MyUA Portal prepares for launch

UA launched a biweekly training series for the upcoming MyUA Portal, May 10. John Pile, a UAF Web architect, led the first training, inviting webmasters, designers and administrative assistants from all UA campuses to participate.

Through a videoconference, Pile gave a short demonstration of the MyUA Portal home page and discussed various elements of the planning process.

The home page for logged-in users will function as a one-stop shop for students, faculty and staff in the UA system with various customizable links to information pertinent to that user. A single sign-on feature will be a major element in the Portal, allowing one login to access various Web sites that currently have different usernames and passwords, including Blackboard, UA Online and university libraries. Pile said he hopes the MyUA Portal username will be the last one to hand down to students.

“We’re trying to make this single-sign-on thing as cool as possible,” Pile said.

The default home page for students, faculty and staff, will be populated with various links and graphics that are of general interest to users from specific locations. However, users can customize their home page to remove or add certain links, Pile said.

“We make sure that nothing’s locked down,” Pile said.

Mike Robinson, a UAA Web services and librarian aide, thought the task team should be careful that the default links on the user’s pre-populated home page are useful to the majority of students.

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“Probably 60 percent of the students won’t change the default interface,” Robinson said.

Pile encouraged the webmasters and designers who will work most closely with the Portal development team to maintain a balance of dynamic and static information. Pile said the static information will be links pertinent to the user’s university, while the dynamic content will include changing information, such as updates on sports or news headlines, to keep the Portal exciting.

“Without any useful information, no one’s going to want to use it,” Pile said.

Instead of heavily advertising the Portal’s release, the task team will use a “soft rollout” over the summer, said Bill Wakefield, a member of the MyUA Portal task team.

“Once we’ve got a few things running perfectly, we’re going live,” Wakefield said.

These include the single-sign-on feature and a small selection of customizable content, with more to come in the future.

Minor setbacks in the construction of the Portal delayed its release. UAA’s liaison on the MyUA Portal task team, Amber Brubaker, said the Portal will officially be launched in early June.


The next MyUA Portal training will be May 25, 10 a.m.-noon in the Administration/Humanities Building, Room 204.