Empowering Higher Ed Organizations by Using Pantheon Custom Upstreams for a Faster Website Launch

WDB Agency
  • Date Published
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Higher Education Institutions Can Ensure That All Their Websites Adhere to the Same Standards for Design, Functionality, and Security.

As digitalization becomes part of our daily life, universities must also adapt and improve their web presence.  Technology is becoming more personalized but also intricate and more people are using online platforms in various ways. Higher education institutions must broaden their understanding of their audience to efficiently and effectively serve their current and prospective students. As such, building and maintaining a strong web presence is crucial for higher education institutions for several reasons.

Firstly, most prospective students and parents begin their search for schools online. Therefore, having a well-designed and informative website can greatly impact a school’s ability to attract and engage potential students. Additionally, an effective web presence can help a school communicate its mission and values, showcase academic programs, highlight faculty research, and promote student life activities. A strong web presence is also important for current students and faculty staff. It can provide access to important resources and information, such as course schedules, academic calendars, campus news, and library services.

A well-designed website can enhance the overall experience of interacting with a school, providing an intuitive and streamlined interface that makes it easy to find what users typically look for.

Finally, a strong web presence can help a school build its brand and reputation, and attract donors and sponsors. By demonstrating a commitment to innovation, accessibility, and excellence, a school can differentiate itself from its competitors and establish a strong presence in the higher education landscape.

Overall, a strong web presence is essential for higher education institutions to achieve their recruitment, engagement, and branding goals.

Higher Education Industry Trends and Growth

In 2020, the global higher education market was worth $77.41 billion and is expected to reach $114.69 billion by 2026. Higher education is changing, especially in terms of how things are taught. The World Economic Forum has identified some of the obvious trends that will shape the future of higher education. These trends include the pivot to online teaching and hybrid models that is forcing higher education to examine the way teaching and learning occur, replacing traditional lectures with active learning, teaching skills that are relevant to the real world and preparing students for the workforce, and implementing formative assessments.

Higher Commission Learning has also released its current 2023 trends for the higher education industry.  Although there is some overlap with those listed by the World Economic Forum, the Commission has identified campus-wide trends. Despite not being listed in any order or priority, the trends will allow for ongoing conversations at higher education institutions.

The Commission’s report has identified these areas of concern:  student mental health, diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB), the changing landscape of credentials, finance teaching and learning, transfer roadblocks, leadership outcomes, the value of higher education, online program managers (OPMs), consumer awareness, innovation, partnerships, mergers, affiliations and acquisitions, workforce needs, the shrinking focus on liberal arts, broken traditions, career centers shortcomings, and opportunities with evolving workplace practices and challenges.

Online Education

The value of the online higher education market sector in the US is expected to increase by US$33.35 billion from 2021 to 2026, and the market’s growth momentum will accelerate at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19.82%. The growth is driven by the collaboration between enterprises and higher education institutions.

But How Does This Affect Web Presence?

Trends are usually predictions based on what is already happening. Addressing each of the concerns will require communication on a larger scale. Higher education institutions must shift into the habit of disseminating information, faster, accurately, and to the right audience. Changes will occur regardless of their scale and pace, and a well-designed, streamlined website powered by a flexible and secure CMS system will address part of the problem.

In our post on choosing the right CMS for educational institutions, we highlighted some of the obvious reasons for upgrading to a system that accommodates expansion but also provides access to changing and growing communities.

But How Do You Think Beyond the Scope and Capabilities of a CMS, Open-source or Otherwise?

As a Pantheon partner, WBD Agency has been exploring some of the unique and beneficial ways in which higher education institutions can benefit more and provide a greater online experience for their audience using the Pantheon platform.

So, What Is Pantheon?

Pantheon is a website hosting management platform that provides infrastructure and tools for building, deploying, and scaling websites. It is a popular choice for higher education websites because it offers high availability, scalability, and security, as well as integrations with popular CMS systems like Drupal and WordPress.

One of the key benefits of using Pantheon for higher education websites is that it provides an “upstream” platform that allows institutions to standardize their web presence across departments and units. An upstream platform is essentially a pre-configured template that provides a set of tools, features, and best practices for building and managing websites.

Instead of starting from scratch, developers can use pre-configured upstream templates to build sites with an existing set of features such as CSS, JS libraries, branding, and essential content.

With the Pantheon upstream platform, higher education institutions can ensure that all their websites adhere to the same standards for design, functionality, and security. This can help to improve the user experience for students and faculty staff, while also reducing the workload for web development teams.

Key Upstream Features

Pantheon’s upstream platform for higher education includes features such as the following.

  1. Multi-site management: With Pantheon, you can manage multiple websites from a single dashboard, making it easier to keep track of content, updates, and security.
  2. Customizable templates: Pantheon provides a set of customizable templates that institutions can use as a starting point for their websites. This can help to streamline the development process and ensure consistency across sites.
  3. Version control: Pantheon provides version control for all code changes, making it easy to roll back to a previous version if needed.
  4. Automatic updates: Pantheon automatically updates core software and security patches, ensuring that all websites are up-to-date and secure.
  5. Analytics and reporting: Pantheon provides analytics and reporting tools that allow institutions to track user engagement and measure the effectiveness of their websites.

Overall, Pantheon’s upstream platform for higher education can help institutions to create and manage websites more efficiently, while also ensuring that all sites adhere to the same standards for design, functionality, and security.

How Pantheon Differs From Traditional Hosting Solutions

Pantheon is a cloud-based platform that offers a unique approach to hosting websites and web applications. Here are a few key ways in which Pantheon differs from traditional hosting solutions.

  1. Container-based architecture: Pantheon’s container-based architecture allows each website or application to run in its own isolated environment, ensuring maximum performance, scalability, and security.
  2. Automated workflows: Pantheon offers a suite of automated workflows that simplify website development and deployment, including automated backups, updates, and testing.
  3. Dev, test, and live environments: Pantheon provides separate environments for development, testing, and production, allowing teams to make changes to a website without affecting the live site.
  4. Integrated tools: Pantheon integrates with a range of popular tools and platforms, including WordPress, Drupal, GitHub, among others, making it easy for developers to build, deploy, and manage websites.
  5. Expert support: Pantheon offers expert support from a team of experienced engineers, who can provide assistance with everything from troubleshooting to custom development.

Overall, Pantheon’s container-based architecture, automated workflows, integrated tools, upstreams, and expert support make it a powerful and unique hosting solution for websites and web applications.

Your Next Steps

Communication plays an integral role in tackling some or all of the ongoing higher education trends. Housing important information and relaying the aforementioned information in alignment with an institution’s brand guidelines requires an experienced dedicated partner.

From discovery to launch,  WDB Agency engages with your team to allow for the clear communication of a seamless process. Our partnership with Pantheon provides an open channel of communication, expanding the overall implementation of your ideas and vision. Pantheon’s upstream creates an opportunity for institutions with various sites to consolidate and manage their sites without hassle.

Finding the right systems to maintain or build your higher education web presence is not a decision to take lightly.  The process might be tedious and time-consuming but given the constant changes in our society and with technology, selecting the right system must be done with absolute care.

This decision is usually based on what your higher education institution needs from a growth and development perspective, as well as a financial or community standpoint. It also considers the integration of future and current technologies, as institutions grow.

If you are looking for a growth partner, contact us to discuss our partnership.