The Hampshire Intranet, Daily Digest, and Campus Calendar Overhaul Project

Many students, faculty, and staff are already aware that some of us in IT and the communications office have been working on a major redesign of the Hampshire Intranet, which includes the announcement and event system that runs the campus calendar and daily digest emails you receive each morning during the week. We want to provide the campus community with some details about the project along the way, so here goes…

What is the Intranet?

The Intranet is a portal-like website that contains some password-protected content meant for the Hampshire community. The main page has a bunch of links, and it’s the place to post announcements and events that appear in the daily digest emails and on the campus calendar.

Why are we overhauling it?

The Intranet has existed in a similar state for well over 10 years. As a community we still have a need for communication tools like announcements, a central campus calendar, and a place to put information that requires a Hampshire login. We’ve received a LOT of feedback over the years about different aspects of this system. We’ve done user testing and interviews with some students, faculty, and staff, which made the direction of our work very clear. The same feature requests and bugs came up over and over again. We want to provide similar and better functionality in a user-friendly way.

What kinds of changes are we talking about?

There will be a lot of changes, but here are highlights of the big ticket items we’re addressing:

  • Redesigned daily digest email, including new features when submitting announcements and events.
  • Redesigned Intranet homepage with helpful links targeted specifically for students, faculty, and staff respectively based on who is logged in.
  • Centralized campus calendar and academic calendar.
  • Student job postings (both work study and non-work study) that can be easily searched and filtered.
  • Search functionality that indexes all Intranet content, including announcements and events.

Timeline

We plan to launch the new Intranet/Digest/Calendar in January 2017.

We’ll be posting more details about the project as we progress and we’ll be looking for feedback. In the meantime, questions, comments, or concerns can be sent to webmaster@hampshire.edu.

Hampshire’s Successful Migration to Drupal

drupliconHampshire’s website, www.hampshire.edu, was moved over to the Drupal platform last Tuesday, July 8. Prior to this move, content authors had been using RedDot content management system to edit content on the website. We made the decision to switch last year and we chose Drupal for a number of reasons.

Read more about the decision to move to Drupal »

In addition to working on other projects, Hampshire IT and communications staff have worked hard over the last year to learn Drupal, build a Drupal installation to fit our needs, and prepare the website content to be moved automatically into this new system. We worked with Drupal experts from Palantir.net to help guide us in this process, and we also received some great advice from our colleagues at Mt Holyoke who went through a similar migration process in the past.

What does success look like?

The website looks almost exactly the same! The plan was to implement our existing design in Drupal, and that’s what we did.

Did anything change?

The biggest change is that we were able to retrofit our existing design to be somewhat responsive. This means that the website should be easier to use on devices like mobile phones, which is a big deal because mobile web traffic just keeps increasing over time.

The other big change is for our content authors. Everyone updating content on the website needed to be trained on Drupal. We are still in the process of training content authors, but many staff who have already been trained have indicated that they like the new editing interface that Drupal has to offer.

What does the future look like?

Over the next couple months we will be working on changing the design of the website a bit to reflect more modern web standards. This will not be a big redesign by any means, but we will be implementing some changes like wider page content and being able to display more content on the homepage.

Drupal has an abundance of features, some of which allow for content to be displayed on multiple pages, and in different ways, in an efficient manner. We will also be working on setting up these mechanisms to make it easier for our content authors to display information on the website in more visually appealing ways.

There will likely be a large redesign of the website in the future, which will include a cohesive process of discussion and organization around Hampshire’s identity and communication strategy. Conversations are beginning to happen around what this process might entail, but a project has not yet been put into action on this front.

Have any questions, comments, or concerns?

Send them to drupal@hampshire.edu.

CMS Migration: RedDot to Drupal

Hampshire College has been using the RedDot content management system since 2007 to maintain the college website. Technological advances make it both necessary and desirable for Hampshire to migrate to a new content management system.

