RFP for STLHE.ca Domain Website

RFP for Revitalization and Update of the Web/Internet
Presence of STLHE on its STLHE.ca Domain

The following is a brief summary of STLHE’s internet presence based on the tools that have been used by STLHE over the last two years. The summary includes an explanation of the function of each tool and provides a brief insight to the challenges STLHE faces with its internet presence and possible solutions to these challenges.

This document is intended as a scope document for the work required to revitalize and update our current and proposed affiliated web sites and internet presence under our existing domain of STLHE.ca. This scope, with the exception of the new EDC site, doesn’t include a redesign or “new look” for either the STLHE or 3M Council sites but addresses issues of functionality within the current design of both. Such a redesign could be included in proposals, but it should not delay the fixes that are required in the short term.

Proposals in response to the RFP to revitalize and update the Web/Internet presence of STLHE on its STLHE.ca domain will be received no later than 29 April 2016 at 12:00 P.M. (Eastern) to the attention of Tim Howard, STLHE. Proposals received after the closing time and date shown will not be considered.

  • One (1) electronic copy of the Proposal must be submitted as an electronic attachment in .PDF format with “STLHE Website RFP” in the subject line.
  • No amendment or change to proposals will be accepted after the closing date and time.
  • Proposals shall be irrevocable for sixty (60) days following close of bidding and shall be retained by STLHE.
  • Proposals must include three (3) references (including up-to-date contact information).

Questions regarding this Request for Proposals may be submitted by e-mail up to 25 April 2016.

All questions and communications regarding this request shall be directed only to:

Tim Howard
STLHE Website Committee
204-206 Dalhousie
OTTAWA ON K1N 7E4
T: 613.241.0018
F: 613.241.0019
Email: admin_tim@stlhe.ca

STLHE’s name, acronym, logo, tagline, etc., shall not be used without the prior written consent of STLHE.
STLHE does not bind itself to accept the whole or any part of any proposal and, in particular, if only one proposal is received STLHE, reserves the right to reject said proposal.
All prices quoted are in Canadian Funds and include all taxes.


Index: 1. STLHE Web site, 2. Korax, 3. Mailing lists, 4. Wild Apricot, 5. Dropbox, 6. Hightail, 7. WebEx, 8. Fluid Survey, and 9. Social Media.

1. STLHE Web Site

The current web site was launched at the Annual General Meeting of the Society in 2011 and was created by Carbonated Inc. This replaced the previous web site hosted by McMaster University which appears to have been created in 2007. The current STLHE site uses WordPress as it web editing tool and it provides the users with a simple interface with the site. It is also an “Open Source” product for which there are many different plugins that can be added to increase the functionality of the site. Unless they can be easily converted, legacy issues for the WordPress databases, customized themes and user familiarity may influence the choice of an alternative platform for managing the web site in the futures. User ease will be an important consideration with the proposal of multiple contributors in 1.2 below. Those responding to the RFP should address this issue when considering alternates to WordPress in their proposal.

Our WordPress site, in conjunction with our Internet Service provider Korax, is a multi-site license which allows for multiple websites under the domain name of STLHE.ca. Currently there is only one – The 3M Council site at 3mCouncil.STLHE.ca. Two new sites include EDC.STLHE.ca and the SoTL Canada site – both groups have assisted with the preparation of this document and have expressed an interest in joining the STLHE.ca domain. The STLHE site consists of 559 web pages and post pages and on average 10,000 unique visits, 300,000 hits that open 100,000 pages each month. The 3M Council has 35,000 visits with an average of 20,000 pages downloaded each month.

  • 1. Short term (Immediately) the version of WordPress needs to be updated and all current plugins need to be updated. The Homepage is essentially static, with the exception of a three item sliding window. The page requires immediate updating to provide dynamic changing content. In particular a changing list of recent posts, mailing and announcements to members.
  • 2. In the long term the homepages of the website for STLHE and EDC need to become a dynamic community site. Latest posts, tweets, and emails should appear on the appropriate home pages of each group along with announcements of events – this is currently missing on the STLHE page. This sense of community should allow members to contribute resources and information directly to the website instead of a web master who posts the material. This will require multiple roles and levels of access to distribute responsibilities to add and edit content (i.e. to specific sections, page) among the membership. Customization will be needed to allow EDC members to update a teaching and learning centre database and submit EDC website content using predetermined tags. Content would be visible and searchable using these tags.
  • 3. When first created pages and posts on the STLHE web site allowed readers to post comments. Because there is not visual test before posting a comment most posted comments are often from automated sources. Even comments that were posted were not monitored for acceptance. This functionality should be removed and replaced by the community discussion features described in 1.2 above.
  • 4. The multisite nature of our site should be used to advantage by creation of EDC and any additional required sites. Currently SoTL Canada runs its own WordPress site because functionality they require is not available on the STLHE site, SoTL Canada has expressed an interest of becoming part of the stlhe.ca domain if can replicate their current WordPress site. Other possible web sites on the STLHE.ca domain include College Advocacy and TAGSA.
  • 5. With a new website we should strive for mobile and a tablet friendly interface. The web page should scale easily to fit multiple resolutions.
  • 6. There is currently no maintenance strategy for the website. Any changes we consider should include an annual maintenance fee.

