Setting Up A School Website: Issues In School Website Management
The following topics are open for discussion in maintaining a website
for a school:
The Acceptable Use Policy (AUP): A written guide agreed to by teachers,
students and parents that governs how the Internet and WWW are to be used
by the school and its community. Each school or district should have one
Maintenance: It is up to the school's webmaster to manage the content
of the web site. Many schools have students who act as "sysops" (systems
operators) with server privileges. These issues must be settled by your
building administrators and central office staff. Often, the webmaster is
in his or her position out of volunteerism but still lacks the additional
time that teachers need to do the job well. They must determine what tasks
can be delegated to students and which can not. The distribution of passwords
and "world-writable" access to the web server must also be considered.
Webmaster as editor: What should or should not be posted? Are Freedom
of Speech and academic freedom issues involved?
Experience leads me to recommend to err on the side of
caution. When teachers are designing student projects, they need to make
clear that students who do not produce acceptable if not excellent material
will not have their material posted to the web. Int ernet publishing must
be held out to the students as a reward for successful achievement just
as it is in the world of print publishing. On the other hand, students
who may not achieve at the highest levels of performance should still have
an opportunity to share their work if their fullest effort was put into
it. It is this very process that proponents of the "connected classroom"
support when they claim that student publishing on the Internet raises
the level of student performance and achievement.
Copyright: What is freeware, public domain, shareware, intellectual
property rights are still unclear in this area. A search on the web on
this topic will bring up a myriad of links mostly written in legalese,
which is not very helpful for the average educator. The
most helpful on-line guide to copyright and fair use that I have found
is in use by Stanford University, but each school district will eventually
design its own policies on what can and cannot be used on a school web
site. Discuss these issues with building principals and central office
One main consideration when discussing this issue with
students is: what do you want to communicate to your students? I want to
stimulate creativity and originality in my students. While the Web contains
many visual resources, the school web site will app ear all the more compelling
if the students can create their own original images. When another image
from elsewhere on the web is appropriate, students must obtain written
permission from the image's creator and post the source of the image on
their own pages.
Writing HTML for the Lowest Common Denominator: Just because Netscape
is the dominant browser, should we write HTML for Netscape and Netscape
Bringing the whole faculty and student body on-line and when to back
These topics will have to be expanded as time progresses.
Please send us your thoughts and comments by e-mailing the webmaster at