ITS 200: Content Management with Joomla
In May 2018, the public facing New River web site (www.newriver.edu) was redesigned. It was moved from the New River data center and is now hosted by Cucumber and Company. Previously, the Content Management System was Joomla but it is now WordPress. All of the content from the Joomla site remains, but only the Intranet content is still in use by employees (and external evaluators). The Joomla site was renamed and the link to it is now https://intranet.newriver.edu. Web Content Managers now only need to maintain the Intranet content (easily visible by filtering all of the Articles by the Intranet category). The information on this page pertains only to the Joomla content on the New River Intranet.
Maintaining the New River CTC intranet web site requires a number of people working together in different roles. The technical staff provides access to the Content Management System (CMS) and about 20 staff members each provide their own content updates to the site (see a list of all Web Content Managers). The CMS in use at New River is Joomla. Authenticated access to the CMS is limited to those responsible for developing and publishing web content for New River. The information on this page provides an overview of the CMS for the people responsible for contributing to the New River web site, known as Web Content Managers.
A) Overview of Joomla and Web Site Management
B) What Should Content Managers Know?
New River Community and Technical College currently uses Joomla 2.5.x as our Content Management System (CMS) for the official College Intranet web site (intranet.newriver.edu). But what is a Content Management System? Well, this video provides a brief overview of Content Management Systems. And what is a Web Content Manager really expected to do? Well, this sample position description provides some of that information.
Joomla is an open-source application that provides a reasonably intuitive web interface for managing online information. It provides multiple levels of user access so that some folks can be allowed to only view public information, others can also view the private Intranet information, or folks can be designated as Content Managers so that they can create and edit information, while still others can perform system maintenance and upgrades (Administrators). It is also possible for supervisors to approve content before it is published, but New River isn't yet using this feature (for in-depth role explanations see the Joomla 2.5 User Manual).
Generally speaking, the content on your web site should NOT be your ONLY copy. You should maintain a copy on your local computer AND a copy on your web site. That way you can make the edits on your local copy and you won't be delayed by the Joomla interface. And in the event of something terrible happening to the web server, you would still have a copy of all your information.
It is much easier to create your information in Microsoft Word (or even in a program like Word Pad or Note Pad) and then publish it as a PDF file or by converting it to HTML. One exception to this is the Table of Contents that you'll need for providing links to all your PDF files. It must be done in HTML and you'll probably make your edits using the Joomla interface.
Creating entirely new documents (Articles) in Joomla will probably require assistance from Dave Ayersman, since it involves some decisions about the naming of the file, which category to use for organization, and what type of access it should have. Modifying existing Articles should be something that you can do with very little assistance or even completely by yourself, after completing this workshop.
There are a number of tasks that Content Managers should be able to perform with very little or no assistance (after completing our workshop). But first you'll need some background information.
- Common Internet file types (TXT, RTF, HTM, HTML, PDF, JPG, GIF, TIF, PNG) and Non-Internet file types (DOC, DOCX, XLS, XLSX, PPT, PPTX)
- Naming conventions (no_spaces, lowercase, descriptive names, including file suffixes)
- WYSIWYG Features (menu options)
- Standardization of Design (graphic standards manual) (template user guide)
- Areas of Content Manager Responsibility (see sample diagram)
- Understanding CSS, Templates, Styles, Formats, and Basic HTML
Each of the following tasks are considered part of the Content Manager's responsibility:
- Login to the INTRAnet (video tutorial)
- Front-End Editing (for simple management of existing content) (video tutorial)
- Create Calendar Events (video tutorial)
- Login to the Back-End
- Upload Files Using the Media Manager (video tutorial)
- Create Links (video tutorial)
- To Content (other Articles) (video tutorial)
- To Media Files (that were uploaded using the Media Manager) (video tutorial)
- To Internet Sites (video tutorial)
- Mailto Links
- Insert Image (video tutorial)
- Paste Content from a DOC or DOCX File (video tutorial)
- Edit an Article
- Understanding Article Elements (Status, Category, Access, and Author)
- Use the Available Styles and Formatting (H2, H3, ordered lists, unordered lists, and Undo)
- Create a Table (video tutorial)
- Use Metadata (Meta Description and Meta Keywords)
- Save New Draft (to be covered by Lora Kosa)
- Create PDF documents (see steps) (video tutorial)
C) What Should Joomla Administrators Know?
