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Fairfield U Completes Portal Revamp

Fairfield University today launched its full rollout of a new service discovery portal built on rSmart's OneCampus. 2.0 has replaced the university's legacy portal with updated functionality including a Google-like search capability and access from any mobile device.

Before the move to OneCampus, Fairfield University had worked with a traditional campus portal for years, noted Help Desk Manager Jason Victor in a statement. "But it wasn't loved," he said. "While in one sense our old, legacy portal served its purpose, we had several ongoing issues in terms of its functionality and feature set. We wanted more."

The university spent about two years looking for a portal replacement, with four main goals in mind:

1) Mobile accessibility; 

2) An intuitive user interface;

3) Cost efficiency; and 

4) Search functionality.

In March 2016, Fairfield decided on OneCampus. "There's a lot of functionality built into that product, and you truly get the idea that you are giving your campus a real update. OneCampus is more than a replacement portal — it's like taking a step into the future," commented Victor.

Fairfield ran the old portal in parallel with its implementation work on OneCampus, taking time with the transition. "Yes, it's true that you can get the system going in a compressed timeframe if you want to," said Victor. "Technically it's not a difficult implementation. But we wanted to be as careful with the implementation as we were with the product selection. This also gave us the opportunity to test out the new system thoroughly during the transition phase."

Part of the time spent during the implementation phase was in training departmental content owners. With the university's old portal, if a department wanted to post content, it had to do that through Information Technology Services. Now, with OneCampus, departments have the ability to maintain their own content. Long term, explained Victor, both the departments and ITS will save time and energy with this distributed strategy. And the departments will have a sense of autonomy.

It's possible for IT departments at other institutions to take on more of the initial work in terms of uploading data for the departments, speeding the launch process, pointed out Victor. "But for us, implementation wasn't just a matter of setting up the initial infrastructure and then quickly uploading all the data for the departments. We consciously made an investment in time to get everyone in the departments up-to-speed and feeling comfortable with the new system. This investment in giving departments the ability to take charge of their own content, right from the start, will be a long-term value for us."

Fairfield's OneCampus implementation was completed on schedule, meeting its Jan. 30 rollout target. The default page for now goes to the OneCampus implementation rather than the old portal home page, effectively replacing the portal completely.

Fairfield's OneCampus Implementation

Main page:

Decision to implement OneCampus: March, 2016

Live release date/full rollout: January 30, 2017

Number of departmental content owners: 30

Estimated users: 5,000-plus student enrollment

Video: "Introducing the New 2.0"

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