CSM Trailhead Channel Development Policy
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Colorado School of Mines Trailhead
Channel Development Policy:
Work Flow, Requirements and Guidelines
Policy documents are posted at: http://acn.mines.edu/policies/trailhead/
Contact information: Trailhead/Portal Management Staff, trailhead@mines.edu
I. Introduction
II. Channel Development
III. Channel Development Work Flow
IV. Channel Building Tools
V. Channel Requirements
VI. Channel Guidelines
VII. Responsibilities of Users
VIII. Related Links
Appendix A. Tab Administrators List
Appendix B. Channel Development Resources

The Colorado School of Mines portal, Trailhead, provides a personalized
intranet for students, faculty and staff of the university. There are three
different methods of targeting content to portal users. Content can be
delivered through Channels, Groups, and Targeted Announcements. This
document contains guidelines for developing Channels for the portal.
Content in the portal is organized by a set of Tabs and Channels. Tabs are
the basic organizational units of the portal. Channels constitute pieces of
primary content below each tab of the portal. Channels are intended to
deliver dynamic, high-demand content and interactive applications to a
significant user base. To be “channel worthy” content generally should be
more than just static information or links. (Also see the Tab Administrators'
Policy http://acn.mines.edu/policies/trailhead/tabadminpolicy.pdf.)

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The following requirements and guidelines acknowledge the importance of an
open channel development structure, while recognizing the individual
developer’s responsibilities. Channel developers create and maintain the
components of a university-wide, shared project whose audience consists of
all students, faculty and staff members. It is for this reason that each
channel should undergo appropriate preparation, careful development and
extensive testing.
The portal is designed to support Channels delivered from a developer's web
server, which may be a departmental server or the central CSM web server.
Channels typically will not be placed on the portal server, but will be
referenced by the URL to the developer's web server. Channels may be
developed using any traditional web development tool such as Dreamweaver
or FrontPage. There may be circumstances where Java servlets need to
reside on the portal server to support a special function, but those are
expected to be rare and must be discussed and approved in advance by the
portal management staff.
Following is a detailed work flow for Channel development, a list of Channel
requirements and a set of Channel guidelines. These are written for those
who plan to develop content for portal channels.
For questions regarding this document, contact the portal management staff.
Channel Development
Criteria for approval of channel request:
Content should appeal to an audience larger than 100. A CSM Group
(“Group Studio”) can be created to deliver targeted content for smaller
audiences. A channel that has wide appeal may be approved to be
placed in the default view of one of the existing tabs.
Content must not duplicate already available channels.
Content should sensibly require creation of a new channel, rather than
inclusion in an existing channel.
Ability to maintain the channel over time (minimum of 1 year) should
be apparent or a plan for transfer of maintenance should be included
with the request.
Web development capabilities must be assured by the requester
(support for channel development is limited).
Channel development specifications must be met.
Who is Eligible to develop portal channels?:
Official Colorado School of Mines departments and programs are
eligible to develop portal channels.
Student organizations registered with ASCSM may request to develop
a channel, but must first consult with the portal management staff.

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Prior to contacting the portal management staff, review this document
with the organization sponsor. The sponsor will be responsible for
ensuring that the channel content resides on a stable web server, is
maintained over time and is “channel worthy.”
Training: Individual and group training for channel developers can be
arranged. Please contact the portal management staff if you have questions
about training.
Channel Development Work Flow
(See also, Appendix B – “Channel Development Resources”)
Steps for adding a channel to the portal:
Determine where the channel fits:

If your proposed channel is appropriate for a large proportion of
the campus population, you can request that it be added to the
default view of an existing Tab. In this case, review the portal
Tabs and determine which Tab your proposed channel most
naturally falls under. In order for a channel to be added to one
of the existing Tabs, it must be approved by the Tab
Administrator. If the proposed channel is targeted to a smaller
campus audience, request that it be added as a “subscription”

* If you have questions, contact the portal management staff or
one of the Tab Administrators.
Determine resources available and resources needed for developing
your channel. (Campus provided support for channel development is
limited.) For example, do you have or need:

(You or your office) The skills to create a web page; special
programming or scripting skills.

