IRT updates the campus community on webSPACE Project Community

IRT updates the campus community on webSPACE Project Community

From Liz Houle, director, IRT Web and Media Services, and
Linda Halverson, IRT associate vice president

What’s happened
Last year, webSPACE (infraStructure, Portal and Content Experience) was all about the hardware and software. We spent much of the year architecting, planning, documenting and implementing the new environment – which is now fast, backed up and more responsive. Our new environment provides a user-friendly content provider tool (Collage), course management in Blackboard, e-mail marketing with Lyris, Google search capability and an Oracle Portal that allows personalization.

This new environment is now operational. We continue to convert old environment Web sites into new Collage templates, train content providers (people who provide the words for their individual Web pages) and site managers (people who manage all the pages for a department’s site) on the new tools, and orient site managers to their new responsibilities.

Feedback from those who already have migrated (Undergraduate Admissions, Human Resources, Catholic Studies, College of Business, School of Education, Art History, the Rome campus and the St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity) is positive.

Our clients say Collage is extremely easy to use and the migration process has been beneficial for their necessary Web site reorganization. Many of you have worked side by side with us to make this happen. Thank you for all your hard work!

What’s coming
The next sites scheduled to move into Collage are Student Affairs, Athletics and the remaining graduate programs (Social Work, Law, Engineering, English, Music Education, “Purple Pages,” Graduate Psychology, Graduate Financial Aid), undergraduate programs and the libraries.

Our plan is to kick off the College of Arts and Sciences (Sciences, Math, Engineering, Social Sciences, Humanities and Modern and Classical Languages) and Student Academic Services (International Education, Registrar and Academic Counseling) during spring semester 2006. Administrative departments soon will follow. We know that departments still waiting to migrate are anxious to get going. Please know that your time will be here soon. In the meantime, continue to update your Web sites using your current method.

In addition to Web site content management and migration to Collage, other Web functionality work is under way. Last winter, the College of Business was able to receive graduate admissions applications over the Web; this past fall the School of Education launched its version of the graduate admissions module.

The graduate admissions module is a Web-based admissions workflow tool providing online intake of graduate student applications and management of each college’s internal admissions process. The seven-step application process guides the applicant from beginning to end. The graduate admissions module includes an optional survey tool as a means for each college to better understand student needs. Additional features include online résumé editing, online credit-card payment and a full set of administrative features.

Other Web resources available for most program sites are:

  • Event and announcement information (calendars);
  • News – headlines, current stories and archives;
  • Real Simple Syndication (RSS – an alternative view of a Web page that allows you to subscribe and read content in newsreader software);
  • Biographies – people databases, human resource information, individual pages;
  • Course catalog and program information; and
  • Faculty and staff biographies.

These Web resources and new functionality are being developed as part of Collage so clients can easily manage their own information.

What’s waiting in the wings
Web resources yet to be prioritized (but on our radar screen) and being considered for development outside of Collage are:

  • Events registration
  • Events payment
  • Surveys
  • Polling
  • Web conferencing or events
  • Spotlight augmentation
  • Knowledgebase (aggregated FAQs)
  • Forms, forms, forms
  • Noncredit course registration “System”
  • E-university catalog

Some perspective
The webSPACE project is large and all-encompassing. It is often tedious and time-consuming work for everyone in our community – and, at times it seems that little progress is made; however, a review of Web functionality now available from UST’s Web site as a result of our work together gives perspective and prompts applause for everyone involved:

  • Admissions
  • Advising hold
  • Archive search
  • Bulletin
  • Class finder
  • Class search
  • Classifieds
  • Clubs administration
  • Course catalogs
  • Course registration
  • Equipment reservation
  • Events registration
  • Faculty advising
  • Feedback
  • Housing
  • HR onboarding forms
  • HR vacation reporting
  • Interactive content
  • Interactive learning objects
  • Interactive promos
  • Internships
  • Invoicing
  • Job posting and search
  • Magazine search
  • Media catalog
  • Mentorship
  • Online payment
  • Organizational listings
  • Password changes
  • Placement exams
  • Policies
  • Quizzes
  • Request for information
  • Request for service
  • Simulation
  • Student elections
  • Surveys
  • Voting

We still have a way to go. It never hurts, though, to remind ourselves of what we’ve already accomplished.

IRT looks forward to the coming webSPACE project wrap-up months, to working with departments and their scheduled site migrations, and to the excitement and efficiency of a community-managed Web site.

Please let us know if you have questions, concerns or would like additional information.