Creating Your Web Presence
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The purpose of this tutorial is to provide you with an overview of the options available at NCSU for creating and maintaining a web presence for course information and material, research information, publications, and other pertinent information.
Building your personal web presence has evolved considerably in the past decade. Formerly, you had to do everything yourself, using web design software like Dreamweaver to create the site, and then upload it to a dedicated web server. While free web services such as GeoCities offered a place to host your site, you still had to have at least a rudimentary concept of web design in order to be able to publish it effectively.
Today, however, this is no longer the case. Now you can publish information to the web with very little or even no knowledge of web design whatsoever (such as what one can create with an online tool like Facebook). Depending on what content you need to make available online, there are a number of options provided within the university environment. The list below outlines what options are available, followed by a section detailing which option is the best, given your specific goals.
Web Presence Options
1. CHASS Faculty/Staff Application. This web-based tool, located at faculty.chass.ncsu.edu, provides a quick way to set up a web presence with commonly used information. This profile page then integrates into many departmental website faculty listings, as is often used by the research office to identify faculty research interests. It is easy-to-use, intuitive, and requires no prior knowledge of web design. You simply enter your information, and with the click of a button, it is published on your faculty profiles (under faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/~[your Unity ID].
This profile application provides you with the ability to easily post information for students and others, such as your photo, contact information, vitae, location and office hours, biography, research interests, as well as publications, honors, and awards. You also have the option of including your courses, syllabi, and office hours. You can customize how much or how little information is displayed within the profile.
2. Moodle Learning Management System (LMS). Moodle is a browser-based LMS, and is the primary tool for creating a web presence for your course at NC State. In addition to creating and maintaining web content for your course, you can also use it as a way for students to submit assignment,s for uploading important course files, creating online discussion forums, posting news and announcements, as well as for setting up quizzes and course calendars. As with the Faculty/Staff profile application, no knowledge of web design is required to use Moodle, so managing the website for your courses is very simple and straightforward. Using Moodle to manage course material is also convenient for students, as it provides them with a central login portal to securely access all the information on each of their courses, rather than having to navigate to many different websites.
3. Google Sites. If you would like to go further in developing your web presence, or would like a more personalized website in addition to the Faculty/Staff application and Moodle, Google Sites provides an easy option. Using dozens of pre-built templates, you can create a website that fits your specific need by starting from scratch. Although you don't need extensive web design skills in order to utilize this option, it would be helpful to know the fundamentals, particularly if you start from scratch rather than using one of the templates. Once created, site will be accessible under sites.ncsu.edu.
4. Traditional Web Design. For those who are already familiar with web design/HTML, and are more comfortable with using an editor to create a website from scratch, the traditional method can be utilized as an alternative to Google Sites. The recommended software for this option is BlueGriffon. Once you create and upload your site, it will be accessible at www4.ncsu.edu/~[Your Unity ID].
What Option(s) Would be Best for Me?
Which option(s) you decide to use in creating your web presence is dependent upon what your specific needs are, as well as how much maintenance you plan on putting into the site itself. It is recommended that you utilize the Faculty/Staff Application and Moodle options first, and then if needed use Google Sites in addition to these.
Below, you will find a more detailed list of what each option can provide, as well as links to more information on how to use them:
1) Faculty/Staff Profile Application
- Contact information (including e-mail and telephone)
- Faculty photo
- Vita (uploaded in document format)
- Syllabi (PDF or .doc/.docx formats only)
- Website link (moodle.wolfware.ncsu.edu, sites.ncsu.edu or www4.ncsu.edu)
- Academic and research interests/projects
- Funded research
- Extension/Community engagement
- Academic/Administrative responsibilities
You can customize which of these fields you would like to be displayed or hidden in your Faculty Profile, as needed.
To learn more about the Faculty Profile, and how to use the Faculty/Staff Application, you can view the tutorial here.
2) Moodle Course Management System
- Creation and maintenance of course websites
- Assignment submission
- Upload course files for students
- News and announcements
- Discussion forums
- Instant messaging
- Online quizzes
- Very intuitive, and easy to use: no knowledge of web design is required
- Automatic syncing with Registration and Records
- Easy to access: everything is in a single place for students
To learn more about Moodle and how to use it to create a course website, as well as how to use its many other features, see the NCSU Delta page here.
3) Google Sites
- No HTML knowledge required (even when starting from scratch)
- A variety of site templates
- Upload files and attachments
- Embed videos, documents, spreadsheets, presentations, slide shows, and calendars
- Particularly ideal for those who would like to easily maintain a personal website, to showcase their academic accomplishments, published articles and works, etc.
Google Sites is an excellent resource for creating a website, and although it doesn't require much knowledge of web design, it is still quite versatile. To learn how to create a website using Google Sites, see the tutorial here.
4) Traditional Web Design Software
- Start from scratch (for those familiar with web design and HTML)
- Other coding methods can be utilized in addition to HTML (excepting PHP)
The fourth option is quite high-maintenance, as well as time consuming, and is a more advanced alternative to the third option (Google Sites) for those uniquely familiar with web design and/or HTML, as well as FTP uploading. For more on the traditional web design option, please reference the BlueGriffon information page here.