Based on the Academus Portal product, the SJC Student Portal represents a significant departure from the practice of providing useful content to an audience group through a more or less static website. Instead of confining a student to the interface decided upon by a web developer, a portal allows the user to customize their interface and decide exactly what they want to see and how it appears. A student can choose from among a set of 'skins', or graphical designs, and decide what look and feel suits them best. They can also add or remove entire areas of their interface by manipulating tabs. They may also customize each tab in their interface by adding or removing something called 'channels'. These channels are the basic building blocks of the portal. Each one provides some content, service, or other piece of functionality of use to students. By compartmentalizing content and services in this way, it becomes possible for a student to customize their portal interface so that they only see those channels that are of use to them. In this way the portal becomes a useful tool for students in their everyday academic life. This is a major improvement on the static website model that forces users to navigate through a pile of content and services they may or may not need before finding what they're looking for.
The SJC Student Portal also benefits the institution by facilitating communication between administration and the academic schools and the students that the portal serves. Students keep coming back to the portal because it serves them as a tool for everyday use, with access to the content and services they need to succeed academically, and the portal offers several dynamic and responsive services for communicating with portal users. These factors combine to provide a communication channel that is both easy to use and highly visible to students.
The SJC Student Portal is located at http://portal.sanjuancollege.edu. Any questions, comments, complaints or suggestions are much appreciated and should be emailed to Nathan Bachert with the Office of Technology Services.