- Create and Edit Categories (for organizing Articles)
- Create New Articles
- Create and Edit Menu Items
- How to Create and Modify Users and Contacts (see video)
- Install and Configure Extensions
- Configure Joomla Global Settings
- Maintain Calendar Categories and Assignments
Exercises and Frequently Asked Questions
(1) What are the steps for getting my information from a Microsoft Word file to the College's web site as a PDF file?
- Open the document in Microsoft Word, click the File menu and choose Save As PDF. Be sure to name the file without spaces so that it will comply with web naming conventions and it should have a .pdf file suffix.
- Login to the back-end of Joomla then choose Media Manager. Click into YOUR folder then click the Browse Files button to locate the PDF file you want to upload.
- Click the Start Upload button.
- Navigate back to the Control Panel using the Site menu.
- Click the Article Manager button and locate the article where you want to create a link to your PDF file. You can locate YOUR article by (a) searching for it by name or (b) using the author filter to select YOUR name.
- Create your link to the PDF file and Save your changes.
(2) I see some information on a College web page that is not accurate. The page is not my responsibility but I think the information should be fixed. What should I do?
Every page on the College's site should have the name of the author published at the top of the page. For example, Dave Ayersman is responsible for the Information Technology Services information so when you go to that page of the site you'll see his name at the top. As others begin contributing to the site additional names will be shown on pages to reflect who is responsible for the content. If a name is not provided it is okay to contact Dave Ayersman but please provide the complete URL of the page with the error(s) as well as a brief description of the problem that should be corrected.
If the issue really must be fixed and you can't contact anyone else, please correct the issue yourself and politely inform the owner of the page of what you've done. Clearly, this applies to obvious errors that must be quickly resolved (accidental profanity or blatant spelling errors) and not to content-related issues that you might not have expertise with.
(3) How do I login to the College's Web Site?
To access the front-end (Intranet) navigate to the Faculty and Staff menu option and click the Intranet Login/Logout link. To access the back-end use the link http://intranet.newriver.edu/administrator
(4) I need to create an entirely new HTML page but I need it to be available through the Main Menu in my area. How do I do this?
Creating new Articles in Joomla doesn't automatically create links on the Main Menu (or anywhere else for that matter). You have to create a new Menu Item (or a new link) and link to the article you've just created. Also, organization of the site is achieved through the use of Categories that have been created. There are so many steps for creating brand new HTML pages in Joomla that we will reserve this task for advanced users. Anyone else can just contact Dave Ayersman with the request.
(5) How do I create a Page Title?
The Page Title is actually NOT something you have to include in your page, but instead the title is pulled from the field "Title" from the Article Manager screen. Here is a brief video explaining it.
(6) How do I view past events on the official College Calendar?
We have the College Calendar configured to hide past events. The reason we've done that is that most folks are not interested in past events and they tend to make finding upcoming events more difficult. Here is a brief video explaining how to hide/show the past events.
(7) Who are the people responsible for updating the College calendars?
Each category of the calendar (see all Calendar Categories and Overview of Calendars) has someone assigned to manage the events (see list of Calendar Managers). All Content Managers can add, edit, and delete events on the calendar from the front-end, but only Calendar Managers can do this from the back-end. Each calendar category has one or more calendar managers assigned (see these assignments).
(8) Hands-On Exercise: Demonstrate some basic HTML editing skills.
I've created one Practice Article and assigned it to you. Locate it by logging into the Intranet, then navigating to Key Contacts and finding your name. Then click on your list of Articles to find your Practice page. Try to apply the changes listed below:
- Create an H2 header.
- Make something bold.
- Indent something.
- Create an ordered or unordered list.
- Create a link to a PDF file (sample PDF).
- Create a link to another Article.
- Insert an image (sample image).
- Create a table.
(9) How can I tell if an Article is in need of an update?
Some information is timeless while other information needs to be updated frequently. You'll need to read the information on your page to determine if it is in need of an update. If you need assistance, your supervisor should also be able to help determine if your page needs to be updated. And every Article has the "Last Modified" date on it. That can also be a good indicator of when to update a page.