Publishing Your Web Site on the World Wide Web

Copyright 2000 Miguel Guhlin
"Ok, now that I have a web page, what do I do with it?" As I looked into startling clear blue eyes, I clicked on the Classroom Web Pages link on the screen.
"You have a variety of options," I paused as the Publishing Your Web Site page loaded on the screen, "but you should first consider if your district will publish your work.
"Well," she said with a frown, "our campus webmaster is too busy to post our pages." Gesturing to her partner teacher, "She's tried to get pages published but by the time they get out on the server, too much time has gone by."
Recognize this as a common complaint? If you are a classroom teacher, then this article will address some of the questions you have about publishing your web page, announcing it to others, and explaining to others how to distinguish between different types of pages you might create. If an administrator, then this might serve as a non-threatening way to introduce staff to web publishing guidelines.

Web Page Categories

As a rule of thumb, the pages we create as teachers fall into several categories:
1) School-affiliated: This type of web site--like classroom web pages and student project pages--should not be posted anywhere on the web without district permission or approval. Usually, these types of pages refer to the district, campus or are projects developed in class by students. As a teacher, limit your liability should anything go wrong--for example, a parent complains about their child's work and you suddenly have to defend why you have a district students's name out on the web, even if you have the appropriate release forms.
2) The second category of web-based teaching and learning resource pages are those that focus on education topics (i.e. focus on problem-based learning). This can include pages used as resources by other teachers and students in the classroom but do not require approval because they are resources on the web.

Free, Advertisement Paid Host Web Servers

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SchoolLife.net (http://www.schoollife.net/): This web site will offer teachers and schools the flexibility of using templates to create their web pages or they can create their own HTML documents and upload them intact.
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Homework Central Hosting (http://www.homeworkcentral.com/hosting/): This web site offers space for schools, teachers, and students. They even have on line help for your web site development.
  • Homestead (http://www.homestead.com/): Basic members can have up to 12 mg free web server space. This site will allow you to build your own site using their easy to use HTML coding program. Also, you can add dynamic content to your web site. > >
  • Yahoo Geocities (http://www.geocities.com/): > Members can have up to 15 megabytes of free web server space. This site will allow you to build your own site using their easy to use HTML coding program, and it also allows you to use File Transfer Protocol to put web pages to the site. This is my personal favorite.
Some examples include webquests, subject samplers, multimedia scrapbooks (http://www.edsupport.cc/mguhlin/webs/projects) that students use to complete an activity but do not feature student work nor display the district's name.Web-based teaching and learning resources can be posted on free, advertiser paid web pages, such as the ones shown right.
Once you post these resource pages, you can register them with different lesson plan collections. You can also announce your page by going to http://www.scrubtheweb.com,
a search tool site that has a free, easy-to-use submission tool for web pages. It will submit your web page address (URL) to 20 different search tools. The process takes approximately 20 minutes.
3) Personal vs. Professional Web Pages: Some administrators often associate personal and professional web pages; in truth, they are distinctly different, as higher education staff know (they are allowed to post their professional pages on their work site, a freedom K-12 staff do not yet enjoy).
First, personal web pages refer to the non-work, non-professional lives we lead at home and after-hours. The professional web page is one that details our work philosophy, teaching qualifications, and may even include an electronic portfolio.
Professional web pages are useful in demonstrating our work proficiency and detailing our work experience. Some choose to combine professional pages and education resources (You can see an example at http://www.edsupport.cc/mguhlin). The web-based teaching and learning resources are easily made a part of the professional's electronic work portfolio.

Procedure for Posting School Affiliated Web Pages

"As a professional," I told the blue-eyed high school teacher, "ask yourself what kind of web page do you want to post? If it is a classroom or school affiliated web page, then it should be on a district site. If it is a professional or teaching and learning resources page, it is safe to put it out on the web and use it as a resource." While she was nodding her head, a technology coordinator raised his hand.
"I often hear complaints about teachers waiting a long time to see their work get on the web. For example, a class web page with behavior policy or student projects may take a long time to get posted. How can I facilitate the approval process on top of everything else I have to do in a day?"
Taking a deep breath, I started in on a response that is controversial in some districts. "One district I know about has had success in allowing teachers to publish directly to the school district's web site. The district leaders recognize that their teachers are professionals and after an orientation class, it allows teachers full access to post. The orientation class deals with the topics of copyright, acceptable use policies, release forms for student work and appropriateness of web page content." I could see the doubt in his eyes as to successful implementation.
"If you're not willing to give up control or are unable to offer the needed staff development, it is critical that you set up a speedy web approval process like the one Jim McNamara from Southwest ISD, San Antonio, Texas uses."

