Flying under the radar among the many things that 2017 has brought us is the launch of WesPortal, a replacement for the current Electronic Portfolio (EP) that the University uses.
According to Senior Associate Registrar Paul Turenne, the current EP has been in use since the fall of 2000, making it nearly two decades old.
“Community feedback prompted this implementation,” Turenne wrote in an email to The Argus. “So [WesPortal]…provides a mobile responsive platform with strengthened security and a streamlined design.”
ITS Help Desk Consultant Alyssa Aldo ’19 described the switch as a necessity in order for the University to catch up to EPs at other schools.
“It was just time for a change, something that was more modern,” said Aldo. “There obviously were some flaws with the older system, so I think they’re trying to get rid of some of those flaws.”
As of right now, all the WesPortal feedback that Turenne has received has been positive.
“WesPortal will allow users to search for links, designate favorites, use a device of choice, be better informed with alert boxes and have all links in one place,” Turenne wrote. “…people report that WesPortal is more intuitive, easier to use and it eliminates the need to toggle between EP types. It will also [be] helpful that all users will use the same interface, so for instance, faculty advisors and students will now all use the same system.”
The development of WesPortal began in the fall of 2015, according to the University Office of Registrar webpage. There are two phases of the official WesPortal launch: The first occurred in October 2016, and made WesPortal available to all University employees with Employee EP functionality. The second launch will take place over the summer and will make remaining EP functionality available.
“Furthermore, between launches the WesPortal Team will coordinate a second pilot phase to facilitate the transition of academic functionality to WesPortal,” the website reads. “This second phase will also include student input, including but not limited to: the Academic Peer Advisors, the WSA Academic Affairs Committee and Registrar’s Office Student Workers.”
As a member of ITS, Aldo already has access to WesPortal. She found the presentation to be much more organized and modern.
“[It] definitely gets rid of that 90s look,” Aldo said. “What’s different? You…can’t change the top anymore. We did suggest it, so it might become a thing in the future, but for right now we don’t have it.”
Unlike the previous system, Aldo says that WesPortal should be much simpler for students to use.
“…it’s not a super complicated system like the previous one,” Aldo said. “But the reason why ITS got special access to it is because we’re getting used to it. So if students have issues, you guys can always come to the ITS help desk, and we can always help you guys. But I really think it is, or at least by June 1, will become a lot better, and there shouldn’t really be that many issues for students.”
The only problem that Aldo could foresee for WesPortal is a potential crash, a highly unlikely event.
“I think that it’s just going to be a lot less stressful for students, a lot more reassuring that we have a newer system and you don’t have to worry about signing in and then getting like locked out because there are so many people in the system,” Aldo said. “I think it’s just going to be more calm for students, because we already have enough to stress out about.”
In the meantime, as Turenne ends every email, let him know if you have any questions.
Turenne can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.