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Western Idaho College Student Affairs Web Site Initiative Jennifer Fullick Jill Jozwiak Allison Steffensmeier Dana Wesolowski Loyola University Chicago.

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Presentation on theme: "Western Idaho College Student Affairs Web Site Initiative Jennifer Fullick Jill Jozwiak Allison Steffensmeier Dana Wesolowski Loyola University Chicago."— Presentation transcript:

1 Western Idaho College Student Affairs Web Site Initiative Jennifer Fullick Jill Jozwiak Allison Steffensmeier Dana Wesolowski Loyola University Chicago

2 Task Force Members Our task force consists of four members: Student (end user) Faculty Member (end user and collaborator) Student Affairs Staff Member (service provider) University Web Administrator (expert)

3 Task Force Objectives Establish the objectives of a Student Affairs Division and the use of a Web site Establish the enhanced value of a Student Affairs Web site for the community we serve Determine a Division of Student Affairs Web site Philosophy Distinguish the characteristics of a high quality Student Affairs Web site Evaluate and critique our existing Student Affairs Web site Identify recommendations to enhance the Student Affairs Web site to meet our philosophy Identify implementation steps Determine assessment needs for the project

4 Student Affairs Objectives Foster student: Involvement Development Learning Leadership

5 Student Affairs Web Sites Objectives In the Past: Provided Information In the Future: Provides Customization and Community Integration “The ultimate function of computer mediated communication in all its various forms and purposes is to bring people together.” (Weinreich (1997) in Strange & Banning, 2001)

6 Student Affairs Web Sites From the Past to the Future

7 The Value of a Student Affairs Web site Engage Students Student involvement theory recognizes the need for student participation in the learning environment. “Studies have shown clearly that the greater the student’s degree of involvement, the greater the learning and personal development.” “One of the challenges confronting student personnel workers these days is to find a ‘hook’ that will stimulate students to get more involved in the college experience.” Astin (1999)

8 Engage Students Through a Web site Our services should remain interpersonal, but use new technological advances to ensure that we are meeting student needs. –Out of class experiences influence student learning and personal development (Kuh, 1995). –Students’ academic and social integration influences the level of their satisfaction with the university (Tinto in Bischoping and Bell, 1998). –This generation of students becomes the first test of how well the simulation of real life experiences via computer technology translates into actual skills (Newton, 2000).

9 Building a Virtual Community –College and university students will expect to experience their education both in person and on-line (Creighton & Buchanan, 2001). –Students are using the web as their primary (if not sole) information source (Frand, 2000). –People in virtual communities…exchange pleasantries and argue, engage in intellectual discourse, conduct commerce, exchange knowledge, share emotional support, make plans, brainstorm, gossip, feud, fall in love, find friends and lose them, play games, flirt, create a little high art and a lot of idol talk (Rheingold, in Strange & Banning, 2001).

10 Our Community Primary Web site audience: –Current Students Traditional Students Underserved Student Populations Adult Learners Secondary Web site audiences: –Prospective Students –Parents of Current and Prospective Students –Campus Administration, Faculty, and Staff –Other Academic and Support Departments –Alumni –Local Community Members –General Public (including prospective employees)

11 Web site Philosophy Western Idaho College’s Student Affairs Web site strives to reflect the culture, interests, and diversity of our institution by enhancing our division’s services to build a stronger learning community by providing information, facilitating communication, and creating an arena for customization and community integration.

12 Philosophy in Action How can the use of new forms of technology and changes to our existing Web site improve the services we provide? Enhances Information Facilitates Communication Allows Customization Achieves Community Integration

13 Enhances Information By improving the Web site we will: Become a one stop shop Be current and up to date Be continuously accessible

14 Facilitates Communication

15 Allows Customization By improving the Web site we will: Create a system that knows the user and develops a relationship with the user’s preferences, likes, and needs Provide a feeling of personal connectedness and importance Find the “hook” that will stimulate students (Astin, 1999)

16 Achieves Community Integration By improving the Web site we will: Achieve a collaborative relationship between the Student Affairs Division, the institution, and the local community. Follow the look and feel of the overall institutional Web site design Represent the mission and vision of the institution “The greater number of people involved, the more valuable will be the communication technology.” (Frand, 2000)

17 Characteristics of Quality Web sites “Variety, quality, timeliness, and responsiveness are cultural aspects of information age productivity” (Kvavik and Handberg, 2000) –Meets the needs of its users –Appeals to the senses –Conveys the spirit and identity of our institution and division –Well organized –Interactive –Consistent in look and feel –Uses logos and color schemes consistently –Easy to use: technology works with users –Has a “Human Touch” on every page –Contains balanced material and content –Contains appropriate depth and breadth of information and services

18 Benchmarking: Quality Student Affairs Web sites The Ohio State University Rutgers Oregon State University Columbia University

19 Evaluation of Existing Web site Design –Lacks consistent look or feel –Different fonts and color schemes Information –Assumes user is familiar with institutional jargon –Site is not current Technology –Links do not work –Lacks cutting edge technology (e.g. no search function) Inclusiveness –Incomplete representation of student organizations and athletic teams Organization –Lacks cohesive structural organization between division departments and information provided –Textual organization does not allow users to identify and access pertinent information Accessibility –No contact information for division personnel –No feedback form –Difficult navigation for individual users (e.g. student versus faculty)

20 A New Student Affairs Web site at WIC

21 Achieve Philosophy through the Implementation of Web portals! A portal is a relationship manager between the division and the user. Users log into the Web site and the portal builds a default view of the Web site related to that person’s relationship with the division. (Lightfoot and Ihrig, 2002) Example: A student logs in and sees a Web site geared toward student involvement and resources; A faculty member logs in and views a Web site geared toward collaboration with student affairs and student groups.

