Boosting students' digital experience
Published: Wednesday 3rd February 2016
Message from Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students, Learning & Teaching) Professor Anne Cummins: As the first week of Semester 1 fast approaches it is timely to bring to your attention some significant enhancements to the University's student-facing digital spaces. The objective is to keep students’ needs at the forefront.
Over the past 12 months, project teams within the Students, Learning & Teaching portfolio have undertaken major reviews and updates to both the Orientation and current student websites. The work has been conducted in conjunction with the IT Directorate and MER and in consultation with key stakeholders across the University.
The changes will greatly improve the digital experience for commencing and continuing students, making ACU's web-based content more relevant, functional, engaging, accurate, consistent and easier to navigate. The new website design also provides much better and increased opportunities for the promotion of your events and news to students, and better integration of this content with other student communication pieces.
The new Orientation Website guides our commencing students through a step-by-step online checklist to ensure they are enrolled, prepared to attend their Orientation week program and ready to start classes. The platform includes a personalised planner which allows the students to build a tailored Orientation week timetable, incorporating both compulsory and elective activities specific to their course.
This site is already live and can be viewed via https://students.acu.edu.au/information_for/new_students/orientation
The new current student website (students.acu.edu.au) will go live on Friday 26 February. It has been restructured to align with a new information architecture that sees content organised in a way that is more logical and intuitive to the student-user. Students are often unfamiliar with the University's business unit and departmental divisions and simply wish to navigate to the information they are seeking quickly and easily.
To this end, the website changes also allow segmentation of content according to identified student characteristics to deliver more relevant content upon login. For example, where previously a student would need to filter through six different campus-based lists of sports clubs, by logging-in they will now only see the sports clubs on their own campus.
All of the student website content has been reviewed and much of it re-written to make it clearer, more consistent and concise. Another key change to the student website is the introduction of Content Management System (CMS) workflow. Contributing stakeholders will have identified CMS roles and permissions. Content will be written and checked by stakeholders. The editing and publication of content will be centralised so we can maintain the consistency and standard of digital content.
We are confident of a smooth transition from the existing student website to the new one, but inevitably there will be a period of acclimatisation for both students and staff. Please be aware that the student website urls will change, so if your department refers to specific student website urls in your digital or print publications these will need to be updated. Interim redirect uls can be established if necessary. Please contact Caitlin McAtomney (firstname.lastname@example.org) to discuss any concerns or to identify short urls that need to be maintained on the new site.