Welcome to the new and improved English Department website!
This is the third English Department website developed by me or with my direction, and it is a particularly satisfying one because it was built almost entirely by my talented students. Here’s a brief history of how it came to be and of the sites that preceded it.
- My first English Department Website was built in the Fall 2007 semester. It was built using Adobe InDesign by a hired Computer Engineering student (the talented Dan Rosa). The page relied on Adobe Flash for its splashy header, and required expert coding and programming knowledge to make even the simplest changes to certain portions. Then funding for hiring students ran out (and was prohibited outright as an austerity measure). It was a beautiful Web 1.0 site built in the Web 2.0 era. Simultaneously, seeking a way to share information within the Department without overburdening our e-mail, I started the English Department Blog, and trained interested colleagues to post articles within. For the next 3 years, it became a vibrant space for sharing and posting information, and remains hosted in the UPRM’s EduBlog servers. I have imported the 200+ entries from that blog to preserve that bit of departmental history.
- In the Fall 2010 semester, seeking to integrate blog functionality within a more robust website framework, I persuaded the UPRM Web Development Team to host an installation of Drupal 6 to build the site as a pilot. I ported the content and built the site, only to discover at the end of the semester that they would no longer support Drupal. And so, the page was sentenced to death just as it was launched, as I lost the ability to update the Drupal installation. Over the 4 years of service it gave, it slowly lost functionality, and with no institutional funding to invest in a new site, it limped on with its mission. My goal is to import the entries from that blog for the continuity of our department’s records.
- During the Spring 2014 semester, I proposed a new no-funding model to our Chair Rosita Rivera to rebuild the site. And so, in the summer 2014 session, my Digital Writing for the Media students produced a prototype of the English Department website as a final project for the course. Built on WordPress (installed in my own private hosting service), this prototype is the foundation upon this current site is built. The students involved are all credited in the site’s colophon.
- This Fall 2014 semester, my Digital Humanities Internship students imported the content from the prototype into a WordPress installation hosted on an Engineering server (many thanks to Victor Díaz) and under my direction shaped it into the page you see today. The team is the following (in alphabetical order): Sophia Melissa Caraballo, Edcel Javier Cintrón Gonzalez, Héctor López, Jonathan Negrón, Dalina Aimee Perdomo, and Vashti Tacoronte. Thank you all for your outstanding work!
This site is designed to be in tune with current trends in Web design.
- It is built in WordPress 4.x which has developed beyond a robust blogging platform to become a leading content management system.
- It uses the premium version of GeneratePress, a highly customizable responsive theme that will look at home on whatever size of device you’re using to visit it.
- It is connected to its new Facebook page and Twitter account to provide other spaces for sharing and following our activities.
- It comes with a commitment to offering training to interested English Department faculty and personnel in using the site.
- It will continue to be powered by students enrolled in my Digital Humanities Internship class, who will maintain and update the pages, as well as report on events by the English Department and its affiliated student organizations: EDSA and RUMEGA.
And most importantly, this site is designed to become a grassroots, sustainable, department-wide initiative, one that can grow and represent us well for years to come.
Thank you all for your support!
Leonardo Flores, Webmaster