Surfing the Banweb: navigating the PSU e-structure

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Illustration by Ella Higgins

Whether you’re a longtime or newbie Viking, you’ve got a lot to learn about the online systems that rule our school. Portland State’s Desire 2 Learn, or D2L, system, one of the two main online systems used by students and faculty, got an aesthetic face-lift on June 21 as “D2L Daylight,” which was designed to be more mobile/tablet friendly and more closely match the system used by Portland Community College students, who often dual-enroll in the college and university, or transfer directly from one into the other. It’s the biggest change to D2L since PSU switched to the operating system from Blackboard in 2010.

D2L is used for interaction with your classes: Professors post class lectures, host forum discussion posts, receive assignments uploaded from students, and interact with students using an in-platform email system to update them on grades, especially if students do not use their ODIN accounts (more on that in a bit).

The other system, Banweb, has been used on campus since 1996 and hosts numerous functions related to PSU students’ longer-term academic careers. DARS reports, grades, scheduling, registration, tax forms, student employment forms, financial aid and numerous other functions take place within Banweb.

What’s an ODIN account, what are DARS audits, what is OIT and who is Victor E. Viking? These are just some of the questions PSU students still ask long after orientation.

D2L, Banweb, DARS and ODIN

In addition to D2L’s aforementioned functions, D2L Daylight now gives students more direct access to their Odin account. Your Odin account is your PSU-owned Gmail account and Google Drive. Your username is some variation of your first and/or last name, followed by @ pdx [dot] edu. In addition to giving you a new email account to set up retail samples and social media login credentials, your Odin account is an easier way to keep in touch with professors and classmates, whose Odin accounts are semi-searchable when drafting an email.

Your Odin username is also used for other PSU intranets, like OrgSync, used to connect students and faculty with SALP and SFC-funded groups, clubs and organizations; and Handshake, which recently replaced Career Connect as PSU’s employment portal for student jobs and internships. D2L also hosts required student and student-employee training modules, like awareness on phishing protections, sexual harassment & assault and unlawful harassment & discrimination.

With Banweb, students can update their contact information, academic major(s) et al., pay their tuition via a third-party site, accept financial aid, find tax forms like the 1098-T, enter time sheets for related student jobs, review their grades, enroll in classes and run a DARS.

The Degree Auditing Report System, or DARS, helps students and their advisers track their academic progress by identifying what classes are still needed to complete university and degree requirements: students can see their GPA and keep track of other requirements related to a bachelor of arts or science (e.g. tracking math/science or language requirements) in any major or minor. While students can run a DARS on their own, the system is known to occasionally be buggy, so it’s important to at least periodically review your DARS with an adviser in your program. A common error students make is not entering the correct catalog year for their program; this error can be compounded if students have dropped out of PSU and return after a number of years.

Who is Victor E. Viking?

Along with the Odin account and the Ondine building, PSU’s love for Norse mythology is embodied by our mascot, Victor E. Viking. Victor E. Viking is the name of three American Viking mascots: Western Washington University’s Victor was born first in 1923, and has a backstory to include his favorite ice cream; then comes PSU’s Victor in 1946 when, according to Urban Dictionary, a student came to an athletic game dressed as a Viking; finally came Northern Kentucky University’s, which was born in approximately 1968. Whereas WWU and NKU’s Victors have undergone aesthetic redesigns to appear softer and friendlier as potential reactions to backlash over the history of Norse imagery, PSU’s Victor now looks more rugged and hard-faced, perhaps as a reaction to Oregon’s top two mascots being the monstrous Duck and the ferocious Beaver. PSU’s Victor is the most active on social media, being represented on almost all platforms. I like to think Victor dreams big, despite almost nobody outside the sports world realizing that he exists, even though he and his classmates get roughly 25 percent of all SFC funds.

What if I still have questions?

The Office of Information Technology, or OIT, in Smith Memorial Student Union, room 18, handles ODIN password resets and account access, among other functions. You can call or visit them in person with any questions you have, and you can also visit them to check out certain A/V or tech equipment with your student account, like memory card readers, cables and other auxiliary devices.

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