Know More About The Pain of Student Portals

We asked our members what they hate most about dealing with their school’s “portals”. Here’s our favourite answer.

Well, we’ve all been through the pain of having to navigate blindly through a new student portal at least once in our lives. I can tell you about mine.

I am a first year student at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) studying the Bachelor of Design (Honours) (Architectural Studies). It’s a very long name isn’t it? Well, it’s not the only area my university went overboard when it came to naming things.

QUT adores doing everything online. In fact, I can name more than five online portals that my university has created: QUT Virtual, QUT Blackboard, QUT Library, QUT IT Helpdesk, QUT eStudent, Student Gateway, OrgSync and many more I cannot be bothered to list because there’s just too many.

Students portals are a pain to navigate through and to load onto, due to congestion and poor internet. Let me tell you my experience – or should I say “journey” – through QUT Blackboard, which is a frequently used, highly important student portal.

QUT Blackboard allows us to view our grades, unit details, assessments and notices, download lecture recordings and submit our assignments. I remember having to reluctantly teach myself how to navigate through this portal to find out exactly what was required of me for the first week of university.

So there I was, a first year student who barely knew where to click, trying to locate all the essential details in order to successfully survive the first semester of university. I remember feeling nervous and anxious while painfully conducting the “trial and error” experiment on my brand new Blackboard portal.

Now here I am, four months later, a lot more familiar with QUT Blackboard, yet frustratingly under the pressure of time, trying to upload and submit my last assessment for my unit before the deadline.

Meanwhile, thousands of other QUT students are doing the same, as they too impatiently wait for their assignment to upload onto QUT Blackboard. This now forms a heavy online congestion as thousands of assignments are being uploaded onto QUT Blackboard simultaneously.

My heart beats ten times a second as I silently pray, hoping the page will load and my submission will be successful. Some students are still desperately trying to finalise their assignments before they too can join the thousands of students in their endless long wait for their assignments to upload onto QUT Blackboard. Thankfully, my assignment successfully went through prior to the deadline. It was a close call.

(I heard some students couldn’t make it on time. Theirs were submitted late and will lose one grade. Thankfully for me, that assignment is out of the way.)

Now my university has officially announced they will close down our one and only physical submission helpdesk – Assignment Minder – for good, as of next semester. I am beginning to feel the weight of a thousand tonnes on me again as I wait for my next assignment to come and be uploaded slowly onto QUT Blackboard once more. The long wait never ends.

Since technology will only advance and be forever loved, I guess I will be stuck using QUT Blackboard for assignment submissions, downloading lecture recordings forever.

Also, having constant maintenance and changes to the orientation of the tabs in student portals once in a while means we students have to constantly adapt to the student portals and continue on the confusingly painful journey of navigating through them.

What can I say? Student portals are and will forever more be a pain in the neck