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ETS launches new Multimedia Services team

| 10 September 2003

This fall, Educational Technology Services (ETS) will launch a new Multimedia Services team to provide centralized multimedia services to the Berkeley campus. The team will be run by ETS professionals and staffed by students. Initial services will include:

• web design and development (academic and administrative)
• website maintenance
• media development (scanning images or creating online interactive content)

Services will be provided on a recharge basis. A pricing structure is being developed.

Why multimedia services?
Many departments, units, and faculty on campus don’t know where to go when they need a website built or images scanned, according to ETS program developers. They often hire individual students or outside vendors to create websites or develop online media. While these options often meet an initial need, once students leave campus or a contractor has completed a project, maintaining and updating the sites they’ve developed can be frustrating. Those charged with maintaining a site might lack some necessary skills to do the job, and funding for additional help may not be available.

ETS Multimedia Services will focus on the long-term maintainability of its projects by using best practices, documenting guidelines and methodologies, and the developing a strong template model. ETS staff say this means that sites can be maintained without relying on the technical knowledge of their initial developers or individual contributors who may come and go. Multimedia Services will work with other web developers on campus to implement existing guidelines, and build new guidelines where there are none.

In addition to site maintenance, accessibility will also be a critical issue addressed by the guidelines.

The Multimedia Services group will be researching various content management options to help departments maintain and edit their own sites — some of the initial projects may use Macromedia’s Contribute tool as an interim solution. They will be reviewing open-source tools as well as piloting Stellant, the content-management system recently adopted by the Library.

Student staff
ETS employs students to do much of this work and hopes to build an environment that will invite them to stay with the program through their time at Berkeley. The program is being designed to include both junior and lead positions, allowing students to take more responsibility and play mentorship roles as they gain experience.

The initial positions will be for web designers, focused on the user interface and look-and-feel, and web developers, focused on the technical development of templates, dynamic sites, and interactive elements.

For information about the new ETS services, multimedia options, and how the new program can help with web-development work in your unit, e-mail group project manager Adam Hochman at adam@media.berkeley.edu.

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