Students can’t see beneath the surface of new TUportal

Temple students this semester might not be able to put their finger on what happened to the TUportal they were used to logging into last spring. That is because on July 28, the university launched a brand new and supposedly improved TUportal database.

For everyone who is not familiar with TUportal, it is the database where Temple students can access everything from their student e-mail accounts to their financial aid information. Basically, it is the student’s all-in-one Web site for everything having to do with Temple.

So why did the university choose to update TUportal? Well, according to Temple’s Web site, the university felt that their primary database for student records was outdated. In most cases, the previous core administrative systems which support most business processes are anywhere from 20 to 25 years old.

The updated TUportal is the first system that was restructured to in the long term imitative, which is scheduled to be complete in June 2011. Prior to launching the latest TUportal version, students were surveyed at the TECH Center. While most students like the new look and features on the improved Web site, many do not know to what extent Temple is improving its digital infrastructure.

TUportal is not the only database that will receive a facelift. Throughout the next five years, Temple will be updating its entire catalog of major administrative systems. This $38 million-project was introduced to the Temple community in 2006 as an initiative named Project Enterprise. A link to the Project Enterprise Web site is displayed on TUportal and explains the changes students and faculty should expect from now until 2011.

Most of the upgrades will affect how the university conducts certain business transactions, but how will these upgrades effect Temple students? Right now, the only change for students is the newly designed TUportal.

There are definitely changes to TUportal that students will find useful; however it might be difficult for students to understand where the $38 million is really going.

There are only a few differences between the old and new Web sites, but for the students who still are not use to the current portal, a link to the older site will be available until early September on the database’s new home page.

Improvements to the database are visible even before students log in with their usernames. After logging into the TUportal, a student can find announcements for upcoming football games and new course information. The page also includes a new feature which displays weather updates from Temple’s
Main, Ambler, Harrisburg, London, Rome and Japan campuses. Another link explains how students and faculty can promote campus-related announcements on the site.

Once students log in, they can take advantage of a lot more features than before. The most noticeable new feature is the online newsroom tab, which provides up-to-date news feeds about the university. Another useful new feature is the Computer Services tab, which informs students about safe Internet browsing tips and scheduled network maintenance.

Herry Pierre-Louis can be reached at hplouis@temple.edu.

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