Ellingsburg University Portal Project: E-Link and its role on Campus Philip Duhart, Office of Communications Ednisha Knighten, Faculty Senate President Denise Williams, Residence Life Director Ellingsburg University Portal Proposal What is a portal? • “Portal” in Latin translates to a gate or gateway which is a great metaphor for an internet portal (University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill). • A portal “provides users with broad access to an array of internet tools as well as deep access to tools specific to a user’s educational role” (Fickes, 2001) • A portal allows users to handle business such as paying bills and updating university information online as well as organize Email, chat groups and class information Ellingsburg University Portal Proposal Why a portal system rather than a website? Howard Strauss (As cited in Fickes, 2001) said, “When you move from a webpage to a portal, you move from a tool that is institution-centric to one that is user-centric” A portal allows students immediate access to information that is pertinent to their collegiate experience, while at the same time challenging the student to utilize all facets of the module. Additionally, it saves time by bringing campus wide resources to a central location for end users. An Ellingsburg Portal Goals for an Ellingsburg portal: Increase connections between students, faculty, alumni, parents, and administration Facilitate open learning environment Student empowerment to personalize the university experience through groups, activities and resources. Connecting students to a large network of alumni Encourage giving from parents and alumni to support the university. An Ellingsburg Portal E-Link, the proposed name for Ellingsburg University’s portal system, would be available from the university homepage. E-Link includes customized pages for students, faculty/staff, parents and families, prospective students and alumni. Sites for Best Practice Across the country, colleges and universities are developing portal systems. Below are examples of excellent modules from which to draw ideas. University of Washington http://myuw.washington.edu University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill https://my.unc.edu:4448/portal/page?_pageid=33,3240 8,33_32412&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL Emory University http://it.emory.edu/showdoc.cfm?docid=722 E-Link After reviewing current institution’s portal systems, current research both within and outside of education and examining the needs of possible users, committee members drafted portal pages for each user category. Each page displays standard links which could be offered to each user as well as customizable options Sign In Sign-In Features Single Sign-in allows the user to access all authorized fields with one sign in Students, Faculty and Staff register using a university Email and pin to establish identity Parents, Alumni and Prospective Students register using a created username and verified through an outside Email address When registering, users identify which optional features they desire and specify the name to appear at log-in on bulletin board postings Student Standard Student Portal Features E-mail WebCT Online assignments, syllabi, discussion boards, research materials My E-Drive Online disk drive for students and staff in order to save documents to a university wide server Residence Life Access to student accounts, building and department announcements, Code of Contact and Roommate Information Student Accounts University Bill Pay, Registration, Student Insurance, Financial Aid Library Link to Library website, Reminders about due and overdue books Degree Program Status Review Grade Report, See Remaining Degree Requirements My Groups Campus wide and private and public group chats Optional Student Portal Features Scrolling Daily Activities List Activities registered across campus to encourage student involvement Students who become more involved on campus are more likely to succeed in college (Astin, 1985 as cited in Strange & Banning, 2001) Weather Student/Staff Directory Search Tool My Links Customizable space on the page for personal interest links. Dining Hall Menu Daily Headlines Faculty/Staff Standard Faculty/Staff Portal Features E-mail WebCT Post Syllabi, Grades and Class resource materials, Class Discussion Boards My E-Drive Employee/Personnel Services Human Resources, Payroll, Vacation/Sick Leave, Tax Information Faculty/Staff Handbook Classroom Services Class lists, Technology Services, Textbook ordering from Bookstore Optional Faculty/Staff Portal Features Calendar/Daily Schedule Scrolling Daily Activities List Activities registered across campus Weather Student/Staff Directory Search Tool My Links Customizable space on the page for personal interest links Daily Headlines Prospective Student Standard Prospective Student Portal Features Ellingsburg University Fact Book Residence Hall Information Application Materials/Status Plan A Campus Visit Virtual Tour Community Information Chamber of Commerce, City Newspaper, Maps Chat With A Student Live chat areas with current students Ask an Admissions Counselor Forum to post questions of current admissions counselors Optional Prospective Student Portal Features Weather My Majors Center to collect profiles of majors across campus including class lists, research in departments and career options with each career My Ellingsburg Center to collect links to campus entities such as clubs or offices of interest Daily Headlines Parents and Families Standard Parent and Family Portal Features Parent Association Groups/Bulletin Boards Student Accounts Students may allow access to a parent or family account for a specified amount