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Web Policies


Rochester Community and Technical College World Wide Web Policies

Overview:

RCTC recognizes the Internet as a valuable tool in promoting the college and communicating with the public, students and staff and therefore allows and encourages staff and faculty to publish electronic information. The RCTC Web Master and the RCTC College Relations Department have adopted the following Web publishing guidelines to ensure that web pages reflect positively and professionally on RCTC. The RCTC Web Master reserves the right to remove pages that are no longer being maintained or that violate these policies.

RCTC's Mission for Web Development:

It is the goal of the RCTC web initiative to maintain an attractive, consistent, accessible site that aligns with the mission, goals, and the continuous improvement quality standards of the college in order to create an efficient and effective environment for the college's administrative, faculty, student, alumni, business, and marketing communications.

Workflow:

Server Administrator: (Communicates with Web Master)

Duties: Sets up Web accounts, directory access, and passwords on the web server for content providers.

RCTC College Relations Department: (Communicates with Web Master)

Duties: Gives input on look and feel of site as it relates to published materials and media. Communications helps determine standards for all promotional sites that directly relate to marketing the Main RCTC site, program sites and department sites.

Web Master: (Communicates with the Server Administrator, College Relations Department, and Content Providers)

Duties: Determines final details for look and feel/functionality of site, provides access to Dreamweaver/Contribute and training to content providers in the use of Dreamweaver/Contribute, determines hierarchy and navigational structure of site with input from end users and web site usage statistics, ensures content providers adhere to the graphical and design standards for the particular category of web site.

Content Providers: (Communicate with, and supported by the Web Master)

Duties: Submit textual content to the site. The current software used to publish content to the web is Adobe Contribute. Content providers may also use Dreamweaver provided they have the skills to do so. Existing Dreamweaver users will be moved to Contribute as their versions of Dreamweaver become antiquated.

NOTE: Using work-study or students for the main RCTC site, department and program sites, and personal sites will not be supported. It may take time and repeated training to learn Dreamweaver/Contribute and the policies and procedures associated with publishing to the RCTC web server. Most students are not at RCTC long enough to effectively learn the procedures of updating the main RCTC web sites. If you decide to use work-study for personal or course sites, you must have a full-time staffed individual as the main contact person for the Web Master. The RCTC Web Master will NOT provide training for work-study personnel.

Educational Technology Department:

Duties: Assists in the training and tutoring of faculty in web design and various software packages pertinent to publishing and maintaining online content for course sites and personal web sites. Supports online distance learning environment and technologies, particularly Desire2Learn.

Requesting Web Sites:

All web site requests should go through either the RCTC Web Master or The Department of College Relations. A determination of the type of web site and where it best fits in the existing site structure will be made. The appropriate directory structure will be created and an approved template will be applied by the RCTC Web Master. A content provider will be designated and given access to the site via approved software to make minor changes and updates to the site's content.

Types of Web Sites:

Overview: Sites at RCTC will be categorized first by determining if the site is specific to RCTC. Then sites will be categorized according to the services provided to the majority of prospective and current students or staff. Web pages described below reside on RCTC servers connected to the Internet. As such, they should comply with all applicable State of Minnesota, MnSCU, and RCTC College policies or be taken offline. See Criteria for Designations

RCTC identifies the following levels of information for electronic publishing purposes:

Level I - The RCTC home page (www.rctc.edu).

Level II - Subsequent navigational "portal" pages linked from the home page. (Prospective, Currently Enrolled, Faculty and Staff, Alumni, Community) which contain links to any of a variety of levels. These are large, general areas geared toward targeting a particular end user for marketing purposes and guiding the end user to user specific content.

Level III - Major sections/sites, and pages therein, linked from either the home page or from a portal page (Catalog, Admissions, Financial Aid, Student Services, Career Services, Student Support Center, eServices/Registration, RCTC Online/Distance Ed., Policies, etc.) NOTE: Level III sites may include certain "departments" or "offices" at the college due to their tight integration with student procedures and services. Examples include the Admissions "Department" or the Business "Office". Major student service areas should be grouped at this level.

