How Student Web Developers get their EDGE (PST1)

Holly Scholl
Graphic Designer, Augustana Web Guild

The Augustana Web Guild is a student organization that provides an affordable Web presence to nonprofit organizations and small businesses, immersing students in hands-on web experience. Since it was founded in 1998, the Web Guild has provided many students with opportunities to learn more than just web design. Students work directly with clients and are responsible for project development, enabling them to build skills in project management, client interaction, and communication. Members also gain a fundamental knowledge of web usability, search engine optimization, and effective content strategy. Web Guild members also provide at least three training seminars to the Augustana campus each school year. Seminar topics have included site content, design, and an introduction to Photoshop and HTML, as well as more technical topics such as PHP, Ruby on Rails, and WordPress development. By producing quality web services for hundreds of local small businesses and non-profits, the Web Guild has provided significant community outreach for Augustana College. Additionally, the group, based on an entrepreneurial model, is self-funding and has created its own endowed scholarship while providing educational benefits across many different disciplines.

There and Back Again: A Web Migrator's Tale (PST2)

Leah Davis
Assistant Director, Web & Digital Communications, IIT Stuart School of Business

Migrating to a new web platform is a fact of life for higher education web professionals, and can be the perfect window to also refresh content and rethink your site's information architecture.

As an academic unit (Stuart School of Business) within a larger university system (Illinois Institute of Technology) I wanted to take the migration opportunity to completely revamp our web presence and needed to do it quickly as other academic units were queuing up for the developers' time.

My poster will describe the key steps that our small team, comprised of myself and my supervisor, took to successfully and quickly migrate from Site Studio/LCMS to Drupal in just under 6 months.

Filling the Gaps: SFU’s Enhanced Academic Calendar and Course Outlines Solution (PST3)

Eryn Holbrook
Information Analyst, Simon Fraser University

Simon Fraser University’s Academic Calendar serves as the central source for senate-approved program information. It serves as an authoritative reference and planning tool for both program advisors and students. In 2013, SFU’s IT Services worked in partnership with the Student Services department to create the university’s first dynamically-generated Academic Calendar. Prior to this, each calendar was manually updated every term by Student Services staff. Beyond the excessive workload, this process introduced the potential for errors. The Calendar pulls its data directly from the university’s curriculum management system (Curricunet), enhanced via an intermediary application (Spiral), and published to the content management system (Adobe CQ).

In 2014, IT Services developed an application that would allow instructors and departmental administrators to create outlines for their courses outlines. Available via a central repository, these outlines will be embedded in the Fall 2014 Academic Calendar. The enhanced Academic Calendar and course outlines repository will allow students a central, authoritative resource for planning their academic careers.

Keep it Simple - a new responsive framework for the common man (PST4)

Andy Shearouse
President, Augustana Web Guild

When the Augustana Web Guild started working in responsive web design, the column system used by all the responsive frameworks turned into a stumbling block. Our designers sometimes struggled to fit their design ideas into the grid system. Even once the designers successfully built a design into the 12-column grid, getting it to translate nicely into a code framework sometimes proved to be a headache. We began thinking, and realized that forcing designs to fit a framework was the exact opposite of the direction we wanted to go. Instead, why not build a framework so flexible that virtually any design can fit right in? So that's what we did. In the process, we rethought how to handle breakpoints, making it easy to deliver lighter graphics for mobile devices.

Grunt automation, the easy button (PST5)

Jacob Oyen
Assistant Communications Director for Online Media, Central College

You know all of those repetitive tasks you do when launching a site? Why not hit the easy button for yourself and let Grunt handle it automagically. Running on node.js, Grunt is easy to integrate into your workflow and will help you speed up your development time. Let Grunt optimize your images, compile your SASS or LESS, compress and minify your CSS and JavaScript and more. Take complicated and time consuming tasks like building an image sprite and let Grunt combine everything into one image and build the CSS for you. Have some unit tests? Let Grunt handle it. With an elementary understanding of javascript, you can be up and running in less than 15 minutes and saving yourself hours.

