Nov
3
2014

Update for Knowledge Strategy Committee 31 Oct 2014

I provide a brief update for each Knowledge Strategy Committee meeting. The last one was on 31 October. The overview is below. I shall share any feedback as and when it comes in.

Delivery of new University Website Content Management System- EdWeb

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The project to develop a new Website CMS, using Drupal to replace the existing Polopoly-driven service, is going well. The beta product of this new tool, ‘EdWeb’ is now launched and has been trialled to publish a small demonstration site using content from the University Website Programme’s online presence. Initial feedback from early testers of the software is positive with all users finding the system more intuitive, quicker and easier to use than Polopoly.

The next release will be the Minimum Viable Product of EdWeb which we will use to transfer six small sites from across the organisation. This early and controlled migration phase will help us to prepare for the larger university-wide migration, due through 2015. In this phase we shall pilot our migration handbook, training and support systems, and the auto-migration software, all currently being finalised.

The UWP team is now consulting with all 300 site owners from across the University to agree the ideal migration schedule, the timing of which will depend on the successful ongoing release of further functionally to meet requirements. The agreed outline migration schedule should be available mid November 2014.

The release of a parallel product to ‘EdWeb Central’ – the ‘EdWeb Distribution’ for those units currently outside the university website, but wishing to use a similar technology, will be launched shortly after the MVP. While taking on the distribution requires a significant level of technical expertise (and therefore won’t be suitable option for many) it enables developers to build their own local development on top of the existing central provision, provides opportunities for collaboration and innovation feeding back into the central service, and makes it easier for more of the University’s online presence to achieve greater harmony in its presentation and user experience.

A Change Advisory Board has been established to oversee updates and enhancements to EdWeb once it is running as an ongoing service. An initial meeting has been held, with initial remit and membership agreed to establish effective change process mechanisms across the estate.

Three further releases of EdWeb are planned through to July 2015 to allow for migration of all content through to December 2015.

The opportunity for non-Polopoly-using units to move to the centrally managed service is also available, with timings to be planned around commitments to the migration from Polopoly.

Successful ongoing releases of the required functionality alongside a concerted and efficient migration effort in 2015 and continued encouraging collaboration planning with key system providers such as MyEd and EUCLiD will put us in a better position to deliver a more harmonious, ‘joined up’ and responsive digital experience for students, staff and each of the 1 million monthly visitors to the university’s web presence.

Dawn Ellis
Director
University Website Programme

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