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Campus Bulletin

October 06, 2006

'My Portico,' U of G's New Web Portal, Now Available to Campus Community

Painting the cannon has taken on a whole new meaning now that the University's long-awaited web portal is up and running. MyPortico (as U of G's virtual doorway is called) is loaded with features that can make you more efficient, add some fun to your day and perhaps even surprise you.

Project manager Gerrit Bos of Computing and Communications Services (CCS) says a number of students and staff have already tried their hand at painting the site's virtual cannon. He encourages people to log in at (it's may also be accessed via the University's homepage) and have a look around. If you do, you may be surprised at how handy your online life could be, says Bos.

Everyone with a U of G central login account can use MyPortico. Type your password and you'll be greeted by pages of web resources pre-configured for you depending on whether you're a faculty member, staff member or student. If you'd like a different experience, you can create your own pages to customize MyPortico. That's what a portal is all about, says Bos. "You can build an environment that suits your personal needs and preferences."

Prof. Susan Brown, English and Theatre Studies, is an early user of MyPortico. She chaired an arm's-length evaluation committee that concluded most people in the University community will use the portal regularly. Her committee judged the most welcome feature of MyPortico to be the single sign-on access point for all U of G online resources. They predict that users, particularly new students, will also appreciate the personalized welcome to MyPortico, the opportunity to customize a portal login and the briefcase function that lets you save, share and access files more easily.

It was the desire to engage students that led to the selection of MyPortico as the name for Guelph's portal. High school applicants will begin their relationship with the University through MyPortico and will continue to use the portal throughout their studies and the transition to alumni status, when they will begin to receive The Portico alumni magazine.

The name "MyPortico" symbolizes the campus connection through the architectural portico sitting on Johnston Green, but it also speaks to the functionality of a web portal as a one-stop online information destination.

Portals are becoming more prominent on university campuses because of the complex information environment, says chief information officer Michael Ridley, who spearheaded the development of Guelph's portal. "Users need to engage all of that, whether it's courses online or registration or something from the library," he says. "With MyPortico, you don't have to know which website to go to and which part of the site a particular piece of information is located on. The portal pushes information to you that's relevant to you, rather than you having to go find it."

The portal gives students access to several resources they didn't have previously, including the briefcase, a personal calendar that pops up reminders of meetings and classes and new ways to share information and chat with friends through online forums.

Not just students, but any group of MyPortico users can form a forum discussion group or use the portal to allow others to access their weblogs. MyPortico can already access blogs by Ridley and president Alastair Summerlee, as well as a variety of Canadian and international news services and campus news and events.

Ridley led the drive to develop a U of G portal with co-sponsorship from the U of G Library and CCS. Advisory, management, implementation and evaluation committees drew people from across campus, he says. "We're proud of the content available in the first release of MyPortico and excited about its potential. Over time, MyPortico will offer an increasingly wide range of information resources and tools for faculty, staff, students and other members of the U of G community."

Bos says one of the most important links is the feedback button you can use to comment on the portal. "This is very much an ongoing project," he says. "We want users to continue to tell us how MyPortico helps them with their work and what improvements would make it easier for them to accomplish the things they need to do online."

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