Lincoln University had to replace the old content management system that was decreasing the site's capability. Also, it had a three-month deadline to be finished, so potential students could access the information they needed.
Lincoln is New Zealand's specialist agricultural university. It has a student population of 4,000. The website provides a window into all aspects of the university's operation, including its academic faculties, enrolments, course information, scholarships and orientation. Students are a web-savvy and well-connected bunch these days and Lincoln's old CMS platform fell well short when it came to delivering the kind of interactive website experience students have come to expect.
Faced with risk of having an unsupported platform in three months, when it needed its website to be available to students, Lincoln needed a new, flexible CMS platform – one that was also capable of being integrated into its future IT plans.
As a flexible and well-structured CMS platform, EPiServer delivered immediate benefits. It has also set Lincoln on a path that will allow it to engage with the whole student lifecycle: from prospecting to enrolment; to post-graduate to alumni. Microsoft Search Server, through integration with SharePoint, provides the university's site search-engine.
SharePoint is also used, in conjunction with EPiServer, to manage the site's content structure and to share information, such as course details and staff profiles, for example. The latter can appear in several places on the site and can now be updated in a single action.
The result is a website that has allowed stakeholders and faculty staff to both own and drive content. As a result, the university has moved to a much more distributed 'editor model', with far more contributors.
"The difference is about making the website about the individuals who are using it. Students are now viewing information that is current, relevant and easily accessible," says McKinnon.
"We also see potential, using EPiServer CMS features, to deliver end-to-end task-specific activities, to assist students on an individual basis. For example, there are editor-friendly form creation tools which will allow us explore smart registration and smart applications."
For many students, the website is the first 'hook' in selecting a university. Lincoln is confident it now presents a professional window to prospective students, through content that is both well-structured and timely.
EPiServer 7 CMS
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