FeedMasher – A Social Channel Framework (PST6)

John-Paul Takats
Information Technology Strategist, Rochester Institute of Technology

In 2014 the Undergraduate Admissions Office at RIT began to create a framework that combines multiple media sources into a single stream organized by channels we define. The content is fetched using plugins. Currently there are plugins for RSS Feeds, YouTube Channels, Twitter, and Instagram, and more are planned. An example of one channel we created is a Crafts, Design, and Graphic Communications channel. This poster presentation will highlight some of the parallels we found between our concept and traditional broadcasting which is made up of subscriptions, a TV series, and individual episodes.

KaratEmail: Putting a nail in FormMail’s coffin (PST7)

Jake Dolan
Director of Web and Digital Communications, Montana State University

Brett Davis
Web Programmer, Montana State University

Christina Hall
Designer, Montana State University

A catalyst for change: Hundreds of forms were attacked, tens of thousands of emails were sent, email accounts were overwhelmed and shut down, and business processes ground to a halt. On one cold February morning our Web team discovered that the our good friend FormMail was neither good nor a friend. After more than a decade of using the renowned FormMail script, we found the immediate need to better handle form submissions to reduce spam, increase security and build on the functionality of FormMail all while maintaining the simplicity that made FormMail such an incredible and widely used script. To satisfy these needs, our team built a new form submissions handler called KaratEmail that could replace FormMail in an entirely passive manner all while vastly improving on the power and functionality of the script. This poster session will look at the features that we knew needed to duplicate, the surprises we faced as well as the benefits that were added to make this a success for our university., Your TinyURL is! Reinforcing Your Brand with a Custom URL Shortener (PST8)

Rebecca Hall
Web Development & Marketing Director, UW-Milwaukee

Robert Nunez
Web Consultant, UW-Milwaukee

After migrating to the campus hosted CMS the UW-Milwaukee, School of Information Studies web team quickly realized that they needed a service that would allow them to create custom shortened URLs for marketing. Within 1 day, the team was able to produce a service that was equivalent to that of, that not only allows them to create shortened URLs, but also track their clicks, the audience reached, reinforce their brand, and much, much more. This poster will show the teams efforts in meeting this goal and the benefits of not relying on a 3rd party service.

Fill a gap for experiential learning (PST9)

Cindy Wagner
webmaster, Western Michigan University

Focus on experiential learning is more and more important, but how to represent what was done and what was learned to external partners is challenging. Traditional grades and transcripts do not do this. Universities must address how those students continue to showcase what they have learned and how they were assessed once the 'news' is over. In response to frequent requests from both students and faculty to fill this need, the Haworth College of Business is piloting a digital badges program—ACEs or Achievement Certification and Evaluation --that strives to provide the assessment and recognition for both the students and the college in their efforts to recognize learning that takes place outside the classroom.

Redesign and Simplify Website Global Nav (PST10)

Joel McPherson
Web Content Coordinator, Oregon Tech

Alan Wallace
Analyst Programmer, Oregon Tech

Tasked with redesigning the Oregon Institute of Technology website for responsive design, a large piece of the puzzle was fixing a convoluted global navigation menu. Our team took a multi-layer global nav menu system and condensed it into a single, horizontal nav menu. This involved many hours of Google Analytics review and user input surveys, before launching the new website in January 2014. Sensitivity to political bureaucracy took a backseat as the nav had to be designed for our target audience, prospective students.