of time in order to pay accounts or view grade reports using a student provided password Campus Resource List Resources for managing the family transition Give to Ellingsburg University Link to the University Foundation Optional Parent and Family Portal Features Scrolling Daily Activities List Weather Campus Webcam Picture Updated Daily My Links Customizable space on the page for personal interest links Daily Headlines Alumni Standard Alumni Portal Features Alumni Connection Alumni groups and bulletin boards Class Groups Campus Traditions Website Homecoming information Volunteer Opportunities, schedule of events Give to Ellingsburg Alumni Directory Search Search all registered alumni Optional Alumni Portal Features Weather Campus Webcam Updated Daily My Links Customizable space on the page for personal interest links Daily Headlines Systems Communicating within E- Link Internal Systems Those operating completely within the confines of E- Link External Systems Those systems that exist separately and are accessible through a link in E-Link Co-Existing Systems Those systems than are accessed through outside systems as well as through E-Link Internal Systems My E-drive My Links collection Calendar My Groups Bulletin Boards Chat with Current Students Bulletin Board Groups Parent Resource Boards External Systems WebCT Library System Registrar Services Donating to Ellingsburg Application Materials/Status Co-Existing Systems Student Accounts E-Mail Employee/Personnel Services Student Activities Listing Initial Planning A committee must be formed coupling both end-user needs and technological availability. The degree of success of a portal divides into four categories: Quality of Content Quality of Interface (Ease of use) Quality of Infrastructure (Speed of response) Degree of Coupling with Established Systems (Johnson, 2001) Each of which needs to be addressed throughout the project. Detailed Planning, Implementation and Assessment Planning Step 1: Identify Stakeholders Students, faculty, parents association, alumni association, university database system (ie, banner, people-soft, etc), technology director, foundation, registrar, housing, libraries, human resources Step 2: Conduct focus groups with stakeholders to identify needs, preferred services, etc. Step 3: Technology Director and Portal committee meet with internal IT/web developers or external portal company to determine which features will be supported within the system Detailed Planning, Implementation and Assessment Implementation Step 1: Launch E-link as a pilot to a randomly selected group of students and faculty Step 2: Assess usage either by tracking pilot user’s usage of E-link or through surveys after 3 months Step 3: After a successful pilot program, launch E-link to all student and faculty users, adding parent, prospective and alumni pages after a given amount of assessment from the first full launch. Current faculty, staff and students will learn the system through an Email tutorial, from the university homepage or through a mailing Prospective students, parents and family and alumni users would be notified through mail or Email Detailed Planning, Implementation and Assessment Assessment Step 1: Six months after the full launch, a brief survey will appear as a pop-up or sub-screen when users log in. Step 2: Analyze survey data to determine needed alterations and the traffic of specific functions. Possible Challenges Funding the project Possible options might be a raise in student technology fees or positing a percentage of donations made through E-link back to the module Taking a “dot.com” approach to design and actively selling the module to users (NetResults, 2001). Writing software that can integrate current university computer systems (Fiskes, 2001). Managing on-line safety issues such as fraudulent sign on, identity theft or internet stalking (Strange & Banning, 2001) Working with software companies to create a well- supported module (Olsen, 2002) Hopeful Outcomes A stronger campus community through customized groups and bulletin boards Communities are made up of people who come together with a shared purpose (Mieszkowski, 2000) A campus community more accessible to adult and nontraditional students who may be utilizing e-learning more than traditional age students (NetResults, 2001) Students more engaged in campus communities, learning environments and more knowledgeable of resources A more accessible resource to students, faculty, alumni, parents and prospective students Linking the academic aspects of campus with student affairs entities in a user-friendly, more seamless way for students and faculty (Casile, 2004) References Casile, L. (2004). Portal makes university more user friendly. Distance education report, 8(1), 8. Fickes, M. (2001). The power of portals. College Planning & Management, Feb., 43-45. Johnson, K. (2001). A river runs through it: considerations and issued when evaluating student portals. Studentaffairs on-line, 2 (1), 1-3. Mieszkowski, K. (2000). What does it take to build an online community? Fast Company, Sep., 369-375. NetResults. (2001). Designing campus portals – From a student affairs perspective. NetResults. Olsen, F. (2002). U. of Michigan Cancels Portal Project. Chronicle of higher education, 48(33), pA38, 2/3p. Strange, C. C., & Banning, J. H. (2001). Educating by design: Creating campus learning environments that work. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. T H E Journal. (2002). Profile: University of Washington’s MyUWClass Web Portal. T H E Journal, 30(2), 34. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. www.help.unc.edu Thank you for your time and consideration.
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