University Web Developers

University Web Developers

Good afternoon (or morning depending on where you are reading this). After almost 10 years in online journalism, I moved to a university job back in February. Current we are working on (or at least planning) several big projects, including a top level website redesign and we figure this is a good time to evaluate our current tools.

We are also looking to invest in a full featured content management system. Because of limited staff and resources are would like something hosted offsite and that can be easily taught to our faculty web publishers (who have varying degrees of online skills). We are still in the research phase but right now Campusuite and OmniUpdate OU Campus are emerging as leading contenders.

I was wondering if anyone out there has any “real world” experience with one or both of these systems that they would like to share. Reading reviews and specs helps but sometimes you need to talk to people with hands-on knowledge.

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Channing S. Sherman
Online Content Specialist
Office of Institutional Information
Division of Strategic Support
Medical College of Georgia

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Channing, We research OmniUpdate OU Campus when we decided to go with a CMS package. Because our CIO is a Windows man, we ended up with Ektron CMS 400.NET. I don't know much about Campusuite, but in looking at both, I would choose OU Campus as it is much more versatile and has been around longer. Looking back, I can't tell you how much I wish we would have gone with OU Campus as we previously operated in the LAMP environment. I know you are talking about having it hosted off-site (ours is hosted on our servers), but take into consideration that you probably will be building apps to interact with your site, so go with what you know. If you are more php-MySQL oriented, go with OU; if you are more Windows oriented, you could probably go with either as OU works on various platforms and CU looks to be a Windows system.
We've been using OmniUpdate's OU Campus CMS since October 2006 and have no plans to ever shop for a CMS again.

Training a non-technical user takes less than an hour, and they go to their office and use it, and use it, and use it, and love it. In fact, in one instance, I provided four 5-minute screen capture videos that I made with Jing (http://www.jingproject.com) to our Chemistry Department Chair. In the email message I sent to him, I provided his username and password, and links to the four videos (online). He watched the videos, logged in, created a new web page, added a left navigation menu item, uploaded 24 PDFs and linked to them, and within one week his new web page was the 25th most popular web page on our entire institution's website according to Google Analytics. I guess his students needed those PDFs.... :) That's saying a lot since we just had nearly 30,000 unique visitors to our site on the first day of the Summer term on June 21st, 2010 >>

Here's the page he made : http://www.vvc.edu/academic/chemistry/Chem100-hybrid.shtml

To this day, I have never seen this man face-to-face.

Additionally, we had the need to setup an off-site hosted ".com" website for our Community Education, not-for-credit, fee-based courses. We selected Network Solutions as our hosting provider. OU Campus CMS manages the editing of those pages. The users who edit that site have a hard time with Word documents (true story), but they are editing their pages in OU Campus all day long.

What I love about OU Campus is that you can get highly technical with it (XSL/XSLT transformation, embedded & powerful source editor, XML Multi-Edit mode, RSS updating and publishing, templates for new page creation...and far beyond that), but you don't have to do any of that to benefit from its powerful simplicity.

I am the only web professional working for our community college district (Victor Valley Community College District), and I can't imagine what my day would be like trying to keep up with everyone's "update my page" requests without OU Campus to manage it all.

After four years of OU Campus use on our campus, I honestly feel like I am doing you a favor telling you to, "Stop researching, and get the OU Campus CMS today."

If you want to run a Linux Apache web server, OU Campus can manage the content.

If you want to run a hosted Unix/Windows website on GoDaddy or Network Solutions or some other online hosting provider, OU Campus can manage that content.

If you have Windows IIS web servers, or Novell NetWare Apache web servers, or a Mac web server or any other file server that can be reached via FTP permissions, OU Campus can manage that content too.

The user interface requires almost no training at all. (I provided four 5-minute videos to one user, and that was enough...since that time..I have forwarded that exact same email message - minus the login info. - to dozens of other users, and they loved it).

Setting up a page region for editing involves inserting a tag where you want the editable region to start, and another where you want it to end. That's it.

If you want to design a new web page template with pre-defined regions, and provide it to your OU Campus users for migrating their currently existing websites, they can copy/paste their content and publish it or send it to you/your staff for publishing (up to you...I am the only 'publishing' user on our implementation).

I've watched several Ektron CMS 400.NET demos over the past 4-5 years, and although it appears to be a very good system, OU Campus is better, and more flexible.

If you would like to speak to me personally, or ask more detailed questions, I'm available at: gatewoodj@vvc.edu or via telephone at: 760-245-4271, extension 2697. You can feel free to contact me anytime.
Thanks to both of you for the input. We have a two person web team, so we figure that an off site solution is our best way to go.

Ease of use is an important factor. We have approximately 300 web publishers and something that can all catch on to easily would free us up and allows us to do more of the "cool stuff" (videos, photos, home and top level page edits).

I'll keep you all posted as we go through the process.
Channing,

We have been running OmniUpdate OUCampus since 2003 and we love it. We have also been through four full implementations of other CMS solutions over the years and are not planning to move away from OmniUpdate anytime soon. Our users across campus love it and the company is wonderful to work with.

