I have been thinking about lots of things strategy-wise recently, things that I need to work on and decided to open it up to the bigger community. I do have a future post in the works about what we are doing well so expect that soon.

What do we need to work on:

  • Single sources of authoring for our assets – think news posts, calendar events, rankings, directory listings etc. We don’t do a great job at leveraging single sources for our assets which leading to multiple and many times erroneous listings
  • Web services/ api’s – this is part of the solution for the above single sourcing of assets, we need to think off all our assets as multi use chucks if we can have them in central data stores and provide the ability to easily get them out this is better for everyone, there are many ways that we can do this RSS, XML, Json, SOAP etc. This will help us tie together all the loose ends
  • Tying together user tasks – an example of this is an inbound student, students have a huge checklist of things they need to do housing, meal plans, register for classes, get financial aid. We could do a better job at trying to pull together the processes and getting the right info from one source rather than sending them to multiple sites. I wrote a post about How you can be successful with a one stop centralized enrollment model
  • Mobile content strategy – i will give a bit of a pass since even CS for desktop is a new idea, there are a few groups making strides with responsive but I think we need to have more focus on typing together the mobile experience and user needs at times responsive vs mobile site are at odds with each other
  • Sharing amongst ourselves – higher ed has lots of creative solutions for many of the same problems, while we are very open to share the how and whys of our solutions, I would love to see more code sharing, there are very few higher ed open source projects, I can pretty much name them all on one hand
  • Saying NO – as a community we all seek to please. Which is a great thing at the face of it. We will take on most anything I think we need to be better at saying NO for things that don’t align with our missions. I have to acknowledge that NO might not be an option so at least be able to reframe or reroute the leaderships wishes into outcomes the benefit our audience and align with our mission

I am as guilty of these as anyone else, what else do you see that we need to work on?

5 thoughts to “What are we not doing well – reflections on the higher ed community

  • Erik Runyon

    API’s are extremely important. We’re working on it at Notre Dame, and it’s good to see institutions such Wayne State University coming out with campus API’s. Sometimes institutional sharing can be difficult. We might have better luck sharing our experiences on personal sites such as this one.

    • mherzber

      Yeah, each tool my team has built and continues to build we build the API first, that model isn’t the same around campus and we have lots of data held hostage. It is unfortunately our audience who suffers from this lack of playing ball. I remember the great preso you did two years ago at HighEdWeb which I still reference across campus on a regular basis.

  • Deborah Maue

    I think the reason it’s unacceptable to say no is because most internal service groups (e.g. Marcomm, web development, IT) don’t charge for their time. They work for free. So if I’m an internal higher ed “client”, my options are to go to the free service group, or hire an outside agency, which costs money. Which I usually don’t have. So if the internal service group says no, I’ve got no way of getting my project done. So we pretend we can do it all, and “prioritize”, knowing that the lowest priorities will never get done.

    • mherzber

      Well I think part of the solution for this is web governance. We need to look at the projects that the web team is doing with overall organization benefit in mind. Part of most web governance structures is a web oversight committee that will help prioritize projects on a campus wide level.

      • Deborah Maue

        Web oversight committee makes sense, and will definitely help. But someone still has to be the one to say no, and most in higher ed are reluctant to play that role.

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