Managing the Virtual Campus is a blog about the many challenges of building and maintaining a quality university web presence. Underpinning these challenges is the common problem that higher-education officials who make decisions about the web and the professionals who implement them rarely share a common frame of reference or vocabulary. This leads to power struggles over decisions about web design and content, a vacuum where an information architecture and maintenance schedule should be, or all too often, both problems at once.
We’re now two decades out from the launch of the first institutional web sites, and higher ed hasn’t figured it out yet. This isn’t good for the universities. Even more importantly, it’s terrible for the web visitors.
The key purpose of this blog is to help higher-ed officials think about the university web presence as a virtual counterpart to its physical plant and to approach its operations in a manner similar to the best practices in physical plant operations. By developing a common language and principles, administrators and web professionals may begin to communicate more effectively, leading to the development of a virtual campus that gives its visitors a reason to stick around.
About the Author
Susan Walker is a web developer whose work has focused primarily on university web sites and applications. She is a former education writer and city editor for a daily newspaper. Walker holds a bachelor’s degree in mass communication from Lamar University and a diploma in computing from the University of Oxford.