Campus portals are the hub of daily business for students, faculty, and staff. However, like most things, even a campus portal has a limited lifespan. When campuses realize that their in-house platform requires updating or replacement in order to effectively serve the campus, this effort can result in a great deal of work: committees form, and countless meetings may take place to determine what capabilities are needed and/or wanted in a new portal.
Most campuses, however, have clear expectations about the ease of use and support, accessibility, and security associated with their portal-to-be. But many aren't even aware of the possibilities.
In this five-minute video, "How Fort Lewis and Indiana University Use OneCampus," Tony Potts, co-founder of OneCampus, provides insights into how different campuses capitalize on the potential capabilities of their OneCampus portal during both their onboarding process and beyond. (Hint: you can be as creative as you want!).
Customization and Continuous Improvement
Outdated legacy campus portals can often be challenging to use, maintain, and customize to align with an evolving campus lifecycle and changing audience expectations. The ability to control integrations, security, and other aspects of a portal is critical. OneCampus inherently provides this flexibility, enabling it to be easily customized to meet campus needs, both now and in the future.
Custom Visual Branding to Ensure a Consistent Audience Experience
For example, branding customization features enable campus administrators to tailor their portal to align with the university's visual identity by choosing colors and adding images and logos that mirror the school's brand. With custom branding capabilities, schools can offer an experience consistent with their website and other digital channels. Tony demonstrates how Fort Lewis College ensured that the design of its portal dashboard, as well as the colors and logos used, matched its other web properties. Other campuses, such as Texas A&M, chose a completely different design.
Understanding What's Working (And What's Not)
How do you know what's resonating with your portal audience? Regular user feedback through student ratings and reviews is just one example of how Indiana University (IU) gathers feedback from its campus community and then uses that feedback to guide future portal customization efforts.
The Campus Portal as a Gateway
To ensure your campus portal's success, it should be a gateway rather than a barricade to relevant systems. By implementing single sign-on (SSO), which allows users to log in to the portal once and gain automatic authentication for all other applications, your portal becomes a central hub. The campus portal then becomes a site from which your students, faculty, and staff can utilize as a convenient one-stop launch pad to access various campus systems and resources.
Integration of SSO with your campus portal opens up possibilities for deeper integration with other systems. For example, you can easily connect your Learning Management System (LMS), Student Information System (SIS), library resources, or any other system used on campus, enhancing your user experience and enhancing productivity and engagement within the campus community. Users can focus on their goals and tasks without the frustration of navigating multiple logins.
Balancing Openness with Security and Privacy
Portals are a treasure trove of sensitive student data and require robust security measures. However, colleges face the challenge of finding the right balance between access, functionality, and system performance while maintaining accessibility. Accessibility is about making content available to everyone. Students want access to a range of programs and services, while staff and faculty have other needs, but everyone using the portal wants their information to be secure. To address concerns regarding privacy and security, the portal grants access only to authorized users through SSO functionality. These users are then given access to the data and applications aligned with their role/permissions.
The Portal as a Tool for Student Retention
Competition for prospective students is more challenging than ever; enrolling and then keeping them enrolled until they finish their program is another set of challenges. Technology has become an integral part of every aspect of a student's academic journey, from the moment they apply to the day they graduate and beyond. One powerful way to enhance this journey is by leveraging your campus portal to facilitate content discovery. Doing so can effectively eliminate frustration and greatly increase satisfaction for both new students and those well on their way to completing their education.
Review the OneCampus Implementation Checklist to know what to look for when considering upgrading your campus portal. For additional information, visit our blog or contact our team for a demonstration and discover how your campus can be up and running on OneCampus in as little as six weeks.