Teaching students how to use Microsoft Word or Netscape Composer to create web pages
Students today are very savvy about using computer applications. Although my experience has only involved the teaching of college students, I imagine that the computer literacy I have found extends also to many high school students. Therefore, the rest of this explanation involves a modicum of instruction in basic use of the programs. As a matter of fact, the main reason for using these programs is that students should not need much computer instruction, which might take away from class time devoted to the texts themselves. The disadvantage of using them, of course, is that, in automating the process of creating HTML documents, they limit the amount of control students have over the way their pages look.
It’s important to consider that students from backgrounds that have offered little exposure to computing may need more in-depth instruction. I recommend assessing your students' needs through a class survey before proceeding with any computer instruction.
See my guide to using FTP and Fetch for transferring files once they have been created.
Using Microsoft Word
1. Students need to be familiar with word processing programs. If your students are not, you’ll need to start there.
2. Once a student opens Microsoft Word, he or she should create a new document and immediately save it as a web page. On older versions of MS Word, the option is listed as “save as html,” on newer versions, it’s “save as web page.” If they wait to save it this way, then any work done could be altered when it’s reformatted from a Word document into an HTML document.
3. Students can use Microsoft Word as they would for typing and creating any regular Word document. The different options that are available to them under web editing are nevertheless very similar to the options they’d have in working on a Word document.
4. One consideration students need to remember is that any images they insert must be saved along with the document in the same folder that the document will be displayed on the Internet. For example, if a student’s document titled “chaucer.htm” is saved in a folder “public_html,” then that student’s picture, “wifeofbath.jpg” should also be saved in the folder “public_html.”
Using Netscape Composer
1. This program is also quite user-friendly. Again, I assume your students are familiar with computers.
2. Once a student opens Netscape, he or she should find “Composer” under the “Communicator” options.
3. The student can then type, edit, and insert images into the document. Again, the document should be saved as HTML into an appropriate folder.
4. Again, one consideration students need to remember is that any images they insert must be saved along with the document in the same folder that the document will be displayed on the Internet. For example, if a student’s document titled “chaucer.htm” is saved in a folder “public_html,” then that student’s picture, “wifeofbath.jpg” should also be saved in the folder “public_html.”