SOC5: The New Academics of Social Media Networking

David Hart, IT/IS Project Manager, Stanford University


The audio for this podcast can be downloaded at http://highedweb.org/2009/presentations/soc5.mp3


[Intro Music]

Announcer: You’re listening to one in a series of podcasts from the 2009 HighEdWeb Conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

David Hart: OK, welcome everybody. Thanks for showing up. Looks like we got a pretty full house here. My name is David Hart as Stephanie said. I work at Stanford University out in the Bay Area - Palo Alto, California just 40 miles south of San Francisco. So, Iím sure youíre familiar with some of the region. And I work in a School of Humanities and Sciences.

On another slide here Iíll just discuss a little bit about where Iím placed in the university just to give you some context around the project Iím going to talk about because itís a little bit different than some of your institutions might be beings that at Stanford and a larger university than a small college. And I want to make a couple of qualifications about the slide deck I put together to guide us through. One of them is that I might sort of look like a PowerPoint or keynote thing but I actually did this in Google Docs. They have a Google Apps Docs application has a presentation tool in it.

And I thought Iíd sort of try to be on the cutting a little bit. I use their tools extensively but I hadnít really used the presentation tool much. So, it should work fine but we are actually seeing this live on the internet. I have it posted there and the URL Iíll give you at the end of the session so you can immediately go there and have that and Iíll also going to post it on the HighEdWeb site later today Iím told.

So assuming that as long as internet doesnít go down and even if it does actually I do have a local copy sitting on my hard drive here so we should be good. Iím also going to attempt to use this little wireless mouse to move us forward and hopefully the left button will just keep working so letís get started. Iíll tell you a little bit about this session. Iím going to take you basically through thereíll be a lot of information and Iím going to go quickly but I also donít want to give you too much and move too fast. So this is the first time Iíve done this presentation based on this information so, just bare with me as I calibrate how much time to spend on certain sections.

But I basically going to take you through a project that we did in the school of humanities and sciences to rule out some new academic websites in our school, it was a pilot project. Everything at Stanford, nothing is like for sure and for the rest of the next decade or five years, everything is pretty much just a pilot that we sort of work on and if it sticks it sticks. We did three academic websites on this pilot project on a single platform and Iím going to take you through what that project was like and some of the high points and low points. And then weíll take a look at the sites because they do center around social media and social networking.

So weíll go through some of the goals and the background of the project and why we chose to do it in this fashion. And then Iíll take you through some of the details, try not to get too detailed about it about the project arc itself which was quite long. It was actually over two years that we worked on this pilot. And then weíll take a look in the lights, camera, action section weíll take a look at the three websites and Iíll just go to few places so you can see some of these social community tools on the sites and how they got laid out.

Weíre also going to talk a little bit, Iíll share with you as transparently as I can about some of the wins and loses that we found during this project especially around the community tools aspect of it since this is about social media. This was a fairly unique project to take on for us certainly and Iím assuming for a lot of you as well if you did something like this. And then I will talk about I brainstormed some things that maybe we all could consider and you could consider as you leave about if you were going to take on a project like this or work in social community on your academic or other department or staff websites and things to consider before you really go down that road. And then Iíll try to save some time to mention some other solutions weíre looking at Stanford both in out central IT organization and in our school of humanities and sciences just to give you an idea of some of the other open source and solutions weíre looking at in these budget constraint times right now.

And then hopefully a little bit of Q&A if anybody has anything so theyíre going to give me a timer at 10 minutes before the end so weíll just kind of move through here. Thatís interesting; this is not supposed to happen. Oh, thatís right I hadnít set like this forgot. I did a little basic animation here which it wasnít much but I just want to give you a little bit of information.

Iíve been working at Stanford about two and half years. I came into the school of humanities and sciences in the deanís office so Stanford has eight schools: School of Engineering, School of Medicine, School of Law and we have and this is one of them and a few others. And our deanís office is the administration center obviously of the school and we have a small IT-IS team there of about five of us. And we basically manage and consult on IT and IS solutions for departments, for staff both administrative systems and academic technology systems that might be used for faculty and departments.

