“We mainly build the Jetpack for higher education,” said Blake Bertuccelli, introducing me to the idea for Edupack, a project still in its early stages.
He and his team are looking for more Advisors to join the eighth round of their monthly braintrust events. It’s a project they started in November 2020 and is now coming to fruition. Feedback is crucial to pushing such businesses out of the gate, and the team needs more.
Bertuccelli listed several focal points for the Edupack project:
- Integration: New campus users can create a beautiful campus WordPress site with just a few clicks.
- Archiving: Obsolete sites are automatically archived to save campus resources.
- Reporting: Accessibility, plagiarism and use of resources are accessible from the Edupack dashboard.
- Brand and content management: Higher education approved content templates and universal branding checks ensure sites look good and consistent.
- Configuration management: Cloud-controlled configuration settings mean administrators can control millions of sites from one place.
“Our onboarding form offers predefined sites from which users can start,” said Bertuccelli. “So if a scientist needs a new site for their lab, they can select a pre-built lab site from our onboarding form and then add their unique content. “
Bertuccelli is the CEO of Edupack. He called himself a “forever learner” and is currently reading A History of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russell.
“I paid for my Tulane studies by coding WordPress themes,” Bertuccelli said. “After college, I founded one of the first WordPress development stores in New Orleans (Decubing). A year ago, I introduced the creation of a self-publishing platform with Multisite at WP Campus. The feedback was phenomenal, and two guys from Birmingham offered to work on a plugin with me. A few months later, we launched the Edupack MVP. Since then, people from Harvard, Dartmouth, and about 17 other universities have worked with us to make WordPress an even better CMS for higher education professionals.
The “two guys” he refers to are his co-founders, Nathan Monk and Matt Lees. They run a WordPress store called SMILE. Monk is the CTO of Edupack. Lees is the Creative Director – Bertuccelli called him “Lord of UX”. In total, the three co-founders have over 30 years of experience working with higher education and WordPress.
The Edupack team makes accessible content a priority, which is a key issue for higher education. The goal is to offer A11Y reports in the WordPress dashboard and link them to the publishing workflows. This would notify users of errors when posting content.
“Our accessibility reports tie into another feature we’re launching this month: site archiving,” Bertuccelli said. “Campus users graduate and often forget about their sites. Edupack sends a notification to a user if the site has not been accessed, then adds an “archived” meta-value to the site from which super administrators can act.
“Developers often recode thousands of sites to add a new Campus branding,” Bertuccelli said of the reasons behind Edupack. “Department budgets are exhausted on resources for obsolete sites. Institutions are prosecuted for inaccessible content or misused branding.
“Edupack intends to automate the management of websites so that higher education professionals can focus on supporting education. “
The following video is an introduction to Edupack:
Join the Braintrust session
Every third Wednesday of every month, Edupack organizes a “Braintrust” event. Bertuccelli says it’s the best way to get involved. The session lasts one hour on a Zoom video chat. The next event is scheduled for July 21 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. (CDT).
Each session focuses on a single question. Next week’s question: “How can we improve WordPress blocks for higher education?” “
“We will be demonstrating the Edupack updates, brainstorming solutions for improving blocks, and then finishing with action steps to be taken by next month,” said Bertuccelli. “People who manage WordPress sites for global institutions and businesses attended our last seven braintrusts. Any professional of higher education is welcome!
Those interested can also follow the progress via the Edupack blog.
Price and future
There is currently no publicly available price list. The project’s FAQ page says the team is still working out costs and Bertuccelli has been silent on the exact numbers.
“Community colleges cannot afford the technology used by large schools,” he said. “It’s not fair. Edupack will be priced so that every institution can afford the service. We haven’t thought about pricing beyond that.
Universities wishing to learn about the project should schedule a demonstration from the home page of the site.
Edupack has around twenty institutions serving as development partners and guiding the roadmap. The team invites new schools to join every few months. Currently, Tulane and the University of Gloucestershire use Edupack. Harvard and Dartmouth should be next.
Service is limited to universities and colleges at this time. However, the team would eventually like to expand into the education sector. Afterwards, we’ll have to see.
“Edupack’s functionality can be applied to any industry where users manage many sites,” said Bertuccelli. “I could see advertising companies using Edupack, hosting companies integrating our tools, and school districts managing their network of sites through Edupack and WordPress. “