Staff and faculty can now log into York’s student portal

Got important and time-sensitive information for students? Wondering how to reach them directly with one quick message?

Use the York student portal,, the one-stop web spot for information essential to student success. York faculty and staff can publish announcements for particular groups of students or broadcast community-wide announcements on this resource. has been up and running since September 2008, providing students with online information about course lists and class schedules, grades, library and student fees accounts, plus news and information. The Registrar’s Office and some other groups have been using the system since its launch. Headlines from YFile‘s sister publication for students, Ylife, are visible front and centre. As of last week, all staff can now log in with their Passport York account to see what students see.

All non-students viewing the portal will be presented with sample content for a fictitious student named Rose Emily Tester so they can get an idea of what the site is about and how useful it is for students. “We wanted to open it up to faculty and staff so they can see what the student is experiencing,” said Peter Rowley, director, applications and integration, University Information & Technology.

Student users of the portal currently read announcements and alerts by visiting, but in time they will be able to receive announcements and alerts by e-mail and/or by SMS on a mobile device.

There are three steps to publish a targeted message on

  1. Become an “announcement publisher” by filling in a one-time online registration form;
  2. For each targeted message, request a targeted mailing list from your Faculty’s reporting designate;
  3. Submit your message to UIT using an online form along with the targeted mailing list.

Kate Stewart, web consultant for York UIT, says the purpose of the portal’s announcement feature is to provide students with essential information, such as news about bursary and awards deadlines, changes to course schedules or reminders about critical dates – in short anything that is important to a student’s success. Messages could also include security announcements, weather emergencies or important news from the University.

Announcement publishers will also receive a report from UIT on how well their message was read.

The system is not intended for promotional messages about guest lectures, events and general notices to the community that can be distributed through other resources such as the York Events online calendar or news websites such as YFile and Ylife, and Faculty websites.

Students are introduced to during advising sessions with their Faculty, which explains the current high usage rate among first- and second-year students. In one day on January 2011, the beginning of term, the portal received 17,791 visits by students looking for important information about their studies. For the entire month, a total of 20,975 unique visitors turned to the portal for information. As the portal is introduced to new students each term, its use will grow to include more upper-year students as well, says Stewart.

For more information on the student portal announcement system, visit the online publisher registration page.