My main charge when I was brought aboard was to head up some projects that weíre going on and on the website of things for departments, faculty and staff needs and departments. So weíve done some calendaring projects that were custom. We decided to do this website development pilot. When I was brought in, this had already been started o I came in and do a project that hadnít launched yet but all the seeds have been planted and the vendors were being chosen.

Weíre just about to be chosen so I came in and met the perspective vendors and then managed the project from there for the last two and half years. So I first came to HighEdWeb last October, a year ago, and as I was sitting in all the sessions and hearing about CMSís and some social community things, we were just about to start launching these three websites. Weíre not nearly ready to talk about them but I thought maybe in a year if Iím comfortable and the sites have gone up, this could be an interesting topic to share so that people can see what weíve done.

So I submitted a proposal and here we are. And hopefully youíve come to this session you may get different things out of it. I hope you get something out of it maybe youíre looking at a web effort that you need to do thatís involving social media and social networking. Do you do a custom solution or something off the shelf or a hosted sort of free solution like a WordPress or something and youíre just looking for ways to connect your audiences up?

This is hopefully going to give you a little bit of an idea of one possible way to go. And just some things to consider and regardless of how you feel about all this Iíd say do it anyway. Sometimes you have to tackle things and just take them on and we did this pilot project sort of stepping off a cliff a little bit and with a little bit of fear and here we are. So a little bit of organizational structure about the way this kind of a project would work at Stanford.

I work up in the upper left school of HNS. Over in the upper right is our central IT organization at Stanford which doesnít really mandate a lot of things. Stanford is a highly decentralized campus. And some of you probably come from places just like this that are larger even though we have under 10,000 undergraduates itís actually kind of a smaller campus but itís very decentralized.

So schools can do anything they want, departments within our school which you have 80 of them, 80 departments and programs are completely on their own about what they want to do with web with technical solutions. So my teamís job is to basically consult with them, help them arrive at the best solutions and on occasion we fund a project because we feel itís important to the school or Stanford as a whole. And thatís what we did with this project that weíre going to talk about is that our deanís office funded this for three departments and Iíll talk about them. And so the departments were involved in this and then also we had our vendor and partners that might get involved in a project.

So those are usually sort of the four players of stuffing the scope so thereís a lot of moving parts. There are teams in each corner here and a lot of coordination and not without its challenges and there are some few numbers down below about some of the Stanford staffs I thought you might find interesting. OK, so why we did this? Basically, occasionally a department will come to the deanís office and our head dean and the executive dean and say, ďWe really need a new website.Ē

I mean, everybody is saying that right now but they have a real compelling reason that they feel would be good for the school. And through political discussions and consensus building a decision is made obviously higher up than me about funding a project and thatís what we did with this. At the same time, that the Department of Philosophy had come in to the deanís office and talked about a brand new website idea. Two other departments had expressed interest in something sort of similar. They also didnít have the budget and they had really bad success with their previous websites over time maintaining them and they were pretty static.

And so a decision was made to lump these three requestors into one project but the main one was the Department of Philosophy and weíll talk about them when we get to their site. Their primary interest in doing a new website besides having a nice new website was community. They really wanted to showcase their discussions on the web, their research groups and develop a sense of community both at Stanford and outside of Stanford walls on their website. The Department of Art & Art History was not really that interested in the social web and the social media sense but they were definitely interested in showcasing all their works in their department.

Our art department has film and media, art practice, art design and art history. A lot of concentrations and they wanted to showcase all these very actively on their site and they also had a need for events. All these departments wanted to have some kind of an event calendar in place. And then the center for ethics and society is a very small little program that we decided to fund for a new website because they do a lot of external outreach into the community.

They hold weekly events on campus on ethics and on food and law and justice and different things and they do a lot of event work. And we thought that they would be sort of a good partner in this. So, it was an interesting decision that it was made before I came aboard to be working simultaneously with three distinct unique departments with in some ways very different interest and why they wanted a new website. And that presented some challenges as youíll see.

