Sitecore Clinics Return January 11, 2018.

Sitecore ClinicHave a question or two about using Sitecore?

Do you need help creating a new page or editing an existing one?  Feeling stumped by widgets, forms, or something else?  Want to learn more about Sitecore in general, but don’t have time for an entire class?

Drop in at any of these Sitecore Clinics for a little one-on-one support with those questions or ones of your own. Continue reading Sitecore Clinics Return January 11, 2018.

Sitecore to be Upgraded Starting on January 5, 2018

UPDATE 01/08/2017: The Sitecore Update was rolled back to the previous version due to performance issues. The Web Team is working with the vendor to investigate the issue and The upgrade will be rescheduled for a later date.


On Monday, January 8, 2017, OIT will be upgrading the Sitecore Web Content System to version 8.2.5. The authoring environment will be unavailable from Friday, January 5, 2018, starting at 8 p.m. CST to Monday, January 8, 2018, at 12 p.m. CST. Continue reading Sitecore to be Upgraded Starting on January 5, 2018

Web Design: Using Data to Inform Design

Before and After images of the SMU Current Students page
Before (left) and after (right).

The SMU Current Students page recently received a facelift.  This page receives thousands of hits each week, making it one of the most popular pages on the University website. In this redesign, we used data to assess how students were using the page and inform the future user experience.

Continue reading Web Design: Using Data to Inform Design

OIT Resources for Your Sitecore Needs

SitecoreSMU’s main website holds around 45,000 web pages, and each one of those pages runs on our Content Management System known as Sitecore. If you have editing privileges on any of SMU’s web pages, you may already know the basics of how Sitecore works, but you also realize how complex and intimidating the system can sometimes be.

If you ever have any problems with Sitecore or are just curious about learning more about what it can do, we have plenty of resources to assist you. Continue reading OIT Resources for Your Sitecore Needs

Sitecore Office Hours to Get the Sitecore Help You Need.

Sitecore Clinic

Have a Sitecore question?  Want hands-on Sitecore help with a page edit, widget, form, or graphics?

Drop in anytime or schedule an appointment for a guaranteed time slot.  We’re here to help.

March Schedule for Sitecore Office Hours

Wednesday March 1* 2 – 4 p.m.
Wednesday March 8 2 – 4 p.m.
Wednesday March 15 Closed for Spring Break
(appointments may be available)
Wednesday March 22 2 – 4 p.m.
Wednesday March 29 2 – 4 p.m.

Location: * March 1ST Office Hours will be hosted in Fondren Library East 323. All other sessions will be hosted in the Fondren Library East 109 Classroom.

Know Before You Go: If you’re brand new to Sitecore, or if it’s been a while, consider taking an introductory class so that we can better assist you.  In-person sessions and on-demand webinars are available.  Learn more about web publishing at SMU.

This is a pilot program. We will continue to offer drop-in sessions in the future on a to-be-determined basis.

The Sitecore Knowledge Base has been recently updated to include Web Forms and department specific topics. Check it out at

Page Updated 02/27/2017 with room changes.

Office Hours Provide Drop-in Sitecore Help for Users

Sitecore Help Office HoursHave a Sitecore question?  Want hands-on Sitecore help with a page edit, widget, form, or graphics? For this we have Sitecore Office Hours!

Sitecore Offices Hours provides Sitecore users time to get one-on-one answers to their pressing questions and assistance with some of the more difficult areas of the tool. Drop in anytime during our office hours or schedule an appointment for a guaranteed one-on-one time slot.  At OIT, we’re here to help.

Continue reading Office Hours Provide Drop-in Sitecore Help for Users

Sitecore Surveys lead to New Sessions in the New Year

SitecoreOver the past two months, OIT has been busily collecting data to help us understand what is working, what needs improvement, and what kind of opportunities are possible with SMU’s web presence. We are taking a lot of different data sources to get the most comprehensive picture possible. Here are a few examples: Continue reading Sitecore Surveys lead to New Sessions in the New Year

Sitecore 8.1 Upgrade Update

SitecoreSince the release of our current version of Sitecore in 2008, Sitecore has grown from a platform that provides simple web experiences to one that enables users to become truly engaged with their customers. The upgrade to Sitecore v8.1 comes with a completely updated user interface and API that make the system more efficient and extremely extendable. This update enhances our ability to support, promote and leverage the application to meet the needs of the campus community.

The OIT Web Team has been working through the upgrade process on a test system. The Sitecore application upgrade process is a step by step approach of installing and then verifying updates until we reach the current release. The process originally involved over 70 steps, but the team was able to consolidate those steps to a little over 50.

After the test server upgrade, the Web Team recruited the Web Captains in the schools and departments to put the test system through its paces. Since some areas have customized widgets and frameworks, those customizations needed to be tested with the upgrade. Around 25 issues were reported by the Web Captains in their testing. The Web Team had resolved most of those issues when they came across a critical flaw involving the web forms.

The Web Team is working with Sitecore support and other universities to resolve this issue. At this point, we are delaying the Sitecore 8.1 update. We will reschedule after we are confident the web forms are working correctly and in a sustainable manner.

A Tour of the Sitecores

Aren Cambre, director of the Web Application Services team, is collaborating with other universities to share knowledge on Sitecore and web content management.

Aren CambreThe Higher Ed Sitecore users group, started in 2008, now includes over forty universities and nonprofit organizations. “This spring, we are taking this to the next level by creating the tongue in cheek-named Tour of the Sitecores.” Aren Cambre explained, “With this Tour, each month, a member institution will present its Sitecore solution to others using GoToMeeting. The goal is that we can share knowledge on how each of us set up and develop for our Sitecore environments.”

This collaboration will be especially useful to SMU in the near future.  OIT is planning a major Sitecore upgrade this spring, where tapping in to those resources will be helpful. Also, as OE2C has centralized developer resources, OIT has been given an opportunity to make the Sitecore experience better for our users. Gaining insight from other universities will allow us to focus on what will deliver the best value.

Sitecore Basics Webinar

Are you new to Sitecore, SMU’s Web Content Management System? Are you a user, but you’re not using it regularly enough to remember how to use it? We can help. The Sitecore Basics class will cover everything you need to know to get started using Sitecore.

Topic Covered Include:

  • Logging in to Sitecore
  • Customizing your Toolbar
  • Creating New Pages.Uploading Media, such as PDF files and images
  • Inserting images into Pages
  • Linking to Pages and Media
  • Using Widgets
  • Staging your pages for review
  • How to preview your site
  • Making your content live