Access to a web server and system permissions to put your files
on the server.

Web development software or tools.

* If you have questions, contact your departmental computer
support staff, the portal management staff,
webmaster@mines.edu or one of the Tab Administrators.
Submit initial request:

Submit an electronic request using the Trailhead Developer’s
Admin Site
You will be asked for a description of the channel and contact

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information for the people involved in creating and maintaining
your channel. Fill out the form as completely as possible. If you
have questions contact the portal management staff. This
request will go to the appropriate Tab Administrator or the
portal management staff.

You will be notified by email by the Tab Administrator when your
channel request has been approved.
Develop your channel:

Upon approval of your request by the Tab Administrator, begin
to develop your channel. Adhere to the Channel Development
Requirements and Guidelines listed below.

Use your web server or the central CSM web server. Languages
can be any language supported by the web server you will be

Create a web page that will be displayed in a channel (as in in-
line frame). The portal can support RSS and XML data feeds, so
please inquire if you have that need.

You are strongly encouraged to use a development server or
web directory (versus production server/directory) for writing
your channel. Once tested, plan to move it to your production
server/directory. You can subsequently modify and test new
versions of your channel on your development server without
adversely affecting the production server (and thus negatively
impacting the portal).
Submit your development Channel URL to the Tab Administrator and
the portal management staff.

Submit your channel URL and channel name.

Channel is reviewed by the Tab Administrator.

If your channel is approved, the Tab Administrator will submit a
request to the Trailhead management staff. The portal system
administrator will add the channel to the portal development
server for the final phase of testing.

You will be notified that your channel has been added to the
development server and asked to begin your testing of your
Test your channel through the portal development server.
Make needed changes and copy your file(s) to your production web
Submit final channel URL:

Once you are comfortable that your channel performs as
expected and does not negatively impact the portal, notify the
Tab Administrator that it is ready for production.

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The Tab Administrator submits a request to the portal system
administrator to add the channel to the production server. Once
added, the Tab Administrator will publish the approved channel
and notify you. If desired, you can ask that a subscription
channel be advertised in the “Trailhead News” channel.
Keep content current: Maintain the content in your channel and keep it
“fresh”. All portal content will be reviewed on a regular basis by the
Portal Content Review committee.
*When a channel is added as a “Subscription” channel, it will not
automatically appear on any Tab. Users will be required to use the Content
Management tools to add it to the Tab of their choice. Ask the portal
management staff about other methods of announcing the availability of your
Channel Building Tools
To create a consistent look and feel, channel developers should link to the
portal default style sheet
[http://acn.mines.edu/trailhead/styles/stylesheet-portal.css], and avoid
overriding these styles whenever possible. The default style sheet sets font
colors, font sizes, margins, borders, and more for almost all HTML tags.
You can use existing channels as a model to help you develop your channel.
To view the source code of an exiting channel, right click on an existing
channel and select “View Source” (or “This Frame”, “View Frame Source”).
This method will work for most of the CSM developed Channels.
Channel Requirements
All portal channels must adhere to the following requirements:
Portal channels must facilitate the official business of the School;
support the vision, mission, goals, and traditional academic values of
the School; and comply with university policies, rules, and regulations,
and local, State, and Federal laws.
To enhance accessibility all portal channels must make use of the
techniques and guidelines of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0
[http://www.w3.org/tr/wai-webcontent] and comply with Section
508 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act [http://www.section508.gov].
The following example illustrate a few proper techniques:

HTML should be used to mark up content, while design and
presentation should be achieved through style sheets. That is, a

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heading 1 <h1> tag should be used on a level 1 heading of a
document and not used merely to increase font size. A
paragraph tag <p> should be used to delineate a paragraph of
text, not to create extra space between two elements. Font size,
font color, and the positioning of elements should all be
accomplished with style sheets.
Written permission must be obtained for use of copyrighted materials,
with the clear understanding on the part of the copyright holder that
these materials will be used in a channel within the School’s portal on
the Web. This applies to the use of text, logos, photographs, drawings,
video clips, sound clips, and other copyrighted materials. Photos of
Mines faculty and students at School-related events may be used.
Photos of non-Mines-student minors can only be used with a written
release, signed by a parent or guardian, authorizing the use of the
child's image. Contact the Public Relations Office at 303-273-3326 for
more information.
Portal channels may not contain advertising, which means the
promoting of a commercial product or service, whether or not
compensation is exchanged or anticipated. Text links to commercial
sites are strongly discouraged, with the exception of resources licensed
by the School, but are not considered advertising when provided for
informational purposes or as part of a comprehensive list of sources.