But the main I think message in all of them is that they all wanted to bring some people together and showcase some things and show others what they were doing and create a community even if they didnít understand the tools. So this is also another reason that the art department came to us for some funding. [Laughter] This was their site for apparently the last five years. They call this the bad gray site. ††

And the department manager said before the bad gray site, there was the bad pink site. So they have something thatís looks nothing like this site now but I just wanted to show you an example and of course weíre all used to seeing academic websites. Thereís a whole platter of them out there on the web including many at Stanford. This was philosophy here which occasionally some photo would be chosen by the web admin to be put on the home page like who is this person?

[Laughter]

If you saw the talk today at lunch, it was girls under trees this was guy above campus. Anyway, okay, these are some ideal things that we wanted to work into the platform here and I tried to list these in sort of simple bullet points and on the left, are things that weíve always had and we all know and donít really love. On the right, was the goal to get to them so instead of a stale site. All these sites that they were coming from were very static. HTML just simple Dreamweaver sites they wanted very fresh looking sites so that every time you hit the page or went to the site, it looked different and it showed something about that group or that department very dynamic sites as opposed to static.

All the sites that they had were only public sites. Anybody could go and see the same thing. The goal here in the school was to have public and private versions of the site that say not that the whole site would change but a private experience for both Stanford, mainly for the Stanford community using our own logins. But also in the case of philosophy for those outside if Stanford to have a logged in experience and weíre still working towards that one which Iíll comment on a little bit later.

Also instead of just having sort of one or two admins in a department, the new Dreamweaver contribute and occasionally check the link or updated an event or that picture of the guy above the Stanford campus. There would be many contributors in a very decentralized web management system in the department so that the art department which has like 11 staff, they all are admins on the website and they all have areas theyíre responsible for and all they do is log in. Go in to the backend CMS. Use a WYSIWIG tool and update everything whether they want to add an event or monitor a blog or whatever.††††

So that was definitely a big goal with this is to move outside of that one admin thing and also move away from the standard sort of Dreamweaver contribute type approach and work with a true CMS that was WYSIWIG but didnít require supposedly any knowledge on HTML. Although, Iíve learned you never really can say that be speaking the truth. The department people say, ďI thought we didnít have to know any HTML?Ē And then a unified platform with single sign on so because this was going to have a private and a logged in experience where users will have a dashboard and post blogs, set up groups and discussions which will talk about. We wanted to have single sign-on using our existing Stanford whatís called WebAuth that all you probably have at your universities and so they didnít have to have a separate log in to manage just it would be a unified login experience.

So these were then some of the top six or seven sort of social community tools that weíre really driven again by department of philosophy and then our office. If weíre going to do this, these are the things that we felt would be useful on an academic website. It was really hard to find a lot of examples of these that were built into websites as a unified approach and this was three years ago when these list was put together. And this project was germinating so itís been a while that Twitter had just barely launched.

Facebook had just moved to Palo Alto down the street from us but wasnít really huge yet like it is now. So we thought we got to build something here to include all these items, blogs and discussion groups, papers and works again showcasing the faculty and the graduate studentís efforts, events, having a calendar both public to showcase public events and then department only events that are hidden from public view. Showcase news, people and profiles, self-managed profiles was a huge thing because previous to this as you all well know somebody has to manage all the faculty profiles in a department usually a one or two web admins.

It becomes very difficult when things get really outdated. And this allows people and puts the responsibility on the individuals that want to participate on the site and hopefully they all will faculty and students and manage their own profiles. And then also to have groups, research groups for PR and Iím going to talk a little bit about groups when we get to it but basically the business rules around groups got pretty complicated. Because we want public groups so you could have a research group that would showcase your work and have everything about the group be completely public to the public that would come to the website. We also wanted to have a private group so in the department they could have an admin group that would be private and share photos and a calendar and staff discussions but have the public not even know about that.

But then we wanted to have a middle group that was semi-private something in between where you could showcase maybe the title and what the group was about but not the activities going on. This is sort of a PR approach. And also messaging, much like what you see on Facebook. If youíre going to have all of this social kind of community going on, you have to basically have obviously internal messaging.

