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Portal applications for education, part 2 of 2

by Kelly Walsh on August 30, 2009


This week we complete a 2 part overview of two specific portal applications for education

Last week we reviewed the Timecruiser suite (exclusive to Higher Ed), with its Campus Cruiser portal and integrated applications like the Course Cruiser LMS and Cruiser Alert, delivered under a Software-as-a-Service model. This week we take a look at myCampus and other apps available through the Campus EAI Consortium (the consortium works with both K-12 and Higher Ed).


MyCampus from the Campus EAI Consortium

The non-profit Campus EAI Consortium provides a markedly different approach to portal implementation than Timecruiser’s application suite. The Consortium was founded in 2003, in response to increasing IT budget cuts, continued resource constraints, and the Internet requirements of students. Fourteen institutions got together and founded the Consortium with the mission of helping members reduce the time, cost and effort required to implement enterprise IT solutions.

Grants:  Part of their unique approach to provisioning clients is the availability of a limited set of grants to assist in integrating the portal into their environment. Grants can range from $250K to $1 million over a multiyear span. Grants are awarded based on a number of criteria including managerial commitment to IT initiatives and ability to implement the technology. Click here to learn more about these grant opportunities.

Open Source:  Another important differentiator for the Campus EAI solutions is their extensive use of open source applications, tied together under the myCampus CMS platform. “The power of open source applications is in the numbers — as the community of myCampus CMS users increases, so does the growth and capability of this platform. The myCampus CMS community is active, supportive and contributes back to the myCampus CMS project regularly. Because of the community, the myCampus CMS system is built upon real needs of the marketplace, not guesses” (quote from Consortium web site).

Packaged and open-source application integration, and single sign-on:  MyCampus offers single sign-on access to a good number of ERP/SIS applications, learning management apps, e-mail and calendaring tools, library apps, and identity management systems. There is also a integration available for ERP/SIS database applications from Oracle, SunGard, Datatel, and Jenzabar. Additionally, on their web site, the Consortium highlights a number of add on products, including Content Management, Alumni Portal, Prospect Portal, Collaboration and Learning (via integration with open-source Sakai), Identity and Access Management (using Oracle Identity Management Suite). The community nature of this open solution facilitates the ongoing evolution of the capabilities and availability of these interfaces.

SaaS:  The myCampus portal environment is available in a Software-as-a-Service delivery model, but it can also be hosted on the client’s servers.

In addition to the myPortal environment and support and integration of related applications, the CampusEAI Consortium also provides other end user solutions, consulting, and product implementation services, including:

  • Enterprise content based application portfolio assessment and consulting.
  • Developing new content-centric applications, including collaboration/workflow, publishing, records management, and storage & archiving.
  • Migration and Upgrades.
  • Hosted and Managed services.

The myCampus portal is a powerful environment, and the Campus EAI Consortium provides a unique approach to implementation. With its heavy reliance on open source solutions, this toolset may be best suited to institutions with a staff of applications development and support personnel who are capable of learning and taking advantage of these types of applications. This approach would certainly seem to lend itself to a high degree of flexibility and adaptability. While my institution chose the Timecruiser application suite over myCampus and various other portal applications, myCampus and the overall Campus EAI Consortium model was quite attractive, and might have been our choice if we had a larger IT shop.

Of course the Timecruiser and Campus EAI offerings are not the only portal tools out there. Are you using something else? You know we welcome comments and feedback, so let us know what your portal experience has been!


Kelly Walsh is Chief Information Officer and a faculty member at The College of Westchester in White Plains, NY and is the founder and author of As an education technology advocate, he frequently delivers presentations on a variety of related topics at schools and conferences across the U.S. Walsh is also an author, and online educator, periodically running Flipped Class Workshops online. His latest eBook, the Flipped Classroom Workshop-in-a-Book was published in September, 2013 and is available here. In his spare time Walsh also writes, records, and performs original (and cover) songs (look for "K. Walsh" on iTunes or or check out his original song videos on here on YouTube ).

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