18 Aug "My UW Madison" portal migrating to uPortal
MADISON, Wis.— My UW Madison—the portal used by University of Wisconsin-Madison students, staff and faculty for online organizational and scheduling tasks—is migrating to uPortal, the university announced Wednesday. The vendor for the project, Arizona-based Unicon, was also announced.
The migration, already in its early stages, is expected to be complete by August 2005. According to Brian Rust, spokesman for the Division of Information Technology, UW-Madison is going through with the switch because of software compatibility and integration concerns.
“The software that we have been using for [My UW Madison] is not as compatible with some other software programs that we need to use for components of the portal,” Rust said. “uPortal makes things more compatible for integration.”
A desire to follow a path that uses open-source software, as compared to proprietary programs, was also a major part of the decision, Rust said. Vendors don’t always place a high priority on compatibility between their proprietary products and the My UW Madison portal, he said, thus heightening integration concerns.
More than 90,000 unique accounts have been created since My UW Madison’s inception two-and-half years ago, Rust said. Users go to My UW Madison for scheduling, class registration and to check grades. However, prospective students, alumni and parents may have access to future versions of My UW Madison if the university approves a plan to increase access. Some universities allow high school (and pre-high school) students to log into portals similar to My UW Madison and interact with the school, Rust said, a munificent act that would increase the number of visitors to UW’s portal.
“All these people are dependent on this portal,” Rust said. He added that all UW-Madison alumni student records are also stored online through the portal.
Flexibility and customization abilities were cited by Jim Helwig, lead of the portal infrastructure team and project manager for the portal migration project, as a reason for partnering up with Unicon for the change to uPortal.
“In addition to understanding the education market, [Unicon has] a really clear understanding of uPortal, seeing as they were involved substantially from the beginning of the existence of uPortal,” Helwig said. “They also seem to have a healthy company with adequate resources that we can draw upon during the migration project. We will continue to periodically have Unicon involved to assist with mentoring, requirement specifications, additional development, and implementation.”
Unicon, founded in 1993, has been designing, building and managing technology solutions for colleges, universities, schools and corporations worldwide. Unicon solutions are based on open-source technology.