The Drexel University Office of Information Resources and Technology announced that a new version of DrexelOne, the University’s student and staff Web portal, will be released in the near future.
While the site will still be based on the same software, called the “Ellucian Luminis Platform,” it will be upgraded to a newer version. According to a statement posted on the DrexelOne landing page, “It’s engineered to handle more users connecting at once, and single points of failure have been reduced to provide for greater reliability.”
“The key to moving DrexelOne forward is to get it onto a modern portal framework, like LifeRay. Then, opportunities that don’t exist today may open up,” Ken Blackney, associate vice president for core technology infrastructure, wrote in an email.
“The software behind what we call DrexelOne is a product called Luminis from a company now called Ellucian. The version that we’ve been running is 4.0, which is getting fairly old by software standards. The new version is Luminis 5.0, which is based on a newer portal framework. Since it’s the next version, we’re upgrading,” Blackney continued.
One of the biggest new features that the new portal will allow is the integration with Drexel’s Central Authentication Service. The CAS allows users to log in only once and then automatically gain access to University web systems such as DrexelOne, Drexel Learn and WebMail. When using the new CAS system, it is important to note that the only way to fully log out of the system is to close all browser windows. Otherwise another person could go directly to a Drexel system and still be automatically logged into the account of the person who last used the computer.
Though this change will make it easier to access all of the different systems, the information from each will still be stored and organized separately. Maria Elena Marinelli, a sophomore information technology major, is anticipating the change to the system.
“It doesn’t matter to me because everything still authenticates with one server as it is. You just have to go to different places for everything. You have to go to different websites to get your grades, check your email, register for classes. … At first I think it’s definitely going to confuse people, but once everyone gets used to it, it could be good,” she said.
While a preview is available at next.one.drexel.edu, the new DrexelOne cannot be launched yet due to a vital component missing. IRT hopes to launch the new version after the winter break.
The preview shows many similarities to the old system, including displaying information in modules and across different content sections such as Drexel, Students and Community, but with a more modern visual identity that aligns more closely with the University’s colors.
The biggest change is that users are no longer able to customize which modules appear or rearrange them. The calendar feature has also been removed, but IRT records show that few people used it. Links to BannerWeb-based systems, such as course registration, now open up in a new window without DrexelOne branding.
Integration with some library resources is also not currently available in the preview due to technical limitations. Once the switch is made to use the new system full time, the integration will take place.
IRT is inviting feedback on the preview portal from students, faculty and staff. They can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.