JMU launched its first website in 1995 when Internet browsing meant a dial up connection ran with archaic web technology, by today's standards. The first implementation of the JMU website was developed and maintained by JMU employees.
Today, people are searching, binging, tweeting and friending across a multitude of web technologies. Not only has the way audiences use and consume the web changed, but also how web content is developed and maintained. Even JMU's most recent implementation, Web Manager 2, still remained behind the curve of cutting edge web technology.
As a homegrown application, Web Manager 2 offered limited central support, required editors to understand HTML and web design standards. The framework of the system was based on pages of content that required extensive attention to design detail, often resulting in high dollar budgets needed to create a quality departmental website.
In an effort to advance JMU web technologies effectively and efficiently JMU purchased Cascade, a content management system (CMS), owned by Hannon Hill
. In addition to purchasing this system, JMU partnered with mStoner
, a leading web consultant to non-profit organizations, to help guide the development and design process. mStoner specializes in higher education institutions to provide smart, sustainable communication solutions.
The Cascade project officially kicked off in 2010 led by a Steering Committee comprised of University Communication and Marketing and IT employees. The Steering Committee worked hand-in-hand with Hannon Hill, mStoner, and various partners across the JMU campus. In 2011, an Implementation Team was appointed to make the project come to life. This team, with support of the Steering Committee, collaborated with departments and organizations across campus to ensure a broad range of needs and requirements would be met with the final product.