Here it is: How to turn the dreaded “no one looks at the website” response into: “6,000 people looked at my web page!”
It’s life-changing important
Our daily work routines can be uninspiring and weighed down by process. Fortunately, small, deliberate actions on the web can have life-changing impacts. Here are two real examples from our college:
- Following a serious logging accident, Jeremy thought he’d never work again. But, after some rehabilitation, he volunteered as a firefighter and EMT, then went on to augment his volunteering work by earning an online degree in Business.
- After serving as a supply specialist in the Army, Benjamin chose to study a field similar to his military work:computer machine trades. Soon after graduating, he landed a well-paying job.
Both of these non-traditional students were able to achieve their educational goals by using the college website and related online technology. Without it, they could not have succeeded.
You already have the skills you need
“Oh, I could never do techie stuff.” Not true, I say. You can! You use Microsoft Word, Excel, and Publisher; you know how to copy/paste; and you've been known to look things up on the Internet. You already have the skills needed because OU Campus doesn't require you to know HTML, write code, understand pixels, or any other mysterious techie things.
Take Linda, the executive assistant to the president of our college and go-to person for administrative functions. She’ll be the first to tell you that she’s not techie. Yet, she already has the skills necessary to manage content in OU Campus. After just two training sessions and some practice, she’s taking care of a dozen or so pages on our website, saving time by helping people find the information they need. Way to go Linda!
When I first learned to use OU Campus, I attended group trainings where I mostly observed workflow on another website. I found it hard to go back to my own work station and apply what I’d learned to my college’s website.
I realize not all colleges have the resources to train editors one-on-one, but for those that can, there are significant advantages. Trainers can address problems with workflow as they happen, saving time by not having to troubleshoot later. A new editor’s learning curve tends to speed up when they can submit and watch their page go live during their very first training. In terms of focusing on the result, it clearly demonstrates the outcome and enables editors to feel more confident about their contribution.
Be there when they need you
We have a fantastic group of web editors at our college. They are smart and funny and know so much more about their area of the college than I do. I’m there for them, not the other way around. This is why our office has prioritized training, supporting, energizing, and recognizing our web editors. We realize that by doing so we are implementing communication efficiencies that save staff time. Doing so is also in line with our college’s strategic plan, college outcomes, and other performance indicators.
Pictured from left to right: Linda Clark, Executive Assistant to the President; Angela Rogers, Grants & Research Associate; Karla Spromberg, Head Start Program Coordinator; Jenny Smith, Admissions/Career Services Program Coordinator; Natalie Richie, Executive Assistant to the VP/Instruction; Ben Schneider, Career Pathways Project Assistant; Fran Nelson, Administrative Assistant/Instruction; Renee Carney, Director of eLearning; Justin Ford, Student Activities Program Coordinator; Marie Wise, Web Marketing & Communications Coordinator
Keep in touch, regularly
Learning OU Campus takes time and practice, there’s no way around that, but so does anything worthwhile. In order to keep the momentum going, I created a newsletter for our web editors featuring updates, encouragement, research findings, and other information designed to energize and inspire. Our newsletter is in its infancy (as is our college’s use of OU Campus), but in the future I plan to include special tips and tricks, recognition of various editors who have made significant contributions, and other motivating content.
At the first training our editors get a smiley pin and a new lanyard with our college’s slogan: ‘The Smart Choice’. I encourage them to wear their lanyard and pin with pride because helping to manage our college’s website content is an important component of our ‘Smart Service’ philosophy. It identifies the web editor as having been spotted ‘delivering’ smart service, one of several ways we recognize our employees for delivering exceptional customer service.
Technology is changing everything! Keeping editors, who are tasked with updating the college website, engaged and energized is vitally important. In today’s world, a college website has the potential to change students' lives by helping them with all the parts, pieces, processes, and procedures involved in earning their college education!
About the Blogger
Marie Wise, APR, is Lower Columbia College’s Web Marketing & Communications Coordinator. With 15+ years of marketing and public relations experience in the local community, she is the college’s strongest advocate for maximizing the potential of the website. Recently, she began training and supporting the college’s group of web editors, who continue to be amazed at the efficiencies provided by OU Campus. When she’s not working, she can be found painting in her home studio overlooking the scenic Columbia River, taking walks with her golden retriever, or reading art history fiction on her eReader!