All posts by Joel Vertin

Writing Good ALT Tags

ALT tags (also known as Image Descriptions) are a very important feature involving all images on any given website. Moz does a good job of explaining what ALT tags are. Please take a moment to read up on what ALT tags are and why they are important. Moz also provides some tips for how to write good ones.

There are many uses for ALT tags. The most well-known ones are:

  1. Screen readers will speak the ALT tag of an image for users who cannot see
  2. If an image cannot be loaded due to some sort of network or IT error, the ALT tag will display instead
  3. ALT tags boost search engine rankings and can help your website’s images display in Google search results

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Updating Your Faculty Profile

Michigan Tech is in the midst of upgrading to a new Content Management System (CMS) vendor. The upgrade began over the summer and will continue through the fall with a target end date of December 29. You can learn more about our new CMS product, OU Campus, online.

Faculty Update Form

Over the past several years, faculty have been able to update their CMS profiles through the faculty update website. This site enabled you to log in to our old CMS product and make edits to your photo, CV, and other profile content. You can view an example faculty profile to see what we are referencing.

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Google My Business

A free service called Google My Business lets small businesses update their search engine listing. This is particular useful for Michigan Tech departments who focus on sales, who run promotions, who have distinct hours of operations, and/or which attract and serve tourists.

Customizable Content

Google My Business lets you customize various aspects of your business information in Google search results, including:

  • Address
  • Hours of Operation, including special hours for holidays
  • Phone number(s)
  • Photos of your business (inside and outside)
  • Promotions/Sales
  • Website

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Website and Content Backups

There has been some confusion over what our CMS does and does not back up as a part of its revision process, so the purpose of this blog post is to clarify things. This information is accurate for both Percussion Rhythmyx and OU Campus.

Content Backups

Enterprise Content Management Systems store pieces of content. You have a Generic Page which stores the meat of your webpage’s content. However, there is more. Think of a sidebars and sliders (Highlights). Images. And navigation—made up of Navons. There are also Files. Maybe some Script items or Personnel Information items. All told, any given webpage is made up of 50-100 total individual items.

Any CMS does a good job of keeping track of revisions for these items. Each revision is basically a backup of that individual piece of content. As long as an item is not deleted (purged), we will have a history for that item. If the item is deleted, then its revision history is also deleted.

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Posting Events to the University Calendar

There are two ways to post events to our Events Calendar:

General Campus Community

Calendar Admins

  1. Login to the calendar using the link in the header
  2. Once logged in, click the “Admin” shortcut in the header
  3. Click the “Add an Event” button

Please note that calendar admins have access to additional fields that do not exist on the public event submission webpage.

If you are a calendar admin, please use the event submission form available through your Admin login, as specified above.

Tips for Posting an Event

The following is a step-by-step guide for filling out your event information:
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Events Calendar Management

Our new Events Calendar has been a huge success so far, with over 43,000 views in the past month, representing an 85% increase in calendar use compared to last year. We have learned a few things along the way and want to explain a few changes that we have made, along with some best practices, and new features.

The Problem

Consider the following scenario:

  • Career Services adds Career Fair to the calendar
  • Many different departments want to put this event on their calendar as it is a very popular event
    • Some departments use the Contact Us form to have the event properly added to their own department’s calendar
    • Some departments duplicate the event onto their calendar
  • We end up with 7 copies of the same event floating around in the system, causing user confusion
  • The original event now appears to involve several departments instead of only the originator (in this case, Career Services)

Sounds like a nightmare, doesn’t it? Luckily, we have made some adjustments and have developed some ‘best practices‘ to alleviate this common issue.
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Deleting or Removing Content and/or Links

The time may come to remove or delete content or links from your website. This can be done quickly and easily once you understand what scenario you are facing:

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Creating Customized Course Listings Pages

The following two video tutorials will help you to learn how to create customized course listing webpages to add to your CMS website. These customized course listing pages are meant to be used when you only need to list a limited/specific number of courses from either one department or many departments.

You can also created automated course listing webpages that pull all undergraduate and/or graduate courses from one/many departments. The tutorial below shows you what to do when you only need to pull certain/specific courses. For more information about how to create automated course listing webpages, please email the UMC web team at <cmshelp@mtu.edu>.
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