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Developing and Implementing a Content Management System at Southern Cross University (Australia)

Thursday, January 1, 2004


The executive deans of the three academic divisions of Southern Cross University (SCU) requested late in 2002 to update our school and college Web sites by open day in August 2003. This was a tall order within the existing site management framework and represented a large portion of our public Web site. Like many universities, responsibility for ongoing Web site maintenance is largely decentralized, with varying levels of involvement. Aside from some major work early in 1999, few areas of SCU had addressed the ongoing nature of Web site maintenance.

In identifying key requirements, a number of issues were highlighted that needed to be addressed: inconsistency, duplication, and irregular maintenance of information. Considerable variation in the range of information provided served to highlight visual and navigational differences—people seemed to be "doing their own thing." There was little consideration of the big picture of how individual Web sites would fit within the whole SCU site. This had led to a lack of customer (prospective student) focus.

The key outcomes identified for this project were to: • Establish a robust and sustainable site management framework capable of future expansion. • Review the school and college sites, update them, and provide core content. • Embed compliance with the Web Hosting and Publishing Policy, Code of Practice and Standards. • Create consistent user-centered navigation. • Create a more cohesive look for the school sites (which could potentially flow throughout our public Web site). • Identify site owners and train key staff who are involved in ongoing site management. • Establish greater representation for the academic divisions in the site and place the schools and colleges within this context. In investigating potential solutions, we recognized that we were able to build on experience gained over the past few years in implementing Web-based applications and could draw together some of these earlier developments; however, our challenge was finding a solution that would meet these outcomes that the staff managing the sites would accept.

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