WUG Update: Fall 2009
As the fall semester starts up, I wanted to let you know about some of the new tools we’ve made available over the summer:
- The new myVCU portal
- The new Technology Services website
- The Central Authentication Service
- Social availability
We will also have more details coming in the next week about our fall Web Users’ Group meeting.
1. The new myVCU portal – introductory sessions
Jim Yucha, VCU Web Services, will be presenting two sessions on the new myVCU Portal. On Friday, 8/28 at 11am in Sanger Hall, room B1-020 and on Friday, 9/4 at 11am in Cabell Library, room B-35. If you have any questions about the new portal or have suggestions for future content, please come and encourage your users to come to one of the two sessions. You may pre-register by going to one of the two URLs listed below:
Walk-ins are welcome since so very few have registered so far.
In addition to a significant visual and interactive overhaul, the new
portal uses our Central Authentication Service (CAS, see below for more
info) to handle all incoming logins. What does this change mean for you
Direct logins from other websites to the portal will no longer work. Instead, if you have a login form to the myVCU portal, you will need to change that to a link (or graphic button).
While the new portal is live, it is currently running on a temporary domain. On September 1, we are planning to decommission the old portal and move the new one back to http://my.vcu.edu. If you are linking to the temporary domain at http://portal.vcu.edu, you will have approximately two weeks after this move to update your links back to http://my.vcu.edu before we disable the temporary domain.
2. The new Technology Services website
Over the summer, we introduced a completely overhauled Technology Services website at http://www.ts.vcu.edu/
The site is built using the OpenText (formerly RedDot) CMS that we have been promoting for over a year.
The new site features an organized and rapidly growing Knowledge Base. Staff from every department of Technology Services have contributed articles to help our users learn more about the many services we provide. We have nearly 500 articles in the knowledge base about more than 60 topics, and we will continue to write more as the semester
progresses. Creating the knowledge base has been a huge undertaking – much of our content has had to be rewritten to accommodate changes in services and to fill gaps where documentation was lacking.
Another great new feature of the Technology Services site is our integrated blog hub. Many departments at Technology Services have their own blogs, and they are all now combined into a single core for easier access. (You can still access them individually if you’re only interested in certain departments.) We’ve even added some new blogs, such as our mailbag blog which will allow us to respond to feedback more transparently.
3. The Central Authentication Service (CAS)
The main goal of the CAS is to standardize authentication at VCU so that users will be able to easily and safely log in to any site at VCU using their VCU eID and password. Over the next year, we plan to work with webmasters and web developers to integrate your applications and websites with CAS.
On some servers (such as Jupiter, our Cpanel server, and even the blogs), we’ve set up Apache to support CAS as a native authentication method. This means you can fairly simply set up an .htaccess file to password-protect folders using VCU eID authentication. We will also have documentation available soon to help you build CAS authentication into your web applications.
4. Social availability
Everyone’s got a Facebook group or a Twitter account these days, and we’re no exception. Here’s how you can get in touch with us: