Scholar Sites vs. Portal Sites

Simpson offers two main ways for faculty to put learning resources online for students in their classes: Scholar and portal course sites. Both of these resources are password protected and only the students in your classes can access them.

Both Scholar and the portal course sites allow you to

  • Put course materials (e.g., syllabi, handouts) online
  • Have online discussions
  • Have students contribute to building a wiki

Scholar will also allow you to do the following things (which are not possible on the portal course sites):

  • have students turn in assignments online
  • give students assignment feedback online (even if the assignment was turned in as hard copy in class)
  • allow students to see their own assignment and exam grades online

The portal course sites have 2 main advantages over Scholar

  • Any announcement you post for your students in your course site will automatically show up on those students’ main portal page. Thus, if you are sick and are cancelling class, you can inform students of that by posting an announcement in your portal course site. When students log on to their portal site to check their e-mail, they will see your announcement in the “My Involvement” section of the screen.
  • Most people find it quicker and easier to put materials on a portal course site.

You may choose to use only a portal course site, only a Scholar site, or use the two together. For example, you might put course materials and announcements on the portal course site, and have students turn in assignments and check their grades on Scholar.

To request a portal course site, contact To request a Scholar site, contact  When you make your request, be sure to include the course name, department name, course number, and section letter (e.g., Intro Psych, Psyc 101 B).< As soon as Information Services has created what you’ve requested, you’ll receive an e-mail from them. Please request the site two weeks before the semester starts so that Information Services has enough time to create everyone’s sites.

Learn more about using Scholar here.