Say hello to Ellucian Experience

By Sydney Fairbanks

Ellucian Experience will officially replace Penguin Portal on March 1, leaving Youngstown State University students, faculty and staff with a customizable and dynamic user experience.

The new portal will keep Penguin Portal’s name and features, with a different look and interactive cards that link to other pages.

According to senior project manager Jeff Wormley, Ellucian Experience was available in August 2023. Wormley said the change must be made because the company that owns Penguin Portal decided to ‘end of life’ the product.

“We had no choice whatsoever. We had to use a new project. Fortunately, they had a new product that we could use, and it was actually cheaper for us,” Wormley said.

Rosalyn Donaldson, director of IT Training Services and academic continuity team manager, said the new system is customizable and easy to use.

“The old system is a list of links and the new system is a series of tiles, which you can make visible on your home page or not,” Donaldson said. “You don’t have to display all the things that you will probably never use.”

Donaldson said the new system is also more mobile friendly.

“It’s mobile friendly too — more mobile friendly than the old version. [On] the new portal, you can use your phone to pull up the different tiles that you’ve made favorites on your regular desktop Penguin Portal,” Donaldson said.

Each of the portal’s cards can be taken off or moved around the page, allowing students to choose what to prioritize. New tiles can also be added to the page by searching up keywords.

Wormley said the new system uses real time data and displays live updates. 

“If you’re a student and you open up a card that is your class schedule, you’ll see your real time class schedule right there. And if your teachers put grades on Blackboard and you open up your class, it will tell you what your grade is at the time,” Wormley said.

New cards are constantly added to Ellucian Experience. Recently, ‘new freshman’ and ‘new transfer student’ cards were added. Wormley said the constant updates allow an easier process for implementing changes.

“Every day that I come in and open [Ellucian Experience] up, there’s some new card on it,” Wormley said. “It’s very easy for us to add functions to it where before it was a tedious process.”

Since launching the new system in August, IT Services held focus groups to gain feedback and tweak what needed to be changed.

After meeting with students, Donaldson and her colleagues met with YSU departments such as Housing and Residence Life, the Penguin Service Center, the Office of University Bursar, and Tutoring Services. 

Donaldson said the department needed to figure out what students wanted to see for the portal and what they searched for the most. 

“We also had to develop a Google search internally for our portal so that when you put in the term that you’d look for like ‘get a job’ — there’s ‘employment,’ there’s ‘job,’ there’s ‘work’ and different terms that students would look for when they’re trying to seek on-campus employment,” Donaldson said.