Getting Your Own Domain Name and Web Site Host Server

Despite the fact that you can publish your web pages on free, ad paid host servers like the one that Yahoo's Geocities offers, there is one thing you cannot avoid on all these ad paid host servers--advertisement on your pages. The only way to avoid advertisements is to make an investment of your own in a server. You should ask yourself the following questions when trying to get your own domain name (i.e. www.myname.net):
a) What kind of domain is right for me?
b) Should I get the domain name first, and then find someone to host my web site? Or, should I get the web site host to get the domain name I specify?
c) What kind of server do I need?
Domain names such as "antiquesatgreene.com" abound on the web. They are created and registered by people just like you who want to publish their web site. You do not have to run a business to have your own domain name. Remember that domain names are familiar, easy to remember names for computers on the Internet (such as amazon.com). They correspond to a series of numbers (called Internet Protocol numbers or IP#s) that serve as routing addresses on the Internet. Domain names are used generally as a convenient way of locating information and reaching others on the Internet (excerpted from Internic.net's Frequently Asked Questions).
You just have to ask yourself, what kind of domain is right for me? Below is a chart outlining some of the different domains that are available for you to purchase:
Domain
Description
http://www.yourname.com
.com usually refers to business names. You are undoubtedly familiar with some already, such as Amazon.com.
http://www.yourname.org
.org usually refers to non-profit organizations.
http://www.yourname.net
.net can refer to a variety of organizations and/or other interests.
http://www.yourname.cc
.cc is a relatively new domain that is used by individuals and businesses alike.
The first step in the process of selecting a domain name usually involves conducting a search to see if the name you want for your web site has been taken or not (use http://www.domainsearch.com to find out). There are a variety of web sites out there, but the ones included in this section are recommended by Virgil Kirk, Educational Consultant for Guides on the Side, a consulting service that focuses on web design and domain name registration.
The second step is to decide whether you want a web hosting service to set up your domain name (the "yourname.net") for you (the charge is usually $70 if you register yourself, anywhere from free to $50 if you get your host service to handle the domain name registration for you) or whether you will do that yourself. If you choose to register your own domain name, you can pay for domain name registration online at http://www.domainit.com. Your registration fee, whether you pay for it on your own or through a web site hosting service, will register your domain name for two years.
You can find a list of different web hosters and what each offers according to a target price you enter on the web online at http://www.webhosters.com. It is highly recommended that when you pick your web host, that you provide them with 3 pieces of information: a) desired domain name; b) login name; c) password.
The third step in the process is to decide what kind of server you are going to need. If you are a Mac user, then you may want to find a web host that will use a Macintosh server. If you are using Frontpage 2000, you will want to find a web host service that will provide a Windows NT/2000 server with Frontpage Server Extensions. If you are a database user, ask yourself if they support your database connection software, such as Filemaker Pro 5's Web Companion or the industry standard, Allaire's //Cold Fusion//.
Two of the factors that must be considered are whether you will need more than one file transfer protocol (FTP) account (the primary way for you to get your web site from your computer to the host server; more about FTP later) and multiple email accounts. Another point to consider is the data transfer rate. This rate refers to the amount of data that you are allowed to transfer with your account. Data in this case refers to images, text, or anything else that the web server must transfer to the user's web browser. As a general rule, 500 MB of data transfer is equivalent to about 20,000 page views.
Also one must consider whether the server you choose will be a virtual, non-virtual, or dedicated server. The virtual server allows multiple domain names to be hosted and, for this reason, it is the least expensive. Non-virtual servers allow you to establish control of one server, however, you do not own it. Dedicated servers grant you administrator access and are the most expensive of the three. Unless you run a business that requires a server and a high data transfer rate, avoid the non-virtual and dedicated servers and use a virtual server.

Adding a Site Search to My Web Site

After you have set up your web server, you can take advantage of free web-based tools, similar to the http://www.scrubtheweb.com/ URL submission program mentioned earlier and the free site search tool. Despite the fact that you can create a site index or map of all the web pages in your site, you may also want to make it easy on visitors to find things in your web site. You can do this by adding a Web Site Search feature for free! A tool I recommend is the WhatUSeek IntraSearch (http://www.whatuseek.com). It allows you to specify a web address to "spider" (or build an index of) and then put a Site Search box on your web page. The site search form that you paste onto your site's home page looks similar to the one shown below (you can find this site search box at: http://www.mguhlin.net/projectweb/projects/):
external image sitesearch.jpg
The only drawback is the advertising--although it is not inappropriate, thank goodness--that appears on the search results. However, given the quality of the search, I highly recommend use of this tool on your personal or professional web site; I would check policy guidelines before using it on school affiliated web sites as a link. Another possibility is to use it to search multiple sites, not just your own. This is a feature that it is capable of handling.

