Web page design for educators
I generated the following tips to help teachers/facilitators/professors
get their professional pages up and running. The web has come quite
a ways since I composed this, but I think it is still a helpful checklist
and a source of good ideas.
Note that the following are options for
what might be, not what should be. Use these lists and tips
as templates or inventories. They are not guidelines.
of a teacher's web site
I will not address formatting of these
sections. Typically an organization scheme will emerge from the content
once you have it all in place.
Title and/or heading - something brief
just to let the reader know where he/she is.
Welcome and statement of purpose -
friendly and to the point. "This page is intended to better facilitate
communication between parents, learners, and facilitators."
Examples of exemplary work by your learners
- Something for others to live up to and demonstrate your expectations.
Make sure you have their permission first and only post first names of
Links to other your school and other teachers'
sites - Particularly those with whom you plan interdisciplinary lessons.
Links to individual course pages if
you teach several.
A bio section and/or your resume -
Helpful in building the impression if you happen to look the same age as
Professional portfolio - Put out examples
of your work for students and their parents to see.
of individual course pages
Again, formatting is up to you.
Announcements - Reminders: the next
test date, assignments due, fund raising for field trips, the where and
when club meetings will be held, etc.
Syllabus - Your expectations for the
course, objectives, topics to be covered, etc. The usual. This
may also include some of the items covered below.
Assignment list - a printable list
of assignments which should have been completed. This is also useful
in portfolio assessments where it doubles as a base table of contents.
Grading policy - Also, long term opportunities
for extra credit (book reports, independent projects, etc.).
Copies of both past and current assignments
- Keep copies of the criteria for long terms projects on your page.
Kids loose things. This saves you the trouble of making extra copies.
Also, learners may access their assignments at any time, so there is no
excuse for not knowing what to do.
Discussion board - This is a little
more advanced, but chances are you can find someone who will set you up
with one. Many sites offer forums that are secure (i.e., allows access
to only you and your students).
Links to educational sites based on current
class topics - Outside resources that enrich the curriculum.
Link to personal email - "If you have
questions or comments about this site or my classes, please email me."
Phone: (123) 555-7890
Office: Rm 101, Building
Texts required, optional, and/or other
supplies (software, graph paper, etc.).
Courses to have been taken or which must
be taken concurrently.
Attendance & Participation
Policy and effect on final grade, etc.
No food or drink allowed, etc.
Policy on Academic Misconduct
Example: No cheating will be tolerated.
Anyone caught cheating (all forms) will receive a failing grade for the
course. This includes plagiarizing another studentís lab report or
by copying from the lab manual without proper citations.
Policy on Disability Accommodations
Compliance with Section 504 the Americans
with Disabilities Act in making reasonable accommodations for qualified
students with disabilities. Please present your written request before
the 12th class day so that necessary arrangements may be made.
Other items. For example:
-Policy on late assignments
-Extra credit policy.
Sequence of topics by week, etc.
Those are the most general
things I see on these sorts of pages. There are a lot of discipline-specific
things you could include, but this is just a general template to get you
started. If you need any help, feel free to email
About Web Sites
Some things to be aware of when creating
Copyright infringement - Don't post
graphics you didn't create or purchase, questions or other material from
text books, text from others' sites, etc. You can create links to other
pages if you need learners to read something you found. While you can't
guarantee that a document will be there when learners are supposed to see
it, linking to it at least keeps you from violating someone's copyright.
Use of photographs - Photographs must
be with permission for all learners. Have a permission form available if
you are going to be taking pictures to publish on-line.
Students full names - Below a certain
age only the learner's first name may be printed. Check with your school's
administration for their policies on the matter. Usually high school age
learners are exempt from this, but junior high is a grey area.
Student progress - You can post a syllabus,
but you may not list which assignments specific learners have completed,
and especially not grades or other details regarding academic history.
Don't start by thinking about writing code.
Instead think about what you would use you site for the vast majority of
the time. I started by writing and writing and writing nothing but the
text that would eventually end up on my web site. There was no need to
concern myself with the technical aspects until I had something to work
with. Why try to build a car before you've got the parts you need handy?
One of the teachers I helped put on-line said
that the best advice I gave her was to ignore all the fancy stuff and to
just write the text. In other words, forget what the web site will eventually
like, and worry about the meat of the site. You can't really paint a house
until you've finished building it, so don't even start looking for graphics
until you have an idea what purpose the aesthetics will likely to serve.
When you start to paste your site together,
don't include too much graphic content. It can slow down the time required
to download a site, be distracting, and look self-indulgent. This goes
double for distracting animations. Suggestion: Use your graphics constructively
rather than as mere ornamentation. For example, pictures of what you're
highlighting can make for great bullets that address both left- and right-brained
Dialogue with others. Having a peer give you
constructive advice can get you thinking about the best ways of organizing
your site so that someone unfamiliar with it can navigate effectively on
their first visit.
Don't put what you don't want copied on the
internet. If you think something is just too precious to give away, don't
put it out there. This includes lesson plans, copies of old tests, etc.
Finally, don't be afraid to ask your students
for help. Rarely will kids perceive you as ignorant when you ask for help
with something they can show off their knowledge of. Find out who your
computer gurus are and treat building your site as an enrichment project,
something they can show off to their parents and peers when they're all
building your site
Netscape Composer - This program is
included with Netscape Communicator. Netscape is free on the web
and is very easy to work with (except for a few quirks). Everything
on this site was built using this program.
Microsoft Frontpage - This is a fairly
well designed program, but it's a bit of an investment price-wise. However,
it does have a lot of bells and whistles, far more than you will ever need.
text copyright Alexplorer.