PVSTEMNET Website Development Project Plan

plumpbustlingInternet and Web Development

Dec 4, 2013 (4 years and 10 months ago)

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PVSTEMNET Website Development
Project

Plan










Website Development Sub
-
Committee

Larry Martin

Mort Sternheim

Kathy Wicks

Michael Baines

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Background


At the April 9
th
, 2012 PVSTEMNET executive committee meeting
, an in
-
depth roundtable discussion
on
the need to update our website to a more modern look with increased functionality took place.
Other
website

discussion points were:



Identifying our target audience



Increasing the ease of navigation



Increased functionality and the ability to use Web 2.0
tools



Updating the graphical user interface (GUI)



A more attractive presentation



Adding more visual content to a “text
-
based” website

At the end of the discussion
,

it was decided to form a website development sub
-
committee to take
on the task of
recommendi
ng website

updates within the allocated budget to the executive
committee
.


Development

Intial Sub
-
Committee Meeting

The first sub
-
committee meeting was convened on April 25
th
, 2012 at the Hamden County WIB offices.
The following agenda was set:

1.

Overview a
nd site evaluation

2.

View other relevant websites

3.

Define Website goals

4.

Map Existing Website Structure

5.

Layout

6.

Current website technical details

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Host



Software tools



Do we need to contract this work out?

An open dicussion occurred about the existing website th
at revolved around the
six agenda goals. The
group also researched
other STEM

network websites with an emphasis on layout
, ease of navigation and
content.
The group agreed that the PVSTEM network
should strive

to be the primary resource in the
Pioneer Vall
ey for STEM
content and

that the website should be the primary tool to accomplish this
mission.
The target audience was identified as academia, business and industry, school districts,
legislators, students and parents.

The goals for the website are defin
ed as:



Create a vibrant attractive site that will draw users to our incredible content



Increase interest in STEM subjects and c
areers



Provide Resources for



Teachers / Educators



“Top 10” K
-
12 web resources



Students

&
Parents



School Administrators



Co
llege and University Faculty




Define STEM



Help Industry Sectors understand how they can interface



Connect to TAA grant at Community Colleges



Showcase STEM careers



Connect to WOW program



Clearer definition of state goals and objectives



Monthl
y featured website



Provide Monthly flashes



Theme related books, apps driven by regional expertise

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Database

support



Occupations



Businesses



Regional Legislators



Funding Sources


Next steps “action items” were also created that would be followed
-
up at
next sub
-
committee meeting:



Investigate open source web software



Define budget



Develop current site map



Interview creators/owners of other stem network sites



(e.g. Stematters http://nestemnet.org/index.htm)



Summarize, approve and distribute to
executive committee

Sub
-
Committee Follow
-
up Communications


Research on website layouts and open
-
source alternatives
was

continued by the team members and
several sample websites were presented for
review,
with a common them
e

of the use of a web
developmen
t platform known as
Drupal
.

Investigate Open Source Web Software

Drupal is an open source content management platform powering millions of

websites and applications.
It is

built, used, and supported by an active and diverse community of people around the
world
.
Drupal
is used
to build everything from personal blogs to enterprise applications. Thousands of add
-
on modules
and designs let you build any site you can imagine.

What makes Drupal a viable option is that it uses what is known as “distributions”, wh
ich
are a collection
of pre
-
configured themes and modules for feature
-
rich web sites giving you a head start on building
your
web
site. Build your own online communities, media portal, online store, and more!
1




1

Http://Drupal.org

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Another option for an open source platform is J
oomla.
A meeting was held
in January 2012 with a web
developer experienced in creating websites with Joomla for a similar type of web project. Joomla has
many of the same strengths as Drupal but does not have the same level of support, themes and
distribut
ions as Drupal.
In addition
, the cost to have our website redesigned in Joomla would exceed our
budget.

Develop Current Website Map

A current website map has been
createded and has been provided to the team members
. In the
document’s electronic version, th
e drawing can be expanded and the active links can be utilized. This
map will be a useful tool to the web developer and the web subcommittee as we make recomme
n
ded
website revisions.

Define Budget

A budget of
$1500

has been allocated for the purpose of we
bsite updates

Interview other STEM Network Website Content Managers

This step was not necessary since the team did a thorough job of reviewing five websites, their content
and their layouts. The majority of the website goals we developed were based on the
review of our
partner’s websites.

Second Sub
-
Committee Meeting

A second meeting was convened on May 18
th

at the UMass
-
Amherst STEM
-
Ed. Offices. Due to
scheduling conflict, only Mort an Larry were able to meet with Matthew D. Mattingly,Multimedia
Director f
or the Center for Educational Software Development was invited to provide a presentation of
the Drupal development platform.
Several websites were reviewed that Matthew has created using the
Drupal software platform and have been listed below:

DEFA eCommer
ce site:

https://newumwebdev.oit.umass.edu/defa_commerce/


MAEEP:

http://maeep.org



In addition, the
www.whitehouse.
gov

website is an example of a well
-
developed website utilizing the
Drupal platform.


Although these websites are examples of simple builds, they have a clean look and utilize a lot of white
space for readibility. Other, more complex websites were shown t
hat Matthew can design and build
within the costs of our budget. Matthew’s presentation was impressive and I am confident he can work
with us to design the website the PVSTEMNET requires.
In addition,

since Matthew is already within the
UMass system, this
greatly simplifies the logistics of meetings and payments
. If approved, Matthew can
begi
n work in early July, 2012.

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Recommendation

The website development sub
-
committee recommends Matthe
w
D. Mattingly as the website developer
for this project
.

Project Im
plementation

It is recommended that the website development project be implemented over three phases over the
next year, beginning with Phase 1 in July 2012.

Phase 1

July 2012
-
September 2012

Website Basic functionality with new look



Create contract with co
ntractor goals and responsiblities



Determine a


phase 1 website map layout

with web developer



Finalize the theme for the visual look of the website



Validate that all core documents from the previous version of the website are transferred



Validate State goa
ls and objectives are clearly defined



Minimize new feature additions but add the following:

o

Calendar of events

o

Database dashboard

o

Basic events page

o

Bi
-
weekly or Monthly Flashes on events, professional development and grants



Review website and database user

interface functionality



Reconvene Web d
evelopment sub
-
com
mittee to discuss and finalize
new resource

additions,
social networking options and present to executive committee

Phase 2

October
-
December 2012

Add new resources to website



Career Showcase



Theme r
elated books, apps driven by regional expertise

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Monthly featured website



“Top 10” K
-
12 web resources



Review
website and
database

user interface

functionality



Improve Industry page



Facebook, Twitter or blog features



Reconvene Web development sub
-
committee
to discuss and finalize new resource additions
and present to executive committee

Phase 3


January
-
March

2012

Add new resources to website

for



Teachers / Educators



“Top 10” K
-
12 web resources



Students

and
Parents



School Administrators



College and Univer
sity Faculty












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