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For information about oZONE, contact ozoneinfo [at] ou [dot] edu.

For help with technical difficulty, contact ozonehelp [at] ou [dot] edu.

oZONE Implementation

Why did the university implement this portal?

oZONE builds a strong and flexible foundation of online services allows the University to continue meeting students’ ever-evolving needs. oZONE is also an answer to student feedback concerning accessibility and availability.

Accessibility: Prior to the launch of oZONE, students signed in separately to multiple, stand-alone systems. In oZONE, students access an integrated portfolio of critical University services with a single sign-in.

Availability: The previous enrollment system, enroll.ou.edu, ran on a thirty-year-old mainframe system. This underlying outdated system required enroll.ou.edu to be down after midnight and on Sundays and have the 15-minute delay in enrollment data display. In all, mainframe services were offline for 156 days each year! The OU Community can access oZONE anytime day or night thanks to real-time updates and integrated databases. Including occasional off-peak downtime for upgrades, availability increased more than 170 percent.

Ever-Evolving Services: Our services were good, and enroll.ou.edu was a great application. However, these services were developed independently and in-house over a 30-year period, which made any change or update difficult and costly. oZONE’s nationwide development infrastructure offers flexibility and cost-effectiveness in maintaining currency and creating or updating existing services.

Better Communication: The interactive features of the portal, such as targeted communications and the ability to create personalized views of OU information and services based on the individual user's needs, will promote communication and involvement that will reinforce the university's commitment to excellence. Students, faculty and staff will find information and utilize services that will enhance and simplify their lives at the University of Oklahoma.

Why did we implement oZONE when we did?

There is never a good time to stop operations and replace systems in areas that deal with student data. The activities of one term always overlap with the activities of another. Students who began at OU in fall 2009 applied and were admitted during the previous fall or spring semester, and students are often enrolled in one term while applying for financial aid and enrolling for the next. Compensating for these very tight schedules is the primary reason the project team selected a phased implementation. Even with a phased approach, however, a project this large requires a large and complicated transfer of over 30 years of data and services from the mainframe platform to oZONE. Because changes to student data would be limited during this time, the oZONE team strategically selected the period between fall 2009 add/drop and advanced registration for spring 2010 to minimize potential impacts to critical business services.

Why did OU pick this system?

At the direction of OU administration, a group of functional and technical staff carefully analyzed the available student system packages and compared them with our potential for in-house development. Based on this group’s recommendations, the administration selected this system and this vendor as the best fit for OU.

Hundreds of other colleges and universities employ this same suite of products, which is a good indication of its power and scalability across a variety of environments as well as its ability to meet the needs of OU’s culture.

This partnership will help OU remain current with technological updates and patches and allow us to utilize enhancements developed for other institutions.

What changed and why?

Almost everything about how student data are gathered, viewed, manipulated, and stored is different through oZONE. For years, the University recognized that the current mainframe file structure was outdated and very expensive to maintain. Web-based applications such as Enroll and Student Services provided better presentation, but they were still limited by the underlying mainframe processes. The new student system channeled through oZONE is an integrated database system developed with the benefit of input from the thousands of other schools currently using this same package.

Why did the enrollment process have to change?

Enroll.ou.edu was a very functional web application, but it was running on a thirty-year-old mainframe system. That technology was no longer supported by any vendor, in-house maintenance was not a viable option, and the mainframe file structure severely limited any future development. The transition that took place in the underlying data structure set the stage for improvements that would have been impossible without this conversion.

The new enrollment system was designed by SunGard Higher Education developers and is just one part of a larger suite of products that the University administration selected based on the recommendations of a group of OU functional and technical staff. Hundreds of other colleges and universities employ this same suite of products, which is a good indication of its power and scalability across a variety of environments. This partnership will help OU remain current with technological updates and patches and allow us to utilize enhancements developed for other institutions.

