Portal phasing out LakerNet

LakerNet: The new Mercyhurst portal will soon completely replace an aging LakerNet system.LakerNet: The new Mercyhurst portal will soon completely replace an aging LakerNet system.The Mercyhurst portal is a single login site that provides access to MyMail, WebAdvisor and other college sites.

The Mercyhurst College portal became available to employees in July and students in August.

The portal will replace LakerNet, a site which features campus calendars and the directory.

LakerNet has been in existence “as long as anyone can remember,” Web Programmer Matt Engel said. There are LakerNet database entries dating back to 2001.

According to Engel, the goal is for LakerNet to be completely phased out by Dec. 31.

Before LakerNet will be gone for good, all of the critical data must be taken off the site so it is not lost.

In order for the portal to be ready by this time, information needs to be moved from LakerNet onto the portal for several departments.
In an attempt to get students and staff to use the portal instead of LakerNet, the content on LakerNet highlights the portal’s tools and features.

Administrative Assistant for Student Life Nadine Bower came up with the idea to advertise the portal on LakerNet.

Bower thinks this is more effective than sending out campus-wide e-mails.

“We are not trying to overuse e-mails sent out by student life,” she said. “After awhile, people start to ignore them.”

Engel put the Alcohol Awareness Pledge and the 2011 declaration of graduation on the portal to give students a reason to visit the site.

“We are trying to aggregate online services into the portal and bring new students in,” Engel said.

Another strategy to try to get people to use the portal is to give it a more personal touch, Engel said. This is being done by adding student spotlights, an athlete of the week and photographs to the portal.

“Students want to see themselves and their friends,” Bower said.

Sophomore Amanda Grim said she likes the different features the portal offers.

“I like the news feed that shows up on the homepage so you can see what is going on,” she said.

Besides trying to get more students to use the portal, Engel is working to improve the site and fix all the kinks.

He wants to add Blackboard to the site so students can access it without clicking on the link and having to login again.

“We are definitely making progress,” Engel said. “We just need to get more people to use it.”

During the month of Sept. 4, through Oct. 4, 1,569 different people logged in to the portal. This number includes both students and employees.

One hundred and sixty-eight students logged in and took the alcohol awareness pledge, 107 declared graduation for 2011 through the portal and 365 students used the portal to request help with MyMail.

Engel will run the system again for the month of October to find out how many people accessed the site.

“Hopefully, we will see that 1,500 jump or increase,” he said.

Visit the portal to see what it has to offer and to get used to it before LakerNet is no longer around.