aid. A new feature on the Pilot eLion (or perhaps one I’d never noticed before) was the ‘Personal Messages’ section. What could that possibly mean?

When I clicked on the message that was from “PSU”, it appeared in an in-screen popup. That was nice. I like that it a.) didn’t take up the whole page, b.) didn’t appear in an actual popup window, and c.) the buttons weren’t massively overbearing.

Another thing that caught my eye was how minimalistic it was. I mean, with old eLion, it was words and words and words and words. With new eLion, there really isn’t a lot of distraction on the screen. Another feature I really like is that the sidebar has arrows to expand each section, thus saving you a LOT of time from searching for what you need to get to fast.

And of course, if there are subsections of eLion you frequent, like the Degree Audit function, you can save it to the ‘Favorite Services’ section. If you’ve logged in for the first time, and go into that section, you may be surprised to see some services already highlighted. Most of them are useful. Most of them are pretty basic quick-links that all PSU students should have easy access to, like ‘Final Exam Schedule,’ ‘Grades,’ ‘Schedule,’ and ‘Degree Audit.’ Those are already highlighted in the menu.

There’s only one strange thing about new eLion. In the ‘Registration’ section of the ‘Schedule’ tab, ‘Drop/Add’ and ‘Scheduling’ are combined, even though there’s still an independent part for ‘Drop/Add.’ Perhaps that’s a small bug that will be worked out when eLion rolls out to everybody across the board.

Finally, there’s the auto-fill search engine functionality. It’s great because all you have to do is type one, two, or three letters, and BAM. There’s the topic you’re searching for. It’s as easy as that.

It’s nice that eLion has a new look, and I’m hopeful that this will roll out to more students soon. I think it is much easier to use and navigate than the current site, and it is definitely a lot less cluttered. I also like how everything is much more simply laid out, and that it’s not in one giant list.

If you’re a College of Communications student, feel free to tweet out your views to @eLionPSU or email them at [email protected]. If you haven’t already, go check out the new look and feel of eLion!

Now if only the tech people here would do something about ANGEL, because #ANGELsucks.

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About the Author

Meghin Moore

Meghin is a senior majoring in Broadcast Journalism and minoring in English. She transferred from the Harrisburg campus as a junior to finish out her schooling at University Park. She has a passion for all things music, fashion, art, and food. She's a Pennsylvania native (born outside of Pittsburgh, and lived in Lebanon for 11 years), but resides in Virginia when she's not in school, and has moved a total of ten times in her life, mostly thanks to the military.

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