Reference: Suggestions for the ESST website, Telly Tympas, 11-12-09
The the European Studies of Society, Science and Technology (ESST) is a Masters degree program comprised of an international association of universities, each of which contributes particular intellectual specializations to the overall program content. Students enroll in the 1-year program through a university within the association based on geographic location, native language spoken, and the particular specializations.
Coordination of association matters, including curriculum elements common across all member institutions, is managed through three governing bodies; the administrative board, the general counsel, and the teaching committee. In the first semester, students take courses at their home institutions. The second semester is spent at a partner institution, selected based on specialization related to the theses topics. Most faculty and student participation is coordinated through home institutions. However, common coursework and student exchanges are integral components of the degree program.
Taking the above into account, as well as the referenced suggestions, the planned website redesign has two key structural features: 1) a re-orientation of information resources and 2) incorporation of social media practices. Development and implementation of the new website is organized in three phases, which enables realization of enhancements to begin sooner while at the same time minimizing schedule risks. This approach is informed by Agile development methodologies with an emphasis on incremental releases instead of a big-bang launch. Periodic functionality releases facilitate recursive construction of new features. For example, there is opportunity for dialog and feedback after each phase, the results of which are used to refine articulation of future phases.
The first phase is focused on optimization of existing content and migration to a new platform. In addition to significantly enhancing the capacity for content organization, moving to a contemporary content management system (CMS) platform provides a much more efficient design/development environment for the work that follows. Phase two is a focused on informationalization, the development of a robust information architecture and conversion of HTML content for use in a database structure. Video content is also developed during this phases 1 and 2.
Phase 3 is focused on integration of social media applications, or socialization of the website. Adaptation of social media for particular uses can require substantial database design and development. As such, there are two options for development of the socialization features. The basic option, Phase 3a, includes social media interfaces for all faculty and some featured alumni.The advanced option, Phase 3b, is an expanded version of the social media suite, both increased functionality and increased capacity. The 3b option has improved administration interfaces and will scale up to allow alumni and students to register and create individual profiles.