Itís not enough just to rely on external email. We do tie this into external email because any messages that you get on the website, you have a checkbox in your profile and you can choose to have those emailed to you much like again on Facebook. So these were sort of the tenants that we came up with the departmentís help and only the department of philosophy of those three website groups I explained were interested in all of these. So the other two departments had no interest in almost half of them but they were going to come along for the ride and see how they did and such and of course there wasnít a lot of buy-end for some of these things.

The art department said, ďWeíre not going to blog, we donít want people commenting on our artwork. [Laughter] thatís not appropriate.Ē So they actually we had to show you we had to turn off different features and this is where this project got really complicated which is one of the down sides of combining these groups. But essentially we were looking to put together a big template of things and each site would be unique but they all sort of share these tools and have access to them if they wanted it. And of course if we did this pilot project, would anybody really show up?

And weíre still sort of waiting for an answer to that one but so this was the name of the platform the Community Services Platform, CSP. This was something we developed in partnership with our vendor solution set in Palo Alto. And they worked really hard to with us for a long time and went through some changes themselves and their company so they essentially directed the project. We funded it with them and I essentially manage with our departments and my office and my team did some oversight there.

And then we depended on Stanfordís IT organization for the backend, all the server sort of backend support. We had to obviously put in four or five servers and load balancers and backups systems and all that. And then the departments stakeholders are of course are the ultimate end user here. So that gives you a sort of a little bit of a tree of how this project was done.

So, donít worry about all the details I put a lot of stuff up here just to sort of for when you go over and review this later, if youíre using care to sort of what was on here to give you a time line. But basically, I donít want to give you an idea of the arc of this project because thatís a big part of the story is how long something like this took because we customize it. So, we started in í06. I came aboard in the spring of í07 and we were just at the point as I have said choosing a vendor. So in the spring of í07, we basically narrowed it down to this company called SolutionSet.

And we have gone through many consensus meetings and all the departments in our deanís office to arrive with that obviously and tried to pick the vendor that have the most promise for the social tools. So the other vendors that we saw didnít show enough confidence around developing a solution for us that included all those social tools and solutions that did in their community platform. So we went through, we kicked off in June of í07. And at that time, the projected time of launch of these three very complex websites was somehow November or December of that year.

Now, that may sound already like a long time you think five, six months thatís well of course wasnít and so as we went along the dates pushed out. But we went through basically about four months of scoping the project out with the vendor. Met with all of the departments to find the requirements, looked at the current sites, came up with a site map hierarchies and the wire frames. If youíve been through a project such as this youíre familiar with some of this sort of development phase that goes on a project.

We hit that point probably in about December of í07 where everything really get kind of been done and approved and the developer was working and developing and everybody got chosen their site designs and were very excited. And then things started to sort of slow down a little bit. The thing at the bottom here is that these business rules that we had come up with were I wonít say they were simple to start with but they were supposedly going to be pretty much the same across the departments. But once we sat down and really have meetings with all the departments, it became clear that was really not going to work.

And again, we really canít mandate things where we are so if youíre in a situation similar to this, you know how it is. You have to basically build consensus and buy-end and meet with people and our deanís office couldnít say to all three departments, ďYou have to have all these all features thatís just the way your website is going to be. It was not going to fly.Ē Itís an ironic thing actually because weíre funding the development of this but this is sort of the fine line you have to walk when youíre doing something like this.

So some of our business rules became highly complex especially around groups and some of the other features which Iíll show you and they definitely had a large impact on later development cycle. So, my advice at this point in the project and I felt this at the time was you really need to be really clear upfront what youíre looking to do with something like this especially around this social community tools because thereís a lot of interactivity that can happen when youíre trying to layout all of those different applications I mentioned: blogs, news, events, profiles and all that. So it definitely had a big impact on us as we went along. So then we had a few months of delays for a number of reasons both because of the scope crypt that we went through which was our fault to blame for that and just sort of continually building out what we wanted to do with this with the departments and also to develop or have some challenges. Unfortunately, we thought that their platform was a little bit further along that they had over promised what it was able to do.

