Monday, October 12, 2009

UC Health Faculty Website

One of my first projects here at The Uni of Canberra has been assigned by Diane Gibson (Dean of the Faculty of Health). It is to develop a plan for the Faculty's web pages within the University Website. My thinking is to add these initial notes here, in the hope of connecting with other interested parties within, and even outside the University were there is a chance for collaboration and advice. At the same time, good old word of mouth is working, and I am getting around various people in and outside the Faculty who have experience with the website.

The UC website is theoretically user generated, meaning that staff can obtain rights to edit and manage the website. I am yet to meet a staff member who edits and manages pages that relate to their work, it seems most people prepare information offline and then work with someone to get that information onto the website. I know there are people in Health who have big and small ideas for their website, and everyone seems to agree that it is a very important channel for attracting and supporting people engaged with teh University and the Faculty. So one of my first steps is to get to know everyone who is involved, interested or has responsibility for the website at the moment, and to collect their ideas and concerns. If anything immediate and urgent comes up, I'll work to addressing those straight away.

These are the notes I have from the staff in Sports Studies. It has been recommended that I make contact with Pharmacy and Physio as well.

So far identified as urgent
  1. Some courses are not listed accurately, or linked from the Faculty or Discipline pages
  2. Updates needed asap, in time to meet inquiries for enrolments in 2010
  3. Not enough information relating to facilities, research, partnerships
  4. Staff pages are out of date
General issues and suggestions
  1. Everyone commented on the difficulty to navigate existing information, or to locate known information.
  2. Some commented that information is very text heavy and unengaging, lacking a human face, needs plain English-ifying
  3. One suggested a FAQ page, as well as study advice like part time study options, from where to where pathways. Sports has someone working on a Pathways diagram.
  4. Interesting to note the page within Sports: "Australian Sporting Industry Short Course, 6th-25th June 2010", suggesting that all Unit or Course pages might have a welcome page along the lines of this. A suggestion was to create welcome pages that include more information - including resources, photos, class notes etc.
  5. Sports Studies submenu should include pages for Staff, Partnerships, Research, Consultancy, Honours and further research, testimonials, tweets..
  6. Suggestions to include videos (or audio with images) of staff describing their research areas and interests, as well as course descriptions.
  7. Comment that the web page information is weak, with no verifiable or supporting links outside the website itself, or no presence in other information channels outside the University.
If you have ideas for the Faculty of Health pages, or any of the disciplines within the Faculty, I would love to hear your suggestions, or alerts to urgent fixes.

A course of action roughly proposed for Sports Studies with a view to scaling through to other disciplines:

  1. Due 14 Oct @ 6hrs: Leigh to receive training on the website's content management system (appointment made with Fran for Wednesday 14 Oct at 10am, and with Judy Friday 7 Oct at 10am)
  2. Due 23 Oct @ 12hrs: Correct and update errors and absent information immediately, inserting images and addressing basic layout improvements along the way
  3. Due 26 Oct @ 6hrs: Meeting with staff to gather suggestions and follow up gathering content. Suggestions requiring content or significant work - listed for scoping.
  4. Due 1 Dec @ 24hrs: Implement changes based on suggestions and new content
  5. Due 11 Dec @ 6hrs: Another staff meeting to review changes, and train volunteers to assist with further maintenance and additions in future.*
  6. Due 18 Dec @ 24hrs: Begin spreading content, information and resources across wider web (Youtube, Wikipedia, Slideshare, perhaps even Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and Wikiversity etc)
  7. Due 18 Dec @ 12 hrs: Regather that distributed content back into the website via RSS, widgets and other content aggregates.
  8. Due 21 Dec @ 6 hrs: Another staff meeting to review distributed content exercise, and to get volunteers for developing new practices that compliment the ongoing endeavour.*


*Should volunteers step forward for this steps, extra hours needed for training and support (approx 10 hrs each volunteer, for each step)


Merrolee said...

Leigh - doesn't feel like you've left us with all those tweets coming through my cellphone! Anyway... I started reading your plan going - like where is social networking leigh - but I see it comes in at the end....will you get some physios blogging I wonder? I have links to some physios using social networking tools mainly in the US and UK - if you need them :-)

Merrolee said...

oops want to get email notification

Anonymous said...

Not sure about your plan Leigh. Sounds too lineal and actually lacks the Web 2 flair I'd hoped for ... obviously we can discuss all this. Good start, though.

Anonymous said...

Best way to address FOH is to use email mechanisms at this stage. We have supportive Deans at UC, but not much info filters through to Faculty members. Thankfully we have an excellent DVC and VC and they are supportive of quality initiatives.

Slow and steady wins the race - especially when you don't know people well.

Keep up the good work.