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Building a website

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using your UWM webspace for teaching

This fall’s workshops all focused on different aspects of getting your UWM webspace up and running. In this workshop, we focus on how you might use your website for teaching.

To get started, check out these examples of course-related webpages:

  • Andy Buchenot’s English 240 blog
  • Trent Hergenrader’s website (check out the English 102 and 233 websites under Teaching)
  • Gregory Jay’s website (check out the Highlights links)
  • Anne Wysocki’s website (check out the Classes link)

(Using your UWM webspace or other websites to teach? Send ’em in, and we’ll add them to the list!)

As you can see, there are several ways instructors use websites for their classes:

  • Andy posts things of interest that relate to the class and keeps a list of links to his students’ blogs.
  • Trent includes several pages about his work, from what he’s writing and reading to his coursework. Additionally, though, in the pages linked from the Teaching section, Trent includes his course description, calendar, policies, goals and contact information (syllabus stuff) and includes major assignments.
  • Greg Jay’s site is a compendium of his own work, including publications, PowerPoints from talks, photos from travels and an extensive page on Whiteness Studies (which could almost function as its own mini-course).
  • Under Classes, Anne includes links to several course websites with syllabus and assignment information and other course-related documents, but her site also links to her own work, the department and the university.

More generally, I see three major ways that these and other instructors use websites for their courses:

  • to house syllabus/course documents/assignments (in addition to or replacing paper copies)
  • to house links for student research and reference (including links to other course sites/pages)
  • to house student work (such as links to student blogs, etc.)

What other uses do you see on these sites? On others? What other uses can you imagine being beneficial for the classes you teach?

Finally, why would you want to do any of this? What benefits and limitations do you see to moving these and other kinds of work for class online?

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using CSS in Dreamweaver

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) allows you to organize the look of several pages across a website without having to manage the look of each page individually. (Think of how you’d use styles in Word or InDesign.) The Wikipedia entry on CSS, of course, is chock-full of good information.

Of course, there’s more:

And like most things, if you do a search for “CSS” and whatever it is you’re trying to figure out, you’ll find lots of answers.

Your first step toward using CSS should probably be to explore the links above, to familiarize yourself with what CSS is, what it can do, and how the language works.

Once you’re ready, start by mapping out on paper how you want your pages to look. (You can do this by hand or by getting fancy in InDesign or Photoshop.)

If you think of a website in Dreamweaver, there are multiple pages that make up the site. With CSS, there is an additional page to organize the look of the pages it’s attached to.

So next, in Dreamweaver, make your style sheet file (an external style sheet).  Then, write your web pages (the content of your website) and link them to the external style sheet. Then, in your web pages, insert the div classes from your external style sheet file.

Sound easy enough?

using tables in Dreamweaver

Tables can help you to organize the layout of your webpages. Within the Adobe Dreamweaver online manual there’s a section dedicated to tables that should help you get started.

Additionally, Adobe has two parts of a tutorial for Dw CS3 here and here. (Note that Dw CS4 is what we have on campus, but the steps are similar.)

Finally, remember that you can do a search for doing just about anything – just remember to include the software information. For example, you can search for “Dreamweaver CS4 tables” and get a lot of useful hits.

introduction to Dreamweaver

With your PantherFile webspace set up and simple html-coded pages up and running (see last post for more information), you’ll likely want to do more with your webpages.

Enter Dreamweaver, web development software that is available on campus computers, including the Mac laptops in 108.

If you missed the workshop or would like to reference what we talked about, here are the links:

  • Adobe maintains tutorials and videos for getting started with and learning how to use Dreamweaver, as well as for building a website.
  • Additionally, they maintain a searchable online manual.

html & PantherFile

If you’re going to build and maintain a website, you’ll need to use html at some point, often to correct or adjust what your web design software does. Learning about html can also help you to understand how this whole “web” thing got started and a bit of how it works. (The Wikipedia, of course, has a great entry on html.)

Personal webpages on UWM server space are now managed through PantherFile. Here’s a silly example of what you can do with webpages built using just html tags: kkprins website.

If you missed this workshop or want an electronic copy of the handout from the workshop, here is Anne’s basic html handout.

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