Level IV - Program sites (often mistakenly called department sites) that are associated with a "Program of Study" at RCTC. Level IV sites promote or market a path of study to a prospective student. (Update: 6/29/2006 - These sites are mainly an optional extension of the newly created "Program Overviews". The Program Overviews in the online catalog will now take precedence in the RCTC web hierarchy for marketing programs of study to prospects, since our web statistics show prospects tend to view the catalog information first and foremost.)

Level V - Department or office sites that do not market a program of study, but inform of departmental or office services (Example: Athletics, IT Dept., College Relations, HR, etc.)

Level VI - Course and instructional sites (non D2L, RCTC hosted)

Level VII - RCTC Faculty and Staff personal web sites (MnSCU acceptable use of technology policies apply).

See Criteria for Designations

More on Levels:

Level I, Level II, Level III, Level IV sites pertain to that which directly affects the mission http://www.rctc.edu/about/html/mission.html of RCTC. This includes (but is not limited to):

  • Academic Calendar
  • Admissions
  • Catalogs, Programs of Study, Class Schedules
  • Degree and Program Information - includes planners, course descriptions and requirements
  • Financial Aid and Scholarships
  • Policies
  • Additional Student Services (Advising, Counseling, Business Office dealings, Health, Student Life)
  • Anything that is directed toward prospective students where marketing and promotion is essential or where communication with the majority of enrolled students is desired.

These sites must utilize an approved RCTC template that contains the following elements:

  • RCTC branding - such as logos, colors, and tag lines
  • Link to RCTC home page - text link and/or link from RCTC logo
  • RCTC Address/Phone Number/TTY (TTY is also known as a TDD (Telecommunications Device for the Deaf)) and Equal opportunity statement (Rochester Community and Technical College is an equal opportunity educator and employer.) on the home page. Example:
    Rochester Community and Technical College
    851 30th Ave SE, Rochester, MN 55904-4999
    General Info: (507) 285-7210 or 1-800-247-1296/ TTY Relay 1-800-627-3529

    Rochester Community and Technical College is a University Center Rochester partner
    and a member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system.
    2004 Rochester Community and Technical College (RCTC), all rights reserved. RCTC is an affirmative action, equal opportunity educator and employer.
  • Descriptive Title, Heading/Department Name on the pages within the site.
  • Contact Information (can be in the form of a "feedback" form, a link back to a general contact info page, or a specific e-mail address)
  • Optional: Date of last revision (It should be assumed the page is up-to-date so this is optional, some info remains static over long spans of time so dating the info could actually make it appear older when it is really still relevant)

Additional guidelines for Level I, Level II, Level III, Level IV sites:

  • Pages and associated images must be examined prior to publishing by the RCTC Web Master in order to ensure:
    • Compliance with graphical design guidelines and site authoring policies
    • Technologies used in the pages function properly
    • Text sizes, fonts, and colors comply with graphical design guidelines
    • Images are optimized for expedient download
    • Images are photo realistic and not clip-art
    • Images are not from some other site or copyright laws are not being violated
  • Content providers and designated staff are responsible for ensuring that the information and links in their Web sites are valid, current, and appropriate to the goals and purposes of RCTC. Pages and sites that are not properly maintained will be subject to removal from the RCTC web site.

 

Level V sites - are sites that outline department services in relation to students or some other area of the college.

Level V sites will utilize an approved department RCTC template that contains the following elements:

  • RCTC branding - such as logos, colors, and tag lines
  • Link to RCTC home page - text link and/or link from RCTC logo
  • RCTC Address/Phone Number/TTY (TTY is also known as a TDD (Telecommunications Device for the Deaf)) and Equal opportunity statement (Rochester Community and Technical College is an equal opportunity educator and employer.) on the home page. Contact information for the site in the form of a web form or e-mail.
  • All pages must be appropriately titled and clearly labeled with ownership/contact information so that responses to those documents can be directed to the appropriate individuals.
  • Content providers and designated staff are responsible for ensuring that the information and links in their Web sites are valid, current, and appropriate to the goals and purposes of RCTC. Pages and sites that are not properly maintained will be subject to removal from the RCTC web site.
  • Compliance - sites that do not adhere to the adopted standards will be removed indefinitely until compliance is agreed upon and achieved.

