When you have a class website set up, you need to decide how you will be maintaining the site. Some teachers choose to update their class site every day, or at least whenever there is a new activity. Others may decide to build everything upfront and leave the website as a constant reference that requires little to no maintenance throughout the year. Others find themselves in between.

Before choosing your level of involvement, you will want to consider the following questions:

  • What will your website offer students?
  • How much of a directive will the site give?
    • Will it simply offer resources?
    • Will it direct the class in terms of activities?
    • Will it have student involvement via a message forum or chat room?
  • Who will have access to the material?
    • Students?
    • Parents?
    • Administrators?
    • Other teachers?
    • The public?
  • What level of comfort do you have with technology?
    • Can you build a website using open-ended platforms?
    • Can you code your own website?
    • What other technologies will you integrate into your class website? 

 

Once the above questions are answered, you can now start to explore suggested features of a website in your classroom:

 

Online Resources for Students

Through your website, students can gather information about their class. Assignments, homeworks, projects, due dates, and rubrics can be accessed by students as assignments are given. A teacher may require students to watch a Youtube video linked or embedded in the website, or link online resources (like a PDF or info-graphic) for homework. With proper organization, a teacher could set up each lesson/activity with a Homework task, an in-class assignment task, and an assessment.

If all of your resources are online, students can start associating your class with the website as the first point off engagement. As students enter your class, they can open the class website to see what is being done for the day/chapter/week. When they get home, they go to the same site to access the homework assignment. When a student needs to see a due date for a project, they go to the class site. Before coming to you for a question, students can check the class website first. If a student is absent from school for any amount of time, he or she can stay updated with the course material from bed.

This helps students with organization difficulties, but also helps organized students have a centralized reference point for planning and completing work.


Organization of Content and Course Progression

As a teacher, staying organized is key for a successful classroom. Using an organized web environment will not only keep students organized, but will also keep you organized. No more messy folder systems, searching for materials, making copies, etc. Now you can simply keep your material stored online, safe and secure (with backups of course!).

When designing your website, you need to build an organized system for the class to operate under. Here is a useful example:

Divide your class into units. From there, units are broken down to chapters, and chapters are broken down into lessons or activites. This would not only make the content organized for you, but also for your students:

8.4.3 - Unit 8, Chapter 4, Lesson 3

2.1.1 - Unit 2, Chapter 1, Lesson 1

10.10.2 - Unit 10, Chapter 10, Lesson 2

 

The reason you want to break items apart is to give students a simple reference point for their assignments. A student who was absent could simply ask the teacher "What did I miss?" and a teacher could respond in a very simple way by responding with "You missed 4.3.1 - Introduction to Rational Expressions". The student knows how to access the resource on the class website by going to Unit 4, finding Chapter 3, and opening Lesson 1 to find all related information he or she missed.

Another reason to break this apart into sections is for later improvement in your system. Adding another lesson to a chapter requires changing a few numbers as opposed to re-numbering the entire structure.


Online Availability of Materials, Assignments, Expectations, Due Dates, Etc.

Having everything online means that students can easily access all information regarding their class. Teachers can post materials, assignment due dates, expectations, and anything else important for their class. Having everything online means that any student with a smartphone or other device capable of connecting ot the internet can access the class information, preventing many errors from happening.


Student Accountability

"My dog ate my homework" is no longer an option for students to use as an excuse. Now, students can access all materials from the site. When a student claims they didn't know something was due, a simple referral to the website negates any excuse the student can provide.


 

 

Recommended Platforms for Building a Website for Flipped Instruction:

Weebly

Description

Weebly is a very simple drag-and-drop interface that allows almost anyone the ability to create a website from scratch. Their interface allows the user to drag text, images, titles, and dividers to create whatever resource the user desires.

Features

    • Add text, titles, images and other features to your site with ease
    • Embed different types of media into your site (may require premium membership)
    • Simple drag-and-drop interface

Pros

    • Free for basic use
    • Free web address (yourclassname.weebly.com)
    • Drap-and-drop interface is incredibly easy to use
    • Support is fantastic

Cons

    • Premium membership required for embedding of advanced components such as Google Drive
    • To remove the ".weebly.com" tag on each web address, you must buy a domain
    • Interface can produce minor errors at time, requiring refreshing of page

 

 

 

Wix

Description

Wix is a free to use drag-and-drop website that allows almost anyone to create a website. The simple interface allows the user to build and design a site with almost no prerequisite skills.

Features

    • Add text, titles, images and other features to your site with ease
    • Embed different types of media into your site (may require premium membership)
    • Simple drag-and-drop interface

Pros

    • Free for basic use
    • Free web address (yourclassname.weebly.com)
    • Drap-and-drop interface is incredibly easy to use

Cons

    • Premium membership required for embedding of advanced components such as Google Drive
    • To remove the ".wix.com" tag on each web address, you must buy a domain

 

 

 

 

Moodle

Description

Moodle is an open-source Learning Management System aimed at advanced users. The system is often hosted and can require advanced knowledge of web-hosting and setting up a system. Often, schools will set this up for their teachers and proceed from there.

Features

    • Comprehensive system that tracks attendance, assignments, grades, behavior, etc.
    • Can be enhanced through extensions
    • Extensive documentation and support
    • Open-source, meaning that the entire source code is available and can be modified as needed

Pros

    • Extremely versatile for almost any teaching environment
    • Extensive support and documentation
    • Free
    • Can be hosted on your own server, meaning you have 100% control over the site and the content

Cons

    • Requires advanced skills to set up Moodle
    • Large amount of features can be intimidating to a first-time user
    • Requires a server or hosting to run site