Meeting Notes – October 23, 2013

Notes from the content manager meeting and training held on October 23, 2013. Thanks to everyone who came.

Updates from me

  • Summary of the most recent website update. Read my post about the update for more information.
  • Transition to multisite discussed
    • Will begin in the next month or two
    • Will make department sites easier to manage
      • Ability to have multiple editors per site
    • Updated department template
      • Blog capability
      • Static sidebar
      • Slimmer sidebar menu
  • New WordPress platform for faculty, staff, and students
    • Not sure of launch date. IT is working on it.
    • A place for faculty, staff, and students to create personal websites
  • The plan for doing these meetings and trainings in the future
    • Trainings monthly
    • Meetings quarterly (about every 3 months)
    • These will not be on the same day/time every time (i.e. always on Wednesdays at 3:00) since there is no one time that will work well for everyone.

Questions and comments from the group

My responses are a combination of what I said in the meeting to the group, and what I would say now that I’ve had a little time to think about the question.

Comment: It’s difficult to find time to work on the website.

My Response:

Check your site frequently to make sure there are no errors and to see if anything needs to be updated. Go to each page on your site, scan it to make sure everything seems right, and click on all the links on the page to make sure they are still working (i.e. that the page they link to hasn’t been deleted or moved). For most sites, this will take less than 10 minutes, and will prevent you from being surprised by someone finding a broken link on your site. Otherwise, if you find yourself spending a lot of time on your website, let’s talk why that is and see how we can improve it.

Suggestion: Create training videos for how to do some of the basic things on WordPress

My response:

Franz Santander pointed out that we have access to training videos on Atomic Learning which you can find linked on the Tech Desk home page. Click on the Atomic Learning link then search for “wordpress”. The Support site is another valuable resource. Not everything there applies to our sites because sites have many special features built into them, but their tutorials for some of the basic things are pretty good. And then there is this site, of course.

I think videos are a good idea and would like to do a few, mostly to show some of the basics. But for now my priority is making sure everyone has access to written tutorials for these things. If there is a topic you would like me to write a tutorial for, let me know.

Question: What will the topics be for the trainings?

My response:

The trainings will be a combination of structured/guided learning (where I present a topic and we work on a few examples) and an open time for you to bring up your questions and concerns. That first part will often be informed by common, recurring issues I’ve seen on the website. We will focus on higher level skills, like web standards, how to write for the web, or how to organize content on a page, or what the best heading is. These are complex topics that are learned by example, by figuring out how best to apply the principles to that particular situation. The idea is that anyone at any level (including me) can be challenged by the training.

Even when it comes to some of the things I might consider “basic,” I’ve found that most people can benefit from reinforcement. I’m reminded of Vince Lombardi getting in front of his team of professional players every season and starting their first practice with, “Gentlemen, this is a football.” There’s something to be said for reiterating “the basics.”