And so a few of those community tools were not quite finished when we thought the sites would be ready and so they had to do more work and of course because weíd asked for some customization that took even longer. So, this is not really to point fingers or blame, this is all part of any project as you know. A number of factors can weigh in and itís a delicate situation when you have a firm that youíve hired and we were spending a lot of money pert hour with them. This was not an inexpensive or even the first contract was with them before the scope change was not an inexpensive venture.

But it was important that we keep going here so we kept working but we did have a number of months of delays and it became evident in the spring of í08 that we were not going to even launch until the next academic year. And I had essentially to make that call and say weíre not going to get this done and the departments at that point were quite frustrated especially like the ethics and society group, they just wanted a new website. All they wanted was a splashy new websites with all their events on it. They could care less about all the other things, ďWhy donít we have a website?Ē †

Itís been a year now and justifiably frustrated over that. But again, this was a pilot, everybody new going in it was funded so everybody stuck with it. And we also chose something I just wanted to mention real quick that may come up if you decide to do something thatís community based and thatís the type of login technology we wanted to go with. Iím not going to talk about the technical piece of it but we have standard web-op which is an LDAP based login at Stanford for our community.

But thereís another technology out there thatís being adopted here and theyíre called Servlet. And Servlet is basically a single sign and login thatís similar to web-op but it allows other trusted institutions MIT places that belong to this Federation of Trusted Institutions. And you Servlet to login to partner websites using their home credentials. And the idea with this was that especially with the department of philosophy that with all these community tools and blogging that faculty and graduate students and whoever from another trusted institution could eventually come to their site and login and be part of the login experiences even though they have credentials from another institution.

In order to be able to do that and go outside the walls of Stanford securely and safely, we had to develop sort of buy into this Servlet Integration which we have some expertise in our ITS organization but we were guinea pigs on this. This was the first project that Stanford and the whole campus to do the Servlet. It was being done internally in a few places to test it but not in a public site.

That took a number of weeks and months actually to get this right with our developer firm and ITS organization. So we finally got it done and it works. The problem is now and now we got to get out and really open it up to these other institutions and that hasnít happened yet for a number of reasons which is fine. And we werenít really expecting to use that until probably 2010 or so.

So in August of í08, so about 14 months ago, we got to a point where we said, ďWe have to make a decision here when weíre going to launch these sites. There are still more work to do. They have to be cleaned up further. Are we going to let this go and just say it was a great pilot but we canít go further and everybody is on their own to go find out what they want to do, or do we want to really get these things out?Ē And it was decided that weíve gone far enough, we should get these things up obviously weíd spent a good bit of money too.

So the decision was made to try to release a couple in the fall quarter of í08 and maybe winter for the last site at the latest. So that was sort of our final goal there last August. We did make that by the way which Iíll explain in a moment. So since the last site launch this last spring, weíve been doing continual bug fixing and tweaking and cleaning up of different things that werenít that important for launch for a number of months and we finally, I use the word Ďdoneí very delicately. Last month for me it felt like we were what you might call done, not when the siteís launched which is would have been a nice thing.

There was a certain amount of relief with that but the project itself and I think the arc of it for me felt done last month. But I qualified that with the statement that Iíve always loved. I used to work in the film business and something that da Vinci and apparently the film maker George Lucas said, ďThat films and works of arts are never really complete if theyíre just abandoned.Ē [Laughter] And thatís basically what kind of had to happen with the economy changing last fall, we got through the project the spring came and over the summer we kept working on a few things.

But at some point, itís like we just got to walk away, weíre done. The sites are fine and itís time to move on. And so, theyíre doing good and they look good but you never really feel like youíre completely done, right? Web projects are very organic and they go on a long time but I consider them at this point to be mostly done. So, these are the URLs here again, youíll be getting access to this but we can quickly take a look at the sites before we go on to some other things and Iím just going to sit here so I can drive a little bit easier so you can take a look.

