The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) is a membership organization that is focused on advancing excellence in education through the effective use of technology. For over 30 years, ISTE has built a loyal base of members throughout the United States and the world. It has over 20,000 members, with over 100,000 unique website visitors per month. Its vision for the future is ambitious, but its web infrastructure was presenting challenges. From the perspective of membership management, the membership base had grown beyond the capacity of its current database. For the user experience, the website was cumbersome and difficult to update. Inflexibility had given rise to one‐off websites that were created to accommodate needs that the primary website couldn’t meet. Website maintenance was difficult, and ISTE felt it was not able to fulfill its mission through its own technology.
ISTE had identified a range of requirements for a new web solution, including:
- Powerful content management that would enable a workflow for multiple administrators
- Migration of external blogs to the primary website, with moderated commenting, tagging and RSS enablement
- A publication engine that allowed periodical content to be entered, categorized, tagged and presented by volume, issue and article
- An event calendar with the ability to filter events by category
- Integration with a new association management software system called Aptify E‐Business, which would also enable e-commerce for an online store
While the Sitefinity CMS provided many of the features that would meet ISTE’s requirements out of the box, it was evident that additional features would need to be developed to meet custom requirements. OakTree Digital was selected as the implementer for its expertise with Sitefinity, ability to extend Sitefinity with .NET programming and expertise in integrating it with third party systems.
Fortunately, Sitefinity’s open architecture made it easy for the OakTree development team to leverage existing Sitefinity modules and accommodate ISTE’s specific needs. ISTE needed a publication engine to organize its many years of articles, organized by publication type, volume, issue and article. It also wanted to enable comments, tagging and categorization and RSS subscription. OakTree extended the Sitefinity generic content module to provide all of these features. Now, administrators could easily enter new articles in a “blog-like” manner, and present the users an easy way to sort a tremendous amount of content.
Additionally, OakTree implemented multiple blogs, multiple calendars with category filters, and over 30 separate design templates to allow for great flexibility in creating new pages throughout numerous sections. OakTree integrated Aptify E‐Business with Sitefinity, which entailed dropping functional controls on Sitefinity pages to enable specific functionality.
Following a thorough needs assessment, OakTree designed a web solution on Sitefinity for ISTE that met the
expressed user needs and was integrated with a complex backend association management software package so that ISTE could better manage the needs of its substantial member community.
With the successful launch of its new website, ISTE is now much better positioned to fulfill its mission and support its membership.