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Investigation into the  management of web content  in Higher Education Institutions
Aims <ul><li>To improve HEI’s understanding of how institutions are currently managing their web content </li></ul><ul><li...
Methods <ul><li>Qualitative – consultation with relevant stakeholders  </li></ul><ul><li>Quantitative – UK wide survey of ...
Sample <ul><li>21 consultations resulting in 18 hours of interview data </li></ul><ul><li>134 responses to the survey from...
Research findings <ul><li>The web team </li></ul><ul><li>Institutional issues, attitudes & strategies </li></ul><ul><li>Co...
The Web Team
Job roles & responsibilities <ul><li>Wide range of job titles, job descriptions, responsibilities </li></ul><ul><li>Spend ...
Size of web teams & institutional positioning <ul><li>Web teams varied considerably in function and form between instituti...
Web team skills <ul><li>‘ All-rounder’ skills are required to function and flourish in content management  </li></ul><ul><...
Web team challenges  <ul><li>Stuck in the middle </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural / technological legacies  </li></ul><ul><li>Is...
Institutional issues,  attitudes & strategies
Provision, authorisation & ‘ownership of content’ <ul><li>Provision of web content largely devolved  </li></ul><ul><li>… a...
Web Strategy <ul><li>Do institutions have a Web Strategy?  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Evenly divided between those with web str...
Web resources <ul><li>Imbalance between levels of funding and institutional expectations </li></ul><ul><li>Perspectives on...
Perception of the adequacy of the funding available to website/ web team
Perceived value of the web & understanding of web teams in HE <ul><li>Senior management are generally aware of the value o...
Attitudes to outsourcing
Content Management Systems
CMS use <ul><li>Overwhelming majority (85 per cent) reported using a CMS.  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Of these, over three quar...
How important were the following criteria to the choice of CMS that you use?
CMS use – satisfaction <ul><li>General positivity about current CMS, nearly two-fifths (39 per cent) scoring CMS 4 our of ...
CMS use – change <ul><li>A quarter of CMS users (26 per cent) were considering changing the current CMS </li></ul><ul><li>...
Open Source vs. Proprietary software <ul><li>A large proportion of respondents (44 per cent) suggested that there was no i...
End users
User experience <ul><li>82 per cent monitor user behaviour or experience compared with 13 per cent who do not.  </li></ul>...
Audiences <ul><li>Unique to the HE sector is the range and breadth of the audiences  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Prospective stu...
The future
Future developments <ul><li>The near future of web management in HE will be characterised by a number of connected develop...
Web 2.0 <ul><li>Most respondents (72 per cent) reported their institutions having in-house provisions for video material (...
Gaps in provision <ul><li>When asked if their institutions had a development strategy and sufficient resources to keep pac...
Websites in an ideal world <ul><li>Participants reported that in an ideal world they would mostly: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>L...
Positivity – an optimistic outlook for the future <ul><li>When asked about the future of web content management in their H...
<ul><li>‘ Develop a thick skin. You are going to be dealing with a lot of politics and if you can deal with that side of i...
www.sirc.org
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Investigation into the management of web content in Higher Education Institutions

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A presentation by Simon Bradley of the Social Issues Research Centre to the Institutional Web Management Workshop 09 on the findings of a survey commissioned by Eduserv into CMS management in Higher Education Institutions.

