Shippensburg University: Integrating Ektron and Ellucian to Streamline Processes
Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania is one of 14 state universities that comprise the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. Shippensburg is a comprehensive university offering bachelor's and master's degree programs in the colleges of arts and sciences, business, and education and human services.
Implementing Ektron for the Authoring Experience
"I came into Shippensburg at around the same time that the University decided to implement a formal content management system," says Justin Sentz, Director of Information Services at Shippensburg.
"At the time, how web content was created, maintained and updated at Shippensburg was a bit all over the place. People were using anything from Notepad to Dreamweaver. The lack of a coordinated solution resulted in inconsistent branding and messages."
"We took a look at a number of CMS solutions, with our committee focused on looking for the best CMS authoring experience, and Ektron came out on top."
"Today, we have over 450 content users using the Ektron system. That number includes students, faculty, staff, and administrators," Sentz continues. "The concept of Content Management in general and Ektron as a content management system specifically has been very well received on campus. The user-friendliness of the Ektron system has really been what's made the CMS such a positive experience for people."
" The Ektron editing environment had been so well received by the Shippensburg community that we decided to explore whether we could manage all content in Ektron and forward it over to Luminis for the myShip portal. "
Integrating Content to Streamline Processes
The Ellucian Luminis® Platform is a portal and web services environment tailored for higher education offered by Ektron technology partner, Ellucian. Through Luminis, Shippensburg students can log into "myShip," a personalized, password-protected area of the website, where they can easily access information such as their student record, course materials, the Shippensburg "Desire2Learn" Learning Management System, email, and much more.
"We looked at the content capabilities within Luminis and found some limitations," notes Sentz. "The Ektron editing environment had been so well received by the Shippensburg community that we decided to explore whether we could manage all content in Ektron and forward it over to Luminis for the myShip portal."
"There were two great benefits for that sort of integration, " says Dustin Sier, Web Developer at Shippensburg. "One, was as Justin said, our users were already familiar with the Ektron CMS, meaning we wouldn't have to train them on another system."
"The other piece - which was huge from a productivity standpoint - was our not having to produce and maintain content in two separate systems. In fact, that was the strongest feedback we received when we looked at implementing Luminis. Our stakeholders were saying, 'I already have this content, why do I have to keep it in two different places?'"
In fact, much of the content the stakeholders wanted in the "myShip" portal already existed in the Ektron CMS. Recognizing this, the Shippensburg team created a "myShip" section in the CMS to bring in that existing content as well as to store content specifically targeted for the "myShip" portals.
The result is that content displayed on public-facing ship.edu pages can also be displayed in the private "myShip" sections as needed. For example, the Shippensburg Office of the Registrar has content such as the Academic Calendar that not only resides on http://www. ship.edu/registrar/ but also on the "myShip" pages of faculty, parents and student pages.
"Ektron also has great control over workflow and permissions where people can edit their own content, but can't affect other content," says Web Designer Mira Mattern. "We didn't want to have to reproduce that structure in another system. And support becomes easier too, of course, since our community doesn't have to author in different products."
The Shippensburg team notes that their future plans include in-context editing where, if an author is logged into the Luminis portal, he or she will be able to directly edit a myShip page via the Ektron CMS. Responsive design for the public-facing Shippensburg website is also on their agenda.
"The bottom line is that any content that we want to create, edit and maintain, whether it's for our main site, our myShip portal, or a mobile version, we want to do in Ektron," says Justin Sentz.
A printable version of the case study is at the link below.