DrupalHampshire IT has looked into a number of different content management systems, including an upgraded version of RedDot, as a possible replacement and has determined Drupal to be the best option for the following reasons:

  • Drupal is open source, free software
  • Drupal technology is such that our existing staff can easily learn, use, and customize the software
  • Drupal is being used at the other four colleges in the Five College consortium
  • Drupal can be customized to fit Hampshire’s website needs

What this means for our content authors:

  • We will automatically move content from the existing Hampshire website into Drupal, so they will not have to do that themselves. This means that everyone should keep updating content as usual and NOT wait until Drupal is in place.
  • We will provide training sessions in 2014 for them to learn how to use Drupal.
  • Drupal’s interface will be different from RedDot, but we think that our content authors will find it to be a significant improvement.

What this means for everyone else:

  • The design of the website is not changing at this point in time, so many folks may not even notice the slight differences
  • The URL structure will be more friendly
  • The navigation will also be more friendly

IT and communications staff are in the process of learning Drupal, setting up the system structure, and planning the content migration. As we move forward we will have a better idea of what our migration timeline and training schedule will be like and we will be in contact with our content authors as we progress.

If anyone has questions or feedback about this transition, please send them to webmaster@hampshire.edu.

TheHub Changes for Faculty

Upcoming Changes to TheHub

In a few weeks, we will introduce the first changes to TheHub to move towards the BetaHub design developed working with students and faculty. Most importantly we want all faculty to understand that the changes you will see around April 1 are only the first step in a series of changes designed to help both students and faculty better navigate Hampshire’s unique academic program.

Main Menu
Main Menu

What’s New?

The navigation, or how you get around, has been vastly simplified.  Instead of clicking from a long list of possible items, you choose what you want to see from a few simple tabs at the top: your Courses or your Advisees.  Once you have selected a specific course or advisee, you can view details or take action such as sign a contract or write an evaluation.

Changes to Courses and Writing Course Evaluations

The content previously found under “Current Courses” and “Previous Courses” is all now located under the “Courses” tab.  When you click on it, you are presented a list of current courses, but you can use the filters on the left to view any course (past, present or future).  Moreover the course listing itself is will provide you useful information.  The color-coding and format of the lines will quickly alert you that you have something to do (eg: write a missing evaluation, etc).

Old Course Listings
Old Course Listings
New Course Listing
New Course Listing

Changes to Advising/Div I/II/III

The content previously found under “Adivsor” and “Division 1-3” is now located under the “Advisees” tab.  When you click on it, you are presented a list of current and prospective advisees, but you can use the filters on the left to view any advisee (past, present or future).  Additionally, the advisee listing will provide visual indicators (both with symbols and colors) indicate if/when you have some action pending, such as a Div II or III contract awaiting your signature.

Old Advising/Div Menus
Old Advising/Div Menus
New Advising Menu
New Advising List

Summary

We will continue with a series of blog posts to update the status as we prepare to release these changes to faculty.  Stay tuned for more updates shortly.

TheHub Changes for Students

thehub In just a few weeks, all Hampshire students will begin to use TheHub 2.0, the first in a series of steps to reinvent TheHub.  This first iteration will introduce changes to the navigation and menus students use to access and write evaluations.  The old, outdated display (at right) is finally going away to be replaced with something that’s far easier to use.

Who will see these changes?

The changes affect all students, but those who entered Hampshire since Fall 2011 likely have not seen the old menus so this may not seem new to some.  Regardless, we have vastly improved the site navigation by introducing tabs tied to your most common activities: Courses, Div I, Div II and Div III.  You can view and write all course evaluations under the Courses tab, and view/edit your forms for Div I and contracts for Div II and III under their respective tabs.

Is this bediv2tahub?  What is betahub?

Betahub is a project where IT is working with faculty and students to completely reinvent TheHub.  The changes we’re introducing here are only a first step in that process and betahub will continue to exist. Thus, we’re not done making changes yet…

 

Hampshire College Directory Changes

directoryThe Hampshire College directory, where one can search for people and office contact information at Hampshire, has gone through some changes over the last several months. Thanks to Jeff and Damon on the applications and web services team, the directory has been redesigned to not only align more with the visual identity of the College, but also to be responsive — meaning it looks good and functions well on devices of different sizes. In addition to the design, preferred name settings were added, as well as preferences for how information is displayed in the directory. Hampshire students and employees have the ability to log in and edit their preferred name and directory settings. If you haven’t already checked it out, you should! Questions can be emailed to thehub@hampshire.edu.