So we launched the first site last September which was a drop dead date. They have to have that up because of the new academic year starting and art we got launched and just after HighEdWeb last year a couple of weeks after I got back we got that up and then March was philosophy. Philosophy ironically if you remember that was the department that really wanted all these community tools and had the biggest need for all of this. Their site took the longest in the end.

They had very complex business rules and a lot of content to get ready and a lot of changes they made to their site in the 11th hour. And so we were not able to be able to launch them until March a full two years after we signed with the vendor SolutionSet so it was definitely a long project year. So this is basically the art site here. This is now live here so you remember what you saw before the bad gray background, this is obviously a lot more interesting.

And every time you refresh this page you get a different image and these images are credited here based on the concentration in the department. So as somebody visits the site they continually see basically works of art from the department so the whole site, background is based on works. Right now they have only four images up. Theyíre actually updating things up for the New Year for the new academic year and eventually theyíre going to have a dozen or 15 images that will rotate.

But right now, weíve got art history thatís the image theyíve got right now and art practice and some of these again are faculty and some of them arenít and theyíre always credited. And this is just a theme switcher so the vendor came up with this interesting thing where you could do a theme switcher just to change the theme of the site. But basically whenever you refresh the page, you basically youíll get a different theme so thatís that dynamic fresh content. Then we have our login up here and some other tools to get into the site and pages here.

Now, once you get into the site, then you basically get to stay with those four themes continually rotate as you click around the site. So we wonít spend a lot of time on this but I wanted you to see thereís a very interesting design that the vendor and the department came up with here to do. And these backgrounds essentially match and they even did a thing where if youíre in your browser and you resize the page, this background image on the right will minimize and change and expand and grow with your web page.

So no matter what mind of monitor youíre on or what size browser resolution youíre running, you get a nice full image in the back there which was nice. And so as you move around into the site here, basically theyíre navigation that they chose, they move some of their community tools and community stuff in different places. Each department has a different idea of what they wanted to do. So the art department chose to put some things under people just as a main heading and they have events under news and events.

And they have a few other things hidden in a few other areas rather than having one sort of general community area where all that stuff is theyíve moved it around. So on all the people pages, again these are self managed profiles. So once people logged in and fill out their stuff, they show up in these dynamically refreshing tables and we have faculty, undergraduates, graduate staff. We have five or six categories in each site so that people can go there immediately and find and they can also search and go to another page.

And once you click on someone, you get into their profile page and Iíll just click on this real quick. So we get into Kevin Beanís overview page which is taking a moment to draw itís the speed here I guess. But anyways, so depending on how much information that the faculty member has provided that information is then shown to whoever is looking in it and itís very nice. Then they have a news and events page in the art department here.

Again, so the way that these events work is that the event person whoís on their staff whoís a web admin can go into the backend CMS and enter events in and they all show up in here for the next 30 days basically. And then you can search, you can see what days have events, and you could go to another month, and you can look ahead to November, or you can search on a particular month from last year and weíre back in putting events from the last two or three years in so that eventually this becomes archive of the departmentís events so you could see whatís coming up. And with all of these, with all of our dynamic content, it all has some community sort of functions based around of it that a lot of us are used to now. So you can share any event which is sharing the page automatically brings up an email form that you can email out to anyone to share the page or the event. You could also export the iCal format which just basically produces a .ics file that the user could bring into their calendar, Google Calendar or whatever.

So we did that in a lot of the cases with all these things you can share pages and export things out. Let me just see if thereís something. One thing that we did the department of art, I just want to show you a real quick to showcase their artwork is we basically work in a product called Slide Show Pro which is basically a plug-in that we invested in to show images and video. And so the department really wanted to have on certain pages to showcase different works so they can manage this as a separate third party tool and as a plug-in, a flash plug-in sort of development that had to go into getting this on the site. And with this, you could do thumbnails and see this and you could also do a full screen of any image and it was really crucial for the department that all this stuff look really good and at full screen images are really good quality because they upload a lot of files that have some high pixel counts letís say in some cases.

So that was another thing we did on the art site that was really nice. And other than that, itís got a lot of static content. Iím going to click real quick here, thereís another slide show running at some graduates from this last spring. Whatís that? Girl under a tree, there you go very good! Thatís very funny.