My time is short today, but I would be more than happy to discuss other questions regarding the use of OUCampus and how we do development, training, etc. across our entire campus. Just let me know if you would like to talk more about how much we like the solution we have in place.

Sorry for the short post, but I wanted to let you know of our experience with CMS solutions.
Hi Channing, I am the webmaster of Cheyney University in Pennsylvania. I compared and shopped around for a cms for Cheyney for about 6 months. I did the live demos with several of the top cms companies including OmniUpdate and Campusuite. (also Hannon Hill & Ingeniux and several others..)
I ultimately decided on Campusuite for several reasons. It blew Omniupdate out of the water to me. I am a hard core web developer with over 10 years of experience and I was looking for several "built-in" Web 2.0 features such as: web calendar, e-newsletters, a way to handle news/press releases, a cms that could work for our athletics department, rss feeds, blogging, faculty and staff contact directory, etc.
Campusuite includes all of those features plus more like podcasting and frequently asked questions. The price of the system worked great with our budget and was very affordable compared to many of these other companies. We were able to save money by eliminating a separate web calendar software package that cost us an extra 10K per year. We have 25-50 users that can use the Campusuite system as any time. We let Campusuite host our new website. We were previously hosting our old website ourselves and I am so happy that I do not have to deal with server issues or backing up a tape anymore. I am happy with their customer service. We have had minimal problems and they are responsive and help us every step of the process to convert our website and with any other day to day issues. We never had a cms before at Cheyney. We were using traditional asp and sql server 2000 when I started the job in 2008. We went live with the redesign & Campusuite in Oct. 2009.
Price was a major factor for us at Cheyney and Omniupdate wanted to charge us for every extra feature one by one, plus they had a hefty training fee, and maintenance fee. Their system was probably good when it first came out. Their out of the box product is inefficient for today. I was told I had to purchase the "Live Delivery Platform" to get the Web 2.0 features that I was seeking. I will say that Omniupdate was very persistent and followed up with me the entire time and sent me a couple of gifts but hands down, they could not compare with Campusuite in my opinion. I feel that OmniUpdate may have been in the business longer and they have a good reputation but their product was inferior to Campusuite when I was making the decision. If you are a decision maker that does not really know the industry, they will impress you but if you know about web development, there is no way you would go with them in my opinion. For our budget, they wanted to restrict our number of users to 5 or 10 and charge us extra to have rss feeds and blogging.
We love Campusuite and we are going to convert our athletics website to them this summer. The learning curve is very simple and for the price Campusuite is the best I have seen out here.
_______
Erica Sterling
Webmaster & Applications Developer II
Information Technology
Cheyney University of PA
www.cheyney.edu

Just a follow - up, in January 2011, Cheyney Univeristy launched our redesigned athletic website which is now on Campusuite.  We are very pleased with the site:  http://www.cheyneywolves.com/athletics/index.cfm

Campusuite has an athletic module which basically adds special functionality for sports sites.

Hi Channing,

I am a web developer for Ross University and have been using campusuite for just under a year now. I've never used Omniupdate, but I can say if ease of use is an important factor campusuite would be a great choice. One of my duties with the implementation of campus suite to our web environment is training publishers and I can honestly say it’s a very short learning curve whether you’re a seasoned technology professional or the average Joe. With campusuite your publishers will hit the ground running, saving you time on training and implementation. Other benefits of campusuite are it’s built in work flow and modules (calendar, news, blogging, photo galleries etc).

Kimbel Jeffers
Web Developer
Ross University
Channing,

Columbus State University has been using OmniUpdate for the last 3 years. We have moved 115 sites OUCampus and have 250+ users. We have been very pleased with software. OUCampus has allowed us to do anything that we have wanted to do with out having to do it the software's way. We are very please with the software and its increasing functionality that is added each year.

Since we are a sister institution, I would be happy to talk with you and your team over the phone. We can also schedule a campus visit and allow y'all to see how we are using OUCampus, review our technical setup, and meet with our end users.

Thanks,
Jay Knape

----------------
Jay Knape
Manager of Web Services
Columbus State University
Office: 706-507-8116
knape_jay[at]colstate.edu
www.colstate.edu
Just wondered what you decided to do about this.

Hey Michael, Sorry for the delayed response.

 

We ended up going with OU Campus. We liked both products a lot. One of the major deciding factors was the amount of time both companies were in business. Omniupdate has been around a little longer and, at an institution that’s been around since 1828, longevity matters. Also Columbus State University (another Georgia school) uses it so they were already in the USG system.


We just went live with everything in March so we are still working through some kinks but I am happy with the product. More importantly I think our publishers like it.


If you want to email me with any specific questions, I’d be happy to try and answer them.

Also, thanks to everyone who responded. Your input was appreciated.

I am in the process of evaluating OU Campus along with two other CM systems. OU Campus is on my short list. 

So, about four months after your launch, do you have any advice to offer?

 

 

 

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