I’ve only just realized how important it is to do little things that make your colleagues happy, and how the unique talents you don’t even realize you have can pay off for something. Last week I went to a multi-hour seminar about using the content management system for my institution – this is an umbrella system for managing all the institutional web pages, making changes, setting up additional pages etc. Why did I bother with this… I hear you cry.
Well, I’m getting tired of waiting weeks to have my departmental web page updated and then not being able to manipulate it myself, and make changes like adding a lab web page, putting my wiki on there etc. I find that the web pages of other faculty are usually static and hopelessly out of date. As this is a kind of public face to the world- it might be nice to have stuff on it that is at least somewhat current. About 20 minutes into the 5 hour class (Ok, I admit it- I had my own meeting to run after about 2 hours- so I had to get everything in quickly), I realized that this system is… well, JUST LIKE BLOGGING. Class dismissed- I already know how to do that!!
So, I returned to my office and after badgering the IT people to give me a real-live password of my own- in about two hours I took care of a little thorn in the side of the department that we have been talking about and wringing our hands over for the last couple of months. We have a federally funded training program that I am involved in- and we now have a brand spanking new set of web pages describing the program in detail, the participating faculty, the different areas of emphasis. Problem solved. The new site was rolled out yesterday- and the faculty involved were very, very pleased with the results. I didn’t realize how uncomfortable people that I work with feel about changing content on the web- simply because they just don’t know how it works- and how much they see as possible to change now. I’m delighted that I could use a knowledge that I have developed mostly just for fun, to do something that my colleagues really appreciated and helps us all!
I’m going to get started on my own site now, and take on a couple of other quick issues on departmental pages!