Laurier hopes to make the transition to university life easier for incoming students with a new website and intranet.
The website, launched last summer, allows not only easy access to everything needed to succeed in school, but can also be personally customized for each student, said Helen Exley, Associate Director, Marketing.
“Our original website, what is now legacy.wlu.ca, was over ten years old and during that time had not experienced any significant updates,” said Emily Lowther, Acting Web Manager. “The system we were using was unable to evolve or support our needs, the site was not responsive or mobile friendly and needed to be brought up to the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act WCAG 2.0 Level A guidelines.”
The idea to update the existing website has been floating around since 2014 and was finally put into motion and launched in 2016.
Intranet is also new to Laurier. Being slightly different from a website, intranet can be accessed through signing in with Laurier identification.
“There was a lot of research done before we launched. We had over 1000 students involved in Laurier who gave their input on what they were looking for in a website,” said Helen Exley, Associate Director, Marketing and Creative Services.
Current students, future students, Laurier alumni and faculty are able to select their respective tabs on wlu.ca to gain access to a site built just for them.
“In January 2017 we put forward a student survey which indicated that over 80% of respondents found the site easy to use and that that they were easily able to find the information they were looking for,” said Lowther.
Golden Hawks are provided with information tailored specifically for them – from high school students to transfer students to international students. “The website is very multi-campus friendly,” said Exley.
Included in the personalization aspects of the site, students can choose which campus is their ‘home campus.’ This will make it easier for students to know what is going on in their own community – Brantford or Waterloo – first.
“As well, the site features single sign-on, meaning once they’ve signed in, they can go directly into Webmail, MyLearningSpace, LORIS and Library accounts without having to re-enter your credentials,” said Lowther, adding they found students were not able to find exactly what they were looking for in previous years, but will be able to now, that everything is on one site.
The web team as well as administration said they have heard nothing but good reviews about the site and intranet.
“On the homepage, there are the ‘What You Need to Know’ articles that change throughout the academic year to address frequently asked questions, or processes and information that you would need during that time of year,” said Exley.
Students are encouraged to give constant feedback to the web team about updates or ideas for the site. Exley said they will be updating it consistently and have an internal web team to keep the site current, different from the untouched site they had before.