a. Intranet subsite on stlhe.ca domain

STLHE currently uses a website built within WildApricot (see 4, 4.1 and 4.2 below for more detailed discussion) for secure distribution of web based materials to its members.

  • 1. The functionality currently within the Wild Apricot should be converted to a secure intranet on the STLHE.ca domain with certificate/token validation by the Wild Apricot site (Users log into the INTRANET through a form that validates the user against the Wild Apricot membership list). In addition to creating a secure intranet for STLHE members EDC requires the same functionality for its web site.

2. Korax (http://www.korax.net/)

Our web host and internet service provider is Korax based out of Burlington Ontario – rendering us uninfected by the Patriots Act and use of a US based server. In addition to hosting the websites Korax also provides email services for all @STLHE.ca accounts and provides basic web monitoring software.

  • 1. We need web monitoring software that is customized to provide monthly reports on site, page activity and downloads. This may require an upgrade with Korax or a switch to software such as Google Analytics. While the web page may be the face of the Society we do not have any consistent data on how it is used. There are also WordPress specific monitoring plugins that may meet our needs.

3. Mailing lists (list-serves)


a. STLHE list-serve (email:STLHE-L@LISTSERV.UNB.CA)

STLHE operates an email listserve (STLHE-L) using facilities and services supplied by the University of New Brunswick and Russ Hunt maintains the site for the Society. The site has 1400 registered users but of these there are only 170 (14.9%) emails and 218 (19.1%) names match to the current membership list of the Society. On average any posts made to STLHE-L reach only 17% of the current Society members. Preliminary analysis suggests an average of 60 posts per month (More detailed analysis will allow us to identify which proportion of those posting to the site are STLHE members).

  • 1. Subject to more stringent analysis STLHE-L may have outlived its usefulness. WordPress Plugins (such as the one used SoTL Canada) allow for threaded and archived discussions and forums without leaving the STLHE website. If non-members can subscribe to these discussions then participants have immediate access to the Society website while engaged in the discussion forum. Members only discussion forum would appear in the “members only” part of the STLHE Web site.

b. EDC Mailist (stlhe-ido@lists.carleton.ca)

The EDC maillist is housed at Carleton University and is maintained by the Vice Chair Communications. It currently has 481 members, not all of whom are active EDC members. As well, some EDC members have opted out of being part of the maillist. The maillist is a means by which folks can quickly share news or resources or query for assistance. Any future directions towards using discussion forums instead would require community consultation.

4. Wild Apricot (http://www.wildapricot.com/)

Wild Apricot is the web based membership software used by STLHE to manage memberships with payments through Global payments. Wild Apricot bulk-email is used for notification of members (1143 of which 999 are active) or subsets of Society Members (EDC and 3M Fellows for example). Wild Apricot is also the web site where “Members Only” (Intranet) material is housed including past newsletters, access to the membership directory, Green Guide Previews, and links to CJSoTL and CELT. The site also has an online discussion forum and has been used for Board and Member feedback for by-laws, budgets and other issues related to governance.

The discussion form interface is limited in its capabilities – a problem EDC identified when they explored its potential use. Event management is also possible and is being used for the 2016 Annual Conference Registration.

