myMemphis portal opens: One source access to University information
“Portal" comes from the Latin "porta", which means doorway, gate, or gateway -- especially a large and imposing one. In
the computer age, a portal is an Internet site providing entry to a broad array of
resources, services, and information links -- a large and user-friendly one now available
to the University of Memphis community is myMemphis.
The new myMemphis portal, that opened the week of August 8, 2005, is the door to a
personalized page that puts the user one or two clicks away from most of the U of
M information and applications that particular person needs. No more logging in here
and there. No more banging on computer doors in search of information that should
be right at a person's fingertips.
Once through the portal a user will have access to such things as:
- University announcements such as special events notifications and inclement weather
- E-mail and personal calendar
- Search for people or websites
- Sticky Notes - a computerized notes-to-self or to-do list
- Personalized bookmarks to favorite web sites
U of M faculty, students and staff can open the portal at http://my.memphis.edu/, or by clicking on the myMemphis logo on the U of M website (http://www.memphis.edu). This will put the user on the threshold of a new experience
in University information access and control. Log in, and the portal opens: the system
identifies the user and puts on the screen channels with information that particular
individual uses. A university researcher, for example, can view the money remaining
on a research grant account. Students can see a summary of the classes they are taking
in the current semester. Since myMemphis is being phased in over three years, some
portal channels can not be activated until the underlying administrative system is
fully implemented. For example, the financial system channels are active now, but
human resources channels will only become available when the HR system goes “live"
in January 2006. When fully activated in 2007, myMemphis will make the U of M a more
efficient workplace by combining all the University's databases – SIS, FRS, ADS, HRS
and others – into one centralized database. The myMemphis portal will allow authorized
users with a single access point to all of the University resources.
An online survey of faculty and staff conducted in late spring and into the summer
provided valuable feedback from about 900 responders. The survey results and comments
played a significant role in the portal implementation plan said Joe Matesich, University
Web Site Manager in the Information Technology Services and co-leader of the myMemphis
Portal Team. Many of the suggestions were included in the portal content and design,
Matesich said. “The portal survey indicated our staff/faculty have an interest in
using the myMemphis portal to access timely information such as campus news and events,
University announcements, and the Memphis weather. They want to use the portal to
easily link to campus resources such as the undergraduate/graduate catalogs, U of
M search engine, and A-Z list of campus websites."
Survey respondents indicated that they were interested in myMemphis portal features
that will allow them to store and retrieve information from anywhere they access the
Internet. They wanted to use the "Sticky Note" channel as a place to save "To Do"
lists and reminders, and "Bookmark" channels to organize favorite and important web
page links – so that's what the portal designers gave them.
The myMemphis portal will also provide single sign-on (SSO) access to a number of
web-based applications that would otherwise require the person to type in a username/password
each time they are used. For example, faculty will be able to access the Provost office's
curriculum vitae application directly from myMemphis. The survey indicated that staff/faculty
are interested in using the portal for access to email, calendar, "Employee Self Service",
and UMdrive, and SSO access will be enabled as soon as possible.
The myMemphis portal includes Group Studio, a utility that enables individuals to
create and manage special interest group collaboration areas. Group Studio provides
useful features such a discussion board, photo gallery, announcement area, and file
The myMemphis student system will not be fully active until early in 2007, but the
current myMemphis portal provides a number of channels that will be of interest to
students including news channels, a personal calendar, Helmsman headlines, and quick
access to information on from the Bursar and Registrar offices. In the fall, students
will be surveyed to determine what they'd like to see included in the portal, and
those responses will be factored in as the myMemphis portal continues to develop and