The websites need to be condensed, simplified and more user-friendly.


Something students and faculty all share at South Dakota State University is the struggle of navigating and using a ridiculous amount of websites day to day.

SDSU has five websites that students and faculty are expected to understand and use often. These include: Starfish, Desire2Learn (D2L), WebAdvisor, MyState and newly-added Jacks Club Hub, and we cannot fail to mention the recently updated, but incomplete, SDState website as well as its app for mobile devices (Yes, there is an SDState app).

We, at The Collegian believe that five different websites is far too many to productively use and understand.

Each one has a specific purpose, we think. But that’s the problem. There are just too many to fully know how to use each one. And aren’t used enough to credit constant maintenance of all five websites.

For many new students, including freshmen, transfer students and international students, trying to adjust to life at SDSU is not the easiest feat. Learning that D2L is mainly for classes, Starfish can be used for setting up appointments and Jacks Club Hub is for student organizations takes time and patience.

We, at The Collegian want to remind all the students and faculty of SDSU that patience is key. 

Navigating the newly-updated MyState dashboard takes patience. Searching for contact information on SDState’s website that was once there but is now gone takes patience. Learning how each professor every semester uses, or does not use, D2L takes patience. Setting up appointments via Starfish takes a lot of patience. And trying to use any of these websites on your phone will take all of your patience.

Not only are there too many websites in general, the current websites are not user-friendly. The user-interface is generally lacking and mobile apps are either non-existent or don’t work correctly.

That is why we, at The Collegian, believe the university needs to dedicate more time and effort into user-friendly websites.

The problem with the ridiculous amount of websites at SDSU is that it does not only affect students, but also faculty. Every semester, professors come and some professors go. It’s inevitable. Unfortunately, for these incoming professors, some will not receive proper training on how to use each site.

The lack of training does not only frustrate the faculty, but also students. This disconnect over D2L negatively impacts classes. Many students have found that their professors use D2L differently for each class. Some professors fully understand its capabilities, but most do not.

Some of the inconsistencies include not using the content tab correctly, only using the homepage and not using the content tab at all or not having a syllabus in the correct spot on the homepage.

Either way, it’s problematic. Incoming professors need to be adequately trained on the websites they are expected to use, like D2L.

We, at The Collegian, think some of these difficulties mentioned could be alleviated if a few websites were combined or decommissioned.

Although we don’t know the exact amount of money spent by the university to maintain these websites, it’d probably save a lot by combining them when some websites like Starfish or MyState are only used on special occasions. Getting rid of Starfish overall and sticking to email or face-to-face interaction for setting up appointments makes much more sense.

We, at The Collegian, believe these types of solutions would help new students overcome confusion as they adjust to life at SDSU, and strengthen communication and understanding between students and faculty.

Collegian Poll:

10 staff members of The Collegian were polled about which of the following websites they’ve used, and for what purposes, throughout the current academic year thus far (August to March).

  • Starfish – 3
    • Advising and academic-related appointments
  • D2L – 10 
    • Everyday assignments, discussion posts, checking grades and emailing professors
  • WebAdvisor – 9
    • Registering for classes, tuition, class schedules and scholarships
  • MyState – 7
    • Parking tickets, housing, meal plans and graduation applications
  • Jacks Club Hub – 7
    • Registering members for an organization, mainly used only because it is new this school year