HighEdWeb2008 Conference: Infinite Solutions

Session Details

University-Wide Web CMS Implementation - Failure, Then Success

SAC7 Social Applications and Content Track

Plaster Student Union 308


Texas State University is a mid–sized public university serving 28,132 students. In 2003 it embarked on a project to implement a university-wide Web content management system. After three years the project was in shambles; only a dozen websites were using the system, potential customers were avoiding the CMS, the development team was highly stressed and the original project manager was off to greener pastures.

Fast forward 18 months...

Within six months a new CMS was in place and at the end of its first year of operation 120 university websites were live in the system and over 500 users had been trained. Customer satisfaction was very high and 95.9% of users surveyed said they would recommend the system to others. The team was less stressed (it’s still work, right?) and were very happy with a product that what was faster, easier to program, easier to teach, more reliable and much less expensive.

We’ll present what went wrong and what went right so you can learn from our missteps and good ideas.


James Buratti
University Webmaster, Texas State University

James Buratti is the university webmaster at Texas State University. He’s been working on the Web since 1995, starting at Ohio State University. He advocates for user-centric Web design and has led Texas State’s Web education efforts, teaching classes in Web best practices, writing for the Web, information architecture, understanding Web stats, and user testing and feedback.

James leads the customer support team for Texas State’s online course management system and Web content management system. He tells all his students not to put up with crappy software.

Sean McMains
Web developer, Texas State University

Sean has been writing Web applications since we had to use cuneiform and carrier pigeons, both in the private sector and in higher education, and is currently wrangling a motley team of Web application programmers at Texas State University.

Jeff Snider
Systems Analyst, Texas State University

Jeff Snider has been building Web apps and managing servers for Texas State University for the last 10 years. A self titled Geek-Of-All-Trades, Jeff has had a hand in almost every project instructional technologies support has done. In addition to all the shiny new features he's developed, Jeff maintains the server infrastructure and the CSS for the Gato CMS project.