By Hezekiyah Luster
Cumberland County College has been through many changes from years 2011 to 2012. One of these major changes implemented a new computer system called the Portal. The Portal was developed to have everything Cumberland County College students in a centralized web-based system. Bernie Castro, an administrator of the Portal, shared the reason why CCC changed systems. Castro said, “The Portal started off as a package deal with the whole ERP system. The ERP system connects everything we do at the college. The Portal is not only a program, but a website for students and faculty to connect on one main page”. Castro explains, “Basically, Web Advisor is what replaced IRIS. For students to get Web Advisor, they have to go through the Portal. The Portal is a doorway to other items. I think it is difficult now but it will get better.” Castro stated, “That the Portal is not just a problem for students, but is also a problem for faculty”.
With all of the information I was getting, I could not help but become overwhelmed. As a CCC student and Portal user, it seems that the Portal is complex compared to the old IRIS system. When asked why students weren’t gathered to setup for Portal training Castro replied, “The plan was, we have power users who are taught how to use the Portal which in return, taught their employees and in the end trickles down to the students. Students still aren’t the only ones struggling with it.”
Fellow CCC student Stephanie Mitchell wanted to know, “Can we still really learn how to use the Portal?” Castro answered, “The Portal developed sometime in January 2012 when the semester was well under way. We eventually began to get students testing the Portal in June, which by that time everyone couldn’t test it”. Castro continued, “Students can still learn how to use the Portal by simply logging into the Portal and clicking onto the Web Advisor tutorial which is right next to Web Advisor (self-service). In order to log onto the Portal, students need a username, which is their first initial and last name (if the name is common a digit may be necessary after the last name), and students also need a password, which could be their eight-digit or 6-digit birthdate. The Web Advisor tutorial has a wide variety of different videos describing how to use the Portal in its entirety. In the end, the Portal is still fairly new and has to be learned by not only students, but employees as well.