Due to ongoing problems with Blackboard integration, the myElmhurst portal has been rescheduled for campus-wide release to fall term 2012. The portal, which will unify student and faculty BlueNet, Kronos, Blackboard, and other accounts, was originally scheduled to release in January.
According to web application and information specialist, Dean Jensen, the main problem is the single sign-on feature of the portal. The single sign-on requires only one username and password to log into the portal and all accounts.
“One of the reasons we have put off moving students [in] is because of Blackboard,” said Jensen. “All students have an e-number [single sign-on username], which serves as their master technology account. This account gets them into BlueNet and Kronos, but we have to go through and update the Blackboard database to make the change.”
The issue arose from the timing of events, said Jensen.
“As spring term was starting, there was the discussion of doing it then, but there was then the concern that faculty would not be able to find their students to enroll them into their Blackboard courses. It’s just a change issue.”
In addition, inconsistent passwords across multiple existing accounts have caused further issues with the integration.
“The passwords in BlueNet are not the same as the ones in Kronos, nor are they the same in Blackboard. When adding students to the portal we will need to seed active directory with their new e-number account and a password,” Jensen said.
Other local colleges such as College of DuPage already have portals similar to myElmhurst.
“I do think Elmhurst is a little behind,” said Jensen. “While the portal will be a great step forward, we are already looking at what mobile services we can provide, as we know students are living on their smartphones these days instead of the traditional web.”
Instead of registering for separate technology accounts over the summer, incoming freshmen will register for one master account.
“The plan is for incoming freshmen to have their master technology accounts right at the start,” Jensen said. “This will be a slight change from the past, as they will need to first go through an account activation process. This process will synch their chosen password with all systems, and then allow them in.”
The current goal is to have integrated every student into the portal framework by the time classes resume in the fall.
For now, though, interested students can contact Jensen to be allowed into the portal early. Still, further work is needed to prepare the program for a campus-wide release.
“The portal is not in beta anymore, but I’m not sure if I would call it ready for prime time either,” said Jensen.