As Valentine’s Day approaches, you may be inclined to think of flowers, candles, chocolates or romance. But don’t be fooled – campus technology can be just as sexy! Creating easier access to information. Simplifying the user experience. Modernizing portal technology. Ooh, la, la!
Your campus IT office can now be cupid all year long when students, faculty, admin and staff fall in love with the simplicity of OneCampus, the next-gen portal solution by rSmart.
Part of rSmart’s modern campus platform, OneCampus has revolutionized the portal experiences on campuses from Ohio State University to Citrus College and from Notre Dame to Northeast Iowa Community College. Today’s students have never lived without Google, and OneCampus is designed around a Google-like search discovery, bringing all campus resources to their fingertips. Search. Click. Done. Nothing is easier.
Simple is Sexy When it Comes to Search
Developed with search as the starting point, OneCampus exists as a service discovery tool, delivering all campus services in one location.
“Because of the increased use of smartphones and tablets by our students, faculty and employees, UD was in search of an affordable way to aggregate applications so they could be found anytime, anywhere, from any device,” said Joy Lynam, (retired) Director of IT Web Development at the University of Delaware. “OneCampus is the right fit for UD because it’s ‘Search. Click. Done.’ design matches how people find information today.
In January 2018, CampusTechnology.com published “7 Ed Tech Trends to Watch in 2018” and highlighted Mobile Tech and the Internet of Things as the #5 trend to watch this year. Brian Fodrey, Assistant Dean for Facilities & Information Technology and Chief Information Officer, School of Government at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill offered, “We must capitalize on the strengths of portability and the BYOD nature of mobile tech, and accept that as a result our faculty, staff and students are going to command new and different support from our IT divisions.”
18 Years of Portal Dating? It’s Time to Commit.
Educause, the nonprofit association whose mission is to advance higher education through the use of information technology, began talking about the importance of campus portals 18 years ago. The oldest portal story in the Educause library, “It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane. It’s a . . . Portal?” is dated January 1, 2000. Defined nearly two decades ago by the author, Richard N. Katz, “ The portal…is perhaps a unifying principle that may enable organizations— including colleges and universities—to leverage their investments in enterprise systems, in data warehouses, in reengineered institutional processes, and in staff talent.”
Katz went on to define the challenges of a developing a portal strategy and what the expected results would look like. “The challenge of a portal strategy is no less than the challenge of bringing higher education fully into the new wave of technology. This challenge, like so many we have encountered and overcome, seems to depend less on technology per se as on our ability to create a compelling vision for our institution and to galvanize the institutional will to think about how to personalize the institution for everyone in the community,” said Katz. “ It is clear in this instance that IT professionals, acting alone, will likely achieve only imperfect results.”
You’ve got a smart team. You could build your own portal technology and achieve Katz’s imperfect results. Or, you could take the Bob Hughes approach.
Bob Hughes, Chief Information Services Officer at Citrus College in Glendora, CA made the decision to implement OneCampus by rSmart in 2017. “Since it is a hosted system, we can take advantage of the new features (if desired) as soon as they are released. It’s nice not having to tie up my staff with painful upgrades that would normally take months to implement locally.”
An Engaged Audience is a Retained Audience
Retention isn’t just a buzzword, it’s top of mind on campuses across the US. Even in the office of the CIO. But how exactly can the CIO’s office directly impact student retention?
Otmar Zewald, Global Head of Product Management at Unit4, believes that an integrated approach to technology systems along with mobile and self service experiences should be high on the list for 2018. In his piece, “12 Higher Education Trends to Empower Student Success in 2018”, Zewald believes, “There will be more focus on student portals, self-service and mobile app development to improve student experiences in 2018.”
Making all of your student-facing technology available in a single location will lead to a more enjoyable student experience. Going to one site for Blackboard, another site for Gmail, and yet another for Financial Aid can be simplified in a single location. Whether you call it a service discovery tool, a replacement portal or simply a portal, doesn’t matter. And don’t just deliver in a single web location, allow students to access in the app store. Meet them where they are. They are more likely to engage, and remain engaged, when you show up where they are.
Falling in love with OneCampus is easy, but we should probably take it slow and start with a first date. Bring some friends on our first date too. Your CIO, your Director of Web Applications, your VP of Marketing. Don’t be nervous, we won’t bring candles and flowers. But we will help you see just how fun campus technology can be!