The Evolution of The North Hagerstown HS Web Site
The body of this page is the text of a message I have sent previously,
but it has become the default response to "frequently asked questions"
on the NHHS Home Page.
(The site in this link does not resemble the site I created with my students). So pardon my posting a "form message," but it does save time. I hope it
contains information that you seek. Each reference to HTML has been made
active with a link to a different resource on how to write
Feel free to send additional questions my way, so just click on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Good luck in exploring and setting up a place on the Web. Please send our URL to other electronic mailing
lists and Usenet newsgroups you frequent! Thanks!
How did it all begin?
The Home Page was born out of the E-Mail essay exchange project, where
I would have the students write essays while I generated volunteers to
review and critique the essays by posting a "call for participants" on
listserves and newsgroups all over cyberspace. After I received e-mail
addresses from professors, students, and average people who wanted to read
and write about the students' work, I would upload the plain ASCII text
files the students had developed from floppy. These were done in cooperative
groups in our IBM lab. I uploaded/mailed them at home using America On-Line,
but the regular Internet mail programs can be adapted to achieve the same
thing. The idea was to get a wide readership and as many responses as possible.
Students kept track of their reviews in a folder, and we would often discuss
the comments that came to us from around the world.
Setting Up A Web Page
My best friend Steve, a programmer at Westinghouse (now Northrop-Grumman),
suggested I should post the essays to a web site that could be accessed
by cybersurfers 24 hours a day. It would mean one upload, and then we would
add and amend the page as the year progressed. Steve uses the Web and writes
Mark-up Language), the language web pages are written in, for his work,
so he was the one who set up the basic directory structure of our home
page. Then we spent six hours one Friday Night developing the pages. Here
are some of the steps we took.
Please note the following:
One does not need to be connected to the Internet to develop web pages.
In fact, it is best to compose "locally," meaning on one's own harddrive,
before uploading your finished product to the web server. This keeps phone
lines and bandwidth free. To compose locally and test one's page, simply
activate your text editor and your web browser simultaneously. Then bring
up your page within the browser to see how it looks. The editor HTML Assistant
allows for this utility. Once everything is set, then
upload to your site.
Finding A Host Computer
You will need an Internet service
provider (ISP) who gives/rents web space on his computer. (One can
also set up one's own server and place
the data there). Then upload text and GIF files to the /pub directories
on the ISP computer using FTP or any other downloading/uploading client
(a fancy term for "program"). Our pages reside on the Web server of Fred.net,
located in Frederick, MD. Your local college may allow this, or you may
need to go to a commercial provider.
What Does A Web Page Cost?
Frednet does not charge extra for Web space. To fully utilize the power
of the web, your Internet connection should be a SLIP
or PPP connection, which is also called a "direct" connection. It allows
the use of Netscape or other Mosaic-like
browsers, which permit the viewing of graphics as well as text. For educators,
Netscape is free, and it is considered to be the best browser out right
now, but many newer browsers are being designed to outdo Netscape. If you
are using a dial-up connection, you can access the text of the Web through
LYNX, but in spite of its speed, it lacks the versatility needed to write
home pages and view graphics.
How can I learn more about
Any bookstore will have a computer section with books on the World Wide
web and how to write HTML.
The language is surprisingly simple, and does not need any special software
to write. There are software/shareware programs out there on the Net now
that act as word processors for HTML:
is one, HTML Assistant is another.
The most popular HTML for many is Hot
Dog, which can handle HTML 3.0 and Netscape extensions. It is available
on a trial basis for 30 days. There are also many Web sites that have primers
on how to write HTML. Start by clicking on the ever-ubiquitous Yahoo.
All you need is there. Also, the text-based browser LYNX has its own on-line
HTML primer and quick reference. Simply hit H for "help" to locate this
document. Once can use the "screen capture" utility on the communications
software to capture the text.
How can I place graphics on my page?
The use of graphics is one reason the web is so popular, but it also has
a tendency to slow things down. When the NHHS website was first born, we
used a simple hand-held black & white scanner to generate our own original
graphics. You can also get stock
icons on the web itself, CD ROM or from shareware programs. Just watch
the size. We didn't want graphics that took too long to download. They
are neat, but not everyone wants to wait for a 100KB picture of my school
to download, especially if one is not browsing with Netscape, which allows
for interaction with the document before the graphic is done downloading.
The opening logo was a scan of our 1991 yearbook. We then imported
the scan into Windows, and colorized
it using Paintbrush. This was like microsurgery because any little hole
in the black outline made the color bleed to the whole picture. Fun, but
tedious. The faculty scans were cropped using a shareware program called
We just wanted the face, and this program cut the scan to the size we wanted.
