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What do CMS’s need most?

October 14, 2014

It is not a trick question and it is my opinion.  Captain obvious.

Let me cut right to the chase.  CMS’s or LMS’s or school web sites or whatever you choose to call them….they need one thing over anything else……

Content.  Or users to champion adding content.

I was looking at a new implementation of a schoolWorld web site for one of our District buildings.

http://myschoolpages.com/schools/wayneeducation/.

I noticed the template, the images, the template provided functionality.  The ColdFusion used to build this model. “.cfm pages”.  I used to develop in CF a while back.  I noticed the *forced functionality that the templates bring or us.  This model feels old.  I noticed the main navigation buttons across the top of the screen, noticed the quick links, the sub page headers changing as you selected different *options in the template, like athletics, calendars, staff list etc.

wayne_schoolworld

It looks ok, but what it really needs is contentPeople to feed it.  If it does not get feed, it becomes irrelevant, obsolete.

It reminds me of little silos of information.  People want to have their own site, their own presence.  Web sites are created and perhaps have a brief season of life, but too often, they end up starving on the vine.  Why?  the people who championed them move on or retire.  New people come in and they want to champion other systems.  Systems that they are more familiar with…but, I digress.

Websites need content, content needs people to champion and be responsible for using.  Made me think of one of our Moodle sites where last week we meet with a person, a key technology person who told us how busy their teachers are.  How many current systems they have to already use.  We made that moodle a little easier to *encourage teachers to use it by integrating with their current authentication system via an LDAP server.

I also note what must be popular in some sites, things like *Latest , Featured or News, something to allow the people who were championed to use a megaphone or a big ole can of paint.  Conceptually speaking, a way to highlight or emphasize information in the most public spot.  The template used above has a News and a Featured *area.  Now it needs someone to take over feeding it.

The BEAST MUST BE FEED…

Fore the newly minted schoolworld site show above, I will spend some time helping a couple people who have been created in the system with privlidges to create content.  I will show them how to do this or that, change something in a page, create a link to do something….then, soon afterward, I will start peaking in to see if people are adding content to the system.  And of course, a Search textbox – as if that actually worked.

To be a little practical before I go, I did ensure I could log into the site, I think my co-worker created my account, otherwise, I have to get an admin signin for the new system, so i can login with permission to create a new account for myself and then probably for the couple of champion content people spoken of.

schoolword_admin_menu

These are the webmasters (only three, with one leaving soon) – and a couple content champions who have site level administration permissions.

wayne_admins

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