Developing a Next-Generation Campus Web Portal

Educause 2009

Benjamin Costello – Manager of Web & eMedia Development, Information Technology Services , Ithaca College

David Weil – Director, Enterprise Application Services , Ithaca College

A bit of an ‘old school’ presentation – lets show them what we have done – mind you what they have done seemed pretty good.

Ithaca College decided to build a portal to complement their existing undergrad one, but this time one that acted as a ‘home’ for personal web activities ( i.e. not the colleges web activities). They wanted a  single entry point, with a light weight implementation, an Ithaca-like experience , and one that improved communications and increase satisfaction by making the experience  more intuitive.

They considered vended portal options but ended up doing it themselves, starting in the Spring 07, an alpha version in Spring 08, a beta one a bit later and a launch in March 09.They did it themselves because they wanted the web 2.0 experience, wanted to avoid a heavy enterprise implementation, and wanted to make use of evolving web standards.

So MyHome at Ithaca created a web 2.0 portal (drag and drop layout), Ithaca college experience (webmail, calendar, single sign on etc), and an aggregated web experience (3rd party email, RSS, Facebook etc). The major components are customisable tabs, service tabs (email, calendar), community (social network discussion forums), and mobile aspects

The project really pulled together largely existing elements and the had a web developer working full time for the first year, half time in the second and now takes a quarter of an FTE to maintain

The format is largely customisable but with one or two mandated chunks. Each portlet has a rage of preferences (colour etc) and they encourage submitted portlets and tabs. They now have  >80% of the student population logging in at least once per day and future plans include extending  the community service, offering access to institutional data, an entry point for all web based services, and enhancing the social networking and discussion tools.

The portal can be looked at here and also has some explanatory areas