It also converted the .PCX file of the scan to a .GIF file, which is the
basic form of graphic on the Web. For the first few months, graphics seems
to be the most challenging aspect of webmastering, but just rolling up
one's sleeves and tinkering is the best remedy for fear.
Since those early days, I have found that Paint
Shop Pro is the best all-round graphics shareware program for school
webmastering. It will convert almost any graphics format, and it is quite
versatile in all its activities.
Can I get icons from the Web?
Graphics can easily be saved from the web to one's own hard drive. using
the right mouse button, click on the desired graphic, and then click on
"save this image as..." in the dialogue box. The image will be transferred to your computer for your use.
Please note the following:
Copying images from the web can be seen as a form of plagiarism. If a page
says don't reproduce any or all of the page, then it's off-limits. The
best way to avoid problems in this area is to e-mail the author of the
source image to ask for permission to use the image in your page.
The HTML code that embeds the image into your page is as follows:
To allow text to wrap around the image and align the image to
the left, add the attribute ALIGN=LEFT between the img and src.
The attribute ALIGN=RIGHT will align the image to the right.
Example: <img align=right src="filename.gif">
Once my page is ready, then what?
Set up your directory structure. Our main page is a single file called
nhhs.html. It has its own directory within the NHHS directory of the ISP.
All other pages (because they have the .html extension) lie in a directory
called HTML. All GIF files lie in the GIF directory. And all of these elements
reside in the NHHS directory of our ISP's /FTP/PUB directories. One can
also set up subdirectories according to the content of pages. One of our
directories holds all sports
related content, both HTML and graphics. It is up to the webmaster
as to what form of organization is easier to manage. Confused? Me too.
Just remember that most ISPs run UNIX machines, but these arcane commands
can be made easier with graphical programs like WS-FTP, which requires
a SLIP or PPP connection.
One way to see how it's all set up is to look at the HTML
that makes up the pages of the web itself while viewing them (which can
be done by using Netscape's View Source feature). With it, you can see
the URLs that point to the other pages. Even LYNX allows you to view the
source HTML with the \ command.
makes a good home page?
Find some cool URLs and embed them into your home page. I love the music
of the Band RUSH,
and there is a great Web site on the band. I found URLs for every LP and
song I use in my Social Studies classes, so I created a section using someone
else's links to demonstrate how to use RUSH in the Social Studies class.
Also, keep the pages dynamic. Surfers will come back to your page if
there are additions and improvements as time and skill increases. Yes, maintaining
a web site is a time commitment. It's also a great student
project: an on-line yearbook, literary magazine, on-line science projects:
these projects demonstrate the academic potential of your web site.
We hope to be able to purchase a computer that will act as our
own web server. This will give students
a heightened sense of involvement. But the first step is to teach them
and other teachers the value of the web and some basic HTML.
BTW, North High's page is very basic compared to some of the other
high schools that are entering the web. Maryland boasts the Virtual
High School Project, started by Montgomery
Blair HS in Montgomery Co, MD. That project is INCREDIBLE! Also, one
of the first high schools on the WWW, Monta
Vista High School has a web page that is a model for all.
Another great way to keep up with the world of the Web and HTML
is to look into any one of the newsgroups listed below:
alt.hypertext [Specifically for hypertext
I can't stress enough how the Web is growing, so there is a lot in
print nowadays. Grab a good Web book off the bookstore shelf, and go for
it. I recommend Using the World Wide Web by Bill Eager. Let
us know how it all goes. Send us your URL when you are all set up! If you just
need to become familiar with the Internet, stop by Internet
Pocket Guide for Teachers.
Teacher of Social Studies
Note: As of 2000, I left North Hagerstown High to teach Eighth Grade Civics
in northern Virginia.
Just so you can see what started this page, the original message was left
On Thu, 13 Apr 1995, William Doherty wrote: > > Dear Mr. Cassutto, > >
My name is Bill Doherty and I have been teaching English (general > semantics)
for 25 years at Weymouth High School in Massachusetts. > I am new to the
net and discovered your fred net address while surfing. > I congratulate
you. I thought the whole setup was great. I read all the > essays. I can't
tell you how impressed I am. How do you do something > like that? I would
love to set up a homepage for our school similar to > yours. Can you give
me any guidance? You will become famous for 15 > minutes in Weymouth when
I get back from vacation. I am scheduled to > give an internet inservice
on the 25th (the one-eyed man is king--I've > owned this computer for 3
months and I'm giving an inservice!) Your > school's homepage is going
to figure prominently in that inservice. > > Thanks for any advice you
can give, > > Regards, Bill > Regards, Bill > [END of message text]
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