Try This Before You Redesign (PST11)

Elizabeth Schroen
Strategic Web Content Manager, University of Maryland University College (UMUC)

University of Maryland University College thrived for years as one of the only nonprofit public universities with fully online programs. With an open enrollment design and no limits on our online capacity, we strive to continue to grow and educate more students. As the marketplace began to explode with more and more public universities going online, UMUC had to adapt its marketing strategies and website to work harder and stand out among our target audience of adult students. With a new CMO and new marketing leadership, we began incremental improvements to our outdated technologies, broken CMS, fragmented user experience, and institutionally driven (lack of) content strategy. This presentation shows how you can make incremental gains in the prospective student's online experience, use data to persuade stakeholders, develop microsites, improve landing pages, implement SEO best practices, enable tracking, and refresh your design--all without a new CMS or major changes to your site architecture. These baby steps can build buy-in for a larger website overhaul project while providing your team with data and learnings to be better informed for the major investment of a new site.

Using Storify for Professional Show & Tell (PST12)

Wendy Darling
Communications Specialist, Emory University

If you’re an online new junkie (or a social media junkie), you’ve probably seen Storify used to present media story or events as they’ve unfolded online. But have you thought about using Storify yourself to document your department’s work? At Emory University, Wendy Darling has for the past couple of years been using Storify to document how her department and the university as a whole handles pitching big stories online, and what the results have been. When a major medical research finding is released, how does Emory present it online? Where are the news releases? Video? Tweets? Facebook posts? Media coverage? Bloggers analyzing? What’s Twitter saying? Using Storify, Wendy has created packages that, once completed, can present a clear picture of how stories played out. These packages can be shared with leadership, with professors, and with others in communications and marketing. Rather than a dry report or a list of media hits, Storify can offer an interactive, “Wow”-generating report that gives people an idea of the value of communications and marketing.

A Do-it-yourself Guide on How to Communication News Content Directly to Key Target Audiences (PST13)

Greg Trevor
Executive Editor, Rutger Today, Rutgers University

How does your communications team engage your target audiences when the reach of the traditional media is dwindling? You do it yourself. In fall 2009, Rutgers University launched a universitywide news center to publish the most timely and interesting information about Rutgers to the broadest possible audience. Since then, the site has prompted non-Rutgers media to publish more than 20,000 positive stories about the university, including nearly 2,000 articles and videos that were republished word-for-word. W

This session will explore the how-to’s of building, promoting, maintaining and growing a news hub that becomes:

• the “must go” information destination
• a source of pride for your institution
• a key mechanism to communicate news content directly to key target audiences and the public.

But it's MY website: Moving from Ownership to Collaboration with Single-Sourcing (PST14)

Alex Skorpinski
Web Content Manager, Illinois State University

Ameliah Tawlks
Web Content Specialist, Illinois State University

As information architects for an institution of over 20,000 students, 3,000 faculty and staff, and 400 distinct websites, managing web content at Illinois State University has become exponentially more difficult over time. Beyond that, shrinking budgets in higher education have reduced the resources available to effectively manage information across the university and reach our target audiences.

To answer this increasingly difficult challenge, we’ve developed some unique ways to single-source varying types of content, allowing us to ensure consistency across our web presence. Admissions and completion requirements of our academic programs, news stories, and events can be stored and updated in a single location, and leveraged across a multitude of sites.

With a distributed content model, there is an ongoing problem with content ownership. Single-sourcing helps to remove “that’s my text” roadblocks while still leveraging the input and knowledge of subject matter experts. Through the use of content management software such as OU Campus and WordPress, we are able to allow many authors to maintain our content, yet also corral the departmental silos into working together (whether they realize it or not).

Our single-sourcing strategies have allowed for a stronger audit process, ensuring information provided by departments can be confirmed and finessed by data custodians like Admissions, the Registrar, and Media Relations.

I Can’t Believe I Ate the Whole Thing: From Redesign to Launch in Four Months (PST15)

Luci Geraci
Director of Digital Communications, St. John's University

Christopher Semetis
Web Content Developer, St. John's University

Everyone knows that redesigning a website takes time–a lot of time. But when you factor in a new CMS, a hard deadline for launch, and the untimely departure of a key developer long the way, you could have a recipe for disaster. You are invited to hear the harrowing tale of how St. John’s four-person web team moved from an eight-year-old CMS to Drupal, cut 50,000 pages of content down to just under 4,000 and more importantly, lived to tell about it.