  • 1. Member’s only material should be moved into a secured region of the STLHE Website – the STLHE or EDC Intranet site – by using certification widget linked to Wild Apricot to validate users. Most membership software does this and allows other applications like Fluid Survey or Events management software to instantly validate a user’s membership status.
  • 2. We need to investigate how to link dynamic web pages on the STLHE and new EDC site to member’s data in Wild Apricot. Currently Wild Apricot allows individual members of the Society to update their profile with biographic materials and photos but most members do not use this feature.
  • 3. The Intranet sites for STLHE and proposed by EDC should allow accesses to memberships directories where contact information and related materials are included. Inclusion of the members data in the intranet would allow a one step option to update members profile without leaving the STLHE.ca domain.
  • 4. If we continue to use the Wild Apricot website we should harmonize the visual interface of Wild Apricot to better resemble the main STLHE site.
  • 5. Data from Wild Apricot indicates that on average we successfully deliver mass email to an average of 1127 addresses and only 36% of the emails are opened and 2% click or use links embedded in the email. Once an email is sent it disappears from view by members. We need to investigate a mechanism for maintaining an archive of posts and mailings preferably on the STLHE website. The use of a hashtag #STLHESAPES attached to the subject line of all emails as a tweet has the potential for increasing awareness, access, and archiving of this material.
  • 6. Email templates need to be redesigned to be mobile, tablet friendly and able to scale to any resolution.

5. Dropbox (STLHE)

STLHE has a Dropbox for business account with 10 listened users and 10 TB of storage space. Team members are identified by STLHE emails related to their positions (president@stlhe.ca) the Korax domain management software allows alias mapping for the stlhe addresses (rlapp@mta.ca). This allows us to maintain drop box accounts and switch users as the executive positions change. Dropbox is currently a work in progress as documents from various STLHE data sources are being consolidated. At this time the Dropbox contains 188 GB of data in 3,752 folders containing 60,570 files.

Beyond the business of the Society which is coordinated in Dropbox the awards coordinators and their selection Committees use Dropbox to retrieve nomination files and to submit their evaluations. EDC uses Dropbox to share public files that are not in a pdf format, to archive EDC executive files and for EDC conference related materials.

6. Hightail (https://www.hightail.com/)

Originally this site was a Send-it Dropbox add-on that provided a Web Interface for submission of the large documents we encounter with awards nomination files. These files were often too large to be sent as an email attachment. In its original form documents were placed in a STLHE DropBox and confirmations were sent to submitters. This is no longer a Dropbox application and files have to be downloaded and transferred to the appropriate Awards drop individually. This creates some confusion and difficulties in file coordination where nominees leave the STLHE site, enter the Hightail site and submit their files, STLHE admin receives notification of upload, opens hightail, downloads files and transfers them to the appropriate STLHE Dropbox,

  • 1. The new web site should allow files to be uploaded into the STLHE Dropbox from our website. WordPress has a Dropbox plugin that may allow files to be uploaded directly from our website into the appropriate Dropbox. An alternate is a Dropbox plugin that does the same. This would eliminate the requirement of using HighTail and simplify nomination file submission and management.

7. WebEx (https://stlhe.webex.com)

STLHE currently uses Cisco Systems WebEx for online meetings and video conferencing. We currently have two admin accounts to allow for the occasional simultaneous use of the system by two different users. In the time that has passed since we first started using WebEx it has become a very high end and comprehensive corporate site with many business based functions that we do not use. Cloud file storage (Dropbox) and individual users meeting rooms etc. It really is overkill for our needs. Webinar, Skype and other video conference software that support, telephone, and computer connections, audio and video presence and session recording may be more appropriate and cost effective to our needs.

  • 1. We should investigate alternate video conferencing strategies with the aim to using a plugin or app that can run from the STLHE website. The WordPress developers site identifies a number of possibilities for achieving this.

8. Fluid Survey

Fluid Survey is a Canadian Licensee of Survey Monkey located in Ottawa. Its location, like Korax, overcomes concerns associated with the US Patriots Act and using US based servers outside of the US. Fluid survey is a token based secured survey/voting system. For any survey we provide a spreadsheet of authorized participants and their email addresses. Fluid survey sends an email to each participant along with a unique access URL that is specific to that user. It has been used primarily for voting on STLHE and EDC and SIG Executive positions and as an advance pole for issues requiring a vote at the STLHE Annual General Meeting.

  • 1. We should investigate a link between Wild Apricot and Fluid survey to overcome the need for preparation a separate data files when a survey is created.
  • 2. The email template should be customized to match those created for the Wild Apricot mailings.
  • 3. The Fluid Survey webpages should also be made compatible or consistent in appearance to the STLHE web pages.

9. Social media

Without a strategy for its maintenance, the STLHE Facebook page is out of date. It appears to have originally been intended for using tagged messages for users to create a conversation around various topics either posted in FaceBook.

  • 1. The Society needs advice and guidance on the relevance of FaceBook as an interface for its members. Will the community based functionality described in 2.2 suffice when combined with the use of twitter and a #STLHESAPES hash tag?