WordPress for Higher Ed Websites


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In higher education, selecting the right CMS can make or break your website...and your school.

iFactory and Plymouth State University teamed up to deliver this webinar on March 22nd as part of our iFactoryEd webinar series.
With an immense amount of constantly-evolving content contributed by a host of departments and individuals, it's essential to have an open-source CMS that is user-friendly, cost-effective, and powerful. It's no wonder WordPress is among the top choices for schools of all sizes, so how can you determine if it's the right CMS for your institution? Learn from your peers.

Presenters were Zachary Tirrell, Director of Management Information Systems for Plymouth State University, and Lisa Sawin, Solutions Architect for iFactory.

For the full webinar visit our YouTube channel: youtube.com/ifactoryboston

Published in: Education, Technology, Business
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WordPress for Higher Ed Websites

  1. 1. WordPress forHigher Ed Websites
  2. 2. Who is iFactory?• Based in Boston• Interactive design and development company with over 20 years experience• A division of RDW Group, a full-service agency• Designers, strategic consultants, information architects, usability experts• Higher ed profiles include: colleges & universities | public & private large & small | ivy league to community colleges undergraduate & graduate | Massachusetts to California
  3. 3. Where to find uswww.ifactory.comblog: interactivity.ifactory.comFind us as iFactoryBoston:
  4. 4. What you’ll learn today:• How PSU determined WordPress was the right solution• The potential issues and limitations you might encounter with WordPress• Why the WordPress implementation for PSU was ultimately a success
  5. 5. Your presenters Zachary Tirrell Director of Management Information Systems for Plymouth State University Lisa Sawin Solutions Architect for iFactory
  6. 6. Plymouth StateUniversity: case study
  7. 7. About PSULocated in Plymouth, a small town inNorthern New Hampshire (pop. ~6,600)• ~4,300 undergraduates / ~1,500 graduates• Small class sizes• Tight knit, collaborative community
  8. 8. Before WordPressSelected commercial CMS product in 2006• Never fully deployed• Frustrating cycle of regular re-training• Not flexible• No social integration• Poor embedded code handling (JavaScript/PHP)• Poor image management• Small user community
  9. 9. Why WordPressWordPress was already in use…• Personal student/faculty/alumni blogs • Internal sites • Library• Staff had experience• Excitement and interest• Massive user community
  10. 10. WordPress as CMS• Pilot with College of Graduate Studies in April 2009 • Hesitant Project Endorsement• Deployment Timeline: • Began rollout in June 2009 • First plan: slow transition • Revised plan Summer 2010 — full transition • Completed June 2011
  11. 11. Visual Changes• Initially: none• College of Graduate Studies redesign• Site redesign phase 1• Site redesign phase 2
  12. 12. Things To Be Aware Of• Live vs. static rendering• Regular maintenance• No workflow
  13. 13. Project Issues• Hesitant project endorsement• Partial deployment • Pound and Varnish (saviors)• Employee turnover
  14. 14. WordPress Issues• Development to production• Installation and maintenance• CMS or blog?• Must learn it (WordCamp)
  15. 15. The Good!• Easy for content• Diverse available plugins• Regularly updated• Extremely flexible
  16. 16. Open Source• LAMP• Good to see code, debug• Core mods = BAD!• Plugins, themes, and widgets
  17. 17. Up Next…• Just launched site phase 2• Development / production split• Better authorization management / auditing
  18. 18. Thank you www.ifactory.com info@ifactory.com 617.426.8600Find us as iFactoryBoston: