Web Site Development

"Beam me up, Scottie." This popular line from Star Trek was a demonstration of the advanced technology of the future.

Web Site Development

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arch as they please and to access original documents which are not generally available. Individuals are free to interpret the meaning of the documents and reach their own conclusions. 4.3 Flexibility of Learning You want to provide maximum flexibility to allow learners to undertake learning and research in the order which best suits them. Because the web allows learners to "move around" at will, they do not need to follow a structured hierarchy. Generally learners need and want some direction but the web allows a more flexible approach. 4.4 Further Study You want learners to pool data and/or analysis to find patterns and trends or to undertake further study.

5.0 ASSUMPTIONS For a starting point and to keep us on track in this paper, I will discuss degree credit courses delivered by the University of New Brunswick. I will assume that for your case there is ready WWW web access for the professor as well as web access for students. Again, for consistency, I expect my students to have at least Netscape 3 (or its equivalent), their own internet service provider (ISP), and the skills necessary to access the WWW. These are my starting points - but most concepts discussed will transfer across institutional lines.

6.0 BEFORE YOU START YOUR COMPUTER 6.1 Steps to Take There a number of things that you should do before you begin to do any coding, contracting or late night computer hacking. There are meetings to setup, there is paper work to be done and decisions to be made. Then, and only then, do you get to "play" with the computer. 6.2 Meetings I would advise that you consider the following meetings as part of your endeavors. They will help you set the ground rules, help you avoid some of the mine-fields, and start you off on a working relationship with groups that can be either wonderful allies or formidable combatants, and hopefully help keep you on track as you work towards a finished product. 6.2.1 Your initial meeting with your own department I feel it is imperative for any relationship you and your delivering agency (Department of Extension, Continuing Education or "University of the World") to start with a good relationship with your own department. In this meeting you may need to get the approval of the supervisors of your department to be able to deliver in something other than the traditional face to face, on campus mode. Those in authority may have to guarantee the academic support for some period after the first start of delivery of the course (at UNB, the period is three years). At the University of New Brunswick, instructors delivering courses through the Department of Extension are recommended by the faculties. This is something you might also wish to discuss with your own department at this time. It is often assumed that the person(s) developing a course will be the one(s) that wish to teach the course and the one(s) that the faculty will appoint to teach the course. This is not always the case. You should also discuss possible sources of help for the development of your course. There are times when stipend relief may be available from various sources. There may also be funds available from other agencies. 6.2.2 Your first meeting with your delivering agency Having gained the approval of your faculty, you should next meet with your delivering agency. In this meeting, you should discuss the ways that they can help you in the development of your course. They may also share with you what they know about possible funding sources. As Web-based learning is different from regular face-to-face lecture learning, they will want you to make use of good instructional design methodologies. This is often an area where they can help. Here are some items you may wish to discuss at that meeting: a. possible methods of web-based delivery for your course, b. method of payment to the instructor, c. ancillary support materials and their delivery to the students, d. how the materials, assignments, marks and communications flow between parties e. liaisons with the libraries f. liaisons with Computer Services g. on-going checkpoint meetings with your delivering agency. At regularly scheduled intervals, you should meet with your delivering agency as they will wish to monitor the development of the course. Your delivering agency should be checking with you to: * keep abreast of your time lines. They need this to be able to best market your course and to see that it receives the coverage it deserves, * ensure the consistency of an Academia "look and feel" * ensure the consistency of any standards for web-based courseware development (for an example, please see http://www.unb.ca/home/webinfo/guide.html) * keep abreast of your needs and successes. These meetings are intended to insure the standards and formats consistent with the delivery of your institute's courses, and should in no way be an attempt to interfere with your teaching.

7.0 NOW YOU MAY START YOUR COMPUTER There is an ongoing debate as to whether one should do all or some of the web work oneself, or if the work should be jobbed out. I enjoy working with the web, I have instructional design training and have been involved in courseware development for quite a few years and so, as long as I have more time than financial resources, I will do the work myself. There are many very good professional agencies that can be contracted to produce courseware for you. These agencies can be contracted to do a wide range of the jobs necessary to complete any type of web-based application. There are probably agencies within your institution who specialize in instructional design and courseware development. These units should be consulted. For certain areas of the development that you do yourself, you will need some specific skills. 7.1 Skills and Talents 7.1.1 Essential Skills (Talents) You will need to be very familiar with these or will need access to people who are and can do these aspects of the job for you. 7.1.1.1 HyperText Markup Language - HTML Stands for HyperText Markup Language, and on a scale of one to ten, learning the basics of HTML is about a three. The web is a great resource (see the Resource list below), and there are a plethora of good books on the subject. I keep the most current version of Teach Yourself Web Publishing with HTML in a Week by Laura Lemay near my computer. As with all aspects of the WWW, the print support is changing constantly, but the most recent edition is usually the best. 7.1.1.2 Instructional Design Again, there a large number of excellent resources and my favorite is Jerry Kemp's The Instructional Design Process (New York: Harper & Row, 1985). It is however, out of print, and this is one case where I do think the next edition was not as good as the first. Another good choice is, Robert Branch's Common Instructional Design Practices Employed by Secondary School Teachers, Educational Technology, 34, (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Educational Technology Publications, 1995). 7.1.2 Optional Skills (Talents) 7.1.1.2.1 More HTML The more familiar you become with HTML, the more you will be able to enhance your course's web site. This can be a good thing, and it can also be not so good. Adding components and extra "bells and whistles" to your web site should be done as a conscious choice to support your educational objectives and not just because the "bells and whistles" are there. 7.1.1.2.2 CGI Stands for Common Gateway Interface and is the coding that allows the information collected from forms on webs sites to be manipulated. This can be as simple as allowing students to send specific assignments to you, or can be as elaborate as on-line registration. 7.2 Components of the Web Course Every Web-delivered course will have a number of components. These will vary depending upon your needs, your style and the degree of interactivity in the course. There are some components that should be part of your site, in order to make the course appealing to your customer. I feel that some components of a web-based course are essential and others are optional. 7.2.1 Essential Components These can be divided into static and dynamic. 7.2.1.1 Static Components These components change very little. They can be put on your web site and only updated as needed. 7.2.1.1.1 The Course Description This will often come directly from your University calendar. 7.2.1.1.2 The Professor This can be as informal or as formal as you like. What kind of first impression do you wish to make? How much do you wish to add? Do you wish to link to your own personal Web site (if you have one)? 7.2.1.1.3 Prerequisites Again, this can often come from your university calendar. It is always a good point to specify any particular computing hardware, software or skills that will be required for students to be able to take your course. 7.2.1.1.4 The Text Here is a nice place to put a scanned cover of the text - along with the ISBN, the publisher and all of the information needed for your potential students to acquire this text. Here is a good place to put a link to your institute's bookstore - assuming it has a web site. 7.2.1.1.5 Communications This is where you put as much information as you can about how students can reach you. Will you have office hours? Virtual office hours? Can they reach you via Email? How do they reach each other? Is there a listserv, a secure server? 7.2.1.1.6 Grading Students all seem to want to know what they have to do to get a mark. This is a good place to tell them about assignments, quizzes, mid-terms and finals, and any other expectations you have of them. 7.2.1.2 Dynamic Components These components may change often. They might be updated, or supplemented once a week or every few days. 7.2.1.2.1 Bulletin Board This gets used much more in the first part of the class. As the class gets "into it" this seems to be used less frequently. 7.2.1.2.2 Assignmen

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