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Dr. Gato-Love: How I learned to stop worrying and love the cat
He'll see everything!
He'll see the big board!
Development is primarily informed by user requests and internal usage, so it's fitting
that the Development team sits directly across the hall from Support & Training. Being
in close quarters allows for more rapid application development, integrated QA, and a
sense of camaraderie.
This crackerjack team of coders is hard at work on adding more automated testing
to the QA process, sophisticated monitoring tools for seeing hardware and software
issues as they happen, and starting an effort to standardize tools across development
and the customer base. The nightly Link Check that we send to website managers
to notify of broken links and stale content will be integrated with QA, ensuring that
new builds of the software do not break links.
Now then, Dimitri, you know how we’ve
always talked about the possibility of
something going wrong with the Cat?
As great as the software is, it can occasionally be cumbersome to users. It may also
break, as with any software. That’s where Support & Training comes in.
Available by telephone, email, and live chat, this team is always ready to provide a
quick fix, additional instructions, or involve Development for really hairy issues. They
also institute a Disruption Response Plan for any loss of service. The plan involves
notifying key figures within the Educational Technology Center and the Division of
IT about the outage, ensuring that everyone all the way up to the Vice President of IT
knows there is an issue and that someone is working on it.
The Whole point of the Doomsday Machine
is lost if you keep it a secret!
Communication Design provides advertising for all services in addition to helping
shape their interfaces. As the department grows and takes on more projects, this
team continues to promote the Educational Technology Center’s offerings and ensure
that they are as user friendly as possible.
The team works closely with our programmers to insure effective ux/ui development
and design. They also work with all areas within Instruction Technologies Support to
analyze, design and create visual communications across a wide range of media.
Involving this team in both the development and QA processes ensures a keen eye for
bug detection and quality user experiences.
You gentlemen can’t fight in here!
This is the war room.
The Educational Technology Center, while comprised of distinct teams, relies on
strong collaboration between Support & Training, Development, and Communication
Design. Rather than isolating ourselves, the lines of communication remain open.
Customer support contacts turn into bugs and features for the developers. The
designers help to continuously improve the user experience. Everyone participates in
quality assurance testing. This symbiosis between the teams ensures a top quality
product with the finest support available.
we must not allow a mine shaft gap!
Gato’s success has given rise to additional web products at Texas State.
The Signup Reservation System and University Event Calendar, both developed
in-house, provide event registration and promotion tools administered at the
WP Personal Websites, a network install of WordPress, gives individuals the ability to
express themselves on the web. All Texas State faculty, staff, and students can create
personal websites, blogs, portfolios, and image galleries.
A video content management system is on the verge of being implemented, and the
Educational Technology Center will not only be providing support and training, but
also working to integrate this new tool with all the existing products.
Much is on the horizon at Texas State University. Gato, and the related web services,
provide a rich ecosystem of communication tools to the university community. With
our strong teamwork, focus on quality, and desire to delight our customers, it’s easy to
stop worrying and love the cat.
In 2007, Texas State University was tired
of losing its purity of essence to its current
content management system.
The Web Team (as it was known at the time) locked all the doors
and deployed Plan G in hopes of a better tomorrow.
Seven years later, Plan G lives on as the
Gato CMS. An implementation of open
source Magnolia CMS, Gato houses
nearly four hundred university websites.
How did this project take hold? Why
does Texas State remain in the grip of a
powerful luchador? How do the servers
not get so hot that they could fry chickens
in a barnyard?
This delicate balance is maintained by the only
group crazy enough try:
The Educational Technology Center
Tom Tostanoski, User Services Consultant
Educational Technology Center Support
HighEdWeb 2014 Conference Poster, by Thomas Tostanoski, Texas State University, San Marcos, TX