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The Re-launch of Calvin.Edu

Welcome Survey Takers!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Thanks to all those who have completed our Calvin College Web survey thus far.  Getting these surveys ready to go out to various audiences (parents, prospective students, current students, alumni, and faculty and staff) has been a bit of work, but the reward is to see the surveys being completed and to see the various comments being left on this blog.  We appreciate your feedback and we’re looking forward to continuing to read your comments and to analyzing the data from the surveys in a few weeks!

Phil de Haan, Matt Jeltema, Luke Robinson

Add your comments

45 comments on "Welcome Survey Takers!"
  • Thanks for the opportunity to take the survey.  Hopefully the information will be helpful!

    Posted by Sandra Recker on 07/27 at 10:04 PM
  • Thanks to everyone for the feedback. It’s encouraging to see both the big survey response and a lively discussion here.

    Brandon, you’re right that a Web site of Calvin’s scale requires resources. Be assured that Phil, Luke and I are not the entire project team. We’ll know more about what resources are required once we get reports back from our consultant and really decide what we’re taking on. Stay tuned here for updates. You feedback is always welcome.

    Posted by Matt Jeltema on 07/23 at 04:14 PM
  • I agree with Lies that there are probably too many fingers in the pot when it comes to web-design at Calvin. I disagree though, that it’s okay that some of them are unskilled.

    For crying out loud, you’re friggin’ Calvin College. Buy the help you need to ensure that EVERY page is properly designed and has the appropriate information. Basic training is just about enough to make a messy web-page. Departments and the college need to realize that people make attributions based upon the professionalism of departmental pages. A 6 hour basic training seminar does not a trained web editor make.

    And the department that should know better…CAS. As an example of how to do web design badly, the CAS department has generously agreed to keep their page looking like it did circa 1998.

    Let’s just be honest with ourselves. If Calvin really hopes to do something with its web-presence, something transformational, they need to put their money where their mouth is and pony up for really (not just “Calvin-trained”) web designers to monitor content. It’s too big a job for the Jeltema, Robinson, de Haan combo.

    Hey, at least you’re trying. And the people who are trying deserve I appreciate that, but I don’t think Calvin needs to spend months and months of committee meetings and redesigns just to settle on a few really minor changes and then pat themselves on the back about what great work they’re doing.

    Let’s call a spade a spade. By all popular standards, the Calvin website sorta sucks. It’s not much more than an online book that’s open 24-7 for whoever to look at. It’s probably no one person’s fault, it’s bureaucracy and the fact that Calvin loves to tout the fact that the faculty-staff ratio is so low (which means that there are no staff solely dedicated to web-presence maybe beyond a dedicated few.

    Those dedicated few are trying to be transformational. If they weren’t I wouldn’t have a place to comment. For them I’m grateful, I just think they need a little help.

    Posted by Brandon Van Der Heide on 07/23 at 01:06 PM
  • Oops, the third did not get posted with my comments below.

    3.  Contact info.  On some sites it’s harder to find contact info.  I’ve run into a few sites where it was easy to find a list of employees and their contact info, but harder to find general contact info (like the office phone number and generic e-mail).  If you aren’t sure who you need to contact or what the issue really is, you can’t get very far without general contact info.  On one dept. site I clicked on the mailto link that was posted as the contact e-mail, sent a message, and was informed that the message went to the wrong people, even though I used the contact info posted on the site.

    Posted by Lies Rosema on 07/22 at 02:52 PM
  • My three main critiques of the Calvin site are:

    1.  The template.  I like this newer template (on this page and a few others) and what Admissions has done on their “prospective student” pages much better than the template most depts are using.  Obviously this is being addressed by this project so I am not worried we won’t have a stellar new template in the future.  I think this is a great project.

    2.  Web managers.  We have so many people managing different parts of the site, some people are really skilled and others are not (that’s OK!).  Some sites look really professional and are maintained daily while others look like somewhat of a mess.  This is not a slam on the web managers, not everyone has this skill or is interested in this aspect of their job.  I think there should be more standardized training for people who are in charge of dept. sites.  I’ve been to some basic training offered by my dept to observe what is being taught and it seems people are there on a voluntary basis?  I’ve helped many people over the phone who get frustrated because they have not been properly trained and things are harder than they need to be.