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Investigation into the management of web content in Higher Education Institutions

  1. 1. Investigation into the management of web content in Higher Education Institutions
  2. 2. Aims <ul><li>To improve HEI’s understanding of how institutions are currently managing their web content </li></ul><ul><li>To raise awareness of trends and possible future directions </li></ul><ul><li>Expand the evidence base by building on the previous studies – most notably by Cox & Emmott </li></ul>Cox, A. & Emmott, S. 2007. A survey of UK university web management: staffing, systems and issues, CWIS , 24 (5 )
  3. 3. Methods <ul><li>Qualitative – consultation with relevant stakeholders </li></ul><ul><li>Quantitative – UK wide survey of HE web teams </li></ul>
  4. 4. Sample <ul><li>21 consultations resulting in 18 hours of interview data </li></ul><ul><li>134 responses to the survey from 103 universities </li></ul><ul><ul><li>66 per cent of all ‘new, post 1992’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>76 per cent of all Russell Group </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>48 per cent of all ‘old’ universities </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Research findings <ul><li>The web team </li></ul><ul><li>Institutional issues, attitudes & strategies </li></ul><ul><li>Content Management Systems </li></ul><ul><li>End users / audiences </li></ul><ul><li>The future </li></ul>
  6. 6. The Web Team
  7. 7. Job roles & responsibilities <ul><li>Wide range of job titles, job descriptions, responsibilities </li></ul><ul><li>Spend the most time on ‘liaison and support’ </li></ul><ul><li>Spend least time on training new/existing editors in CMS or web editing’ </li></ul><ul><li>Web content management – as much to do with ‘management' as it is ‘web’ </li></ul>
  8. 8. Size of web teams & institutional positioning <ul><li>Web teams varied considerably in function and form between institutions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Most web teams (79 per cent) function on a university/institution-wide level </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Most web teams sit between IT and marketing, or are positioned partly or fully in one of these departments </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Variety in terms of the size and remit of web teams can lead to confusion among members of institutional staff about what it is that web teams actually do </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Despite broad remit, most web teams are also rather small at their core: a team of between one and four people is the norm </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Web team skills <ul><li>‘ All-rounder’ skills are required to function and flourish in content management </li></ul><ul><li>Writing ‘plain’ English might be just as important as writing code. </li></ul><ul><li>Communication skills are essential </li></ul>
  10. 10. Web team challenges <ul><li>Stuck in the middle </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural / technological legacies </li></ul><ul><li>Issues of quality & quantity </li></ul><ul><li>Not enough hours in the day… </li></ul><ul><li>Writing for the web is a skill </li></ul><ul><li>Institutional expectations vs. available resources </li></ul><ul><li>Institutional resistance to change </li></ul><ul><li>In comparison, updating content is ‘easy’ </li></ul>
  11. 11. Institutional issues, attitudes & strategies
  12. 12. Provision, authorisation & ‘ownership of content’ <ul><li>Provision of web content largely devolved </li></ul><ul><li>… as is ownership </li></ul><ul><li>… and authorisation </li></ul><ul><li>How many provide content – pick a number between 4 and 1,000 </li></ul>
  13. 13. Web Strategy <ul><li>Do institutions have a Web Strategy? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Evenly divided between those with web strategy (44 per cent) and those without (43 per cent). </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Web strategies appear to be a relatively recent phenomena </li></ul><ul><li>Primary aims of strategy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Improve user experience </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consolidate and centralise websites </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Present a cohesive public ‘face’ </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Web resources <ul><li>Imbalance between levels of funding and institutional expectations </li></ul><ul><li>Perspectives on funding not entirely negative </li></ul>
  15. 15. Perception of the adequacy of the funding available to website/ web team
  16. 16. Perceived value of the web & understanding of web teams in HE <ul><li>Senior management are generally aware of the value of the web in the context of Higher Education. </li></ul><ul><li>… but have less of a grasp on the goals and objectives of the web team </li></ul><ul><li>Senior management now consider the institution’s web presence to be more important than they did five years ago. </li></ul><ul><li>… but the extent to which this change in perspective was reflected in resourcing is up for discussion </li></ul>
  17. 17. Attitudes to outsourcing
  18. 18. Content Management Systems
  19. 19. CMS use <ul><li>Overwhelming majority (85 per cent) reported using a CMS. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Of these, over three quarters (78 per cent) suggested that the CMS that they used functioned at an institutional level </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Terminal Four most popular (20 per cent), followed by a range of in-house, bespoke options (13 per cent). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Two-thirds using proprietary solutions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Nearly one-half (46 per cent) of current CMS users said that their system had been installed within the last three years. </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. How important were the following criteria to the choice of CMS that you use?
