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WordPress in Higher Education – Campus Directory Pro

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A higher education is a term defined in the law as an educational program for which the institution awards a bachelor’s degree or provides not less than a 2-year program that is acceptable for full credit toward such a degree, or awards a degree that is acceptable for admission to a graduate or professional degree program. 

Higher education is available through universities, academies, colleges, seminaries, conservatories, institutes of technology, certain college-level institutions, including vocational schools, trade schools, and other career colleges that award academic degrees or professional certifications. 

How WordPress can help higher education institutions

WordPress is an open source platform, has a vibrant community and can be very cost-effective when compared to the proprietary solutions.  There are many plugins and themes available to pick from to achieve a certain the look and feel or functionality you need for your site . The customization of WordPress plugins and themes is relatively easier to better match specific brand or organizational requirements as well.

WordPress is not only a blogging platform but a powerful content management system which is quite flexible to fit different types data in it repository. Through the powerful theme and plugin application programming interface (API),  WordPress can be modified to do just about anything that may be needed for a higher education institution.

How we designed Campus Directory Pro Higher Education edition

As an example of how WordPress can be used in higher education,  I will explain how we designed developed our Campus Directory Pro WordPress plugin. Campus Directory Pro provides a dynamic multidimensional directory search and profile management system that integrates people, locations, publications and courses in a way that students, faculty & staff or any one visiting an institution's site can find information faster. It can be integrated with Microsoft Active Directory or any LDAP system to pull faculty, staff and student data as well.

Let's summarize some of the use cases we covered while building Campus Directory Pro;

  • Ability to create, manage and maintain profile pages for faculty, staff and students. For example, a faculty page may include searchable publications, courses, office locations, advisees in addition to bios and information. See how a faculty page looks like in Campus Directory Pro.
  • Ability to create, manage and maintain courses offered in an institution wide course repository.  Course pages include instructor information, related courses and locations that a courses offered in addition to the course description, units earned and more. See an example course page in Campus Directory Pro.
  • Offer a fully featured unified publication repository which can be easily managed and maintained to support research and teaching functions.  Publication profile pages can help greatly when internal and external users search for information on a specific area. See an example of a publication page in Campus Directory Pro.
  • Ability to create campus location profile pages providing information about the residents such as faculty & staff or students and the courses offered in addition to some other information such as events happening or historical information about the location etc. See a location page in Campus Directory Pro.
  • Ability to do fully customizable multidimensional search such as "Find me the advisees of a faculty researching on computational Models of the Neocortex located in Miami" or "Find me all publications that has Latin American economies are mentioned at their abstract and  published at Journal of Macroeconomics in 2016".
  • Ability to link information on different subject areas or concepts using  application wide taxonomies or taxonomies linking information on the same concept.
  • Allow Faculty, staff and optionally students update their own profiles without needing help from administrators.
  • Provide ability to customize profile pages and overall data without modifying theme files or plugin code from plugin setting for non-technical users.
  • Provide functions to import, export and update data from external systems using CSV or Microsoft Active Directory/LDAP

Conclusion

WordPress is gaining more and more attention in higher education institutions not only as a blogging tool but as a powerful content management system (CMS) which can accommodate many types of data.  Campus Directory Pro WordPress plugin showcases many of the possibilities of using WordPress as a CMS in a higher education institution setting integrating people, course, publication and campus location data in a powerful interface.

Campus Directory Pro WordPress plugin offers flexible and powerful admin interface Campus Directory Pro Higher Education edition WordPress plugin offers fully featured multi-dimensional directory search integrating people, courses, publications and campus locations.

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