How We Gave 200 Contributors The Confidence To Build
The University of Bedfordshire
With over 25,000 students from 100+ countries in several international locations, The University of Bedfordshire is recognised as one of the best young universities in the world.
The university has worked with over 1,500 organisations in the past three years alone. In doing so, they have generated a 49% increase in research and knowledge exchange income since 2013. A great demonstration of its partnership-focus and continued success.
With such a vibrant global network of faculties, students and partner organisations, beds.ac.uk is at the heart of communication. It’s the single entity that ensures the university is a community and not a series of unconnected organisations around the globe.
The shop window
It’s also the shop window. Whether it’s the increasing demand from international markets, or the frantic rush of clearing, the content available must be up-to-date and accessible, whilst positioning The University of Bedfordshire as market leaders.
With our partnership now running into its third year, we can see three key areas that have led to the ongoing success.
Becoming a partner and an extension of the team
At the heart of Codiance’s success is problem solving. Whether it’s one of our Exploration Projects or Create Packages, we love solving problems. In fact, our Codiance Higher solution came from our inquisitive approach to helping clients.
The platform is great; sure. But what really drew us to Codiance was their team. Even from the first meeting - where the developers were present and answering questions - Codiance seemed much more focused on solving our problems than simply selling us something.
Elisabeth Coughlin, Web Editor, beds.ac.uk
So when we started our journey with The University of Bedfordshire, we didn’t ask ourselves what we could sell to them. We looked for problems we could solve.
One problem we recognised early was the risk regarding up-time during clearing. You can read our guide to clearing preparation here.
Rather than waiting for the problem to present itself, we put a clear plan and necessary infrastructure in place. Not only did this ensure clearing was a smooth process, but it also took the weight off the shoulders of the university.
Building a site with continuity that looks great.
For an organisation with so many content contributors, it is essential the platform is straightforward to manage and contribute to.
One of the biggest challenges raised by our clients regarding competing solutions was the lack of control and direction the platform could provide its contributors.
Higher has enabled us to further devolve content on our website and create a larger network of editors across the University with over 200 colleagues trained in the CMS.
This has led to an increased volume of content updated and has been driven by the simplicity of the editor.
Peter Simpson-Leek, Web & Digital Manager, beds.ac.uk
Maintaining control and high standards whilst minimising hands-on support was key. That’s why we focused on using Walled Gardens that catered to different types of users.
Our Walled Gardens provide confidence to administrators and contributors alike. There are 2 key elements that make it easier for everyone.
Permissions ensure you can set editing rights at a user-level. For a lecturer, you may just allow editing of text and images on a page. Whereas your comms team may have rights to add tags and edit the layout. Permissions save you time and give everyone the confidence to build.
Workflows allow you to create processes for publishing. You may wish an external partner to complete 3 steps (add picture > include text > provide external link) before submitting a page for review. Whereas the news team may be able to publish news directly without approval.
We’ve found great success in being the problem solvers for our clients. And although Codiance Higher is a ready-to-use product, there will always be bespoke requirements for every university we work with.
One of the key problems we spotted was how SITS data was managed and updated. SITS is a key data resource for university courses, and is key for potential students researching the courses they’re interested in.
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The university team had become accustomed to pulling and displaying the data in a convoluted way. It was also accepted that some data would be shown incorrectly or with missing information. Finally, when data was manually updated, the next automated update could overwrite the manually updated data.
We have dramatically streamlined our process with SITS. With the help of Codiance and Higher, we were able to reduce our manual process by around 5 hours a week.
Peter Simpson-Leek, Web & Digital Manager, beds.ac.uk
Now, the SITS data is updated automatically and - depending on when the course starts and the information available - the information dynamically changes and updates. There’s no longer a need for constant monitoring and manual updating.
We’ve given hours back to the Beds team to focus on and communications out there - no more trying to simply make things work!
We’re continuing to have great fun working with the team at The University of Bedfordshire. To understand more or look at how we can help, please get in touch.
We’re always keen to speak to people about their exciting ideas.
Please get in touch for a friendly, no obligation conversation with one of our engineers.