  21. 21. CMS use – satisfaction <ul><li>General positivity about current CMS, nearly two-fifths (39 per cent) scoring CMS 4 our of 5 and approximately one-fifth (19 per cent) giving their current solution maximum marks. </li></ul><ul><li>But 10 per cent of the sample appeared to be dissatisfied with the system that they had in place giving their CMS a score of ‘1’ or ‘2’. </li></ul>
  22. 22. CMS use – change <ul><li>A quarter of CMS users (26 per cent) were considering changing the current CMS </li></ul><ul><li>The majority - 63 per cent - were not </li></ul>
  23. 23. Open Source vs. Proprietary software <ul><li>A large proportion of respondents (44 per cent) suggested that there was no intrinsic institutional preference either way </li></ul><ul><li>There were almost twice as many more respondents who suggested an institutional preference for proprietary software (33 per cent) than for Open Source options (16 per cent) </li></ul><ul><li>Cost was a particular issue for those who expressed a preference for Open Source solutions, with 94 per cent suggesting cost as a major factor </li></ul><ul><li>The availability of external support, in turn, was a major factor for a large proportion of those preferring proprietary options (67 per cent) </li></ul>
  24. 24. End users
  25. 25. User experience <ul><li>82 per cent monitor user behaviour or experience compared with 13 per cent who do not. </li></ul><ul><li>Just over 70 per cent conduct user/usability testing and over a half (52 per cent) reported the use of student surveys. </li></ul><ul><li>The majority of participants (82 per cent) were of the opinion that user behaviour is not monitored comprehensively enough. </li></ul>
  26. 26. Audiences <ul><li>Unique to the HE sector is the range and breadth of the audiences </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Prospective students from overseas were perceived to be the most important audience (4.73 / 5) followed by </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>prospective students ‘at home’ (4.68 / 5) and alumni (3.71 / 5) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>These audiences felt to be a greater priority than the current student body. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Commercial focus of HE sites also reflected in the importance attributed to business/ business partners (3.53 / 5) in comparison with academic staff (3.27 out of 5) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>There was a recognition only by identifying and catering for the ‘market segments’ could content be structured to meet effectively the needs and requirements of the audiences. </li></ul></ul>
  27. 27. The future
  28. 28. Future developments <ul><li>The near future of web management in HE will be characterised by a number of connected developments, most notably </li></ul><ul><ul><li>the rise of ‘greater, richer media content’ (73 per cent) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>a ‘greater provision of technologies associated with ‘Web 2.0’ (66 per cent) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A similar number of respondents (65 per cent) anticipated the ‘shift towards user-led, personalised websites’. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A substantial number of respondents (43 per cent) also predicted the rising influence of marketing on web content. </li></ul></ul>
  29. 29. Web 2.0 <ul><li>Most respondents (72 per cent) reported their institutions having in-house provisions for video material (YouTube, iTunes U, vodcasts, etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>69 per cent said that their institution had in-house provisions for online audio content. </li></ul><ul><li>41 per cent of respondents suggested that their institution had current provision for online social networking. Almost a quarter of institutions (24 per cent) did not </li></ul><ul><li>Wikis were covered under current ‘Web 2.0’ provision in 61 per cent of the institutions surveyed, but again, close to a quarter (26 per cent) had no provision </li></ul><ul><li>The featured aspect of ‘Web 2.0’ with the least amount of current provision were microblogs (Twitter, etc.) </li></ul>
  30. 30. Gaps in provision <ul><li>When asked if their institutions had a development strategy and sufficient resources to keep pace with recent technological changes, 63 per cent of respondents said ‘no’ </li></ul><ul><li>Only 20 per cent were confident that the appropriate strategies and resources would be available </li></ul>
  31. 31. Websites in an ideal world <ul><li>Participants reported that in an ideal world they would mostly: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Like to scrap the existing system and start afresh. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Adopt a more cohesive, joined-up approach to web content management in order to establish a more coherent image of the institution online. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Other interviewees emphasised the importance of a cultural shift towards a better understanding of the relationship between content and technology, and of the real potential of the web for Higher Education contexts </li></ul></ul>
  32. 32. Positivity – an optimistic outlook for the future <ul><li>When asked about the future of web content management in their HEIs: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>14 per cent of survey respondents agreed that they were very optimistic (scoring 5 / 5) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A further 39 per cent scored their optimism at four </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>while 29 per cent scored a three </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Only 3 per cent of respondents were ‘very pessimistic’ about the future of web content management. </li></ul></ul>
  33. 33. <ul><li>‘ Develop a thick skin. You are going to be dealing with a lot of politics and if you can deal with that side of it you are going to have a lot of fun and a lot of professional satisfaction from all the other aspects of it.’ </li></ul>Practical tips on web content management
  34. 34. www.sirc.org

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