Reliable websites for schools that build your brand
Blackboard Web Community Manager (WCM) is a low-maintenance content management system (CMS) for your district and school websites. It is the online presence your district needs in order to stand out to your community and prospective families. Allow parents to play an active role in their child’s success with a dashboard full of personalized student data. And give community members the chance to engage with the district by checking out news and upcoming events on a modern, mobile friendly website.
Why should I transition to Blackboard Web Community Manager?
There are at many compelling reasons to transition to Blackboard Web Community Manager, but here are some of the most important.
First, it is the only CMS provided by Blackboard that will be integrated with the other products in our Community Engagement Solution — a suite of solutions capable of fully answering the communication challenges faced by schools today.
- Integration with Mobile Communications App, Mass Notifications, and Social Media Manager ensures that your community can be reached on any device, anywhere, anytime.
- Our Create Once, Publish Everywhere (COPE) capabilities will make getting the message out easier and more reliable than ever.
Blackboard Web Community Manager provides districts with a stunningly designed, responsive web hosting platform (CMS) that is low-maintenance, reliably-hosted and relied upon by thousands of districts and education entities. Web Community Manager is most citied by customers for:
- Providing mobile-optimized websites built by designers who work closely with districts to bring their brand vision to reality.
- Regularly providing security updates and feature enhancements to ensure that sites are compliant, safe, and can meet the evolving needs of the district.
- Reliably maintaining 100% uptime during the peak back-to-school season 2 years in a row.
- Delivering the highest standard of services and support (resulting in a sustained 95% retention rate).
- Robust accessibility features that support evolving accessibility needs
- Tight support for increased data security requirements, including security for data at rest and in motion
Transitioning to Blackboard Web Community Manager will afford your district the opportunity and advantage of an integrated communications platform that leverages the best solutions in the industry: Web Community Manager, Mobile Communications App, Mass Notifications, and Social Media Manager. Your district can start taking advantage of this integration immediately.
How well does Web Community Manager work on tablets and mobile devices?
Web Community Manager presents your content beautifully on a full range of tablets and devices. Customers who purchase a Responsive Web design template will provide a well designed experience that meets the needs of your community at home or on-the-go. Additionally, Blackboard offers clients the opportunity to purchase the Mobile Communications App, a best-in-class app-based solution which provides effortless access to the relevant information your community wants most just by downloading a district-branded app from the Apple and Google App Stores.
How will my district’s app integrate with Web Community Manager websites?
Integration with non-Blackboard mobile apps has not been planned at this time, but the Web Community Manager Product Management team would appreciate hearing more about this need. Your district may consider purchasing the Dashboard add-on which provides parents and students with access to information like attendance, grades, news, and more through an authenticated login, using back-end data integration. You may also consider using the Blackboard Mobile Communications App to provide parents and students with this information.
What benefits would my parents and students see from going to Web Community Manager?
One of the most immediate benefits of moving to Blackboard Web Community Manager is the ability to ensure your content is just as accessible on the latest smartphone as it is on a tablet, laptop, or full desktop (through Responsive Design capabilities). Today's students are digital omnivores who seamlessly switch between tasks on multiple devices, so supporting them in any context is critical. Grade and attendance reporting capabilities are also present through the Blackboard Mobile Communications App.
How will data uploads be automated regarding students, teachers, classes, and schedules?
Web Community Manager uploads are currently governed by either Universal Connectors, LDAP, or DataLink.
I am currently using a legacy product, where can I go to get product updates and changes?
Legacy products are being discontinued and further development on these products is no longer supported. Legacy products and related services are no longer being sold. We recommend that you move to the Web Community Manager for better support and new features.
What are the options available to Engage clients relative to moving to Web Community Manager?
Transitioning clients can choose from two transition paths.
- Option 1: Re-implementation using standard implementation protocol. This is an opportunity to re-think all aspects of the website.
- Option 2: Migration of content using a migration tool. This process will simply bring desired content from the existing website into the new website via an automated process. You can purchase migration services, but you may be best served by re-implementing. This is a chance to start fresh with new tools that can provide an optimal experience. We find that our Site Launch Consulting provides the best experience for our customers.
You may also consider purchasing Site Launch Consulting is a series of working sessions with experienced trainers develop the tools district's need for a transformative web presence. It does this by:
- Facilitating working sessions to understand the district's communication goals, strengths, and weaknesses.
- Providing experienced trainers leading the interactive sessions, with extensive knowledge on school websites and communication plans.
- Ensuring districts leave their sessions with established website architecture and substantial amount of pre-existing content migrated as well as a clear plan on how to continue developing their website.
Through Site Launch Consulting, your district can make sure your content strategy is in line with your new site.
How much will it cost to move?
For the clear majority of clients, a transition to Blackboard Web Community Manager can be made for no more than you are currently paying. The only cost you should expect to incur would be for any additional services, additional training, or add-on functions that you choose to implement with your new site. None of these additional items are required, however.
Will we have time to review and revise our newly implemented site prior to going live with it?
Yes, reviews are a standard part of the onboarding process and ensuring that customers are pleased with their sites. This is extremely important to both the customer and to Blackboard.
What is the estimated turnaround time for a "Made-to-Order" template versus a "Design-Ready" template?
The time required to transition your website depends largely on the decisions you make leading up to the transition. A transition can take anywhere from 8 weeks to several months, depending on how much content needs to be moved, how many new pages need to be created, what consultation and training services you might choose, and many other items. When you decide you’re ready to talk about a transition our team will dig in with you to determine the best path to success, and based on those deliverables can give you a better idea of the specific timeline to your launch date.
Will there be any downtime for our site during the transition?
No, your website updates can happen ‘in the background’ without impacting your current site’s availability until the go-live date. At that point we essentially turn your old site off, and turn on your new, beautiful Web Community Manager site.
What, if any, preparation do I need before content is migrated (check list)?
House cleaning your existing site before content migration is a recommended best practice. An implementation specialist will provide guidance to customers if preliminary cleanup is necessary. Additionally, a consultative service, called Site Launch Consulting, is offered to assist a client with content migration.
How much work will this take?
We’d love to tell you this is a totally hands-off process, but the truth is, we need your help to make certain your site meets the needs of your district and community. Our team will do a lot of the heavy lifting, but you should expect to be involved in the transition process. Whether in reviewing current content to determine what should stay and what should go, choosing a template, doing a final site review before you go live - and other important tasks all along the way - we need your help to make this project a success!
What tools will we have to reach out to our community?
Site administrators may utilize broadcast e-Alerts, which sends emails to registered users. Registered users may also subscribe to content e-Alerts to get the information they need from specific schools, departments, clubs, activities and teacher websites. Your website creates an important foundation for the communication your district engages in, but moving to Blackboard Web Community Manager can provide even more communication options for your district. In addition to on-screen alerts, you’ll be implementing a website solution designed to work with all the other communication tools that are a part of the Blackboard Community Engagement platform, like mobile tools, mass notifications, and social media. You’ll see this integration though the addition of our new universal navigation bar, which will allow you to switch between Blackboard Community Engagement products seamlessly. Even if you’re not using these products now, transitioning to Blackboard Web Community Manager is an important first step in consolidating your communication, and simplifying your workload.
What is Site Launch Consulting (SLC)?
Site Launch Consulting provides guided assistance to districts to determine best practices for setting up their new website. In working sessions with an experienced trainer, the structure of a district’s website is determined. Additionally, the district receives training on how to optimize their site and how to utilize the extended functionality of their Bb Schoolwires CMS. Clients can expect to leave their session with an established web site architecture, a substantial amount of pre-existing content migrated, and a very clear plan on how to continue to develop their website.