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Around Campus: KPC teams build new school home page, site

Posted: Monday, September 13, 2010

To keep pace with the ever-changing world online, KPC has ramped up the college's website to bring it up to current standards. The former site had been in place for over seven years; a virtual lifetime in the world of online technology. The site can be viewed at www.kpc.alaska.edu.

The new site, designed by Naomi Hagelund, KPC communications specialist, brings all KPC locations together in the same format, under the Kenai Peninsula College umbrella. The fact that the college is a system of two campuses, located in Soldotna and Homer, and two extension sites, in Seward and Anchorage, along with a strong distance education emphasis becomes clear with the new site.

Information that is common to all KPC locations can be found from the Kenai Peninsula College landing page. Location specific information falls under the campus, extension and distance tabs.

Unlike many large web sites, KPC's site was put together in-house by a team of employees located at both the Kachemak Bay and Kenai River campuses. Team members included personnel from information technology, student services, the advancement department and personnel from the Title III Grant office.

In addition to the new design, the site is now organized with the user in mind and it is administered by a content management system that allows for 20 content authors who keep specific areas of the site updated. With over 2,500 pieces of content, the CMS helps keep the workflow focused and divides the labor it takes to keep the site current.

The development of the new site took over 18 months. Research was done to choose the best CMS product for the project and key team members attended CMS training in the Lower 48. The design phase was complicated in that it needed to be inclusive of all locations in an easy to use format. The design was then converted to computer coding so that it appears online as users see it. Once the main template pages were created, work started on creating and placing the information about the college.

The development of the new site will continue for years to come. What is currently displayed is considered phase one of a multiple phase project. With the continued advances in online technology, the new site will allow for the flexibility the college needs to stay current.

There are many new, dynamic features on the new site that sets it apart from the previous static site. Those include a "Use Your Voice" poll on the landing pages of each KPC location, virtual tours of KPC locations, rotating images on landing pages and a searchable course schedule that allows students to define the criteria they are looking for and see only those courses that meet that criteria. KPC is the first community campus in the UA system to incorporate a searchable schedule into its website.

Future additions to the site will include an intranet, used for internal business functions, blogging, full mobile support and online photo gallery.

Please provide feedback on the new site to the webmaster e-mail address located at the bottom of every page.

This article was provided by Suzie Kendrick, advancement programs manager at Kenai Peninsula College.



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