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Columbia MD, 21044
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Laurel, MD 20707
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Website Governance Procedure - 61.11.02

College Policy Number/Title:

The primary objective of the Howard Community College (HCC) website is to attract and retain students by marketing the college’s programs and services to both credit and noncredit students. To maintain this objective, key offices, departments, and individuals at Howard Community College (HCC) are responsible for the governance of the website, ensuring it remains current, accurate, and effective.

Information Technology:

  • maintains supporting infrastructure and third-party cloud hosting agreements;
  • monitors website availability status and tracks and reports uptime based upon negotiated service level agreements;
  • designs and develops special features and functionality (templates, navigational structure, structured content, menus, automated forms, and graphics);
  • coordinates changes to design and structure with the office of public relations and marketing;
  • develops workflows for the transmission, coordination, and approval of content;
  • partners with public relations and marketing on the management of technical search engine optimization (SEO ) in alignment with best practices and industry standards, resolves technical SEO issues, and monitors site for technical optimization and ongoing maintenance of site SEO.
  • ensures compliance with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) web accessibility guidelines that meet Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and section 508 of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA);
  • provides training on the web content management system; and
  • archives content that is no longer relevant or has been superseded.

Public Relations and Marketing:

  • approves publication of all new pages;
  • manages and oversees all content revisions outside of the scope of standard maintenance performed by information technology or various HCC departments;
  • ensures design, branding, and messaging are consistent throughout the website;
  • manages SEO of site, partnering with information technology as necessary on technical SEO aspects, to ensure that site content is optimized in alignment with strategic priorities, industry standards, and best practices;
  • reviews content for currency and accuracy; and
  • publishes emergency alert announcements.

Content Contributors:

  • initiate the content workflow approval module for minor revisions and maintenance of web page content under their purview;
  • serve as the day-to-day contact for web content questions from information technology and public relations and marketing;
  • contact the office of public relations and marketing for new web page requests or revisions that exceed the scope of simple maintenance;
  • ensure compliance with copyright laws before submission of content; and
  • ensure pages, embedded videos, and portable document files meet ADA accessibility requirements.

Subject Matter Experts:

  • serve as resource to and work with content contributors;
  • contact the office of public relations and marketing for new web page requests; and
  • verify accuracy and currency of web content and links.

Content Management System

The college has a primary tool for standardization of design and managing web content. To ensure consistency in design and navigation, style sheets and page templates have been developed for publication of content to the web.

Website Content

Any images on the website should be in PNG or JPEG formats. A consent waiver or permission to use images and visual content must be obtained. If the image was not from HCC, the copyright holder of the images should understand that they will be used on the website, rather than printed materials. This applies to the use of text, logos, photographs, drawings, video clips, sound clips, or other copyrighted visual images.

Editorial Style

In the interest of accuracy, clarity, and consistency, The Associated Press (AP) Stylebook is the accepted standard for grammar, punctuation, spelling, and other language mechanics.

Link Usage

It is a best practice to keep links within the HCC website. Links are encouraged when it avoids duplication of information or provides additional information. Links to external websites should be used sparingly. They work best when linking to organizations that have an existing partnership with HCC, and they provide relevant, credible, and accurate content.

Changes to the Website

All requests for suggested changes to the website must go to the office of public relations and marketing for review and consideration. Decisions regarding changes to the website will follow institutional research and industry best practices.

Web Calendar

Only HCC-sponsored events and activities are posted on the HCC website calendar. The sponsor of each event must verify content and provide event information. Events not covered by a content area can be submitted by completing the online calendar submission request form by making a request through the Technology Service Center. All calendar requests must be submitted at least five days prior to the event. In order to maintain a manageable number of items on the campus calendars, not all events may be listed. Final posting decisions are made by the office of information technology or the office of public relations and marketing.

Maintenance of the Laurel College Center (LCC) Website

The LCC website is jointly managed by HCC and Prince George’s Community College. In order to ensure the site remains current, responsibility is shared between both institutions.

  • The public relations and marketing offices at both institutions will coordinate and approve branding, messaging, and content.
  • The HCC office of public relations and marketing will make necessary content changes.
  • LCC administrative staff will update calendar events, make minor content changes, and publish emergency announcements.
  • HCC information technology staff will provide technical support, routine content updates, and content management training to LCC staff to allow routine maintenance.
  • HCC information technology staff provide cloud hosting of the LCC website.

Effective Date: 02/12/21

President's Office Use: VPIT/EDPRM

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