about your own website?
Unit #2, we talked about linking your classroom to the World Wide Web. That unit
was an introduction to the web and its uses. But you may actually want to create
your own website so that students can always have available basic tools that you
have created. Over the years, I have made varying use of such websites, ranging
from minimal to extensive. You must decide whether this is an option that you
want to adopt.
have to decide for yourself what things would best benefit your students. I decided
that I should put four different kinds of things on my class websites:
matters, such as syllabi and assignments
I found myself repeating
I wanted to model
things I want to elaborate on
the years, this has amounted to a large amount of material for the various courses
I have created. I have created a page in this module with all
the links I have created which will give you some ideas. (You will notice
that some are much more elaborately developed than others.) There are three I
especially want to discuss:
1302: "Weblinks" Page:
History Web Page
Once I had begun to develop web pages, I decided it was easier
to have one special page to which I could refer students so I only had to give
one address in class. I left them to find the specific subject they were interested
in. Originally I had a link for each class and the "online magazine"
which I had created with a colleague. We developed Prolix-Skylark at the
beginning of the World Wide Web craze and much of it was developed in an era when
there wasn't a good selection of HTML writers, and many of the documents were
converted by manually adding the HTML codes, or "tags" directly to a
document, perhaps one created for another purpose.
is one of the websites I have been a bit lax at maintaining. There are, however,
many useful things for students still on the site, so I have left it. I have received
various comments over the years about the page on the site called "Orientations:
What Students Need to Know to Succeed in College," in particular a piece
I wrote called "Time:
You Have as Much as the President." I also use material from this page
in my lectures at the beginning of the semester, particularly, "How
to Survive College, Or At Least the First Year" by Ruth E. Vise. )
a while, I discovered that my Virtual Classroom could be used as a site for displaying
things that were common to all courses, so I reorganized it and created links
to those documents so any student in any class could read it. Sometimes I use
the materials in lecture and refer students to the page so they can examine the
pages at their leisure. (In classrooms linked to the web I can show the materials
directly. I can and have made copies of the entire website to carry into class
as part of a multimedia kit. As discussed in another unit, you have to adapt your
methods to your infrastructure.)
also decided that the Virtual Classroom -- created before the college had a mechanism
that would let students even access the Internet! -- would be a good place to
put links to all my pages, so I use it as my personal web page.
1302 "Web Links" Page:
In many ways, this is my favorite page,
as it contains teaching materials I developed over the years as I tried to find
various ways to get across complicated ideas about literary analysis to my students.
The page had its origin in an online course I was teaching. The title merely refers
to other material created by me, besides the online course, that they could find
on the web. The idea was to develop a cache of materials whose existence I could
both control and guarantee for students. (One thing about the World Wide Web is
that it is in constant flux, and links often go bad. With my own web site, this
is less a problem.)
I modeled various types of analysis, particularly for individual poems and short
stories, and have tried to write honest and helpful -- even provocative -- pieces
that will jar students to new realizations about literature. In this regard, I
would refer you to a piece I call "The
Awful Truth About Correct Analysis." I also have various tips for students
and in a couple of cases, material linked to the textbook we were using at the
time I created the page. I also post assignments on this page, as well.
short, the page is designed to be a storehouse of material that students can mine
for helpful information.
History Web Page:
This page has a different feel from the one I created
for my English 1302 classes. Instead of modeling analyses, I have tried to accumulate
here a collection of materials with provocative ideas about history. The page
is not as elaborately developed, as I have not been teaching history as long as
I have been teaching English -- and most of my energies in developing instructional
materials have gone into collection things for my multimedia kit, rather than
producing web pages.
I suggested above, each course will have different needs, and yours will certainly
vary from those I have developed here. (Feel free, however, to incorporate into
your own web pages any of the materials I have put online.)
I have tried
to show you a variety of pages that I have created. In making these pages, I have
tried to adhere to one basic principles: make the pages simple and easy to read
and use. None of the pages is very elaborate, and I don't choke them with visuals.
I do however, create the visuals as needed. The one used to illustrate an analysis
I did of Ernest Hemingway's short story, "Soldier's Home," is about
as elaborate as I get with visuals. The analysis is called "The
World of Harold Krebs," and different spots on the image are linked to
different parts of the analysis.
simplest way to go about developing a webwsite is to set it up in a folder on
your desktop. While people will not be able to access the site from there, it
gives you a place to work and test out new ideas. After you get enough material
developed -- using the kinds of pages you have created in the exercises for this
module to "go public," for example, you can then add to it whenever
you want to.
How do you
this I mean simply uploading it to a server that can be linked to by others. That
will entail contacting your local webmaster, asking him or her to create password-protected
space on the institution's server, the computer which stores the files accessible
by the public through the Internet and World Wide Web. The webmaster will also
list your site at some convenient public place.
my case, El Paso Community College has a page called "Faculty
Web Pages," where my "Virtual Classroom" is listed. Once you
have space on the server, your webmaster will give you directions for uploading
material, usually through a program called FTP, for "file transfer protocol."
This will allow you access to your site on a 24-hour-basis.
key is for you to make sure that any time you modify a page in your website folder
on your desktop, it's necessary to "upload" it to the site on the server.
You should think of the site on the server as a mirror image of the site on your
desktop. That means that if you, say, correct a spelling error on a page on your
desktop, you need to upload that page to the server. When you upload it, the new
file will write over the existing file and the correction will then be made.
may sound difficult, but it's not once you have done it a couple of times.
decide to illustrate your pages with images you have created (such as the ones
I have created and posted on the "Image Table"
and the "Instructional Graphics Page"
in this module), it will be important to remember to upload them as well, or there
will be a "hole" in the pages you create, a notice that something is
While some web
designers advice you to store images in separate folders, I think this is unnecessarily
complicated. And for the relatively simple websites that I have created, it's
sufficient to store all the pages and the images in the same folder. The added
benefit of this is that you when you create a new image, you will be unlikely
to accidentally overwrite it by assigning it a name identical to an image you
As you begin
to develop your website, the number of files and images can grow, literally into
the hundreds (this module, for example, has more than 150 files), so your website
folder on your desktop will eventually become pretty big. You will want to be
careful to assign filenames for both images and for web pages that are intuitive
and logical. That means that similar items should list together.
are two images (made with the "Print Screen" function of the keyboard)
to illustrate how the similar page files and image files are named so as to list
together when I open the folder:
image above shows you the file names for the exercises in the "Litening Web
Pages" section of this module. The filenames are in order, and you can tell
the size, the type of file, and the date created.
the second image, the list of file names for the red unit number icons used in
this module are all listed. Here for example, is the icon for this unit:
you have the image in the the folder you can use it as many times as you want
to in a web page or a website. For example, the "Unit 7" icon is used
twice on this page (one immediately above and one at the top of the page), but
there is only one "Unit 7" icon. You insert it wherever you want it,
and the same image is simply displayed.
any case, it will become intuitively obvious how best to name your image and page
files so that you can find them easily.
caution about images:
images may be copyrighted, it's best to generate your own, as discussed in Unit
#3 You can do this by using a program such as Paint or by using a digital camera.
If you find that the imagery you have found somewhere on the World Wide Web is
indispensable, you must either get permission to use it or create a link to it
so that it will be visible in a context that also gives credit to its creators.
unit is intended to give you a basic understanding of how to go about developing
and maintaining a web page. Before you can have a functioning website, however,
it will be necessary to contact your webmaster or someone at your information
technology department and have them explain to you and give you the necessary
training about how this all works at your institution.
won't be long until you are creating web pages right and left!.