WMU News

Personal Web pages made easier for faculty, staff

March 11, 2002

KALAMAZOO -- For the WMU faculty member wanting to put the semester's syllabus and course content online, or for the professor waxing poetic about the benefits of a sabbatical, publishing on the World Wide Web just got easier.

The Office of Information Technology this week announced a new Web service for publishing professional and personal faculty and staff Web pages on <homepages.wmich.edu>, the server which will soon be home to all of WMU's faculty, staff and student-designed pages.

"The faculty have had the ability post Web pages for five or six years," said program lead Julie Scott, "but it was always a cumbersome process with log-ins, manual commands and paperwork that sometimes could take days to process."

"The new service offers much easier registration," she said. "There are no forms to fill out and everything that needs to be done can be finished within 15 minutes. The faculty member simply sets up the account and everything is ready to go."

It was nearly a year ago that WMU announced its new service for student Web pages, an initiative that grew out of the University's ongoing efforts to upgrade customer service. The experience that OIT gained over the last year has made it a little easier to launch the new service aimed at faculty and staff.

Links to templates, frequently asked questions, and the ability to link your homepages from the WMU online directory are only a few of the service's features that faculty and staff are likely to find attractive, said Bruce Paananen, a Web applications specialist in OIT.

"We do what we can to make it easier and better for our customers," he said.

Faculty and staff will also be able to use passwords to guard their page content from unwanted visitors, a tool that is especially valuable to researchers who want to use the Web without compromising intellectual property issues.

Other features include:

1. An up-to-date A to Z listing of sites to make home pages easier for colleagues and students to locate

2. An automated process to move pages currently published on <unix.cc.wmich.edu> to <homepages.wmich.edu>

3. A Web-based registration process to enable Web publishing on existing UNIX accounts

Nearly 3,000 students and upwards of 400 faculty and staff members have enabled their own Web pages, many of which were launched on unix or vms. Those pages, along with any new pages, should be converted to homepages.wmich.edu, WMU's official portal for faculty and student homepages, Paananen said.

The conversion process is painless, said Scott. "I converted my pages in January and it only took two to three clicks of the mouse and I was done." There are several benefits to converting the pages, she said. Among them:

In the future, any new features and capabilities will be added to <homepages.wmich.edu> and not <unix.cc.wmich.edu> or <vms.cc.wmich.edu>.

The FTP host for publishing is <homepages.wmich.edu>, the same name as in the URL. Pages with <unix.cc.wmich.edu> in the URL will automatically be re-directed to <homepages.wmich.edu>. <unix.cc.wmich.edu> and <tempftp.wmich.edu> will be phased out over the next year

Any type of Web authoring software can be used to build the pages, said Scott but the University widely-supports Web pages created in Macromedia Dreamweaver. A variety of resources are available to the faculty through the Instructional Technology Center and through Human Resources.

For more information about the new service, visit <homepages.wmich.edu> and click on the faculty/staff link, or call Julie Scott at 269 387-5457.

Media contact: Gail H. Towns, 269 387-8400, gail.towns@wmich.edu

Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
269 387-8400