On the people page, you see that we have groups and blogs. So the art department, the only things they were really interested in were groups and blogs. And to this date and theyíve been launched almost a year now, and a couple of weeks it will be a year, they have one group. So this is where weíre learning about how important this relates to a department, how are they going to use it trying to help them figuring out how to use it and educate their faculty and their staff to utilize this kind of a thing.

Now again, they were not initially looking for this, this is a new tool but there is some interest with some people that have come in to the department over the last six months. And word has it that by the winter quarter, they actually might be using some of the groups in here for classes and some research groups so weíll see. Iíll talk a little bit more about that when we look at philosophy but I just kind of want to show you. All these pages that once they have activity, there will be a number of things showing and itís just sort of interesting to show at this point that theyíre really not using some of these community tools yet.

Theyíre just not really sure how they want to do that in the department. And so, this is part of the whole process but itís still early I guess. Weíre about a year out from when they launched and theyíre still getting a handle on the site and so letís look at the philosophy site real quick. This site really did a different design thing here. There were a lot of discussions around this in the department about this black background, very unusual as web stuff usually goes.

And they chose some imagery here thatís based on Moy Bridge Photography who is affiliated with Stanford. He did a lot of interesting shots of animals and people. Anyway, I wonít discuss, itís too complicated to discuss the way he did these film frames but they chose some imagery based on his works and theyíre going to be adding more. So their site is very dynamic and very heavy with lots of modules. So theyíve got just meet our faculty module here.

It changes every time you refresh the page so that all 100 and some faculty constantly get rotated randomly in here. We also quoted it up so that if they wanted to, they could put five specific faculties up here. This is where things got complicated. So do we want it randomly showing faculty or do you want a list? And we obviously wanted it randomly so that web admins would not have to go in and change it every week or something but they also one of the ability to be able to showcase certain people possibly.

And then we have featured news, upcoming events are featured here. This is all information that is put in once by a web admin thatís in charge of events and news and it shows up all over the website. So, itís very handy compared to what they had and with any of these things you can click on them and it takes you deeper into the site and then youíll see a particular event. So, this is now youíre on an event page and gives you information about the event.

Again, you can export and share and all that. All of our entry points into these events blogs and groups have WYSIWIGs so you can italicized and make bold all the titles and descriptions because this is very important for faculty and to have the look of certain books that they publish with the italics and bolding and underlining. So we had to consider all these things in our tools that we are developing. Letís see, weíll go back to the home page real quick and now letís go to the departmental information.

So if youíll notice that the nav at the top, the philosophy department shows a very simple upper level nav just three: community, departmental information and my area. In my area is used basically if you want me to see if I can get logged into work here. Itís been a slower connection. So this is a typical stand of sort of login, itís got to go through this round trip, there you go. So now Iím logged in, David Hart, itís going to be bringing me back to the site here.

So they chose a very simple nav at the top, this is community, department and my area thing and then once you hover over at that then you drill down into the site, they wanted a very simple look. This is very interesting here with the blank lights so we also built breadcrumbs in to their site so that every time if I go in to letís say the graduate program, then up at the top here you see breadcrumbs of where you are on the site. They want sort of that. So if I go to my area, my area is like a dashboard just like you might have on Facebook or something and this is where an individual user will manage everything that theyíre doing on the site as a community member.

So manage your messages here and each one has a separate page you can go to. You got my documents papers, blogs, groups, so this is me right now. So I have some test documents up here. Iíve got a couple of blogs that are test blogs that Iím just showing. Iíve got a couple of groups that Iím part in the philosophy department and some contacts. We also have a buddy system on the system but nobody like the word Ďbuddyí too much in education so we called it Ďcontactsí.

And basically, anybody thatís registered on the site that has a profile you can make them a contact of yours without permission just to make it easier to email them or make contact with them. And then you can bookmark and set favorites and have a photo gallery. This platform there are so many things in there that we run out of time to show you them all but this gives you a quick glance and I know itís a lot. So if I wanted to go to a particular area of mine I could to my blogs and look at my blog page and then it shows my blogs here.

