New web portal coming to Lewis

Since Lewis University students do not regularly check their Lewis e-mail accounts, access the university’s Web page or ‘friend’ the university’s Facebook or Twitter sites, Lewis is in the process of developing a Web service to engage students and faculty, and implement sufficient communication resources.

The Web portal, MyCampus, will have several different features that are not included in Lewis’ home page.   One major element is the ‘single sign-on’ feature, which will allow students, faculty and staff to access various services without having to log back in before each service, such as BlackBoard, e-mail, library databases and record databases.

“Lewis basically wants to provide one electronic entry point to the university that anybody can use,” said John Dalby, chief information technology officer for Instructional Technology Services Organization (ITSO).

The front page offers several links to the services students and faculty would like to access, and also provides an emergency-related announcement red box  which will alert students  incidences such as the school closings for weather-related issues.  Below the box, general notices will be posted as reminders to the community.

Other pages include community life event postings, job searches, which Career Services is assisting with and a page where students and faculty can create a profile page to communicate with other community members.

Since the site will be accessible for only current Lewis students, faculty and staff, these profile pages can only be viewed by other Lewis members, which is safer than other sites such as Facebook.  Each individual will also be able to create their own pages to customize their profiles.

Another college that has implemented MyCampus completely, Curry College in Massachusetts, had a student go to the director of its technological service department and ask to create a page for equestrian, which was approved since students can customize their own pages. The page received about 20 hits in two weeks, and a week later, the college formed an equestrian club that jumped horses against other colleges.

“It’s an avenue for students to communicate with other students and faculty to communicate with students,” Dalby said.

The portal was developed through a group of colleges that came together and created this portal. ITSO received a $1 million grant to develop and maintain the portal at Lewis.

It can be accessed through any computer that has Internet connection, not just through Lewis. This will provide targeted information for groups and individuals, and will potentially be a system students will be willing to use.

The original Lewis Web site will not be removed; however, the Web portal will compliment Lewis’ main site but will not duplicate efforts. The purpose will be to connect Lewis with its students, faculty and staff. “We think it will be a nice fit for the university, and we hope it’s something the students will use,” said Dalby.

ITSO has been testing the portal for about two months, so it is still in beta format. The portal will most likely be available for community use in the fall semester.

The Lewis Flyer

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