    Posted by Lies Rosema on 07/22 at 02:49 PM
  • Regarding one of the first questions: “Did you use the internet when doing your own search for a college?” ....the internet was not an option at the time I (or perhaps many of us) was searching for colleges in the late 70’s…  :-)  I wouldn’t want your survey results skewed….

    Posted by Bill Vriesema on 07/21 at 02:45 PM
  • LG - I hardly think Mrs Holwerda “set back” women’s lib simply by admitting to not being as tech-savvy as her husband.  If she’d said, “I don’t like to think too hard - I leave that to my man!” then maybe you’d have a point. 

    I have no problem admitting my wife, the graphic designer, is more adept than I am regarding some technical issues regarding computers, including online research. She hooks up the wireless router while I hook up the stereo components etc etc…

    At any rate, good luck w/ the re-do. On behalf of graphic artists everywhere, do please keep an eye on the visual layout et al. :)

    Posted by Nate Swanson on 07/20 at 10:50 PM
  • Welcome to Web 2.0, Calvin web team.  Now lead us forward to Web 3.0 and add a valuable IM function.  Feel free to contact me directly and I will volunteer to join a beta team servicing Alumnae.

    Posted by Catherine McHenry on 07/19 at 03:26 PM
  • Janice Holwerda: Thanks for setting women’s lib back fifty years.

    Posted by L. G. on 07/19 at 02:26 PM
  • I think singing telegram was right after homing pigeon and right before smoke signals.  Maybe you missed it?  Singing news updates on our Web site might be a possibility.  An electronic town crier as it were ...

    Posted by Phil de Haan on 07/18 at 10:26 AM
  • i agree with chris…nice

    Posted by Ariana on 07/17 at 10:29 PM
  • When they asked how I preferred to recieve news updates from Calvin, I checked the “Other” box and then wrote in “Singing Telegram.” Honestly, I was pretty suprised that this mode of communication wasn’t one of the options. Anyone else?

    Posted by Chris Vanderzee on 07/17 at 07:04 PM
  • I’m afraid I wasn’t much help on your survery.  I don’t use the computer that much.  If I need to find something I ask my husband and he does the research!

    Posted by Janice Holwerda on 07/17 at 12:56 PM
  • Please help Calvin to see the need for Podcast enabled Knight Vision and electronic homework submissions. This will be good for students who may not understand a lecture the first time or who would like extra practice, and, with electronic submissions, it will save paper and printing expenses.

    Posted by Kayla on 07/17 at 11:46 AM
  • I lost my Calvin e-mail address and therefore am not able to get on Knight Line.  I really miss that because many times I would like to look up e-mail addresses of staff and students.

    Posted by Don Boender on 07/16 at 08:53 PM
  • No problems with the survey. Great to include questions about our various roles.  Those of us associated with the college in more than one way are likely familiar with different aspects of the website than those whose only role is parent or alum.

    Posted by Terry Alsum on 07/16 at 06:33 PM
  • Calvin thanks so much for making us parents so far away feel welcome and comfortable in staying in touch.

    Posted by Susie Lim on 07/16 at 06:31 PM
  • Thanks for the opportunity to give input.  Not only is Calvin an excellent academic institution, but the athletic teams rival the best in NCAA Division III competition.  It would be nice to see more of an emphasis on the sports teams through your website.

    Posted by Sherri Bolen on 07/16 at 06:24 PM
  • The survey seemed to ask the exact things I would want the administrators to find out about. The amount of information I gave was a lot for the amount of time and effort it took to take the survey… a very information dense survey. Quite the golden survey in more way than one.

    Posted by Joel Alsum on 07/16 at 03:09 PM
  • A few too many yes-or-no questions, and not always clear if you wanted to know if I tend to engage in a particular activity (e.g., watch a video on the site) or if I have ever engaged in that activity.  No problems with loading, though.

    Posted by Steve Matheson on 07/16 at 03:02 PM
  • Thanks for asking for parent feedback.  Calvin does a really great job of making parents feel like an important part of the Calvin community.

    Posted by Katherine Petlicke on 07/16 at 02:53 PM
  • I am incredibly pleased with the survey—not too long, great, succinct questions, an opportunity for freeform feedback. Fantastic job!