In this presentation, you’ll learn how St. John’s was able to use a new CMS and a new developer to launch a new responsive website that complemented a new brand campaign. Step into the thought process of deciding what was important, which policies needed to be implemented, and how the group remained focused on targeting the ever-important prospective student.

The Sweetness of the Low-Hanging Fruit: Getting Traction On Social Media With Limited Resources (PST16)

Lacey Luce
Director of Web Managment, Columbus College of Art & Design

Amanda Pierce
Media Coordinator, Columbus College of Art & Design

Have you recently been handed the social media hat to add to your already overpopulated hat collection? Not sure how to tackle social media on behalf of your college and/or department? Hear how Lacey Luce and Amanda Pierce with Columbus College of Art & Design learned to make the most of “low-hanging fruit” and grow their social media channels without suffering a nervous breakdown or giving up all of their personal Netflix time, and earning CCAD some national attention along the way.

Lacey and Amanda will share the story of DangerDust: two students who started leaving stunning chalkboard messages on campus just for the joy of creating them. Hear how CCAD began sharing the random acts of art and how the campus and the media responded.

Finally join this two-person (this isn’t our only job) team in learning to celebrate and build on baby-step growth.

How Seven Seconds on Social Media Can Bring More Attention Than Any Advertising Campaign. (PST17)

Brad Brown
Public Relations Director, St. Louis College of Pharmacy

We’re all looking for ways to stand out in a crowded educational marketplace. Learn how St. Louis College of Pharmacy utilized a voting contest tied to the city’s 250th birthday to grab media attention, break into the public conversation, and become known as the College with the cake.

Search Engine Optimization - The Essentials to Boosting Your Search Engine Ranking (PST18)

Robin Kelly
Webmaster, The University of Texas at Tyler

Contrary to what many believe about Search Engine Optimization, adding simple keywords to your website content will not do the trick. In this poster presentation, learn how The University of Texas at Tyler implemented successful SEO across their university website to significantly increasing organic traffic.

Robin will demonstrate how to increase your SEO rankings by configuring URLs, writing proper metadata, creating killer content, using internal links along with other techniques. Robin will also discuss Google rules and guidelines, SEO end-use training tips, answer your SEO questions and much more.

Paying Your Way to the Top: Advertising on Social Media (PST19)

JP Rains
Manager, Digital Strategy, Laurentian University

You should think that you can get to the top of the social networks organically. This should be the "right" way to get ahead. Well, as we know, isn't exclusively the only way to get there. Advertising on Facebook and Twitter with a budget can yield significant results for your business goal as well as positive results for your brand. Especially when your department isn't paying the bill ;)

Having spent the last 4 years advertising campaigns on Facebook and Twitter totalling in the six figures, I'd like to share insights, failures and successes.

Here's an overview of the presentation:
- Earning executive support to spend $
- Targeting tips and tricks
- Proposing and implementing an agile plan
- Reporting on your successes

The Importance of Web in an Integrated Marketing Communications Strategy (PST20)

Jennifer Younker
Executive Director of Marketing & Communication, Saint Xavier University

Your website is your number one marketing tool in higher education, yet many marketing and web professionals do not work strategically or cohesively to make sure their institution’s website is branded to uniquely identify their institution. Marketers strive to increase brand recognition, profile and reputation of their institution to prospective students, current students, and alumni and friends. However, this is often not a web developer’s idea of what a website should be, thus resulting in a nonintegrated marketing communications strategy.

At Saint Xavier University, we practice an integrated marketing communications strategy that fosters team dynamics between web, social media, marketing and communications by bringing these different areas together under one executive director. Implementing an integrated marketing strategy across platforms can be done in simple stages that mesh together all the skills sets from web, marketing, content, design and other mediums.

