January 18, 2002

School of Medicine launches new Web site

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School of Medicine launches new Web site

Medical students Tristan Gorrindo and Steve Leung worked with  Donna Schot on the new School of Medicine Web site. (photo by Dana Johnson)

Medical students Tristan Gorrindo and Steve Leung worked with Donna Schot on the new School of Medicine Web site. (photo by Dana Johnson)

Prospective students looking at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine can now find all the information they need—from how much a Vanderbilt medical education costs to how to apply to where to stay in Nashville when they visit—all with a click of a mouse.

The Vanderbilt University School of Medicine Web site, http://www.mc.vanderbilt.edu/medschool/, has undergone a facelift of sorts—a renovation that has given it a visually appealing, simple, standardized format. The result—a Web site with more information that’s easier to navigate—is available beginning today.

“Our former Web site was frustrating,” said Roger Chalkley, Ph.D., senior associate dean of Biomedical Research Education and Training and the Vanderbilt faculty member who spearheaded the effort that has resulted in the new design. “It was the feeling of myself and Deans (Gerald S. Gotterer, Debbie German and Bonnie M. Miller) that we needed a new format.”

Besides Chalkley, the masterminds of the facelift have been Chanchai McDonald, Ph.D., director of Educational Technology, and Donna Schot, VUSM’s webmaster. They took Chalkey’s idea one step further and enlisted the help of two second-year medical students. The students were able to provide the unique perspective of what information might be useful to both prospective and current students. The students, Tristan Gorrindo and Steve Leung, have worked with Chalkley, McDonald and Schot since last fall, bringing their own ideas and those of their classmates to the Web site’s content. The students are receiving course credit for their work.

“We lacked a student’s eyes,” McDonald said. “They were able to provide tremendous insight into what was needed.”

In addition to providing a resource for prospective students, the site also provides some essential information for current students. Publications, digital resources, offices and organizations are categories under the “current students” heading. The category is subdivided into separate information for each class.

The facelift is part of an overall medical center Web site overhaul in which all academic, research and institutional pages are being redesigned under McDonald’s leadership.

“There were functional problems with the old Medical School Web site,” Leung said. “Navigation was a problem and there was a black background, making printing some of the material impossible.”

The main categories to choose from on the home page were reduced from 20 on the old Web site, to nine on the current. But within each of the nine main categories there are many subcategories, all well organized and chock-full of helpful information.

The renovation process began more than a year ago.

The renovated Web site will also offer a great deal of information about the 1,100 full-time VUSM faculty members. Each faculty member is providing his or her information and can edit that information at any time. The information will also be useful for the general public who are looking for experts in a particular field, Chalkley said.

Current medical students will also benefit from the Web site by having much of the information that clutters their mail boxes and e-mail boxes posted on the Web page. There will be spaces for announcements, sales, as well as information on courses, a special events calendar, online chat rooms and current class photos and phone list that can be updated by students if they move, get married or have a new telephone number.

“Our goals were to put a nice, easy to navigate face on the Web site and to show what it’s like to be a student here,” Gorrindo said. “I think we’ve achieved those goals.”

Medical students will be able to work with Schot each year, for course credit, helping to keep the Web site updated.