Home Educational Technology We Deleted Extra Than 5,000 Pages From Our School Web site. Right here’s Why.

We Deleted Extra Than 5,000 Pages From Our School Web site. Right here’s Why.

We Deleted Extra Than 5,000 Pages From Our School Web site. Right here’s Why.


Think about you’re a potential first-generation school scholar, looking for to attend an establishment of upper schooling in efforts to acquire financial mobility. Chances are high your first steps (amongst many) will embody visiting the web sites of schools and universities of curiosity.

What is going to you discover in your on-line search?

Properly, should you visited the Group School of Aurora’s web site previous to Might 2023, you’ll have found greater than 5,500 webpages of content material. Immediately, our web site has fewer than 300 pages.

As educators, how can we probably anticipate to extend our enrollments, promote the mission of our establishments, successfully talk our educational choices, and interact potential (and present) school college students inclusively with school web sites that operate extra like on-line file cupboards? It’s time to cease this foolishness.

Embracing Accessibility by Design

For much too lengthy, school and college web sites have been designed with the idea that revealed info is accessible info. This isn’t true. Accessible, by definition, means “able to being reached; simple to talk or cope with; able to being understood or appreciated; or simply used or accessed by folks with disabilities.”

As we replicate on accessibility, there are two sides to this coin increased schooling should account for, figuratively talking. First, it’s crucial for school web sites to embrace the accountability we now have to be inclusive with all digital content material for people with a incapacity, as outlined in Colorado Home Invoice 21-1110. Second, and the principle matter I’m discussing right here, faculties have a accountability to make sure their web sites replicate the inclusivity they ceaselessly communicate of. Not simply with pictures of scholars of colour and assorted identities smiling round their campuses, however by growing content material utilizing sources just like the Flesch Studying Ease Rating to assist readability for the varied communities we serve.

Over the span of 1 12 months, Group School of Aurora requested 4 essential questions of our web site’s effectiveness and accessibility. First, who’re we serving? Second, who’s our desired viewers? Third, what’s the info this viewers wants? Fourth, how are we making info accessible to this viewers?

In deep consideration of those questions, we found that our web site was not a “entrance door” reflection of our school’s imaginative and prescient assertion: We aspire to be the school the place each scholar succeeds.

Centering College students

Pedagogically, educators are taught to plan, train, and assess studying across the wants and skills of scholars. Pupil-centered studying, as it’s recognized, supplies educators a framework to put the wants and uniqueness of every scholar on the heart of the academic expertise. Such an method empowers educators to design student-centered establishments.

Nonetheless, the lead query I pose is, do your school and college web sites replicate student-centeredness? Can guests successfully navigate your web site to name to actions that promote a seamless digital expertise that in flip promotes a sense of belonging? If not, now’s the time to do one thing about it.

It might not be simple. When the Group School of Aurora a number of years in the past acknowledged the necessity to overhaul its web site, an array of challenges prevented the work from occurring. At one level, our school made the choice to alter distributors and begin our efforts throughout from scratch. Why? As a result of our administration got here to know and worth the necessity for our establishment to companion with a web site developer that finest represented the dynamic and progressive method our school is looking for to serve our college students.

Blair Lee, my school’s government director of strategic communications and alumni relations, served as undertaking champion for our web site redesign. As Lee shared with me, “Fully overhauling our institutional web site was no simple carry, it required a big quantity of departmental cross-collaboration to make sure all the required stakeholders have been on the desk to have their voices heard and validated.”

However we knew the hassle can be worthwhile. Lee additional expressed, “The aim was to construct a web site that at its core can be used as a software to drive enrollment, streamline communication, interact present college students and can be a ‘digital utopia’ that informed our story to web site guests fantastically.”

The method we took, he added, “made sure that those that can be impacted had a chance to provide their enter previous to going to launch.”

Defining the Goal of Our School Web site

By way of analysis and engagement, I used to be capable of acknowledge as school president that our web site was wrongly making an attempt to be all issues to all folks. Our present college students, potential college students, and their mother and father have been having to navigate a monstrosity of knowledge and we (the school) have been simply hoping the data was accessible.

Knowledge confirmed that guests to our former web site spent a mean of 30 seconds every go to. Remarkably, since going reside with our new web site, guests are actually spending three minutes and 15 seconds on common navigating our web site. As well as, our redesigned web site has seen a 15 % improve on our “apply” webpage, which for our establishment primarily operates as an inquiry database.

“School web sites have been essential earlier than the pandemic. We counted on them to offer entry to info and companies. Submit-pandemic, as an alternative of entry, web sites are drivers of motion,” says Clair Collins, vp of enrollment administration and pathway success at my establishment. “Because the ‘first look’ possibility for many college students, web sites are actually the first technique faculties [use to] generate leads, talk their mission and imaginative and prescient, and drive engagement. To seize scholar info and keep wholesome enrollment, a robust internet presence with clear calls to motion has grow to be very important.”

We’ve extra adjustments deliberate for the long run, too. As a result of greater than 50 % of our college students are first-generation school college students, greater than 50 % are college students of colour, greater than 30 % establish as Hispanic or Latino, and greater than 70 international locations are represented at our establishment, it was crucial that our school web site symbolize our proud federal Hispanic-Serving Establishment designation. This fall, our school is planning to go reside with a Spanish-only model of our whole web site, and efforts are underway to develop and establish a 3rd language navigation.

Now, greater than ever, we now have a accountability as educators to create curriculum and studying environments that honor and account for the variety of our evolving communities. I hope that our expertise will encourage your establishment to make its digital presence extra welcoming and helpful in your potential and present college students.



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