Even if all these different areas report to different directors, there are ways to develop communication and cohesion in all marketing and web processes to create an integrated marketing strategy to develop a strong brand presence that revolves around an institutional website being the key component in building a compelling brand.

In this presentation, I will discuss how your website and marketing communications can provide one consistent voice to provide greater brand differentiation, trust and dialogue through increasing marketing and web interaction; the way to get these teams to work together, thus implementing a cyclical process of discover, create, implement and assess; and how implementing an ARC (access, reach and connect) engagement review process into your web and marketing dynamics will result in a compelling, strong brand image.

Writing for the Web (PST21)

Amanda Crittenden
Web Developer, University of Utah Marriott Library

Tracy Brewer Medley
Head of Discovery & Web Development, University of Utah Marriott Library

Research shows that we use different parts of our brains when reading online than we do reading books, print, or other materials offline. Our brains are conditioned to skip around when reading online, making web content choices crucial. Utilizing a compilation of web and neuroscience research, Amanda and Tracy will present key tips for writing user-friendly content. Attend this session and you will learn the differences between traditional, long form writing and content for the web. Plus, you'll leave with lots of tips and tools to create better content on your own academic site.

Fresno State’s Journey to a Dynamic, Responsive Online Catalog (PST22)

Dawn Truelsen
Associate Director, Web Communications, California State University, Fresno

With the demise of its printed general catalog, Fresno State decided it was time to convert its course catalog into a student-focused, data-driven online tool. To benefit on-the-go students, Fresno State also decided to make its catalog responsive. In this presentation, Dawn will discuss their design process, the responsive techniques used, data integrity issues, user and device data, and their analytics strategy. She will also discuss how faculty and staff adjusted to the changes in workflow, data ownership, collaboration, and information technology.

Learning how students think: a redesign of our advising website (PST23)

Alex Aivars
Webmaster, Western Michigan University

Over the past 3 years the College of Education and Human Development's advising website has gone through many changes. These have been a direct result of usability testing, which showed surprising results. These results radically changed how our advising website was structured. Students don't see the university and/or college the same way as a faculty or staff member. A staff member knows their College, department, and office they work in. A student only knows their major and maybe their department. This simple fact had huge implications for our advising website.

Doctor Gato-love: Developers and Support Working Together to Build a Better CMS (PST24)

Thomas Tostanoski
User Services Consultant I, Texas State University

In 2007, Texas State University abandoned a CMS that wasn't working for anyone and implemented an in-house system based on open source software. They called it Project Gato. Deciding to do it ourselves was a calculated risk. Our unique team ensured that that risk paid off. In fact, it was an astonishingly good idea.

Seven years, a lot of fighting in the War Room, and close to 350 websites later, Gato is still going strong. What's the secret Doomsday Machine behind the success? The way our support team interacts with our development team.

Representatives from both the support and development staffs will talk about this relationship and why it's made Gato a better product for the university community. They will also share past successes, problems they overcame, and what lies ahead for our humble little cat, er, CMS.

The Frosting to the Customer Service Cupcake: Creating a User Community (PST25)

Jessica Kowalewski
Web Content Coordinator, University of Michigan - LSA Web Services

David Merchant
Communications Editor, University of Michigan International Institute

The University of Michigan's College of Literature, Science, and the Arts (LSA) has 75 academic departments, 126 websites, and more than 200 people on our content management system contacts list. In 2012, user satisfaction for our CMS was low and frustration/suspicion among users high.

The LSA Web Service team saw this as an opportunity to improve our customer service and formed the CMS User Group. Departmental representatives trained in the current content management system (CMS) were invited to join members of the LSA Web Services to connect with our users on a different level -- as peers.

Two years later, the group holds monthly meetings to learn about new features in the CMS, ways to improve their own departmental or program website, and hear from their peers on their web management experiences. The group also connect with each other virtually through the CMS User Group Google+ community.

The LSA Web Service team is now poised to lead this group through a major transition into a new content management system in late 2014. The CMS User Group will serve as an important resource for the LSA Web Service Team, giving us an opportunity to engage and teach our users the importance and value of their web presence.

