This post will explain the training process that is undertaken when trying to access our most prized possession, TerminalFour (T4) Site Manager. This is the content management system that sits behind our University website. In T4 there are various user levels, from contributor to administrator level. I will only be covering contributor level in this post, as we currently don’t have any formal process for the other levels of access.
The old world
First of all, let me start from the beginning. In the days of old we used to run large, in-person, training that involved a member
of our team running a three hour course in a computer classroom, which any member of staff could sign-up for. This, of course, came with its disadvantages as many of the people attending had no real reason to access T4. They were either forced along by their line managers or just had a general interest in the University’s web space. This not only wasted our time but theirs too! We ended up with a very large list of users who had only accessed T4 once in a whole year and who didn’t really know what they were doing. Which resulted in poor content and inconsistencies right across the website.
The new world
We knew we needed to completely re-vamp our training processes. We needed something that didn’t take up our time and resources, but at the same time gave a useful and meaningful learning experience. We came up with the idea that the user should learn first-hand how to use T4, so to begin with they are assigned access to their very own training section in T4. Here they have to complete a number of practical exercises, which involve:
- The creation of different types of content;
- Familiarising yourself with the HTML editor;
- Uploading and using images and files.
Plus many more! They then have to complete a short quiz, which tests them on everything that is covered by the practical exercises. To pass they have to achieve at least 80%. This ensures that they actually know how to use T4 and have a certain level of technical ability.
Once the user has completed the basic contributor level training, they are granted edit access to whichever section they choose. We also still run ad hoc in-person training for the Moderator level, which grants users the ability to publish entirely new content without approval from a another T4 user. Which of course can be risky!
As time goes on, we hope to have a fully fledged content management process. This will clearly dictate what can and can’t be done by users of T4. We will also be creating the materials required to teach right up to administrator level, so the pressure is no longer on us to run time-consuming courses. Besides the T4 training, there are still a few key skills required to create engaging content, such as writing for the web. This teaches users the various differences between print content (newspapers, books etc…) and content on the web. A very important skill, in which every user should be completely familiar with.
Once all of these procedures are in place we will have a very robust and efficient content management system, where we have ultimate control and every user shares the same basic web skills.