The Terrarium: Producing Content and Perfecting Design for "The Tank"
First floor foyer, Frontier Airlines Center
Campus news. Events calendar. Photos. Digital bulletin board. Room-scheduling. Community interaction. Serial weekly features. A "blast from the past" each Friday with information about the history of our institution. And one lead story (plus three to four additional stories and user-generated content) offered each day, highlighting prominent events and announcements on campus. We’ve created an internal, portal-like experience, without the price tag of a portal.
In October 2010 Beloit College introduced the Terrarium. Built on the open-source content management system Reason, with the addition of open-source scheduling tool software, we’ve created an internal site for sharing information among current students, faculty and staff. With options for users to generate shared content and communicate with one another, book rooms on campus and keep up-to-date with what’s going on, the site has quickly grown to be a favorite homepage and daily information stop. Campus community response has been phenomenal and analytics show that our external audience is enjoying the window in to the Beloit College "tank" even more than we had hoped. Several re-designs later (with tweaks based on user input and suggestions, gathered informally and in structured focus groups), the Terrarium is more popular than ever. How did we do it? A member of our web services team and the Terrarium’s content editor/manager will show you how we transitioned our internal campus communications from a printed paper flyer and an overwhelming number of email announcements to a useful, interactive, popular website, and discuss some of the changes and re-designs we've employed along the way.
Assistant Editor and Web Content Coordinator, Beloit College
Lynn Vollbrecht is a writer, editor and sometimes photographer in Beloit College's communications and marketing office. She produces content for the college's homepage, magazine and internal news portal, the Terrarium. Additionally, she manages Beloit's institutional Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts.
Web Designer and Developer, Beloit College
Amanda Frisbee is the Web Designer and Developer at Beloit College. She is a part of the two-person Web Services team within the Office of Communications and Marketing and works to maintain the college’s brand on the web. She also works closely with the Reason Content Management System to implement new design elements and functionality on the Beloit College website.