Authoring Webpages/Teacher's Guide
Goals of this course
This course has only one goal: to teach the practice of creating webpages.
If you want to teach your pupils about computing, networking, the internet, HTML et cetera, I would like to refer you to other WikiBooks.
In order to be able to teach this course, you need to:
- familiarise yourself with the material;
- provide your students with a computer linked to the internet, or make sure they have access to such a computer for the duration of the lesson;
- provide your students with web browsing software, or make sure they have access to a web browser;
- provide your students with text editing software, or make sure they have access to a text editor;
- set up a web server, and provide access to it;
- provide storage space for your student's projects; and
- make sure your students possess a minimum of computing experience.
- graphics to be used in the practice projects; and
- graphics editing software, to create such graphics.
The web browsers you use should be able to handle HTML 4 or better. Web browsers that are shipped with current operating systems are acceptable for this goal.
There are lessons in this course that deal with graphical presentation of web pages. You may skip these lessons, but if you don't, you need to provide a so-called graphical web browser. Well known such browsers are for instance Mozilla, Apple Safari, Opera, and Microsoft Internet Explorer. These browsers are either provided with your operating system, or can be downloaded and used freely.
If you need to download and install a web browser, we recommend the FireFox family of web browsers.
Ideally you will provide your students with several web browsers on side-by-side computers. This will allow them to see how the rendering of web pages varies between different browsers.
The text editors that generally accompany an operating system are all that is needed to create webpages in this course.
Although you may use editors that are specifically geared towards creating and editing websites, we advise against this. It might make your students dependent on such editors. Even if all they will use after they finished the course is such an editor, learning the basics of creating a webpage can be very helpful during trouble shooting.
None of the practice projects are so complex that they require a certain server set-up. Later versions of this course may require more advanced webservers. If you do not know how to set up a webserver, consult your systems administrator.
One thing to keep in mind is that you may wish to run your webserver solely on an intranet. That way, your students cannot abuse the school's Internet connection to publish information the school does not wish to be associated with.
On the other hand, using a free web hosting service is likely to be easier than setting up even the easiest intranet web server. It may help student motivation to see that their work is becoming part of the "real" WWW that anyone in the world can immediately read, and not just another homework assignment that only the teacher can read. Although some hosting services provide "templates" and "wizards" for creating websites, we recommend against using those tools -- it might make students dependent on that hosting service. Instead, use ordinary file uploads.
The practice projects are all reasonably small. You may devise a large end-of-course project though. Also, your students may wish to study webpages they created earlier on. For these reasons, it could be handy to provide your students with storage space to keep their projects on and reference later.
Does this need to be separate from the files on the web server?
If your students are new to computing, you may want to spend the first lesson acquainting them with some general principles of computing. At the very least, they should know how to:
- Start up and switch off a computer or session;
- Start and quit programs;
- Open and close files from programs;
- Copy, move, create and delete files on a file system;
- Operate a webbrowser; specifically, how to open a URL; how to open a file; how to navigate between webpages using hyperlinks; how to navigate between webpages using browser functionality.
Since this is a work book as much as a text book, students will benefit from having engaging projects in which they can test their skills to the fullest.
Many of the exercises in this book are designed to provide such project but will probably be found lacking by almost all students. The exercises are limited by their nature: they must assume incomplete knowledge in the earlier chapters of the book, and they must be finishable within the time set for homework.
Therefore, it would be advisable to have an end-project in which the students can test all the skills and knowledge they acquired during this course.
The teacher is free to invent such a project, and hopefully in the course of time, many cool project proposals will be added to this Wikibook.
However, a teacher of minors can also choose to participate in the six-monthly ThinkQuest competition. ThinkQuest is a website creation competition for elementary and secondary school students that has produced some of the finest sites on the web today. Students are pitted against other students from all over the world. The competition is fierce and the participants need to use all they've got to have a chance at winning. All participating teams must have a school teacher as team leader, but the students themselves must do all the work.
In due time, this Wikibook will provide all the basic knowledge required for participating in and winning a ThinkQuest competition with one major exception: this book will not deal with embeddable content, such as images, animation, video et cetera. These form an important part of the web, but they fill a whole separate book on their own: the Web Design book.
The students who are following this course on their own, are encouraged to think up their own projects. If you come up with fun projects, please share them by posting their descriptions here.