The ambitious effort to give Fort Hays State University students more convenient access to electronic information will become reality next week.
The FHSU portal, TigerTracks, which was originally scheduled to launch at the end of January, will go online on Monday, Feb. 20.
"We had to delay the launch of TigerTracks primarily to solve a number of issues with single sign-on," explained Dave Schmidt, director of the FHSU Computing and Telecommunication Center. "Taking care of all of the various types of Virtual College accounts on Blackboard and notifying users took some time. Also, the new Web mail portal code took more work than expected."
He said security was also an issue that postponed the January launch. "The portal is the public face for a variety of applications running on different servers," Schmidt said. "We were concerned that we provide a secure environment for the data, and providing additional layers of security took more time than expected."
The TigerTracks portal, which was named by a vote of FHSU students, provides a "single sign-on" feature that allows students to access their Blackboard accounts, review their financial information, search for classes, read their e-mail and view grades and transcripts by signing on just once using an individualized ID and password.
Also, each user can customize his or her portal environment.
FHSU students who haven't yet done so should complete their TigerTracks registration by going to tigertracks.fhsu.edu/register/.
The TigerTracks portal will make campus communications easier through general and targeted announcements. Students will typically log in to the portal in the morning to check their e-mail, do assignments, make payments, do Internet searches and use other online services.
The portal is a secure environment for many essential services. TigerTracks uses uPortal code, the most popular portal software for university use. Students will log in to TigerTracks at tigertracks.fhsu.edu using the FHSU Central Authentication Service. CAS is open-source software designed and supported by a consortium of major universities and provides users with single sign-on, requiring a log-in only once per browser session. Both TigerTracks and CAS are protected by 128-bit secure encryption from Verisign, so users can be assured that all information transmitted via CAS and TigerTracks is confidential and completely protected.
Students arriving at the TigerTracks home page will click on the CAS Secure Log-in button to access the log-in screen. The first log-in will present a default layout with information grouped under topic-oriented sections (tabs). Users can find previous on-line applications (Student Web Services) under the new heading of On-line Services.
The default layout provides a starting point for portal users. The site is customizable from the point of initial log-in. User preferences will be remembered by TigerTracks for all subsequent sessions.
Help documents for the portal are available on the Help tab of the TigerTracks home page and at http://www.fhsu.edu/ctc/helpdesk/tigertracks_info.shtml.
Users should watch for TigerTracks Announcements on the TigerTracks home page for new and upcoming changes to the system. Future developments to be provided as a part of TigerTracks will include online registration and the ability for faculty and staff to communicate with students through e-mail by major, minor, residence hall affiliation and campus group affiliation, among others. These are just a few of the enhancements that will be provided in the future as the portal is continually upgraded and improved.
TigerTracks was created by FHSU's Portal Development Team, with wide representation from students, faculty and staff.