The oZONE team is working with the system developers to add functionality, particularly trial schedules, as soon as possible. The main focus of this initial launch was to convert the existing data and establish core functionality. It is no easy task to convert 30 years of mainframe data and functionality to a new system in 30 months. In addition to electronically mapping and converting millions of pieces of student records data, the oZONE team also manually entered hundreds of thousands of pieces of course catalog and class schedule data. The implementation team followed the best practices of other schools by starting with the baseline system. Regardless of the package being implemented, the vast majority of schools report the most success by bringing up the baseline system as the initial launch. The team is now addressing usability improvements and adding additional functionality. Students, faculty, and staff who were at OU when enroll.ou.edu was launched may remember that it was not the robust system that it grew to be. That application evolved over time, and the new one will as well.

What had to happen to make this a reality?

All the current processes and data involving course offerings, class schedules, enrollment, tuition and fee payment, financial aid, grading, and so on had to be converted from the various stand-alone systems to a new integrated system.

How is it financed? Do students have to pay extra fees?

This new system is centrally financed as part of a larger mainframe migration plan from the central budget. It was necessary because of the aging technology, retirements of key personnel, and the high cost of maintenance on the aging systems. Students will not pay additional student fees to finance this project.

Although there is an upfront cost associated with this project, the University can recover some of those costs over time as we retire outdated legacy systems that are themselves very costly to sustain while offering no new features.

Are we adding additional staff to support this?

The oZONE team is a campuswide group of individuals representing numerous departments. These individuals each have different commitments to the team and different responsibilities from advisory roles to full-time application development.

At any given time, there are approximately 45-50 people working almost full time on the oZONE project (many are still keeping up with their day-to-day work as well). More than 250 people have contributed at least some portion of their time to the project thus far.

There will be a limited number of new hires to support, maintain and grow the new technologies being implemented and to support 24/7 access. Again, some of these costs are recovered by retiring the legacy systems.

When will oZONE be completed?

The last phase of the initial oZONE implementation was completed January 2010, but oZONE will constantly evolve to meet student needs and to remain viable, useful, informative, and fun for students to use. We will regularly release new oZONE channels, develop improvements within existing channels, partner with departments to enhance the personalized experience, work with students to increase our offerings, and measure available data to better serve our students and the OU community. It’s been said before but bears repeating: This is only the beginning. Our current systems and services did not start out fully developed. They improved over time – 30 years in some cases – and oZONE will do the same.

Questions for Students

What does the portal do for students?

The oZONE portal provides students with a way to take care of all their university business needs in one place. Students can use the system to:

  • Access all university business functions through one single sign-in with one username and password.
  • Interact with student clubs and organizations.
  • Access news, entertainment, and social applications such as the Oklahoma Daily, Sooner Sports, Facebook, news feeds, and more.
  • Update personal contact and emergency notification information.
  • Access university resources such as advisement, libraries, dining hall, and more.
  • Enroll online.
  • Print a class schedule.
  • Check grades.
  • Update personal information.
  • View academic transcripts.
  • Check financial aid information and track progress.
  • Pay tuition and fees.

How do I retrieve my PIN for my OU-FAN?

You do not need a PIN in order to view your OU-FAN in oZONE. If you are receiving this message, please e-mail oZONE help at ozonehelp@ou.edu. Please include your name and student ID number in your message.

Questions for Faculty and Staff

What does the portal do for faculty and staff?

The oZONE portal provides faculty and staff with secure access to the information needed to manage course information and advise students. Faculty and staff are able to use the system to:

  • Manage schedules
  • Search for students
  • View listings of active classes
  • Access class information
  • View assigned classes open for grading
  • Assign and report grades
  • Access enhanced reporting capabilities and data

I don't see all my classes in my Faculty Schedule channel or Faculty Dashboard channel. Why not?

The initial view of the Faculty Schedule channel is limited to five courses. Click the Weekly View link to see all the instructor's courses.

The Faculty Dashboard is limited to showing five courses. Click the second icon in the top-right corner of the channel to expand the channel, or click the More link at the bottom of the channel.

Can instructors upload grades from D2L or another course management system?

