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October 5, 2005
Issue No. 69

Table of Contents

Academic Technology Specialist Program: Recent Projects

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by Peter Chen

The Academic Technology Specialist program works with faculty, lecturers, and researchers within Stanford's departments, programs, and schools to advance the application of software and information technology in teaching and research.

The newest member to the Academic Computing team is Audrey Weinland, Academic Technology Consultant for Online Accessibility, who is looking into campus wide issues of online access. In other areas, Academic Technology Specialists have been working with repackaging and repurposing successfully-developed departmental/program site management tools for other applications or with other departments. Michael Gonzalez, the ATS for Art and Drama has recently redesigned the Art department web site using a fully developed site tool put together by Matthew Jockers, ATS for English. In the School of Earth Sciences, Clay Hamilton has been working on repackaging QUAD, a tool previously developed by Media Solutions to be utilized by research groups for simplified maintenance of their own web sites.

Online Accessibility

Audrey Weinland joined the Academic Computing team this spring. For many years she worked in private industry, with such companies as SAP, on following accessibility standards with their software. Her experience has put her in contact with workers from web developers to executive management to ensure that accessibility needs were met for their customers.

In bringing Audrey to our team, Academic Computing is reinforcing a University-wide commitment to ensure that the accessibility needs of all learners are being addressed, particularly as pertains to online education. She joins Shelley Haven, the ATS for the Office of Accessible Education, who has already been working to address many of the accessibility issues from the classroom to the study environment, as well as general learning technology issues. Because the deployment and growth of learning resources on the World Wide Web is such an integral part of a Stanford education, and so much weight is being put on the Web as a source of education, providing special focus on just these resources alone will help to ensure that Stanford is providing learners with accessible materials. See also New Assistive Technology Software on Public Clusters in this issue.

Adapting Site Management Tools to Fit ATS Needs

Departmental Web Site Tool: Michael Gonzalez, ATS for the Departments of Art and Drama, recently deployed a successful redesign of the Art department web site by repurposing a fully developed departmental web site tool developed by Matthew Jockers, a fellow ATS and Consulting Assistant Professor for the Department of English. This represents a recent successful transfer and application of technology from one ATS' work to another's. Matthew developed his original site for the English department using php/mySQL tools to distribute the process of the maintenance of the departmental web site and provide faculty with tools to maintain their own information as presented on the site.

While the project was in development, Michael approached Matthew about the prospect of repurposing the package for use in a second department, thereby sharing resources. Michael, also an ATS with experience and background working with php/mySQL tools was able to repackage the installation for Art, and making some small modifications to the code and structure with advice from Matthew, recently deployed the new site.

To compare and contrast the two sites that use Matthew's tools, visit the Department of English and the Department of Art and Art History web sites.

QUAD Web Site Management Tool: Previously working with Stanford Media Solutions, Clay Hamilton has been involved with the ATS program for the School of Earth Sciences for just over a year now. Academic Computing has retained the code from a number of software projects from Media Solutions among them a web site management tool, known as QUAD, already employed by some programs at Stanford. Earlier this year, Clay was approached by research groups in the School of Earth Sciences seeking a simplified solution to maintaining web pages that share information about multiple research projects maintained by their groups. Because maintenance of such information can involve numerous users who are at times in different sites and locations, there is a need for a simplified solution. Although QUAD was originally designed for departments and programs, Clay is working to repackage a subset of the site-management tools (written largely in php code) and build a set of basic templates that will fit the needs for research groups, allowing multiple users to maintain the information in a single web space.

For More Information

For more information about the Academic Technology Specialists Program, contact Peter Chen at ptchen@stanford.edu or see their web site at:

http://academiccomputing.stanford.edu/atsp/index.html