And then I go into those blogs and then post or make a comment and somebody else can do the same so all this stuff is managed under my area basically. The public that comes in the site thatís not logged in is only going to see that stuff obviously on the appropriate community page and only if itís a public blog or a public group. And if you go to the groupís page here on philosophy, it has a number of groups.† Theyíre actually fairly active with their groups.

Theyíve got a bunch of different teaching groups going on. Some of these are a little older from a summer quarter or two so theyíre probably going to be updated soon now that the quarter is in session here. But this is an example of either public or semi-private groups they would all show up in this module. No private groups would show up here. But once youíre in a group, the groups then can have calendars, images, blogs that can be public or private based on the group basically, the group definition.

So I got a very complex as you can see to make these decisions about that but we got it all done somehow and then the other site just real quickly because I only have five minutes which I canít believe. This is ethics and society; they went with a much more conservative approach than art and philosophy and they basically have a number of they call it networking as opposed to community. They didnít really like the word social web and community thing so they want sort of a networking idea and you can see how busy they are. I think thereís a one group here maybe, there might be one group on the ethics and society site so, yeah, thereís one group here called West & 2009. So they have a ton of events on this site thatís mainly what they use their site for to promote all their many events but theyíre not doing much yet with the blogging and the groups.

So this fact of how this is happening is because these departments once they have these sites are completely on their own to do what they want, that was always the understanding. There were no expectations on our part funding this you are expected to show 50 blogs and 50 groups by next quarter. It was really, hereís these tools, figure out how you want to use them. Our challenge now for the next year is how to educate them better and how to maybe come up with some ideas to better engage the students and faculty because they canít do it on their own obviously.

Well, weíre trying to get a reading on how much they want to use some of these things and we donít really know the answer to that yet. Let me just go back real quickly here, sorry that this is running on. This is just a quick run down of how many people are registered on each site and you can see the low numbers of blogs and groups. There is a lot of papers on each site, not a lot but thereís enough that thatís clearly something that theyíre using but we have huge improvements to do in the groups and the blogs area and events are many.

Let me skip up real quick. Yes, do you have a question?

Audience 1: Yeah just a couple. First off, if you go into the setting and expectation of behaviors when you leave with a client. And then is there a weeding process if somebody slaps up a blog and it becomes something in three months from now. Or if he uses a tumble blog which is actually negative.

David Hart: Right. Thatís right. Well, there are expectations and thereís web admins in the department that have of course super access to go in and turn off inactive blogs and manage all that and they do that. But in some cases obviously theyíre not completely up to date at least in that one list I showed you. So, thereís still learning on how toÖ

Audience 1: There should be a honor system.

David Hart: Itís on the honor system. A quick little list of our wins and loses here. We do feel we have the sites that we wanted, is that zero? Negative okay negative time so you can review this later if youíre interested ort talk to me after or something.

We feel like we do have some loses here that they came out of the project but weíre really excited that we have these sites. And weíre really hoping that these academic groups get on board and start using these tools because obviously they put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into it as all of us did on ten project. So when you get to looking at this later if you choose to get back to it, I threw up some questions and stuff after learning what I did on the process about doing a site like this. And some of the questions you might need to ask yourself and what kind of resources you have at your universities for doing something like this.

We chose this as a custom option because two and half, three years ago there werenít as many hosts and solutions out there and complimentary solutions and we really wanted that unified department look. They didnít want to go out and have like Facebook thing that students went out to and then some WordPress thing over here. They really wanted to see if we could tie it all into a single platform and weíre still making a decision whether weíre going to roll this out to other departments. We require some development that we basically have everything in place to be able to do this.

So maybe in the next six months we might make a decision to do like the biology department or chemistry and put them on this platform. But we donít have enough information yet to make that decision. Whatís that?

Audience 2:†Did you have it?

David Hart: Yes, we did. It was an existing CMS from this vendor that theyíve developed in-house. They developed in-house and we customized it with them for our purposes. So we own it now but we need them. And thank you very much for coming.

[Applause]