New IT Site is Live!
April 3, 2013, 8:02 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Just a few months after the CMS went live, Information Technology has migrated its site into the new system. Working closely with Web Services, IT’s Chief Marketing Officer Alisha Talley spent several months laying out the site and updating content. The new IT site went live March 22nd and the feedback has been very positive.  IT is one of the first departments to move into the CMS, and the team made the transition very easy for all parties involved.

Check out the new IT site at and let us know what you think!


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December 7, 2012
November 26, 2012, 10:10 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

The new University of South Florida website is scheduled to launch Dec. 7. The new site will feature great information, which you can read about here.

This is the first site to reside within USF’s new CMS. The CMS Workgroup has been working for more than a year to prepare for this implementation. Questions were asked, issues were worked out, and the final product is just a few days away.

University Communications & Marketing has worked tirelessly to update content for the main site, to create templates, and to create a CMS User Guide so that the rest of us will have an easier time when we move our websites into the CMS. Information Technology plans to launch its site in early 2013, followed by dozens of other sites throughout campus.

Now’s the time to review your area’s content–need help? Check out this post–and keep your eyes peeled for the next wave of migrated websites. If you have questions about the new CMS, or want to get started using the system, please contact UCM’s Stephanie Harff.

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Content Migration Kick-off
August 14, 2012, 2:42 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

With the CMS technology in-progress and templates developed, the time for content preparation and migration has arrived! Several areas have agreed to participate in our first phase and recently met to discuss the initial process.

Meeting attendees had the opportunity to review the CMS templates (which were well-received!), along with the variety of options the new designs offer. These particular layouts provide flexibility while maintaining the University’s brand.

Stephanie Harff, University Communications and Marketing (UCM), outlined the basic process while covering key items such as timelines. Harff noted that between August and November, participants should be working on organizing and refining their site content as CMS training will take place in November. It was also noted that the content portion of the project is the most challenging as the technology aspect is user-friendly and non-technical. During the discussion, someone asked, “Will we need to know any .html?” (The answer is “No” – using a CMS does not rely on a user’s technical skills.)

CMS training will be offered on-site and online formats so that modules can be reviewed at everyone’s convenience. Manuals will also be provided to include a technical guide, along with a content development guide.

To assist in this effort, participants were also introduced to their liaisons including members from both UCM and Information Technology. Since this is the first phase, liaisons will provide guidance and will also serve as resources for this group. At the end of the meeting, everyone had the opportunity to meet with their liaisons which made for productive discussion.

By December, everyone in this group will have access and opportunity to migrate their content into the CMS and can expect to launch their sites by the beginning of January – Happy New Web!

Check back for updates!

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July 20, 2012, 8:43 am
Filed under: CMS

The enterprise CMS is on its way! We’re still on track to begin implementation in the next few months, but there are a few discussion USF and the vendor need to have to make sure their software and our servers can talk to each other successfully.

Last week, the CMS Workgroup met to discuss the technical requirements the enterprise CMS will need for USF. The group discussed nodes, platforms, flow of data, and configuration – information that can easily go over many people’s heads (including your faithful blogger’s). However, our technical staff understood it all and stressed that the CMS will need to have high availability (meaning it needs to always be on) and not hosted by the vendor (meaning it will live on campus with the rest of our business systems, like Blackboard, GEMS/FAST, and Oasis).

After lengthy discussion, the group decided the platform that will be used to run the enterprise CMS will be Windows 2008 R2 based on the expertise of the USF IT staff that will be supporting it, and the existing infrastructure in the Tampa Data Center. Additionally, the CMS will be easier to replicate in our redundant locations of Winter Haven and Clemson University.

So what are the next steps now that we decided on the platform? Build it out of course! USF IT staff are currently readying the servers and scheduling the big move!

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What Our Student Said – Part 2
June 20, 2012, 2:22 pm
Filed under: CMS

We had some great feedback regarding the usability testing conducted in April, we decided to treat you to another video!  Check out what questions were asked and how our students felt in the video below.



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We Have a Winner!
June 15, 2012, 9:26 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

The ITN process has finished and a vendor has been chosen! OmniUpdate will be the machine behind the new content management system and we are thrilled to work with them!  Check out their site to see some of the great features they will be bringing to campus.  OmniUpdate is a big name in higher education, so we know the transition will be smooth and the product will be easy to use for everyone.

To give you an idea of the timeline, starting in July, UCM will give the enterprise CMS the templates to integrate them into the system.  Training for USF staff members will begin in early fall, with sites starting to migrate towards the end of the year through the beginning of next year.

We’ve received a lot of positive feedback regarding the enterprise CMS, especially from President Genshaft.  The whole CMS team is eager and excited to start the next phase of implementation!

