School debuts Info Portal student blogFerguson, John  | Sep 15, 2016
Students at the School of Information have created a blog and discussion forum called Info Portal to share their thoughts and experiences on campus life, career advice and other topics.
Found at infoportal.ischool.utexas.edu, the blog offers students’ perspectives on subjects that range from summer internship suggestions to book reviews, personal essays and information research. According to Senior IT Manager Samuel Burns, Info Portal will also help centralize access to information about student groups and activities while promoting student-derived narratives about the iSchool and the field of information.
“Info Portal is a project by and for students that is intended to highlight their interests and activities as a means to inspire one another and inform prospective students—as well as other engaged parties—about all the great things that happen here,” he said.
Keisha Brown, an iSchool IT student technician, developed Info Portal over the summer. Brown said one of the project’s goals is to connect iSchool students across diverse interests and academic specializations.
“The information field is vast, and there are a lot of career paths that students can follow,” she said. “Sometimes it's easy to get caught in a bubble where you see the same people in classes and at events because of a mutual career interest. It was important for me to structure Info Portal in a way that students of all professional interests would feel welcome.”
To foster involvement with her fellow students, Brown said she is also collaborating with leaders from iSchool student groups to post recaps of programs, events and volunteer activities.
“I love hearing stories about what my peers are doing because I learn about new applications of my MSIS degree that perhaps I had not considered before,” Brown said. “Plus, there’s always more events than I can attend, so it's nice to read a student's reflection on what they learned and found valuable at a program or event.”
Brown's iSchool education helped her create a better website through the use of metadata to improve user access to information, as well as best practices for navigation, SEO and social sharing, she added.