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We are trying to do a story mapping session for a new project (a student portal).

Since this is my first time doing this and we don't have a business analyst in the team that could help me, I'm struggling with how to write the epics and the user stories. I've seen examples of these but for eCommerce or an email (example attached below).

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I would like to know how would you write the epics or user stories for a student portal? What would you write? has anyone here have experience with this that could provide me some initial map or idea?

For example: In our student portal students should login, go to classes, view school news, etc. How could this map to epics and user stories?

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I think you are probably on the right track - Write a narrative, a step by step from one person's perspective from Logging in, to getting familiar with the portal, to finding what they need, and submitting data (course changes, questions) These are steps going across as a testable, demonstrable, potentially releasable plan.

the way to divide it up into columns is to find the themes emerging. the Story to change a password is similar to changing their username, both for Account Setup. So you may end up with a Epic for Account Setup.

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You want to do this from the point of view of the user. Imagine one of the students is sitting down with you explaining what they would use the portal for. For example, a student might say something like this:

"Those first couple days of classes are so confusing. I can never remember the exact times and classroom numbers of my classes. I wish I could just look them up quick on my phone. Oh, and I never realize I've forgotten the classroom until right before class, so it can't be a pain in the butt to navigate to the information."

Great, now let's turn that into a user story:

As a new student new to a class, I want to be able to quickly access the time and location of my classes so that I don't have to remember them.

That last sentence I don't think I'd even try to phrase in the "As a, I want, so that." form. I'd just present exactly that problem to the team and brainstorm some ideas to solve it.

Rapid/Paper Prototypes

I highly recommend making use of simple paper prototypes. This will allow you to play ideas out quickly and you'll find usability flaws and opportunities long before you invest a lot of time and money building the application.

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