This presentation will show how the LSA Web Service Team goes beyond the web support ticketing system by working with this community group. The CMS User Group engages the users to continually think about their websites, help the web service team develop advanced features for the system, and learn ways to manage and maintain a sometimes challenging system.

Using Social Media to Connect with International Students (PST26)

Jon-Stephen Stansel
International Communications Manager, University of Central Arkansas

When planning a Social Media strategy for your school it is important to remember to engage with your international student population. Social Media outlets can increase international student involvement in events, inform international students of immigration and visa issues, connect with international alumni, and even help your international recruiting efforts in order to increase diversity on your campus.
Social media can be a powerful tool to promote cultural understanding and also effectively communicate with second language learners. In this session, using several popular social media platforms, we will discuss effective techniques to successfully use social media to engage with international students.
In addition, we will discuss how to use Facebook's targeted ads to best tailor ads to your target international demographic, using Chinese social media outlets, and working with the international office at your university to create a social media campaign that is truly global.

To Buy or to Build (PST27)

Brandon Groves
Programmer, UCF

Roger Wolf
Assistant Director of Web Communications, UCF

“The problem is choice”

Whether it’s automating a business process, storing and displaying data or managing a communication campaign - IT solutions don’t just grow on trees. At the end of the day we are left with a decision: Do we buy these tools from someone else or build them ourselves?

When faced with a new project, how do you determine which direction to go?
At UCF, we’ve done both and can help you navigate the decision making process – weighing the costs, politics, time management, customization, functionality, testing and long-term support of taking ownership of a new piece of software.

The choice to buy or build depends on making informed decisions. Understanding how the software should work, what you need it to do and what you can support, will help you be confident that you've made the right decision.

The trials and tribulations of being (a) SMUG throughout a brand evolution (PST28)

Kerone Wetter
Web Designer, College of Science, George Mason University

Though we’ve had numerous “official” social media accounts at George Mason University, the appointment of a new university president in 2012 – who used Twitter to directly engage with students – inspired many units to create accounts in order to catch his attention. With no marketing plan or approval needed to start a social media account representing the university, the results are far from pretty.

Social Media Users Groups (SMUGs) aren’t new, but we’ve only just started one at George Mason University to help wrangle the handles and messages into a cohesive, yet still diverse, voice that we hope will stand the test of our branding evolution. We illustrate our approach to SMUG in Mason’s decentralized marketing and communications environment from the perspective of the university’s Social Media Coordinator and her SMUG co-chair, what has and hasn’t worked, what we’ve learned, and our plans for the future.

Bringing Student Forms Online – A Federated Collaboration (PST30)

Adam Finlayson
Manager of Functional Solutions, Northwestern University

Daniel Johannsson
Technical Solutions Manager, Northwestern University

In January 2014 Northwestern University made two student forms previously filled out on paper available online (finally). Instead of being developed by the central IT department, this system was developed by the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences (Northwestern’s largest school) in collaboration with central IT and offered to the entire campus as a free service. This tool will be used to bring a number of central and school-specific forms online. We will present:

• How the project was conceived and the question of building a custom solution versus purchasing software from a vendor.
• “Embracing Rogue” or the “Federated Service Model” advocated by IT@Northwestern to foster more rapid technological innovation, and how it was applied to this initiative.
• Challenges involved with changing a fundamental business process for students, the Registrar’s Office, and six undergraduate schools… all on the same day.
• Unexpected insights gained discussing this project with school stakeholders.
• What the Online Forms system does offer for the University: visibility rules, access control, pre-defined or ad hoc assignment, and a custom jQuery for interface enhancements.
• What the Online Forms system doesn’t offer and the value of not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good when advancing change.
• Using the power of XPath and PHP’s DOMHelper to parse and manipulate HTML documents.
• Optimize code last (or never) only when performance bottlenecks are identified.