There is a truism in marketing: If there’s a website, it must be real.
While this isn’t always the case, websites are a phenomenal tool for sharing information within and beyond your campus community. Having a website gives your OER initiative a greater sense of presence and significance. Your website might begin as a single page announcing what you’re trying to accomplish using OER to impact affordability, access and student success. Eventually it can grow into whatever you want or need it to become.
Examples from the OER Community
Check out these examples shared by others in the OER community:
Use these steps to plan and launch your website:
1. Define your objectives for the website.
Once you’ve defined what you want your website to achieve, it will be much simpler task to create the content you’ll need. Common objectives include:
- Explain what you’re doing and why
- Broaden awareness about your initiative
- Direct people about where and how to learn more
- Publicize events and resources available to your campus community
- Highlight success stories and experiences of faculty and students using OER
- Report out on your impact and achievements
2. Figure out how you’ll build the website.
Explore tapping into your campus resources for for website-building and support. Communication, public affairs, IT, or other departments may be able to help with know-how and assistance, as well as guidance on domain names and policies regarding institution-affiliated websites.
If that path isn’t an easy one, consider setting up your own website using Google Sites (Google email address required) or another simple-to-use website-building tool.
3. Map how visitors will navigate your website.
Outline a site map – a list of website pages and the content you’ll include on each one. Unless you’re building totally from scratch, you’ll probably work within a website template that has a pre-built navigation structure. Think through what to call the different pages and navigation links, so that your website is intuitive and information is easy to find.
4. Create and add content.
Using your objectives to help prioritize your efforts, make a list of the different pieces of content and information you want to include. Decide how you’d like to lay out the content, page by page. Then start creating it.
Remember, the best websites tend to be clean and concise. They’re also very visual. Consider these tips:
- Make good use of headlines and headings to guide the visitor’s eye.
- Look for ways to incorporate graphics, photos, videos, and other media, along with (or instead of) text.
- Use forms to capture information about who’s visiting your site and interested in learning more.
5. Launch your website.
Once you’ve built your site, be sure to tell people about it. Use email, a campus newsletter, events, or even a newspaper article to help get the word out about your site.