Over the last year, I’ve had the opportunity to talk to a lot of schools and academics about the postgraduate taught programmes offered by the University. Launching new, centralised webpages for all of our 2016 PGT courses has meant learning about every programme, from Transnational, Global and Spatial History through to Photonics and Optoelectronic Devices. In the last few weeks, we’ve also had to communicate with schools about creating webpages for PGT programmes which have been approved by CAG and will soon be accepting students. In order to make the process of creating new PGT pages as easy as possible, we’ve put together this plan to outline the necessary steps.
A new programme is approved
The digital communications team is unable to promote any programme or module on the University website until it has been approved by the Curriculum Advisory Group (CAG). Once CAG has signed off a programme, we ask that the course coordinator or someone from within the school contacts the digital communications team (by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org) to request that a new page is created – whilst CAG decisions are communicated to us, we don’t usually know who the best person to talk to is, so we appreciate the first contact!
Creating consistent content for digital channels and print
We know that sometimes a new programme is approved after the PGT Prospectus has gone to print, which makes it even more important to get the information online. The digital communications team and Publications worked together to create one single form which course coordinators can fill in to populate both webpages and the Prospectus. The form is a simple Word document which shows the headings in the Prospectus and on the new PGT pages, and allows staff to create consistent content for both channels. Instructions regarding technical constraints – such as word limits, the requirement for bullet points and sections which cannot be edited – are included in the form.
Creating a prototype page
Once the form has been completed and sent back to the digital communications team, the content team will create a test version of the page which is password protected. This test page will be sent back to the school, along with a Word document of the content as displayed on the page. We ask that any amends required to the webpage are sent back to digicomms by using comments and tracked changes on the Word document. Any requested amends will be made until both school and content team are happy.
Launch the new page
Once the page is signed off, the digital communications team will launch the page. This involves removing the password protection, adding the page to the current year’s folder and updating the PGT courses page. We welcome advice from schools regarding which accordions new courses should be listed under – especially if prospective students may expect to find the course in more than one section. It takes at least an hour after completing the launch process for the course to appear on the website, so the team try to ensure that all page launches happen before lunchtime in order to correct any issues which become apparent when the page goes live.
Updating the new webpages
Once the page is live, any ad hoc amends to the new PGT page should be sent to email@example.com where they will be undertaken by the relevant team members. The digital communications team will contact schools annually to ask that the PGT pages are checked and updated in preparation for the next recruitment cycle – for postgraduate taught courses, this will usually be in conjunction with the PGT Prospectus, usually in May or early June.
The digital communications team can create webpages for new PGT courses quite quickly – often what takes time is waiting for content amends and sign-off. If few amends are required, it can take as little as two days to go from receiving the filled in PGT form to launching a new page.