22 Everyone can use a Web portal The user can choose a Web portal level based on their needs and technological proficiency: 1.Default Web site that can be used by the non-tech savvy individual 2.Self-selected group Web site based on your role in the institution (student, faculty, etc.) 3.A tailored version of the Web site where the user can define his or her own interests and further personalize the site

23 Benefits of a Web portal to the Division and Institution A Web portal can keep track of a changing relationship and the user’s tailored preferences over time. Ultimately – a Web portal allows the division to build a community of interests and deepen the relationships that currently and potentially exist. (Lightfoot and Ihrig, 2002)

24 University Web portal Examples University of Minnesota Illinois State University University of Washington University of California, Los Angeles

25 University Web portals The Student Affairs Division can offer to pilot a Web portal to demonstrate to the larger university community the value and benefit of customized and integrated services. Once the portal framework is designed, other departments from across the institution can link through the portal to enhance services institution-wide.

26 Enhancing Services through the Web site/Web portal Improvement General revamp of Web site Default Web site as well as customization for users Benefit Becomes more appealing, user-friendly, and encompasses all division services. Ensures all members of the campus community have access to division information in a more efficient and effective manner.

27 Enhancing Services through the Web site/Web portal Improvement Consistent look and feel Exciting look and feel Benefit Users do not feel disconnected when accessing different Web sites within the division and institution. Will draw users in, make them feel connected to the institution and invites them to use the personalized services.

28 Enhancing Services through the Web site/Web portal Improvement Links to other institutional academic and support services (i.e. financial aid and billing, academic advising, and registration) University-wide calendar of events Benefit Portrays horizontal structure, collaboration, and communication across the university. Also provides a valuable one-stop-shop for users. Convenient way to publicize programming and keep users aware of extensive university activities.

29 Enhancing Services through the Web site/Web portal Improvement Message boards/forums –Internal campus communication –Local community-to- campus communication Benefit Allows communication to increase collaboration on various ideas and projects. Examples: –Student organizations can post program ideas for volunteers and co-sponsors. –Faculty and staff can discuss opportunities to link academic projects to student affairs’ initiatives. –Administration can solicit feedback on proposed policy changes. –Local community can advertise events or service opportunities for students.

30 Enhancing Services through the Web site/Web portal Improvement Instant messaging capability between users and student affairs staff. Chat rooms Classifieds Benefit Allows users to immediately communicate one-on-one (questions answered, concerns aired, thoughts on issues, and general information). Allows for informal group discussion surrounding campus issues. Collaboration with student newspaper can match needs online (e.g. ride boards, apartment and roommate searches, items for sale, and help wanted).

31 Implementation Steps Build an implementation team Identify technical issues –Authentication –Authorization –Security Identify resources needed Prepare budget –Immediate resources –Long-term resources Design a Timeline Implement Evaluate and Assess

32 Assessment Prior to Implementation Use the Web site checklist to ensure effective design and operation Reassess the Philosophy for the Web site –Have we met our goals? –Is our entire community represented? Hold focus groups and generate feedback from all user groups Seek external evaluators –students, faculty, and administrators from other universities

33 Web site Checklist No spelling or grammatical errors No abbreviations No jargon No negative publicity Includes complete and accurate names and information for contacts Accessible to all users (including students with disabilities) Links work Three clicks/30 second test to locate information Includes a search and feedback function Meets institutional Web site guidelines and standards

34 Ongoing Assessment Daily and Weekly Review –Take off expired events –Add new events –Update any personnel changes Annual review of Web site –Reassess the Philosophy for the Web site –Compare to peer institutions –Compare to other quality Web sites/Web portals –Hold focus groups and get constituent feedback –Seek external evaluators (students, faculty, administrators from other universities)

35 The Western Idaho College’s Student Affairs Division has the capability to be an institutional leader. The Division can provide enhanced services from implementation of the Web site/Web portal initiative, while continuing strong interpersonal relationships.

36 Resources Used Astin, A.W. (1999). Involvement in learning revisited: Lessons we have learned. Journal of College Student Development, Sep/Oct, pp. 587-598. Astin, A.W. (1999). Student involvement: A developmental theory for higher education. Journal of College Student Development, Sep/Oct, pp. 518-530. Barratt, W. Article: Models for Evaluating Student Affairs Web Sites. Retrieved on February 19, 2003 from, Bischoping, Katherine and Bell, Stephen. (1998). Gender and Contradictory Definitions of University Accessibility. The Review of Higher Education. pp.179-194. Creighton, J.V. and Buchanan, P. “Toward the E-campus: Using the internet to strengthen, rather than replace, the campus experience.” EDUCAUSE Review, March/April 2001, pp.12-13. Frand, J.L. “The information-age mindset: Changes in students and implications for higher education.” EDUCAUSE Quarterly, September/October, 2000, pp. 15-24. Kuh, G.D. (1995). The other curriculum: Out-of-class experiences associated with student learning and personal development. Journal of Higher Education, March, 66(2), pp.123- 155. Kvavik, R.B. and Handberg, M.N. “Transforming student services.” EDUCAUSE Quarterly, 2000, (2), pp. 30-37.

37 Resources Used Lightfoot, E. and Ihrig, W. (2002). Customer Centered Resources. In Web portals and higher education: Technologies to make IT personal. Ed. Katz, R.N. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Newton, F.B (2000). The New Student. About Campus, November/December, 5(50), pp. 8-15. Northwestern University – Web Standards Handbook, Retrieved on February 19, 2003 from, Strange, C. and Banning, J. (2001). Educating by design: creating campus learning environments that work. San Francisco: Jossey Bass. Student Affairs On-Line: The online magazine about technology and Student Affairs. Web Style Guide. Retrieved on February 19, 2003 from,

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