There are great benefits in being able to upload grades from an outside source, but that will have to be added. That capability rests essentially in the hands of the course management system provider. In the case of D2L, the company has not yet written the interface bridge to provide that capability. But when they do, we will make it a priority to incorporate this function in our processes. The grading process will be no different in regard to using D2L or another course management system because there is currently no upload capability. The big advantage to the new system for grading will be that grades will be entered online rather than on paper. The online grade reporting process provides two ways to enter and record a grade for a student. One of those options is to use a drop down menu and scroll to the appropriate grade. The other option is to directly type the grade in to the grade field for the student. This is equivalent in time and effort to writing the grade in the grade field on the paper grade sheet, still not ideal for large sections, not any more time-consuming.

Why can't instructors upload a text file of grades?

There is no generic upload process for text or data files for grades. There is too much variability in these kinds of files (in regard to format) for the package developers to write a generic interface. That kind of interface would have to be created either by the third-party provider (D2L, Blackboard) or by the institution for a generic format, and we do not have the resources to build the appropriate interface at this time.

Technical Questions

Will we use oZONE to manage OneCard card-swipe access?

No, the current OneCard management process will not change.

Can users access oZONE from mobile devices?

OU students, faculty, and staff can easily access the online services using a mobile device. However, oZONE will not feature a "lite" or true mobile version made specifically for these types of devices.

Will the new system work with any browser and with a Mac?

Yes, any computer with an Internet connection and a qualified browser will be able to access the system.

What do I do if I get a blank screen when I attempt to log in?

oZONE requires the Java Runtime Environment. Download the latest version of Java from Oracle at java.com.

What do I do if I get a "server failed" or "server down for maintenance" error when logging in to oZONE?

If you are getting these messages, please try to clear your cache.

For Internet Explorer 7:

  1. Click on Tools on the upper-right corner of the screen or press Alt-T to access the Tools menu.
  2. Select "Delete Browsing History."
  3. Click the Delete Files button next to the Temporary Internet Files option. Click OK on the confirmation window.
  4. Click the Delete Cookies button next to the Cookies option. Click OK on the confirmation window.
  5. Click Close and try accessing ozone.ou.edu again.

For Internet Explorer 8:

  1. Click on Safety on the upper-right corner of the screen or press Alt-T to access the Tools menu.
  2. Select "Delete Browsing History."
  3. Make sure that the boxes for temporary Internet files and cookies are checked. If you have oZONE stored in your Favorites, then turn off the check box for "Preserve Favorites website data."
  4. Click on the Delete button.
  5. Try to access ozone.ou.edu again.

For Mozilla Firefox:

  1. Click on Tools (or press Alt-T) in the menu on the top of the screen.
  2. Select Clear Private Data (Firefox 3) or Clear Recent History (Firefox 3.5 and after).
  3. Make sure that the Cookies and Cache boxes are checked. For Firefox 3.5 and after, set the time range to "Everything."
  4. Click "Clear Private Data Now" (Firefox 3) or "Clear Now" (Firefox 3.5 and after).
  5. Try accessing ozone.ou.edu again.

For Safari:

  1. On the Mac, click "Safari" on the menu bar at the top of the screen. On Windows, click the gear icon at the upper-right corner of the window (Safari 4 only). On Windows, if you have chosen to show the Menu Bar, then click on "Edit" at the top of the screen (or press Alt-E).
  2. Click on Reset Safari.
  3. Make sure that the boxes labeled "Empty the cache" and "Remove all cookies" are checked.
  4. Click on the Reset button.
  5. Try accessing ozone.ou.edu again.

For Google Chrome:

  1. Click on the Tools menu (the wrench icon) at the upper-right corner of the screen.
  2. Select "Options."
  3. Click on the tab labeled "Personal Stuff."
  4. Click on the option called "Clear browsing data."
  5. Make sure that the boxes labeled "Empty the cache" and "Delete cookies" are checked. On the drop-down box labeled "Clear data from this period," select Everything.
  6. Click "Clear browsing data."
  7. Try accessing ozone.ou.edu again.

What do I do if my oZONE session times out and does not allow me to reenter?

If you are getting these messages, please try to clear your cache. Follow the directions given in the previous section for your Web browser.