Open + Connected

Session Details

Developing a News Microsite: WordPress at Texas A&M's Campus in the Middle East

TPR8 Technical: Propeller Hats Required Track



Texas A&M University at Qatar presents a case study that examines the process of developing a newsroom portal for the university's campus in the Middle East. This presentation and discussion looks at an assessment of organizational constraints of an all-Microsoft shop and limitations of the existing website; evaluation the campus IT climate and infrastructure to assess the most likely technological candidate; open-source evangelism and negotiation with IT for a WordPress platform; concerns for search-engine optimization that would allow international news media to "pull" instead of the university "pushing" through news releases; efforts to increase the multimedia richness of the university's Web presence with news-driven audio, video and photography; and the need for an externally hosted site that could double as an emergency communications portal in case of a diplomatic crisis affecting university operations in the Middle East. The need for Arabic-language content also is considered.


Brady Creel
Communications Manager, Texas A&M University at Qatar

Brady Creel is the communications manager at Texas A&M University's campus in Doha, Qatar, a position he has held since July 2007. He is responsible for publications, media relations and the website, and he frequently works on the dean's executive communications. Brady joined Texas A&M's campus in Qatar after almost three years at the Texas A&M University Writing Center in College Station, where he implemented a content management system for the center's website. He also led the development of a program that offered WordPress and MediaWiki hosting for faculty members teaching writing across the curriculum and campus. When he isn't working or traveling, Brady is working to finish his Ph.D. in communication from Texas A&M.

Jamie Arrexi
Web Communications Specialist, Texas A&M University at Qatar

Jamie Arrexi joined Texas A&M University at Qatar in December 2008 as Web Communications Specialist. In that job, Jamie writes for the Web and develops multimedia content in Final Cut and Logic; he also produces the campus weekly e-newsletter. Jamie's background is in online news delivery, and while a student at the University of Mississippi, Jamie was the online managing editor for the campus daily newspaper. Jamie is an avid proponent of Flip cameras and has worked with Texas A&M at Qatar students, faculty and staff to have them capture video footage of their activities for posting on the University Web site.

Court Sansom
Senior Lead IT Consultant, Texas A&M University at Qatar

Court Sansom began his career in higher education 12 years ago at Texas A&M University's main campus in College Station, Texas. His efforts have focused on user services with special interest in the application of Web technologies in the higher ed IT environment. He joined Texas A&M at Qatar in February 2009. He earned a BS degree in mathematics from Texas A&M University, and is currently studying for his M.Ed. in educational technology.