McGill University’s website

Check out the latest XKCD comic. Let’s use this comic to evaluate McGill’s front page, www.mcgill.ca:

Things that the XKCD comic says will be on a typical university’s front page:

  • Campus photo slideshow … ✓
  • Alumni … ✓
  • Events … ✓
  • Press releases … ✓
  • School’s philosophy … sort of, if you count the summary in the footer
  • Letter from the president … ✓
  • Virtual tour … no
  • Full name of the school … ✓

Things that the XKCD comic says that people will be looking for on a typical university’s website:

  • Faculty contacts … no
  • Campus address … ✓
  • Application forms … there’s a link to a page about it (half points)
  • Academic calendar … I have no idea where to find one of those for McGill, and I’ve been a student there for over a year. I’m serious about this. I have no idea how to find out when Reading Week is, officially. Last year, I found out by looking on the McGill Student Union’s site for the week in February when it wasn’t offering any programmes or services.
  • Campus police phone number …no
  • Department/course lists … no
  • Parking information … no
  • Usable campus map … such a thing does not exist at McGill. And yes, I’m aware of this map – it is unusable. Try to find the Bioethics Unit on there without cheating.

Looks like the XKCD cartoon gives a pretty much accurate assessment of McGill’s front page.

If we compare this to the front page of UWO, my alma mater, UWO does slightly better, but not because they have anything more useful on their site. They just don’t have the campus slideshow or letter from the president.

I’m tempted to email this comic to McGill Communications Services, but I don’t want to be a jerk.

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The Grey Literature

This is the personal blog of Benjamin Gregory Carlisle PhD. Queer; Academic; Queer academic. "I'm the research fairy, here to make your academic problems disappear!"

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