Directory information of faculty, staff, and students may be included,
but must be in compliance with the Family Educational Rights and
Privacy Act (FERPA), which allows students the option of removing
themselves. FERPA flags set in the campus database MUST be

Channels containing eCommerce (credit card transactions) must be in
compliance with School fiscal procedures, while protecting the privacy
of on-line customers. All eCommerce done under the auspices of the
School must be pre-approved by Fiscal Services.

Channel Guidelines
The following guidelines should be considered when developing portal
Portal channels should follow the same graphic standards and undergo
the same professional scrutiny and careful preparation that is given to
any other official School publication, in any other medium, as these
channels will present an image of the School to the portal users.
Channels should adhere to the CSM Privacy Policy

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Channels should adhere to the Trailhead Design Guidelines
For channels that incorporate any scripting language, a copy of the
script(s) must be submitted to the portal management staff for review
and approval.
Channel developers should include their own mechanism for tracking
the usage of their channel(s), as the statistics available within the
portal are very limited.
Materials should be carefully checked for proper grammar and spelling.
Materials should be updated and maintained in a timely manner.
Materials should be developed with proper regard for the generally
observed principles of electronic etiquette ("netiquette"). For more
information, visit http://www.albion.com/netiquette.
Responsibilities of Users
Users, including students, faculty, and staff, of Colorado School of Mines
computers, disk storages, networks, and other resources must adhere to the
Acceptable Use Policy for Computing and Networking Resources at Colorado
School of Mines [http://acn.mines.edu/policies/computerpolicies.html].

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Related Links
or Resource
Trailhead Mission
Trailhead Design
Channel Development
Request Form
Channel Development
Trailhead Content
Review Policy
List of Tab
Tab Administrators'
CSM Groups Policy
Announcements Policy
Default Portal

24 September 2008

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Appendix A. Tab Administrators List
Tab Name
Responsible Position
Email Address
Trailhead tab
Portal Administrator
My Tab tab
Portal Administrator
Teach/Advise tab
VP Academic Affairs
Student Resources
Campus Life tab
Director of Student Activities
Employee Resources
VP Academic Affairs & VP
Finance & Operations
Research tab
VP Research
Portal Administrator

Appendix B. Channel Development Resources
Tools and Resources
Web Development Software Dreamweaver, FrontPage, etc.
Web Server Access and
Need account(s), directory(s) and access permissions
Web Server software/tools
CGI capabilities, ASP, server-side include capabilities (SSI)
Training tools
Computer based training (CBT), 3rd party manuals, in-house
assistance, etc.

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Channel Owner: Has ultimate responsibility for the content and
Providers &
maintenance of the channel. May delegate or hire out other aspects
of the channel development.
Channel Programmer: Minimally should be able to create a web
page (via web development tools, hand coding, etc).
Channel Programmer/Advanced Web Developer: Has advanced
web development skills (eg, java, javascript or CGI programming)
and/or Database Admin skills.
Channel Maintainer: Minimally should be able to edit a web page to
maintain the content.
Tab Administrators: Manage and oversee the layout of their tabs
and the channels presented.
Content Review Committee: Reviews Channels and Tabs to check
to see that the content is up-to-date, relevant and appropriate.
Portal Content Management: Manage, oversee and enforce the
policies and procedures for portal content.
Departmental or Campus Web Server Administrators: Manage
the web servers, permissions, account access, web space, etc for
their respective servers.
Portal Master, Portal Administrators, Portal Management
Staff: Manage portal accounts/access, permissions. Interacts with
the content administrators and provides services in support of
publishing content on the portal.

24 September 2008