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Houston CC Puts Web Database Development into Hands of Non-IT Staff

Houston Community College has purchased an enterprise license for an application that allows college staff to create Web-based interactive content without knowing how to program. The college's print and e-media department began using Caspio to publish class schedules for its six campuses in Texas. Previously, the schedules were made available in PDF format. Since that initial use, which took place in summer 2009, the college has rolled out additional online database applications, including course registration, meeting requests, and mobile student directories.

Caspio uses wizards to guide a user through the process of creating searchable databases and setting up an application that can be deployed to a Web site.

For the course schedule project, the Houston college imported 15,000 records pertaining to existing class schedule content into the Caspio database. The new version of the schedule allows students to find, compare, and register for classes through the Web site. A side benefit of the conversion has helped to optimize the site and make it more searchable. Joe Conway, director of print and e-media at the college, estimated that the new application receives 1 million to 2 million page views a month during peak registration periods. "The PDFs didn't get a tenth of the traffic that our online database now gets," he said.

"With Caspio, we can publish information online in a way that makes it easy for both students and faculty to use," Conway added. "As a public college, we have a lot of responsibility on a tight budget, and Caspio simply helps us do more for less."

The Web-based service has also been used by Purdue University, Stanford, and Yale, among other institutions.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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