Level V sites UCR caveat: Some "department" sites serve students of the partnering institutions. (Goddard Library is related to RCTC, but serves students and staff from all three UCR partners, as does Information Technology, and Media Services.) A separate agreed upon criteria will be drafted for "UCR" related sites, or they may be reviewed and it may be determined that they more appropriately fall under the RCTC heading. In the interim, a common sense approach will be taken with such sites.

If the site is somehow related to 'UCR" it should contain:

  1. A link from an approved UCR logo or UCR text to the UCR home page
  2. Links from approved partner institution logos (RCTC, UMR, WSU) or text to the respective institutions' home pages
  3. Generic contact information such as:
  4. University Center Rochester . 851 30th Ave. SE . Rochester, MN 55904 General Info: (507) 285-7210 . 1-800-247-1296 // TTY Relay 1-800-627-3529 .
  5. A UCR statement with links to the respective institutions from the descriptive text:
  6. University Center Rochester, located in Rochester, MN, is a higher education partnership between Rochester Community and Technical College, University of Minnesota, and Winona State University.
  7. All pages must be appropriately titled and clearly labeled with ownership/contact information so that responses to those documents can be directed to the appropriate individuals.
  8. Content providers and designated staff are responsible for ensuring that the information and links in their Web sites are valid, current, and appropriate to the goals and purposes of RCTC. Pages and sites that are not properly maintained will be subject to removal from the RCTC web site.


Level VI and VII sites refers to those pages that contain scholarly information that is related to RCTC by some avenue but does not impact the governance of the college. These include:

  • Course Web Sites
  • Faculty/Staff Home Pages

Level VI and VII sites must:

  • Be work related and contain work related information.
  • Adhere to MnSCU acceptable use of technology policies.
  • Contain information above and beyond the course descriptions contained in the catalog
  • Contain date of last revision
  • Contact information of the author of the course or personal web site

Additional guidelines for Level VI (course) and VII (personal) sites:

  • Authors assume personal responsibility for their site adhering to MnSCU acceptable use of technology policies. If a course or personal site is egregiously out of compliance, links to it will be removed indefinitely until compliance is agreed upon and achieved.
  • Authors assume personal responsibility for their site being accurate, and current. If a Level VI or VII site is egregiously out of date or out of use, it will be removed indefinitely until compliance is agreed upon and achieved.
  • All pages must be appropriately titled and clearly labeled with ownership information so that responses to those documents can be directed to the appropriate individuals.
  • Personal sites are not to be linked directly off a top-level main RCTC site/sub-site. Most personal sites are linked off the Web Hotel, which in turn is linked under "Faculty and Staff" on the main RCTC site.
  • Course sites are not to be linked directly off a top-level main RCTC site/sub-site. Course sites may be linked either off the Web Hotel, which in turn is linked under "Faculty and Staff", or they may be linked off a department site (i.e. links to English course sites from an English department site)
  • Personal and course sites are not to use any "official" Level I - Level V site templates unless the page is part of an existing department site and the information highlights that person's services in relation to the respective department or contains contact information. Sites not in compliance are subject to change or removal.
  • Personal sites should not contain RCTC graphics or images that are already in use on the RCTC web site or contained in an official RCTC template, nor should graphics on personal web sites be made to mimic existing RCTC graphics and logos, thereby misleading people into thinking your personal site may pertain to official college business or services. Regardless of where you get your images, copyright issues apply. You should always seek permission before using graphics in your web sites.
  • Personal sites should not usurp the normal structure of the RCTC web site. Personal web space used as a "department" site will not be permitted on the RCTC web server. Additionally, personal sites hosted externally (including MnSCU services such as efolio) should not usurp internally hosted department sites. Simply put, don't expect links to such sites from official, approved RCTC web sites and don't expect any love from the RCTC Web Master regarding "rouge" web sites.

