Tips for Using Omnivox that Will Make You Hate Your Life Less

Perhaps I should have written this post when most of my friends were still in CEGEP, but it might still be helpful for those searching for “I hate omnivox OMG save me” on Google. For those not living in Quebec or not attending CEGEP, Omnivox is an all around student management program, which is apparently designed specifically for the Quebec CEGEP system. It comes with a fresh, shiny interface that is all but completely useless, and which is phrased in the annoying manner in which Windows used to tell you “You’re not smart enough to access these files” when you click on “C:\” in My Computer. Furthermore, Omnivox apparently serves the website from their servers, which means that the URL is annoying to type in (especially when your school is called “Marianopolis” like mine was,) and that whenever the system goes down, the school has to wait for Omnivox to fix it. I’m not known as a person who likes Moodle (a similar student management program,) but at least it’s interface is more or less efficient.

So here are some tips and tricks to make Omnivox a little less annoying.

  • First thing’s first: kill that annoying URL. In Firefox, click on “Bookmarks-> Organize Bookmarks.” Then click on the “Unsorted Bookmarks” item (unless you want it in you toolbar or somewhere else,) and in the right hand box, right click and create a new bookmark. In the name, type whatever you want. In Location type your school’s URL for Omnivox (e.g. http://marianopolis.omnivox.ca). Now, in the keyword box, type “omnivox” (no quotes). If you can’t see the keyword box, click on the more options arrow. Click add. Now whenever you type “omnivox” in the URL bar, Firefox will go straight to your school’s omnivox site. If you don’t have Firefox get Firefox.
  • Second, you’ll undoubtedly have quite a few teachers who like to send you MIO’s (Message In Omnivox.) Because you don’t want to check you MIO all the time, go into MIO, click on settings, and under the heading E-mail Notification, type in your e-mail address and click the check box. Save the settings, and you will be notified by email every time you get a new MIO. Sadly,MIO isn’t quite as user-friendly as Facebook, and you won’t get the body of the MIO in the notification, just a message that you have one and should read it RIGHT NOW. (By the way, Facebook’s interface isn’t a model of efficiency either. I suspect this is on purpose… but thats a subject for another post.)
  • Third, never clear your browser cache after you sign out of Omnivox unless you’re on a public computer or have computer safety concerns. You probably should, but personally I have never done this and never intend to. If you’re using your computer, and if your computer is adequately protected from viruses (or you use Mac or Linux,) you’re not going to have a problem.
  • You may have noticed that Omnivox will log you out after you’ve been inactive for a certain period of time. This is really annoying and totally unnecessary, but that’s what it does. However, last time I checked, it will not log you out if you’re in MIO, so when you’re going to leave Omnivox open for a while, head over to MIO and let it chill there until you need it again.
  • Logging in is also a pain, because Firefox can’t enter your student number and PIN for you. Whether this is a “feature” intended to make things more secure, or there’s something weird going on in the site’s code that prevents it from working I have no idea. I’ve been meaning to write a Greasemonkey script for Firefox to at least enter your student ID automatically, but I haven’t had time thus far. If I get a chance I’ll post it here.

Every time I use Omnivox I cringe, because of how unnecessarily complicated the interface is. If someone from Skytech is reading this, I will help you make your interface more efficient from a user’s perspective. Contact me.

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9 thoughts on “Tips for Using Omnivox that Will Make You Hate Your Life Less

  1. Maybe I was just used to omnivox, but I find *myconcordia* much less user friendly, and harder to navigate, also it will only let you open one course’s page at a time, which makes multitasking harder ;p but really i just don’t find it as easy to use as omnivox…

  2. This post addressed my concerns, so thanks (except it seems like the MIO thing doesn’t work for me). Anyways, I’d like to know if you’ve got any tips for choosing the right teacher for a course. There’s only 24 hours between my orientation and the registration and I’m not sure if the orientation talks about that.

    • Glad I could help!

      They’ll tell you _how_ to register, but they won’t tell you how to pick your teachers. After a semester or two, you’ll get to know who the good teachers are and who to avoid. In the meantime, however, RateMyTeachers is your friend, no matter what people say about it. The comments are good too, because sometimes a teaching style that disagrees with other people will be perfect for you. Also, you won’t always be able to make your schedule just the way you want it, or with just the right teachers. You’ll have to compromise sometimes. Still, I would say that it’s better to take classes with two half way decent teachers than with one fantastic teacher and one horrible teacher.

      The thing to remember is that no matter who your teachers are, you’ll find a way to get through it. Marianopolis has good and bad teachers, but I’d say they’re all at or above a pretty high standard. The same can’t always be said for University ;).

  3. We are having trouble retrieving messages on omnivox. Keeps saying my cp is not accepting cookies. When i follow the instruction it still does not work. I have explorer 9 and the remedy is mark for explore 6. Any suggestion?

    • I would try using Firefox, because 1) I know next to nothing about IE, and 2) maybe it will give you some new or different informations about the problem. Good luck!

  4. Web developer here. There’s a reason for the last points in there.

    Omnivox logs you off because it’s expected to run on public computers frequently, and has a lot of information not intended to be shared. From a security standpoint, I’d be angered if it was anything less than that.

    As for not remembering you login info, the same reason applies.

    The cache clearing is just a cover-your-ass measure from their part, as far as I know.

    All in all, Omnivox is miles ahead of what we previously had, and has surprisingly little problems for an all-encompassing web application. It could be faster, but all in all, it’s intuitive enough, and works pretty well. I’ve also had a chat with one of their guys once, and they handle security really well, something not as common as one would like to believe.

    • Thanks for your response! While I understand the reasons for these features, and I understand that it’s one of the better applications in its category, I feel like there is a user-developer disconnect. Most of this is probably because I’m a Linux user, and I like my applications to be streamlined for absolute efficiency (90% or more of my computer usage is exclusively through the keyboard.)

      It’s been a while since I’ve used Omnivox, and having used Moodle, WebCT Vista, and a new application that McGill has just implemented (not sure of the name,) I would say that Omnivox is definitely a close second in terms of usibility to whatever solution McGill is currently using. But I do think there is plenty of room for improvement in terms of workflow.

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