Internet portal costs school nearly $300,000

Screenshot courtesy of New College of Florida

After it was decided that the previous Internet portal could no longer satisfy the needs of the growing student body and expectations of the school, a new portal costing about $29,500 debuted earlier this October. Before, students could access their account through a Google log-in page. Now, when students type their address into the log-in, they are redirected to the new portal, sporting an aerial view of College Hall and asked to put in the same information.

“Whoa, I did not know that the new portal cost that much,” first-year Sarah Tew said. “The picture’s nice, but it’s not worth almost $30,000. There was nothing wrong with the old one, so it’s not worth it. I thought it was weird that when the portal came out, you just got an e-mail saying ‘Here’s the portal, now you can log-in,’ they didn’t tell you how to use it, they just said, ‘Go for it.’ I don’t know how to use it except to access my e-mail and Newdle. I don’t know. Maybe I’m just an idiot.”

However, Jeff Smith, part of the Technology Support Team Projects, believes that the portal has several advantages over the one that was previously in place.

“There are many enhancements over the current portal,” Smith said in an e-mail interview.  “This portal will be easier to administer, which will translate to more and better communication opportunities among groups on campus, as well as more Single Sign On offerings to all users.  It also includes Facebook sync, message boards, wikis, instant messenger and access to the Google apps library.”

Some pretty major tasks go into creating a new internet portal. A theme must be established and integrated into its design, the needs of the users must be identified and met and other systems such as Gmail must be integrated into its usage and “Interface with Banner system to create groups and keep them updated.”

While many students may find themselves disturbed by the cost or perceived inefficiency of the new portal, some simply remain indifferent.

“I usually don’t mind the internet portal,” first-year Monique Dorroh said. “It’s just that when the Wi-fi in my room isn’t working and I have to stretch my ethernet cord all the way across the room, I get a little bit irritated.”

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