Adding Forms to Your Web Pages

Realize that the email link on your web site is one of the most important links you can add to your web pages. Even if you just use the simple mailto:youremailaddress?Subject=Put the Subject of the Email here, you have already given visitors to your page a way to communicate with you. However, there are other ways to add "interactive forms" to your web pages. The first is to use web based forms that connect to a database. Unfortunately, most of us do not have easy access to web servers that will agree to host databases to collect information from forms. If you do have access to such a server through your district, then you will want to read the tutorials that are online at Database-backed Web Sites Using Filemaker Pro 5 and/or Access 2000 at http://www.mguhlin.net/projectweb/dbase.
The second way is to use a free, advertiser-paid service available through freedback.com. The freedback.com web site uses common gateway interface (CGI) scripting to take the contents of your web-based form and send it to whatever email address you designate. For example, take a look at the form below:
<form method="post" action="http://cgi50.freedback.com/mail.pl">
<p>
<input type=hidden name=to value="youremail@yourdistrict.edu">
Name: <input type="text" name="Name">
Comments: <textarea name="comments"></textarea>
<input type="submit" name="Submit" value="Submit">
</form>
The HTML code shown above appears below as:
Web Page Feedback
Name:

Comments:
To make the form align better, you could also put the form in a table. You are also not limited to the number of form fields you can include; so, even though I only used two forms fields in the example above, you could add even more. The email that arrives in your inbox looking similar to what is shown below, with two-three paragraphs of advertisement edited out:
Name = Bertha Perez
Comments = Nice Web page

The Mechanics of Web Publishing

Regardless of what program you use--whether it be the highly acclaimed Dreamweaver (Get the Dreamweaver Tutorial) that is available on both platforms, Microsoft Frontpage 2000 or a variety of free editors--you will need to learn how to "put" and "get" your web pages from the host server. While the more advanced programs, Dreamweaver among them, feature powerfully enhanced built in file transfer protocol (FTP) that allow you to publish your pages to a web server, there are many simple programs that will do the job for you. File Transfer Protocol is an Internet service that allows you to connect to a computer on the Internet and download or upload files. Download means to receive a file from another computer; upload means to send a file to another computer. And, you need not struggle through learning the variety of FTP programs yourself.
There are a variety of tutorials available on the web. Two free, easy to use programs that allow you to put and get your web pages to the host web server include LeechFTP (Windows) and Fetch (Mac). You can download both from http://www.mguhlin.net/software/ . You can find a tutorial in Adobe Acrobat PDF for LeechFTP online at http://www.mguhlin.net/service/materials/.
While you can use Dreamweaver's, Frontpage 2000, or other web site/page development programs' built-in file transfer protocol (FTP), you may want to use a dedicated FTP program. When using FTP programs, you need to know several things, such as: Host Name, Username, and Password. In some cases, you will also be asked to the specific directory (or folder) where your web pages reside. The process, especially when using Fetch on the Mac or LeechFTP on the Windows platform, can be made easier through the use of shortcuts or bookmarks that remember your login and connection information.

The Next Generation of Knowledge Architects

As classrooms become more student-centered, focused on the development of student projects and increased use of the web as a resource, it is natural to want to hold teachers back, to protect them and their students from negative influences on the web. Yet, teachers are required to develop environments that help students become knowledge workers, or knowledge architects, and must be able to create and share teaching and learning resources on the web. Hold them back, you are not just reining in an enthusiastic teacher...you are holding back the next generation of knowledge workers. Over-legislating, too much policy and lengthy web approval processes can destroy the very creativity and excitement that is critical to the process our students must master in this century.

Resources for Publishing Web Pages to the Web


Sharing Your Lessons with Others on the World Wide Web:
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  • K12 Opps: View a list of submitted projects and join one! If you want to join this listserv and submit your own project, follow the link found under "Educational Mailing Lists."
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  • Web 66 School Registry: Register your school website or browse through their global listing of schools that are online.





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Responsible Staff
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Level of Publication
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Workshop Content
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District Technology Coordinator is responsible for the overall process and ensuring speed of publication.
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District Webmasters:
Quickly publishes web pages after checking them for content and applying shared borders.

Web Publishing Approval Process


� Procedure for Publishing from Development Server to Web
� Emphasis on quick turnaround/timeline for publication (maximum of 2 days).
� Applies shared borders
� Database Publication
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Elementary Webmaster
Secondary Webmaster
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Campus Webmaster:
Publishes campus web pages to a development server, establishes links between pages when necessary and corrects pages as needed. Checks REVIEW folder daily.
� Procedure for Publication from Review Folder to Development Server
� Introduction to Frontpage 2000 Site Management & Web Page Production
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Classroom Teacher/Staff Member:
Develops a classroom web page that incorporates student products (with release forms for student work) and places items for publication in the REVIEW folder for the Campus Webmaster.
� Procedure for Publication to Review folder
� Content Guidelines
� Permission Slips for Student Work
� Copyright
� Overview of Software
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FTP Tutorials on the Web

Windows
  1. WS FTP- http://www.ipswitch.com/support/ws_ftp/tutorial.html
  2. Web Diner's Tutorial on WS FTP: http://www.webdiner.com/webadv/begin/upload.htm
Macintosh
  1. Fetch - http://www.dartmouth.edu/pages/softdev/fetch.html#Features

Web Publishing Tools

I have some tutorials for web publishing online at: http://www.mguhlin.net/service/materials/