Web Site Plans and Progress
- During the period of fiscal 2001, much progress has been made to bring the UTC web site up-to-date. Many of these specifics are listed under the Completed section below, but to point out the highlights, there would have to be the establishment of an overall design strategy, setup of a new web server, (hardware provided at the expense of Administrative Computing,) and the establishment of an on-line interactive Event Calendar system. Many long-term plans and goals have been delayed by the necessity of updating current static pages with current information at the requests of various departments.
- A current priority project is bringing together information from several departments to create forms and writing scripts for acceptance of on-line credit card payments via the web. The initial plans are to accept application fees for Undergraduate and Graduate Admissions, student fees, and gifts via the Development office. While these will not be live 'look-ups' to current fees, they will provide a secure method of fee payment based on an invoice already received. This system requires the writing of a cgi script to capture the form data in a secure manor and pass it to the various departments for processing.
- Impact on campus services
- Through the work of this position, significant enhancements in the services of the office of Registration and Financial Aid have been made. Made web pages easier to find by implementing UT system wide search engine. Completed programming to enable on-line fee collection (awaiting final approval.) Online course schedule enables students to find courses they need in an easier more flexible manner. Courses can be found by various traits, such as all of one department, when the course meets, or satisfying a particular GenEd requirement. Assisted several offices with taking over maintenance of there own web site (Graduate School, Alumni.) Created on-line PDF forms for several offices to enable, requesting transcripts, applying for financial aid, applying for undergraduate and graduate admissions. Several on-line web forms were created for event registrations, such as Fall Visit Day for Admissions.
- Future Recommendations for purchases
- The expenditures detailed below have been primarily for computer hardware, which can be expected to have an average useful life in this office of two years. Software generally has to be updated at least once, if not twice per year. Most software is available at academic discounts, which we have used, however, academically priced packages are not eligible for 'Update' pricing when new versions are released. I feel that the academic price savings usually is still worth that benefit. We have had to update several software packages that have had recent updates announced, such as Dreamweaver 4 & UltraDev 4 from Macromedia. I would estimate a recurring annual budget for software in the same general area as our current expenditures at $4,000.00. Some hardware additions would be to add another web server to provide staging for testing web pages and applications before final release at an estimated cost of $2500 for a 1U Dell. We would ideally like to purchase a high-end digital camera such as the Nikon D-1 with several lenses, to support both print and web publications done in the department. Print usage requires a much higher resolution capable camera, and the options of quality interchangeable lenses. This expense has been estimated at about $8,000. The spreadsheet download includes details of all purchases to-date.
- Update standard graphics in place on server with similar size and usage graphics, using same file names, so any pages using them via links are automatically updated
- New Templates for use by Departments, Faculty, & Staff
- Site Index
- Rewrite Web Style Guide and redesign University Relations departmental site as an example to other departments
- In-depth plans for what we want to do with web site--i.e., Develop a philosophy and long term plan for the site
- Create ALT tags for all graphics and URLs
- Design all pages to XHTML 1.0 standards
- Provide interface design and integration with web services to administrative computing for Mocs Express
- Update links as currently requested by departments
- Create generic graphics for use by faculty and staff, as requested
- Teach Basic HTML and use of Dreamweaver to faculty & staff.
- Providing consulting on problems and needs to departments.
- Optimize new graphics
- Link all pages to master stylesheet, UTC.css, and eliminate redundant usage of class style sheets when not needed
- Update links as currently requested by departments (add Personnel Services, eliminate TIAA-CREF, Policies & Procedures should go to ~personel, add Cadek to NAV bar?, fix date on University Calendar page for Fall Break--should be 11PM)
- Contact Rodger Ling about coordinating a site license for Dreamweaver
- Set up new webserver hardware, customize installation of Apache webserver with mod_perl, PHP, MySQL
- Install WebEvent Calendar software & update events
- Standardize page layout using a master table to keep 'Search' form in proper place
- Full length EEO Statement web page that others can link to
- Create PDF for current Graduate Catalog and post
- Create initial design for South Campus Project & Facilities Planning sites and assist department with ongoing updates
- Create form automation for Facilities Work Requests using cgiemail
- Taught four classes in Basic HTML
- Update Graduate School Site and passed to Graduate School for ongoing maintenance.
- Configure new webserver to handle URL rewriting to maintain old links on cecasun, and make primary server
- Install version 3 browsers and test site
- Create PDF for current Undergraduate Catalog and post
- Redesign Parking web site including forms for Parking Appeals -- Parking Services contracted for site update to outside service.
- Implemented access to UT System wide search engine.
In November I attended the annual WebDev Share 2000 conference, which offered the chance to learn and exchange ideas with other members of the academic community. WebDev Share brings together staff from universities across the country whom are providing campus services via the web. An opening keynote speech by web usability expert Jakob Nielsen of the Nielsen-Norman Group and several presentations on web accessibility emphasized the importance of our attention to this area in our redesign. This conference should be attended on an annual basis. A related conference coming up in February on the JA-SIG Portal Framework should also be attended.. This is a project of many universities coming together to create a user portal system based on industry standards of JAVA, XML, JSP & J2EE.
As a possible method for accomplishing more via the web, consideration has to be made for additional manpower. One potential option for this is to create a student created site as has been done at other universities. A staff member, such as the Web Specialist, would become the director of this staff stepping back and giving direction and ideas to the students, as well as being a facilitator/coordinator of projects. Students would actually take over the creation of the pages and implementing them, including collaborating on the overall design concept. To accomplish this, a budget for an estimate of 40 hours per week of student time ( 40 x $6.00 = $240/wk or $12,480/yr.) and some computers for them to work on, two iMacs (2 x $1300=$2600), scanner ($500) and desks and chairs for workspace (2 x $200 = $400.) These of course being only estimates. Software also would have to be added and is estimated at $1000/computer per year.
Recommended & Estimated Expenditures
|Staging web server||
|Digital camera & lenses||
|Student work (40 hours)||
|Desks and chairs (2)||
|Software for computers||
|Web Specialist salary & benefits||
C. Daniel Chase
Web Development Specialist
To Do List
Expenditures from Allocated Technology Fees
|Expense Category||Object Code||Amount|
|Institutional Membership Fees & Dues||374||$279.00|
|Sensitive Minor Equipment||394||$14,774.59|
|Seminar & Conference Registration Fees||468||$490.00|
Detail available in Excel spreadsheet of Budget & Expenditures