Hi Michelle, I'm not sure if you're bound by SP at this stage but you will note that most of these linked sites are using tables to mark-up the page layout. This is typical of SP installs and I can certainly advise that to build an accessible and standards comliant site in the SharePoint framework is h-a-r-d work. I think in an educational environment the the function and accessibility factors are key.
The exception here is the Cleveland Clinic which somebody has done well to create with quite nice code, but Firebug tells me that the full page laods at around 1.3 mb! I'm afraid this is also typical of Microsoft platform systems too.
MS say they are attending to the tabular mark-up/accessibility thing etc... and here are obviously advantages to SP (specifically for intranets and typical user workflow services etc..) but I firmly believe there are significantly better public web CMS's out there for EDU scenarios.
Position Title:Operations Director of the Higher Education Web Professionals Association Position Overview:Reporting to the President of the Higher Education Web Professionals Association (www.highedweb.org), the Operations Director is responsible for coordinating the day-to-day operations of the Association and its volunteers. The Operations Director will work with the Board of Directors to facilitate the implementation of a strategic plan, and lay the…See More
"We have started the move to make all our sites HTTPS. With our InCommon membership (paid by our State Chancellor's Ofice), we get free certificates, so there is no ongoing costs.
In 2014, Google said they give some SEO bumps to HTTPS sites.…"
"Yep, I got the same messages. Some of our sites use SSL and we've been talking about migrating all the rest our sites for a while now. I suspect we will be doing it rather than just talking about it sooner rather than later now. :\"