Binghamton University unveils online portal for one-stop access to student services

Developers look to student input to continue improving access to Blackboard, Quikpay, B-Mail, Calendar

Launched April 16, myBinghamton — Binghamton University’s new online portal — is a consolidation of BU services, such as B-Mail, Blackboard, BU Brain and TutorTrac.

Donald Loewen, vice provost for undergraduate education and chair of the portal’s implementation committee, said myBinghamton is a means to make the different services more accessible.

“We know that the University has a lot of useful information sources and Web pages, but it can be really hard to find them all,” Loewen said. “This is one way to bring together the things that students will find most helpful.”

The website was created in an effort by the Office of the President and the Provost to further develop the existing portal, which has been active for about a year.

Portal developer Madhuri Govindaraju said she met with a number of students during the developing process, and used their suggestions for the site. According to Govindaraju, students told her they wanted the portal to be more aesthetically appealing and to have direct links to Blackboard and BU Brain as well as a calendar incorporating personal schedules with University events.

“We worked on the look and feel of the portal to make it more appealing and at the same time represent our university branding,” Govindaraju wrote in an email. “We have an image slider that we use not just for events but also to create awareness about services. BU BRAIN Self Service and Blackboard links provide direct access to useful links with a single-sign-on to myBinghamton. We will be adding a campus resources page soon.”

In addition to the links to academic services, the homepage also links to the academic and events calendars, student accounts, the registrar and financial aid websites, as well as to publications such as Binghamton University Magazine, News Releases and Pipe Dream. A ticker of BU’s Twitter page lines the left-hand side.

“I think that the site is a good idea, it allows students to save time by only having to access one site which can redirect them to any site a Binghamton University student could need,” said Dan Cleveland, a senior majoring in chemistry.

Before the relaunch, which occurred over spring break to ease traffic to the page, the site was averaging 75 logins a day, according to Loewen. Since becoming “myBinghamton,” it has seen a much higher login rate, with over 1,200 on April 22.

Emily Earl, a freshman majoring in environmental studies, said she welcomed the changes and that they were noticeable.

“When I first came to Binghamton, I checked out the site a couple of times because it seemed like it would help, but the site wasn’t arranged well and didn’t really make any sense,” Earl said. “These changes make it work like I think it was supposed to. It’s still a little rough, but with some tweaking I think it’ll be great.”

Development of the site will continue in the following weeks, eventually adding a faculty/staff version more tailored to their needs and more concessions to students.

“Student input is important as we develop the portal, and we hope that students will give us ideas for further improvements and development,” Loewen said. “There are already ways that students can contribute directly — we’ve got a weekly poll question, and there’s an opportunity for anyone to suggest a question for a future poll. Within a week of adding that option, we put up a really interesting poll question suggested by a student. Hopefully we’ll get a lot more good contributions like that.”