So you think you want a website?

Card Type: Technology
Difficulty: Intermediate
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Description:

Ready to break from the constraints of the LMS and build a website where you control the layout, graphics, colors and typography? Building a website for your professional presence or course can be a satisfying endeavor and has become easier than ever with newer web authoring tools.

Purpose:

A professional site can help colleagues and prospective students learn more about you as an instructor. Having your own course website can free you from the constraints of the LMS and help your materials reach a broader audience.

Formulating Questions:

Here are some questions to think through before partnering with an IT professional at your campus:

  • What is the primary purpose of your site?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • What content will you include?
  • Do you plan to hand code or use a web authoring tool? What options are provided by your institution?
  • Do you want dynamic content (announcements, articles, etc.) or will the content be mainly static?
  • How interactive do you want your site to be? Do readers need to be able to post comments or submit forms?
  • Do you plan to embed media hosted locally or from various services like YouTube, Flickr or Instagram?

Considerations:

  • Building a site from scratch takes a lot of time. How much time do you have to build and maintain your site? Does your institution have templates to help get you started?
  • What are your institution's policies around public websites? Be conscious of posting student data on a public site that may conflict with FERPA policies.
  • What support is available? Choosing a technology supported by your institution is usually the best option.
  • How accessible is your site? Does it work well on mobile devices?
  • Does your content adhere to copyright and intellectual property policies?

Level:

Intermediate

Resources:

Kozlek, Bradley, and Boone Gorges. "7 Things You Should Know About WordPress." Educause Library. Educause, 2 Sept. 2011. Web. <http://www.educause.edu/library/resources/7-things-you-should-know-about-wordpress>.
W3Schools Online Web Tutorials. Refsnes Data, n.d. Web. 10 July 2015. <http://www.w3schools.com/>.

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