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Meeting with the President
June 1, 2012, 1:21 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Stephanie Harff, Associate Director for University Communications and Marketing, recently met with President Genshaft to review the CMS development site.

In the meeting, the President was able to view the CMS development site and share her thoughts on the proposed templates and navigation.  She was very pleased with our progress and direction!

President Genshaft also expressed her continued support and excitement for the project.



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What Our Students Said – Usability Testing Recap
May 14, 2012, 1:18 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

In mid-April, University Communications & Marketing (UCM) and Information Technology (IT) conducted usability testing with current USF students. The testing took place over the course of two days in the Library with great results.

So, what was the purpose of the testing? To make sure the site works as intended of course!  Along with the new CMS, colleges, departments, and programs will have access to many new templates to build their sites.  We needed to see how students interacted with the site and what they were looking for.


What was the process?

UCM designed several templates, which were used to develop a “test site” that would allow the students to click and students to click and navigate through just as they would on a live site.

Concurrent with the template development, the following items were created to conduct the testing:

  •  Task List: 10 tasks based on common scenarios performed on the current site were listed and printed out to give to the testing participants.
  • Script: information that was read to the participating student that fully explained the process and what was expected of them. It also outlined steps for the facilitator.
  • Video Release Form: to be signed if the student agreed to be videotaped while going through the test.
  • Observation Form: a basic form that the facilitators used to take notes during the test itself. They were able to mark if the participant completed the task, if students had any issues, or if there were any comments that arose while trying to complete the task.
  • Exit Survey: 14 questions that the students were asked to answer at the completion of their experience.


What was asked?

The first thing the students were asked to do was to spend a few minutes looking at the homepage and say what they thought about it; what they liked or didn’t like, what struck them, etc. Once that was completed, they were given the below task list and asked to talk their way through as they tried to do each item.

  • Find information regarding Art History.
  • Find an Art History class.
  • Locate where you would find the cost to attend.
  • Find Student Government information.
  • Locate where you would schedule a campus tour.
  • Find contact information for an Architecture adviser.
  • Locate student employment information.
  • Locate the Tutoring Center.
  • Find Spring 2012 final exam dates.
  • Locate where you would find admission requirements for graduate school.

At the conclusion, they had the opportunity to ask the facilitator any questions they had and then completed the exit survey. The survey asked questions regarding navigation, design, and organization along with what information students would like to see on the homepage, areas that could be improved upon, and any additional comments they had.


What was the feedback?

Very favorable! Below are just a few comments that were heard regarding the homepage:

  • Good branding
  • Brighter than old site
  • Good organization
  • More aesthetically pleasing than current
  • Cleaner and more professional
  • Engaging
  • Clear navigation
  • Very clean and visual
  • More modern
  • Visually striking

A brief video of some the student comments have been created for viewing. A longer, more detailed version is being produced and will be posted soon.


What are the next steps?

A lot of the feedback that the students shared has already been used to refine the design templates. Compilations documents and videos from the testing will be shared with any appropriate groups throughout campus. More usability testing will be conducted among relevant audiences in the coming months and even after the new CMS is officially launched.


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One Step Closer
April 19, 2012, 8:22 am
Filed under: CMS

The cut-off date outlined in the Invitation To Negotiate (ITN) for vendors to submit their bids has passed and the reviewing stage has begun. The Selection Committee will be narrowing down the prospects to the top three  with an award still scheduled to take place May 7. As previously stated, once a CMS vendor has been chosen, details will be worked out on implementation timelines and procedures. At that point, a tentative production schedule that details the order in which university colleges and divisions will move into the new content management system will be created.

University Communications and Marketing has continued to refine and present drafts of the template design to multiple groups and leaders throughout campus. A test site was completed and usability testing has begun! UCM and IT surveyed student volunteers Monday, 4. 116 and Wednesday, 4.18 in the Library and received great feedback from students who participated in the testing. Plans are also underway to schedule time with high school students during the summer in order to get real, “prospective” student opinions on the site.

At the conclusion of the first phase of usability testing, UCM and IT will review all of the feedback and make any appropriate changes to the templates. Additional usability testing will take place again as the CMS gets closer to launch.

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In other news: Technology Fee season is here!
March 30, 2012, 8:45 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

It’s that time of year again! March 6th was the deadline to submit a proposal for the 2012-2013 Technology Fee cycle for System and Tampa campus, and IT received 30 proposals with a total funding request of over $12 million.

Some projects that are being considered for funding include a mobile Blackboard application for students, more wireless upgrades around campus, and more!  These proposals will be reviewed over the next few weeks by the different advisory committees, including the Student Technology Advisory Council.

If you have any questions about the Technology Fee, please contact or check the Information Technology site for updates.

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