in Digital Web

Portal Solutions

What are some the best ones out there? Are there any open source tools that do some of the same things? I’ve used them and I’ve seen a few, but I’m looking for some of the thoughts of the “wider community” on portals and the thoughts on them. Not just the implementation, but the way that students interact with them.

I actually went in and looked at a few of the portals I’d been able to view in the past. They’re all enterprise solutions made by big companies. I have a bias against them by and large, but…I can see the value in them overall.

In my experience, students have always rebelled against them, because they’re redundant or riddled with features that they don’t use or don’t offer the sort of utility they want/need. I’m curious to what others are doing out there.

  1. A friend of mine joked in the past that there are very specific criteria for something to get in the portal.

    1) Does it help them get their records/registration info?
    2) Does it help them get their course work?
    3) Does it help them get their e-mail?

    There is a potential 4, but we don’t feel we can compete with the social networks on the “hook-up” criteria.

  2. Thanks for the feedback! We’re just exploring different options. I have my own partisan biases towards portals, having used them at a few institutions prior to this one. I’m not even implementing this one. I’m just part of the conversations and wanted to get some “field thoughts” because I feel like there might be ideas we’ve not considered.

  3. We run uPortal. It’s more of a framework than a product though. We’ve kept things very simple. We don’t build applications in the portal, the portal is how you get to all your apps.

    * PeopleSoft
    * WebCT/Blackboard Vista LMS
    * E-Mail

    All of these are standalone applications and would be hard to fit into a portal channel, so we don’t do that.

    We use Google Analytics to see how the portal is being used. Students go to specific pages when they need to. They don’t just login to the portal to see what’s going on. They have Facebook/MySpace/whatever for that. Don’t think that your students will “hang out” in the portal. They are there to complete tasks. Don’t get in their way!

  4. I’m a fan of Virginia Tech’s My VT:

    My VT Description

    My VT tour with screenshots

    I spoke with the My VT designer/coder a few years ago because I was searching for an alternative to SCT’s Luminis portal (the default Luminis portal is a prime example of a student unfriendly and inaccessible portal system…).

    My VT is based off of uPortal.

Comments are closed.