By Sarah Carlson, Student Reporter
Students can expect a new version of the myACU portal and Blackboard at the start of the fall semester.
The portal will have a new look and format and will be designed to provide better services for students, such as a better e-mail system and calendars.
George Saltsman, director of Educational Technology in the Adams Center for Teaching Excellence, said nothing is wrong with the current ACU portal.
“There are a few features that don’t work like we want them to, and this version is just more advanced, has more features and more stability,” Saltsman said.
Eventually students will be able to customize the portal by subscribing to certain announcements they want to receive, other than the mandatory announcements from the university, and customizing the appearance of the portal, Saltsman said.
Saltsman said a new e-mail program is being installed that will be noticeable to students, as well as a place for notes and new calendars that students can customize and share with friends.
Version 6.0 of the Blackboard system is being installed over the current 5.5 version in order to stay up to date with other institutions.
Blackboard is optional to faculty members as a communication tool for their courses. About 360 courses and 150 professors on campus use some type of technology from blackboard.
James Langford, director of Web Integration and Programming, said the ACU portal was originally intended to be a temporary one-year program but has lasted for three years instead.
Langford said when the new version of the portal is brought out, the first concern will be stability.
“Until there is a familiarity and we understand it better, there won’t be as much customizability on it,” Langford said.
Langford said the new portal would hopefully come out in the middle of the summer as an alternative for students to get used to. During the fall semester, the program will run and feedback will be sought from the students as to what works and what changes should be made to the program.
Saltsman said the main goal of the new portal program is to be centered around the students, even more so than the current version of myACU.
“It will be a much more useable, friendly and informative portal and Blackboard all integrated together,” Saltsman said. “It’s the next rung of where we want to go with trying to pull everything together to a centralized place.”