Resource burdens campus
Unorganized system causes complications
Published: Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 15:09
The InSite Portal, created to help students and faculty, has instead become a hindrance, many people on campus agree.
Since going online in February 2010, the InSite Portal has acted as a resource for students who need to register for courses, purchase parking permits or interact with professors.
The InSite Portal, however, has been both a gift and a curse for Contra Costa College since its existence.
During the first weeks of the fall 2012 semester, students agreed that while the portal offers many features, it is hard to access since many other students register for classes at the same time, oftentimes causing complications.
“Since the portal was slow while trying to add my classes, I had to get a late add code from my teacher to enroll in an English class that I couldn’t get into,” sociology major Beverly Mann said. “When I put the add code into Admissions and Records they told me I had the class, but when I printed out my class schedule the portal told me that I was on the waiting list. Now I have to go through the registering process all over again.”
This semester, Mann and several other students find it difficult to use the portal.
“(InSite Portal) is very slow and I still don’t really know how to use it,” first semester nursing major Monica Ramirez said. “When you click on the links, you constantly have to refresh the page.”
Prior to the existence of InSite Portal, CCC and its sister colleges Los Medanos and Diablo Valley, ran its online system through WebAdvisor.
The InSite Portal was created to be an upgrade of the former site, WebAdvisor, District Director of Research and Planning Tim Clow said.
“The portal is an innovation for all of the colleges in our district,” Dr. Clow said. “The portal is revolutionizing what we do in the district.”
Computer information systems professor Randy Watkins said that while the Portal is constantly updating its technology, it leaves many students and faculty behind wondering how to operate the site.
“I go over how to use the portal in my computer information systems classes and one issue I noticed with the site is that the faculty does not have the same access to the site as students have,” Watkins said. “I am only allowed to demonstrate the site to my students through a dummy site, as it doesn’t allow me to change any settings.”
Watkins said that communicating with students through the site has also been a problem due to students being set up with email accounts through Microsoft Outlook while faculty uses a different format.
“The portal is effective to this campus but it is not organized,” Watkins said. “It would be nice if both students and faculty can have training videos on how to use the site.”
Counselors, who actually have access to the portal, also complain about the site’s faults.
“There are a lot of difficulties when students are trying to add a class as I am unable to successfully add them in the beginning of the semester,” counselor Robert Webster said. “When trying to update educational plans for students, the site would vanish.”
Clow said that part of the reason why the portal may have been acting up during the first weeks of the semester was partly because the change of its server within the last year.
“Last year the InSite Portal ran under UniData Datatel, now the server changed to Sequel Server Database (SQL),” Clow said. “That transition could have been the reason why students found complications. But I think now we have it worked out.”
While it is unknown what the cause of the InSite Portal’s delays may be, students and faculty agree that the site needs to be simplified to help them more effectively.
“It is a common thing in today’s technology to figure out how things work out yourself,” Watkins said.