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By now you know not all web content management systems are created equally. To find the one that’s right for you depends on specific elements of how your organization works, the types of content you create and the types of engagement you want to elicit from your audience. For schools, finding the right fit can be a challenging.

Get Schooled

For many companies, defining the required elements for your web CMS can be relatively straightforward. Your audience is a buyer and you expect them only to complete a singular transaction. But what if your customer fits more than one role? That’s how it is for many educational institutions. Your audience is a prospective student and her family, as well as your alumnae network, not to mention current faculty, students and potential donors. Finding the right content management system that can adequately deliver content and deploy various user communities in a way that is scalable, flexible and easy to manage isn’t easy, but it is possible.

I’ve worked for schools and when it comes to selecting, implementing and deploying technology, it can be an uphill battle. Most academic institutions have come a long way in the past decade and have come to accept, if not embrace the idea that their website is the face of the school. Before a prospective student steps foot on campus, or an alumnae reconnects at reunion, the website is usually the first to introduce or reacquaint a visitor with the school.

When it comes to organizing the information -- news, research, photos, videos, events, blog posts, and user generated content --- that represents the institution, the right content management system can make a difference. 

Here’s an overview of who's out there supporting education institutions. 

1. Ingeniux

Used by over 140 colleges and universities, Ingeniux CMS web content management provides collaborative web publishing tools that anyone can use, regardless of technical knowledge. By using templates to manage page design authors can focus on content, which can be easily imported by clicking and dragging information from MS Office or any other desktop application. Furthermore, workflow controls can be applied to make sure the website adheres to appropriate standards and content is reviewed before publishing. Based entirely on open standards and XML, Ingeniux CMS allows communication and marketing teams to focus on value added programming and supports total reuse of content across the Web. It also supports ADA compliance, wireless devices, and multi-channel publishing to portals and other systems.

Additional features include:

  • 

Athletics module
  • News modules
  • Course catalogs
  • Event calendars and registration
  • Forms builder
  • Image galleries & Slide shows
  • Newsletters
  • RSS Feeds

2. Campus Suite

Campus Suite describes themselves as website specialists for education. As a result, they focus exclusively on developing websites designed to help schools bring parents, students, faculty, staff, and the entire school community closer together. For secondary education, Campus Suite provides two kinds of website plans, Express and Flex. Each offers pre-designed templates, mobile access and hosting and support. For higher education, users can benefit from a full suites of tools. With its easy touch technology, Campus Suite allows the design and navigation to be automatically adjusted so websites is can be seen and used whenever and wherever they want. 

Additional features include:

  • Website editor
  • Form builder
  • Teacher pages
  • Online directories
  • News modules
  • Newsletters
  • Photo galleries
  • Calendars
  • Blogs and podcasts
  • Digital libraries

3. Omni Update

OU Campus is used to manage more than 700 college and university websites. By focusing on higher education, Omni Update has developed functionalities that users, administrators, and developers can benefit from. OU Campus provides optional modules that schools can use to extend the power and functionality of their CMS, like creating and managing a mobile site, incorporating a campus map, or publishing forms. Schools can deploy OU Campus locally on institution servers or have OU host the application through their software-as-a-service model.

Additional features include:

  • Mobile Website
  • Course Catalog
  • Live Delivery Platform
  • OU Search
  • Interactive campus maps
  • True cost calculator

4. Jadu

Jadu helps universities and colleges deliver a quality online experience with its Jadu CMS for Education, an integrated suite of web productivity and publishing tools developed to provide a non technical publishing solution for Internet, Intranet and Extranet applications. Jadu Galaxies for Education, part of the Jadu CMS for Education suite of products, allows multiple web site CMS systems to be designed and deployed rapidly with no technical skills required. Web teams can benefit from the ability to establish branding consistency, generate active user engagement, and set up efficient content workflows.

Additional features include:

  • Publishing
  • Search
  • Commerce
  • Web analytics
  • Workflow and administrative privileges
  • User generated content
  • Social computing capabilities
  • Online HR
  • Intranets
  • Online forms

5. dotCMS

dotCMS has developed its Web Content Management (WCM) to help schools deliver engaging, multichannel customer experiences designed to drive online recruiting success. From mobile to web to social syndication, dotCMS provides an agile platform that can respond to users' needs in real-time, deliver targeted and relevant content for increased online conversions, as well as create and manage online campaigns. dotCMS also provides a Higher Edu Toolkit through which schools can access templates for information architecture, sample wire frames, and best practices for content development and project governance.

Additional features include:

  • Simple authoring
  • Easy content contributions
  • Mobile and responsive design
  • Content targeting and campaigns
  • Tagging and taxonomy management

Honorable Mentions

Of course, many of the leaders in web content management offer versions tailored for higher education. Sitecore, Acquia, and Ektron all provide education editions. There are pros and cons of selecting a CMS designed specifically for education -- they can bring better designed features that meet the needs of educators and administrators, but may not offer the support or flexibility to evolve and adapt as new technologies emerge. 

Regardless of which CMS your school chooses, it's important to ensure that everyone understands the goals and are adequately trained and empowered to use the platform. The time and energy spent adapting and adopting the new software is often a bigger investment than the platform you deploy.