Commercial Advertising/Linking Agreements:

  • MnSCU "acceptable use of technology" policies apply to all web sites hosted by RCTC.
  • The funds raised from the sale of Web page advertising, sponsorships or links must be used for scholarship support, reduce reliance on student activity fee subsidies, or offset college costs in some way.
  • Logos of sponsors are typically included to acknowledge the sponsorship.
  • Links to sponsors web sites will only be provided if specifically requested by the sponsor and agreed upon by Rochester Community and Technical College.
  • Links to external for-profit entities where there is no agreed upon college sponsorship are not allowed, unless the external entity is providing some value-added free service where acknowledgment and linking are an involuntary by-product of using the service.
  • Links to external student services web sites (employment or otherwise) that require a fee or stand to benefit monetarily from the link are not allowed.
  • It is acceptable for an RCTC program of study Web page to display "ad" copy from a prospective employer for an employment position related to that program's respective field of study along with contact numbers and/or e-mail addresses of the prospective employer. Providing the company's logo, in addition to the above, is acceptable provided the store or company has given permission to use their logo. Pricing information on specific products and sales or services is not allowed. However, direct links to the employer's web site should be avoided. rather a link to the employer's "employment" page within the employer's site would be acceptable.

Data Privacy:

  • The college should take the utmost precautions to safeguard confidential information that is collected, transferred, or disseminated via the World Wide Web concerning students, employee college business, and other matters. Confidential information includes, but is not limited to, information concerning prospective, current, and former students, current and former employees, Student Health Center patients, and RCTC business and finances.
  • The Family Educational Right of Privacy Act of 1974 requires the college to maintain confidentiality of student records.
  • Photos of an individual must not be included without the written permission of the individual (This permission slip should be on file with College Relations Department).
  • It must be explained on inquiry and feedback forms why particular information is being collected and how the information will be used (even if the information in question is deemed "optional").
  • Collecting social security numbers should be discouraged.
  • A "Tennessen Warning" should be included before or on any form where sensitive data is being collected. (*This notice is required when collecting private data from an individual. Minn. Stat. Sect. 13.04, Subd.2. This has sometimes been referred to as the "Tennessen Warning.")

*Tennessen Warning:

Note: The following is a sample Data Privacy Notice form. For purposes of this sample, assume the form would be used as a preface to collecting prospective student data from a web-based inquiry form. The bracketed language would be changed to reflect the specific purpose for which the private information is sought from the student.

Sample Data Privacy Notice

Rochester Community and Technical College is asking you to provide information, which includes private information under state and Federal law. Rochester Community and Technical College is asking for this private information [so that Rochester Community and Technical College can deliver program and other college related information in an electronic format to prospective students].

You are not legally required to provide the information Rochester Community and Technical College is requesting and you may refuse to provide some or all of the information requested. However, Rochester Community and Technical College may not be able to [deliver the requested information] if you do not provide sufficient information.

[With one exception,] unless you consent to further release of private information, access to this information will be limited to [individuals involved in sending out the requested information]. However federal and state law do authorize release of private information without your consent to:

o  [School officials, including faculty and program coordinators within Rochester Community and Technical College, who have legitimate educational interests in the information]

Social Security Numbers:

Many colleges/universities use social security numbers for student identification purposes on student records. Providing your social security number is entirely voluntary. If you do not provide this number, your request will still be processed. [This data is requested for purposes of administration, program evaluation and consumer data. Your number also may be used to create summary information about MnSCU programs through data matches with other state agencies.] With the increasing concern of identity theft, it is recommended you do not provide your social security number.

*This notice is required when collecting private data from an individual. Minn. Stat. Sect. 13.04, Subd.2. This has sometimes been referred to as the "Tennessen Warning."

Adapted from the MnSCU Office of General Counsel's Sample Data Privacy Notice ("Tennessen Warning"). (http://www.ogc.mnscu.edu/data privacy)

Other General Guidelines for Web Design/Development:

Content:

  • All RCTC Web pages must be consistent with RCTC policies and guidelines as well as local, state and federal laws.
  • Provide a link back to the section home (example: a Student Life sub-section, should have a "Student Life index" link on all the student life pages which links to the Student Life "home" page)
  • Pages should be neat and uncluttered, using single lists of information rather than tabled columns of information.
  • Academic Information (program sheets, course descriptions etc.) must be routed through Academic Affairs after approval by AASC to ensure accuracy before posting to the RCTC online catalog.
  • Pages that are "no longer maintained" are those that have content that has not been updated at least once every six months.

