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October 24, 2002 MyConcordia portals experience increase in user volume




by Anne-Marie Curatolo, IITS

Registration for the Fall/ Winter term is currently underway, and students are taking full advantage of their MyConcordia portals (www.myconcordia.ca), logging on to register for courses, as well as obtaining grades and other essential information.

Fulvio Vitale, data communication consultant, Instructional and Information Technology Services (IITS), reported that approximately 5,000 users logged onto their portals on a typical day last week (not including repeated users).

“The purpose of the portal system is to present information that is relevant to certain categories of individuals in one specific location,” said Frank Maselli, assistant director, MIS, IITS.

He said one advantage to the system is that multiple logins to various applications are not required. Users simply login with an account name and password and the system instantly allows access to a certain level of information. Faculty, for example, can enter grades online, get class data, and even obtain information regarding benefits. “It gives you the tools to do your job in one location.”

Pay stub information is even available, where faculty and staff select a month to access payroll information for that time period. As of the beginning of next year, pay stubs for all permanent employees on direct deposit will cease printing and all pay-related information will be accessed solely via the MyConcordia portal.

Students use their portals to access final exam schedules, class schedules and graduation information, as well as to view their account balance or even calculate their GPA. Students unable to make it to the library to renew a book or search the database can do so from the comfort of their own homes, via their personalized portals. Numerous features, from shuttle bus schedules to daily weather forecasts, are added by the individual.

Concordia is at the forefront of information technology, as other universities in the province have only recently begun delving into this technology. While other universities in the province are looking into offering the same type of service, Concordia is the first university in Quebec with a fully-functioning system. Today’s portals are increasingly sophisticated applications designed to give users simple, quick, secure access to relevant organizational and personal data.

Andrew McAusland, executive director, IITS, feels portal access is important for the university because of the diverse student population.

“Functions like online registration, payment online, grade checking, course information and communication with professors etc. allow stay-at-home mothers and night students a way of accessing academic information at their convenience. The student population is growing by 5 to 8 per cent each year. It is extremely important for all students, faculty and staff to have one single point of access that is tailored to their needs by which the university can provide reliable information and service.”

Other features soon to be offered through the MyConcordia portal include the selection of lockers via a mapping device, where students can visually verify the location of a locker before selecting it, as well as pay for their locker directly on their student account.

Students will also have the option of ordering an identification card directly on their portal, by submitting a digital photo.

For help or information on portal use, please send an email to portal@concordia.ca.