    Posted by Tyler Petrini on 07/16 at 02:14 PM
  • I don’t know what ideas you have for the Calvin College website to utilize Facebook, but I will say that the Student Activities Office has created a person named “John Calvin”.  “John Calvin” creates events such as concerts and speakers that will be occurring on Calvin’s Campus, and then invites “his friends” to these events.  Its a great way to have a reminder of events, because college students are on Facebook way more than the are on the Student Activities Office website.

    Posted by Katrina Denny on 07/16 at 01:07 PM
  • I missed the emeritus category as a focus group entry.

    Posted by John Beebe on 07/16 at 12:46 PM
  • I had no trouble doing the survey and we only have dial-up!  You must have gotten things working.

    Posted by Terri Camp on 07/16 at 12:25 PM
  • Thank you for posting the survey, it was clear and easy to fill out. May God bless your efforts to improve communication.

    Posted by Sondra Weidman on 07/16 at 12:11 PM
  • Thanks for the opportunity to express my views. This is great. I hope to see this kind of feedback forum used more often at Calvin.

    Posted by Rick DeVries on 07/16 at 11:58 AM
  • I have always thought the website was great.  I have toyed with the idea of using Facebook but haven’t yet.  If Calvin does, then I will create an account on it also.

    Posted by Mary Oele on 07/16 at 11:45 AM
  • My husband and I have often commented on the quality of the Calvin website in comparison to other college’s sites. It’s easy to use, informative and interesting to look at.  We have lived overseas for most of our daughter’s college years, and your website helps us feel connected to her life at Calvin. We love checking out the webcam, too!  You all are doing a great job. Taking this survey is another example

    Posted by Terri Althaus on 07/16 at 10:58 AM
  • I had no trouble loading anything.  Appreciate the interest in constantly improving things.
    I enjoy the parent weekly email, as it gives me most of what I need to know!

    Posted by Lori Schreur on 07/16 at 10:54 AM
  • I have to admit that the first thing I do on the Calvin website is to check out the webcams.  Once my daughter called me at work to tell me that she was RIGHT THERE!  That was fun to see her.  I check the news.  I would love to see more pictures of campus activities and clubs (equestrian, please!) and student projects.

    Posted by Barbara Donnelly on 07/16 at 10:12 AM
  • Survey was well organized.

    How about a survey re: The Institution of Football as an NCAA Sport at Calvin?

    Posted by Dr Robert J Blok, Sr. on 07/16 at 09:45 AM
  • okey

    Posted by Sergio Diaz on 07/16 at 09:43 AM
  • The survey was well organized and loaded quickly. No problems.

    Posted by Barb Hillaker on 07/16 at 09:40 AM
  • I rarely have trouble with Calvin’s webpage.  I like to look at it from time to time to stay updated on Calvin Happenings.

    Posted by Julie Phillips on 07/16 at 09:33 AM
  • We really enjoy the Webcams, especially since we live in Florida - we feel more in touch with the campus. Also, we enjoy the roving campus photos of students and events. We have visited many college websites and Calvin’s is first rate!

    Posted by Jerilyn Bird on 07/16 at 09:20 AM
  • I didn’t have any problems loading the survey or with slowness.

    Posted by Francene Lewis on 07/16 at 09:17 AM
  • Yikes.  We’ll check into the speed issue and the not-loading issue ASAP.  Thanks for the heads-up.

    Posted by Phil de Haan on 07/16 at 09:10 AM
  • Thanks for your patience. We had a tremendous response this morning and the server had some trouble handling the load. Things should be back to normal now, and we’ll keep a close watch today.

    Posted by Matt Jeltema on 07/16 at 09:00 AM
  • The links to the survey did not work for me. It did work to copy the url into my browser though. Thanks for all the work you’ve put into this!

    Posted by Barb Palsrok on 07/16 at 08:56 AM
  • Worked fine when I did it.  I look forward to the new site.

    Posted by Anton Bucher on 07/16 at 08:51 AM
  • It froze when I initially tried to load it.

    Posted by Leslie Miller on 07/16 at 08:46 AM
  • Yes, the pages were very slow to load this morning.

    Posted by Linda on 07/16 at 08:44 AM
  • Wouldn’t load for about the first 20 tries this morning. (8:00 AM to 8:20 AM)

    Posted by Derek Slenk on 07/16 at 08:40 AM
  • Some of the pages were painfully slow.

    Posted by David Visbeen on 07/16 at 08:36 AM