Christopher Herdt's Portfolio
I led the team that handled the technical implementation of Penn Law's cloud-based Canvas LMS, replacing our on-site learning management system. This required the integration of course and enrollment data, as well as the creation of numerous plugins in order to preserve required functionality within the new system. The integrations made substantial use of the Canvas REST API.
Working closely with White Whale Web Services and Penn Law's Communications office, I led the technical team to implement a major site redesign. The site won the People's Voice Webby Award in the law category in 2013 and 2014, and was ranked the #1 law school homepage in "Top 10 Law School Home Pages of 2012" (see http://ssrn.com/abstract=2262377).
To better display the global nature of the Penn Law alumni network, I created this feature incorporating a custom Google Maps overlay. I also created an accompanying AJAX-enabled admin tool to maintain the source data on the backend database.
Facebook in Higher Education (presentation)
I gave this presentation to the cross-campus Web Special Interest Group (Web-SIG) at the University of Pennsylvania in April, 2009, and to the web and marketing teams at the University of Pennsylvania Health System in May, 2009.
This interactive Flash (ActionScript 3) feature showcases extracurricular activities at the school. It features a complex programmatically-generated animation to accommodate changing data in the XML source and an AJAX-enabled admin tool to allow content-providers to keep the data fresh.
Based on a designer's mockups, I created standards-compliant table-less
XHTML templates, associated Movable
Type blog templates, and a customized Coveo Enterprise Search interface.
The communications department wanted to showcase more school events and accomplishments, so we created a newsroom section featuring Movable Type powered blog entries, social bookmarking tools, and an interactive Flash feature promoting video content. The video content is delivered via the popular JW Player, streamed from a backend Wowza server.
Penn Law - ITS Help Center (access restricted)
I created this self-service help center to assist the IT support team in providing fast answers to common IT questions and reduce expensive walk-in tech support. It features a custom CMS (content management system) written in ColdFusion that allows the support team to easily edit and maintain the site content, as well as reporting mechanisms to identify popular help topics.
I managed the 4-person team to implement the new design templates for the 6000+ page Penn Law site. Although the templates provided were not standards-based HTML, I converted them to valid HTML 4.01 and created the accompanying CSS prior to implementation. The redesign also included the customization of Movable Type blog templates, WebEvent calendar templates, and setup and customization of a new Coveo search engine and interface.
The School of Social Work's Web site contains over 3000 dynamic, data-driven Web pages. I created and updated the ColdFusion web applications that run the site, as well as administered the ColdFusion MX server software. I maintained and configured the IIS server software, installed SSL certificates, maintained the streaming media Helix Server, and analyzed logfile stats to find areas to optimize and improve user experience and site performance.
ePortfolio is part of a cross-campus initiative to investigate the usefulness of electronic portfolio software as a learning and evaluative tool. I maintain the server and installed new versions of the open source OSP software for 4 schools within the university, running on an Apache Web server/Tomcat JSP server with a MySQL back-end database.
The Emerging Scholars Interdisciplinary Network composed a weekly text-based e-mail newsletter to send to its members. I worked with Prof. Sean Joe and Ianncomm to design a database-driven multipart/HTML newsletter to achieve 3 goals: reduce newsletter production time, increase member response to the newsletters, and add newsletter content to a searchable database to increase ease of information retrieval.
Although MLive.com offered template-based Web sites to advertisers, auto dealers were particularly adamant about using photo-dominant pages. The challenge here was to create a scalable product—to create a new template that could be used for nearly any car dealership.
This is a quarterly travel feature produced in conjunction with eight daily newspapers in Michigan. I received the materials only two days before publication, so I created Photoshop actions to automate image processing, and scripts to automate the data entry.
White Crow is a journal of short fiction and poetry that I edit and publish. The Web site is primarily a means for writers to access submission guidelines, but it also offers excerpts from previous issues and links to purchase issues. Navigation is consistent across all pages of the site. The consistency makes it easy on the user, but also on me: I can change the site navigation with one global search-and-replace command.
Water's Edge is a special section of The Muskegon Chronicle, published four times a year. I received the section as a 30pp+ Quark Xpress document. Converting the print publication into an online section requires heavy photo processing, ad creation, and data entry. Some pages are easier to recode from scratch; others are best edited from previous versions after a detailed comparison to the print publication. Production requires speed as well as attention to detail.
MLive.com runs frequent print ads in the Booth Newspapers, with a Sunday readership of over 1.3 million. (It is therefore essential to review the ads carefully before they are printed 1.3 million times each.) I create the ads in Quark Xpress using a styleguide provided by our corporate office. The ads are saved as EPS files, and then converted to PDF before they are sent to the newspapers for publication.
I don't have much creative input on the ads, but I was pleased to find the stock photo in this example--unlike most of our stock photos, the scenery in this one could very well be Michigan.
Sesi Lincoln Mercury Volvo ads
My contact at Sesi indicated they wanted to change frequently which vehicle they featured in their online advertising campaign. I saved the sequence of commands used to create the vehicle animation effect as a Photoshop action to automate the process of updating the ads to feature different vehicles.
I produced a monthly e-mail newsletter in both HTML and text format for the Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau to promote travel in the Greater Detroit area. Once the graphics were produced and the page coded, I tested the newsletter in a variety of e-mail clients to insure a consistent appearance across major platforms and operating systems.
For more examples of my work, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org