New myWSU portal goes live

3:25:11 PM CDT - Thursday, March 02, 2006

By Amy Geiszler-Jones

The myWSU portal, intended to be the online starting page for faculty, staff and students for tapping into WSU information, has gone live.

Through myWSU, users can use a single login to access Banner, Blackboard and SOS.

To log into myWSU, users can go to http://myWSU.wichita.edu. They will need their new myWSU ID number, found on new Shocker cards or online through SOS. New Shocker cards became available at the Shocker Card Center in the Rhatigan Student Center starting in December, and can still be exchanged for the old ID cards.

First-time users to myWSU will be asked to set up a password.

The portal offers users a number of choices through boxes of information, known as channels, and through tabs, which look much like file folder tabs, that run on the top of the page.

Channels include such sections as colleges, RSC and athletics. Tabs include news and events information, employee resources and "My Page," which helps users customize information and store bookmarks for favorite Web sites.

Users can change the layout of the channels and add new tabs. For example, a news junkie can add a news tab and create a link to CNN's site.

One important channel is the link to SOS, WSU's internal site used for such things as directory updates and grade reporting, and Blackboard, a class and curriculum management tool.

On March 20, the myWSU ID will become required to access Blackboard and can be used for SOS, according to David Alexander, a physics professor who is in charge of the WIN (Wichita Information Network) project, which is an effort to streamline all of the university's business and operating functions online. By using the portal to access those two systems, users can avoid multiple sign-ins.
By December, faculty will be expected to enter all grades through the portal, Alexander said.

"The portal is going to evolve and what we're launching is a beginning," said Media Resources Center executive director Mike Wood, the leader for the 17-member portal development team. "We'll be able to add features as we go along."

The portal already underwent usability studies with WSU's Software Usability Research Laboratory before launching, but users are encouraged to offer feedback. A channel is currently set up for feedback.

In December 2005, Barbara Chaparro, who heads the lab housed in the psychology department, gathered about a dozen potential users to test myWSU. "We came up with a list of recommendations," said Chaparro.

WSU's Web site, wichita.edu, will remain live but will evolve in its look as the portal evolves, according to Bryan Masters, director of interactive communications.

The university's Web site, which currently has information for both those working and attending WSU and any visitors, will eventually become more of a place for external audiences to learn about WSU, Masters said.

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