Lake Tahoe Community College has launched its new online student portal, the latest step in a total overhaul of the college's information technology structure that started four years ago.
Rewind back to 2008 when LTCC received a $2 million federal Title III grant to be administered over five years. According to the U.S. Department of Education, the grants are awarded to help colleges improve academic quality, institutional management and fiscal stability.
Now, with one year of funding left, the college has its first-ever fully integrated technology system.
According to LTCC Public Information Officer Christina Proctor, the portal, called Passport, is just the face that students see. The internal system will allow different departments - student and fiscal services, admissions, and records - to coordinate information.
"This is a significant evolution in the technology infrastructure of our college. The first thing is we hope to create greater efficiencies. The second thing is that it enables us to access much more information," said Thomas Greene, vice president of academic affairs and Student Services.
The portal serves as a central site for students to access grades, communicate with teachers, work on assignments and register for classes. It's a big improvement from the outdated system - think 20-year-old, homegrown programs - that students had used previously, said Siwatu Wright, a student ambassador at LTCC and president of the Associated Student Council.
One of Wright's jobs is to teach incoming students how to use the portal. As with anything new, there's a transitional period that could be confusing, he said. The fact that by early July the college had dropped 41 summer sections due to light enrollment, as opposed to 13 cancellations last summer, could be partially due to the new system's learning curve, Proctor said.
But Wright says he already think students are getting accustomed to it.
"I'm very visible and accessible to the student body. It's my job to help them get acclimated to the new portal," Wright said.
The portal officially went live at the start of registration for summer classes.