Update on Makeover: 4 March 2009

I thought it would be helpful to give a summary of where things stand with the web makeover project, and what is going to happen in the upcoming weeks and months.

Drupal chosen as content management system
After a thorough review of commercial and open-source options for the now defunct Microsoft Content Management System, we have chose Drupal to be the main content management system for Middlebury. In addition, we will be developing a framework that will allow for members of the community to create their own customized versions of the Middlebury website.

Proposals are in from our RFP
We’ve received 18 proposals from vendors and the coordinating group is currently reading these proposals. We plan to select 3 (or 4) finalists who we will invite to campus to present their ideas to us. We will host campus-wide presentations and provide a forum for accepting feedback from the community on these finalists.

Once we’ve selected our vendor, we will work with them to develop a project plan. That plan will involve a thorough review of the information that we’ve collected to date (stakeholder reports, survey results, focus group results), our draft information architecture, and our plans for deploying drupal, and the customized framework.

The project plan will require input from the community in the following ways:

  • clarification of requirements that we gathered initially
  • testing and finalizing the information architecture
  • feedback on prototype designs and layouts of pages and sites
  • participation in usability testing

We expect that this work will begin in late March or early April.

In addition, we will be developing plans for conversion of our existing content to this new platform and environment. This will also require input and help from the community. Specifically, we will be:

  • training trainers who in turn will be training content providers on the new system
  • working closely with departments to develop conversion plans, including re-envisioning what information is available via a department website, and whenever possible, providing data from institutional databases to make that process more sustainable.

While we don’t yet have a specific timetable in place, we have ambitious goals of getting the MIIS site live in late August, and the new middlebury.edu site live in a beta form during the fall, with an official launch in early January of 2010. Below is a rough overview of our present thinking on the timeline:

This has been a wonderful project to work on so far. We are excited to be on the verge of the next phase. Please use the comment feature of this post to pose any questions that you might have.

— mike

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