Streamlining Web Publishing

The Web publishing process at Rivier College in Nashua, New Hampshire, prior to September 2003 resembled a funnel: two dozen or more content contributors from our academic and administrative departments funneled documents to the Webmaster’s office for posting. The process was a time-consuming and inefficient approach to managing what has become our primary information and communications channel.

Rivier’s Web site stakeholders include students, prospective students, faculty, staff, parents, and alumni, all of whom expect us to provide timely, relevant information, calendars of events, and services in order to interact with Rivier—a challenging proposition without the right system in place.

We adopted Ektron CMS200 to enable any faculty or staff member—regardless of their technical ability—to create, manage, and publish Web content. As the Webmaster, I can still control the look and feel of the site and ensure that content is properly reviewed before it gets posted live.

Content no longer faces a “bottleneck” on its way to the Web. Both our internal Rivier users and our site visitors benefit from the change. Internal stakeholders can easily publish timely information, such as academic department course offerings and programs, right from their browsers. Meanwhile, site visitors are assured of finding the most up-to-date information on Rivier’s areas of study, contact names and numbers, or calendars of campus events.

Managing an Increasing Site
Managing the Web site hasn’t always been this easy at Rivier College, which serves 1,500 undergraduate and 907 graduate students. Our Web site has always been information-driven. However, the challenges of managing the growing site, combined with the high expectation level of our visitors, led me to search for a content management solution that would simplify this process and allow us to produce a relevant, timely Web site.

Any system had to fit within our modest budget and had to integrate quickly and easily into the existing site, because we have neither the time nor the budget for a lengthy integration cycle. The system had to be easy-to-use and intuitive for non-technical staff, since we cannot regularly support 20 users every time they edit or publish content on our Web site.

The new software offers a high level of content management functionality that has simplified our Web content processes and relieved the content bottleneck. Users easily adopted the software and can use it daily if necessary without interrupting their schedule or making major training investments.

Managing Web content on www.rivier.edu is far easier than it was a few months ago, and the site is more robust and up-to-date. Users are assigned permission to edit and contribute to specific sections of the site. Ektron CMS200’s WYSIWYG (“What You See Is What You Get”) HTML editor lets users create Web-ready content. The check-in/check-out feature monitors the status of a content block, and I can track content history (who changed content and when). To prevent any accidental errors, content is routed through a flexible, customizable approval chain—with e-mail notifications—for review before it reaches the Web.

Approximately 20 users manage content on Rivier’s Web site. Individual departments are now preparing, editing, and formatting their own content and submitting it for approval (and I can easily add more users if I need to). Because my users are doing the publishing tasks themselves, I can focus on core IT and administrative tasks associated with the Web site.

Rivier’s Web site is a powerful recruiting tool. Prospective students find the information they are looking for. For current students, the Web site is a one-stop-shop for reading about academic programs, faculty information, and other on-campus information. Beyond academics, our Web site delivers information about athletics, campus life, college services, job listings, and faculty policies to a wide audience.

Adopting a Web content management system has eliminated an immense amount of hassle and saved administration time at Rivier College.

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