The Bridge

Revitalized Notice Board to launch July 28

 

The University’s new Notice Board represents the culmination of months of hard work by the Web team, along with hours of user input and testing. Michael Warf, ITS Web Manager, says the team is excited to be launching the revitalized site. It has a number of useful and innovative tools that will make finding information easier and visually appealing, he adds.

“The current Notice Board is written in an old programming language and we no longer have the resources to support it. In technology terms, it’s a dinosaur. Last year the team was commissioned by University Advancement to produce a more modern tool.”new-notice-board

The team first reviewed the usage analytics on the old Notice Board which generate a visual representation of the mouse clicks on the site. “It revealed that it was used primarily as a bookmarking tool,” says Warf. “People clicked on buttons and icons to get to other pages like The Bridge, the online directory, employment opportunities and items that appeared on the image carousel. There were no deep dives into much of the content.” However, the team did discover that the site is the fifth-most-visited property on the University’s website, averaging approximately 1,500 visitors per day.

The next step was User Experience (UX) testing with a wide representation of faculty, staff and students. “We developed sketches which allowed us to get feedback and make quick and low-cost revisions with relative ease. That worked really well,” says Warf.

Among the elements in the prototype are the ability to filter content through keyword searches for date, subject and location. The UX results were not surprising to the Web team. “People really liked the ability to filter and search, the layout of the site, the ability to edit and manage posts, and that the content is all on one page. We also confirmed our suspicion that students had either not heard of the Notice Board, or had no use for it.”

Information sessions were conducted in June, and training workshops are scheduled for July 10 in University Hall, room E640. The workshops are limited to one hour at 9 a.m., 11 a.m., and 2 p.m. Faculty and staff are encouraged to attend for a more hands-on approach and will be prepared to enter notices in the new Notice Board after launch. Those who are unable to attend can contact help@uleth.ca to set up departmental training workshops.

Participants are encouraged to RSVP via survey (https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/QF92BMX) for the workshops to ensure availability of computers.

The launch date of the new and improved version is scheduled for July 28, 2014.

Student Portal off to good start

The launch of the University’s Student Portal project this week was the culmination of months of intensive work by IT Services, the Registrar’s Office and a variety of stakeholders across the campus.

Jamie Chinn, IT Services’ Application Development Manager, says feedback from students so far has been overwhelmingly positive. “We’re thrilled. Not only do they like what they see, but they’ve provided us with great ideas for new features, and how they’d like to see the content and features laid out.” To encourage continued feedback, the portal team is running a 10-week contest for which every submission is entered into a weekly draw for a $100 gift card.PortalScreenshot

The portal currently integrates Moodle, The Bridge, Library and Bridge Bucks systems. Students can find their grades, account balances and course information, along with critical information such as important deadlines, crisis communication and other announcements.

Chinn says the work will continue over the summer to enhance and adjust the portal’s features, and monitor its performance. Next steps include integrating Google email and calendaring, as well as providing information and helpful links for new applicants to the University. The versatile system is configured to display only information that is specific to the user. “For example, only new applicants will see the information that is relevant to them,” says Chinn.

“The portal is available to all students now but we’ll be pushing out our communications to students more broadly in the fall. That version will incorporate as many suggestions and improvements as possible over the summer.”

The portal can be accessed at http://www.portal.uleth.ca

For more information and to keep apprised of the portal’s continued development, visit http://blogs.ulethbridge.ca/portal-update/

More details on the GoogleApps for Education roll-out can be found in our March blog: http://blogs.ulethbridge.ca/it-services/2014/03/27/student-email-moving-into-the-21st-century/