Panther Central Ready for Final Launch
In May, South Florida Community College launched Panther Central, a unified gateway to its Web-based services for students, faculty, and staff. During a summer trial period, students and employees began exploring Panther Central and using its core features. According to Dr. Linda Ward, chief information officer, Panther Central will officially go into service on Aug. 4. Because Panther Den and PAWS have been integrated into Panther Central, the links to those services will disappear from the college Web site, and users will access them through Panther Central.
“This is truly one-stop shopping,” Dr. Ward said. “Students and employees will be able to access all of the college’s resources through a single sign-on.”
Any current SFCC student or employee may access Panther Central’s login page by visiting the college Web site, www.southflorida.edu, choosing the “Current Students” tab, and selecting “Panther Central.” Your user name is your nine-digit SFCC I.D. number (G.I.D.), and your password is your birth date in MMDDYY format.
No links to PAWS appear within Panther Central; however, services formerly associated with that application are now delivered through Panther Central channels. For example, employees will now find their personal employment information in the employment details channel under the “Employee” tab. By choosing the “Student” tab, students can track their financial aid, register for classes, pay bills, check grades, and perform other functions. Students enter Panther Den by choosing the “My Courses” tab and selecting either the Panther Den/D2L Tutorials link in the left-hand column or clicking any of the links to their current courses. Here, students can proceed to their course home pages, chat, use the drop box and locker, and send e-mail, as they have in the past.
The Panther Central portal packs a wealth of information and a powerful combination of services into a single, easy-to-navigate portal. Upon entry, users land on a home page that displays a series of tabs based on their role as a student, employee, faculty, or administrator, as well as tabs for “Home Page,” “Campus Life,” “Tutorials,” and “My Courses.” Each tab contains channels that provide information and links to resources dealing with those topics. Although some channels are permanently locked, others may be added or deleted, giving users some ability to customize their content.
General information about the college is distributed through channels on the home page. These include campus announcements, personal announcements targeted to specific users, links to college campuses and centers, the Group Studio Activity Channel, the picture of the week, quick links, customizable bookmarks, local news feeds, and dining services such as Kelly’s Corner.
By selecting the “Student” tab, students can do more than track their financial transactions. They can view their academic profile, find online versions of the College Catalog and Student Handbook, and access services such as Advising and Counseling, the Bookstore, the Career Center, Student Services, the Tutoring and Learning Center (TLC), eLearning, and Campus Security.
Employee information is consolidated under the “Employee” tab. In addition to finding information about pay and benefits, employees can learn about professional development opportunities, read Panther Tales and Wellness Newsletter, access employment-related forms, use Banner, and get help from eLearning, IT, Campus Security, and the college webmaster.
Faculty and instructors use the “Faculty” tab to view their course information channels, which provide information about the courses the instructor is teaching. They can also enter grades, check the faculty schedule, read faculty reports, and view faculty assessment materials such as unit action plans, master course descriptions, and academic calendars.
The “Campus Life” tab contains channels for Student Activities, the Student Government Association (SGA), and Athletics, as well as Group Studio.
Group Studio offers unique opportunities for communication. By selecting the Group Studio Activity Channel (or the “Groups” button in the top right-hand corner of any page) and then “Groups Index,” users can access the studios of student clubs and organizations, administrative working groups, or social groups. Each studio consists of a message board where group members can post messages, announcements, news, photos, links, files, and members’ e-mail addresses.
Panther Central also offers other tools that help users every day. By clicking on the “Calendar” button in the top right-hand corner of any page, users can enter calendar tasks, schedule events, send invitations, check the availability of other users, import and export calendars, and maintain an address book.
The “My Account” link at the top left-hand corner of pages allows users to change their password, while the “Content Layout” link helps users manage the content on their pages.
Instructors and students can send e-mail through Panther Central. However, SFCC employees will continue to use Microsoft Outlook for communicating through e-mail.
Jami Reed, eLearning Assistant, is conducting training sessions for employees:
- DeSoto Campus, Room 202: Thursday, July 29, 9-10 a.m. and 10-11 a.m.
- Highlands Campus, Room G-102: Thursday, Aug. 5, 10-11 a.m.
- Highlands Campus, Room I-209: Tuesday, Aug. 10, 3:30-4:30 p.m.
- Lake Placid Center, Room 162: Thursday, Aug. 12, 3-4 p.m.
- Hardee Campus, Room 204: Friday, Aug. 13, 1-2 p.m. and 2-3 p.m.
During Welcome Back week, employees can learn more about Panther Central’s new features by attending a Panther Central Overview for Employees at 4 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 16, and Wednesday, Aug. 18, in Room I-209. Employees can also receive assistance with Panther Central by contacting the Information Technology (IT) help desk at ext. 7462 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Students can receive assistance by calling ext. 7017 or e-mailing email@example.com.