Additional Graphics:

  • Additional graphics should be small in size and number and should be optimized for quality and size before placing into a page.
  • Web graphics must be in recognizable format: gif, jpeg. This will ensure that all (graphical) browsers will be able to display the image properly.
  • Blend graphics with web colors navy #003366 and gold #FFCC00 and any template images, logo, etc.
  • Clip art is definitely not recommended and will be deleted from main web sites.
  • Pictures should be photo-realistic (the type that are on the marketing CDs, photos taken by a campus photographer or other photography)
  • Photos of an individuals must not be included without the written permission of the individual (on file with College Relations Department)
  • Animated gifs are only to be used if done tastefully and are limited in number
  • Background images, if used at all, should be tasteful and tile seamlessly.
  • Using images for words and text should be done sparingly, if at all.
  • Do not use copyrighted graphics without permission from the owner (This includes RCTC images used on the main web site!)
  • Because of copyright and legal issues, images saved from other web sites for use on RCTC web sites should be avoided. If a staff uses images from another web site for course or personal web pages, they are responsible for making sure those images are legal.
  • Images should be routed to the Web Master for approval and optimization for web before posting to a web page on the main RCTC web site.
  • The Webmaster will post images to the main RCTC site after they have been reviewed and approved.
  • Use <alt> tags with descriptive language for images.
  • Program (level IV), Dept (level V), course (level VI), and personal (level VII) web sites are not to use or "borrow" any graphics used on any other RCTC web sites.
  • Personal sites should not contain RCTC graphics, logos, and images, either stolen from official RCTC web sites or made to mimic existing RCTC graphics and logos, thereby misleading people into thinking the personal site may pertain to official college business or services.

Fonts:

  • Generally, the use of all font types will be limited to the fonts contained in the style-sheet of the currently applied template. Content providers will not have control over font types or colors. Any deviations from the applied styles will be corrected by the RCTC Web Master.
  • Don't use obscure font-types for main text.  Use the following "web safe" fonts. Your viewers will have a better chance of actually having that font on their computer and thus, will see the page as it was intended;
    • Common PC fonts: Verdana*, Arial*, Courier New
    • Common Macintosh fonts: Verdana*, Arial*, Courier
    • *Verdana and Arial are available to users who install Internet Explorer and are the most legible on a computer screen (Verdana was originally designed to be a screen font).
  • Do not use font sizes. Instead use headings to increase or decrease fonts that are not the normal paragraph size.
  • Do not use blinking text or marquees.
  • Avoid the use of italic text, it is typically jagged and very hard to scan and read on a computer screen.
  • Avoid using bold in large blocks of text; it is typically hard to read on a computer screen.
  • Avoid using font colors. Font colors may clash with the site design or be hard to read for some individuals.
  • Use dark text on a light background. Black text on a white background is easiest to read. (When is the last time you read a book with black paper and white text?)
  • Blend with web colors navy #003366 and gold #FFCC00 and any template images, logo, etc.

Links

  • Explain your links.  Do NOT use "for more information click here". This is the web.... it's been around for quite a few years now. It's assumed that you have to click. You don't need to tell people. Use action verbs. "Download application form" is more straightforward than: "Application form is available for download. Click here."
  • Check your links frequently, broken links reflect badly on the college.
  • Provide e-mail link to author of the page(s).  When doing this don't use "E-mail me" instead use your entire e-mail address, john.doe@RCTC.edu.

Accessibility

  • Remember, pages may look very different in different browsers.  You should make every effort to test your pages in multiple browsers (This may not be possible under the current network "image").  Pages may look slightly different, but need to keep the functionality.  Graphics and navigation should be clear in all browsers.
  • Strive to make pages accessible to persons with disabilities (knowing that there can be a balance between design and accessibility)

Revised: 09/25/08 06/29/06 - RCTC Web Master - Darin Hoffman - webmaster@rctc.edu

Last Updated: October 9, 2014

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