Creating a unified student experience is at the top of the list of priorities for many higher education institutions. It's no longer enough to provide required capabilities across a range of applications and websites; there needs to be a central place where students can go to access everything they need during their time at school. In truth, a student portal provides more than a centralized experience for students; it also provides a place where students and faculty can work together and where students can collaborate and communicate with other students.
Two Key Portals for Higher Education Institutions
According to the Ingeniux 2018 Digital Priorities Survey, in 2018, 29% of higher education institutions are planning to implement a new digital content solution. Of those, 34% are planning to implement a secure portal. A student portal is the primary portal planned, with 68% saying they will implement a student portal in 2018. But 59% also indicate they intend to create an employee (i.e. faculty/staff) portal.
Q: What type of portal do you plan to implement?
A modern student portal provides much-needed access to both student systems and business applications. A student can have a personalized portal experience where the information most important to them is surfaced for quick access. This might include upcoming tuition payments, class projects and work deadlines, upcoming events and more.
Student portals also provide areas for class information, collaboration tools for students who work together on projects as well as a community where students can share information and help each other be successful.
A secure student portal is accessible via mobile device, whether that's a smartphone or a tablet, two devices almost every student uses daily.
While student portals are the primary portal for higher education institutions, many are also looking to faculty/staff portals to provide faculty and other departments with their own centralized location to do their work. Professors can have a central location for all their classes and student information, including access to the institution's ERP to record marks.
If a student portal and faculty/staff portal are implemented on the same portal platform, they can share information across portals. For example, a professor can outline a project in the faculty/staff portal, and that information is automatically synchronized into the class information in the student portal.
Portal Implementation Challenges
Student and faculty/staff portals are important but implementing them comes with a set of challenges. In our study, a lack of internal resources was a key challenge for institutions, followed closely by a lack of budget and current technology.
Q: What are your primary challenges in implementing a secure student portal?
Budgets are strained for many institutions who focus a great deal of their budget and attention on the public website. These challenges can be partly overcome if the institution leverages a CMS that can deliver both a public website experience and the required portal experiences.
- Not all web content management systems can create and manage a portal, but those that do provide many benefits including:
- Sharing content across website and portal experiences
- Reduced training for content authors and editors who might produce content for both environments
- A single platform for training internal developers
- A single platform for IT departments to manage
Providing Students and Faculty the Experience They Demand
Digital experiences are continually evolving for both personal and business use. Students expect experiences similar to what they have in their personal lives, but for many institutions that can be a challenge. Student portals are one way to deliver on these new experiences, but it will require an investment in the right CMS and portal technology.
You can learn how Ingeniux can help you deliver an engaging student experience by reading our Solution Guide for Student Portals.
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