Maine Department of Education – Online Needs Analysis

Areas of professional expertise change over time, especially in online media, but has been a dependable resource of position information through a decade of evolution.

I have included links to, and brief excerpts of, descriptions for professional expertise in communications, online media, and information technology  to illustrate roles for staff and contractors.

Structure of staff and contracted teams

Although a full spectrum of expertise is required to produce next-generation online media, the depth of that expertise will be defined by prioritized goals and available staff and budget.

(It’s similar to building a house: you have to have someone do the drafting, carpentry, electrical, and plumbing work, no matter whether it’s a cottage or a mansion. All of the skills are needed; it’s a question of which you do yourself and which you leave to the experts.)

In the early years of online media, a single webmaster did it all … or at least tried to. Of course, doing everything broadly meant little could be done with depth.

With a team of 3, the same responsibilities can be distributed to people with deeper expertise: manager, producer, developer. With a team of 5 (staff and/or contractors), an organization can take advantage of professional skill sets and compete for the attention of constituents accustomed to sophisticated online services they use every day.

Expertise in public communications

Communications director

“Directs and oversees communications programs that effectively describe and promote the organization and its products. May conduct market or public opinion research to assess program outcomes. Suggests promotional campaign ideas in various types of media, as well as counsels top management on effective communication strategies…”

Content manager – Web

“Manages all online content and projects related to the website. Writes, edits, and proofreads new content. Ensures that all documents meet established content standards and works with developers to assess any technical challenges in displaying the content…”

Videographer [editor]

“Integrates video and audio capability to the website. Maintains and operates video equipment, edits select footage, and stays up-to-date with all new technological advances…”

Expertise in online communications

Note: I have changed “Web” and “New Media” to “Online” for consistency.

Executive producer – [Online director]

“Oversees the overall cost of production for online projects. Directs and facilitates the overall content and other related content issues. Supervises both front-end production and content production teams. Creates and manages site enhancement and merchandise launch schedules…”

Community director – Online

“Establishes the overall strategic goals for community based content. Develops, directs, and implements community related content for an organization such as live events, bulletin boards, chat rooms, and email…”

Interface design director – Online

“Establishes, plans, directs and implements the user interface design. Designs and implements common user interface standards, system usability guidelines, design guidelines, GUI prototypes, HTML page design and management, and development methodologies…”

Expertise in information technology

Web administrator

“Maintains hardware and software critical to the functionality of the organization’s website. Monitors usage and performance, creates and maintains backups, and troubleshoots and resolves issues as they arise…”

Web developer

“Designs, develops, and implements software packages for onlinesites. Troubleshoots, debugs and implements software code. Has knowledge of standard concepts, practices, and procedures within a particular field (i.e., SQL, C++, HTML, CGI and JavaScript)…”

Web support specialist

“Supports online-based products and services through email support, desktop support, and telephone support. Interacts with customers and troubleshoots problems to provide a high level of customer satisfaction…”

Here is a list of all of’s descriptions for Internet and New Media positions

Document information

  • Professional resources – 5/17/2011c
  • Project: Maine Department of Education – Online Needs Analysis
  • Executive sponsor: Maine DOE Commissioner Stephen Bowen
  • Communications director: David Connerty-Marin
  • Online media consultant: Jay Collier, The Compass LLC
  • Funding: U.S. Department of Education EDFacts