iFALCON reboots its website with a new look

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Jimmy Edwards-Turner/TM

Students like engineering major Aaron Kooppe access the new IFALCON website and its features

Jimmy Edwards-Turner

The launch of the improved iFalcon website saw a little under 1000 hits its first day. With over a million hits since its launch last Monday, the site is now in full swing.

A live, interactive demonstration of how to use and navigate the new site was held on Tuesday.

Changes made to the site include a new, more intuitive design that more closely resembles the Cerritos College homepage and a page dedicated to faculty and staff.

Reasons for the changes “came out of student desire to see a website that was cleaner, easier to navigate, and more accurately reflected the college webpage,” according to Stephen Clifford, English professor and co-coordinator of the iFalcon academic success campaign.

Focus groups, comprising students from the iFalcon club, ASCC and other classes, that were held in December 2009 and January 2010 led to the use of a design similar to the college webpage.

Ty Boman, web administrator, and Samuel Chavez, program assistant I in the college’s Web Administration, did the heavy lifting on this project.

“After redesigning the [college’s] homepage, students said how much they liked it,” Chavez reports. “Steve [Clifford] came to us with the interest in having the iFalcon site resemble the [college’s] homepage.”

Boman had to develop a whole new template for the layout of iFalcon’s website. Everything seen at http://cms.cerritos.edu/ifalcon was made from scratch.

This is the site’s third iteration, thus “Falcon 3.0” is what Clifford and the other members of the iFalcon Leadership Team have taken to calling it.

“The first website was just information,” Clifford states. “[The second site] was based on the tools we wanted students to have access to.” Videos, polls, RSS feeds from the campus library and other features were added for iFalcon’s second version.

Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences, Bryan Reece, says, “Students are very sophisticated now and they’re not looking for a ‘dead’ website. We need to respect that and have a rich environment for them.”

The prevalence of online activity by the student body was an immense factor in the choices made for the site. With a new Facebook page, YouTube channel and twitter feed, it is clear that the team behind iFalcon is doing its best to connect to students.

The need to get to students is stressed within the iFalcon club as well. “We try to reach students and help them be successful,” Yesenia Carrajal, president of the iFalcon club, says. “Sometimes students feel lost and we’re here to help them.”

The iFalcon club mainly focuses on helping students with academic management and fundraising for iFalcon scholarships for Cerritos students. “If you donate money to us, you know it’s going to Cerritos students,” Pritika Hirani, vice president, affirms.

It seems students and their feedback is iFalcon’s main concern. The website features videos of student interviews, linked from iFalcon’s very own YouTube channel. “We’re being really conscious about getting student voices,” Reece says.

The iFalcon team wants “to get a sense of how [students] became successful here [at Cerritos College],” according to Reece, in order to better demonstrate and show other students what it takes to succeed in college.

“iFalcon 3.0” also shines the spotlight on faculty this time around. A new button on the site links to a page for faculty that features ways for teachers to incorporate the habits of mind into their curriculum.

Faculty voices are being shared through blogs linked on the site as well. Blogs by Lynn Serwin, English professor and co-coordinator of the iFalcon academic success campaign, and Marvelina Barcelo, an academic counselor and co-director of the Transfer Center, are featured on the revamped page.

“[iFalcon] is growing,” Reece states. “It’s a major source of content for students and I think they’re going to get most of their information there.”