I never teach web design without giving the students a project that makes sense. My assessments always, always, give a rewarding experience to the students, and promote interaction. My learning activities are designed to offer a personalized projects; where students choose their own, addressing both “engaging students in the classroom” and giving them “the experience that is rewarding” when they see their site online.
While you are teaching it is not evident for students to understand IP addresses, robots, and crawlers. I found a good tools that would do just that, if you are teaching wordpress, as a web development tool.
There is a plugin that I found interesting in term of getting students to understand the above; Statpress.
Once it is installed and activated on the plugins directory, you can easily access it through the dash board.
Why is interesting? Because once you have the Statpress panel opened students:
- They can understand statistics about their websites
- can see which IPs (computers), have visited their sites
- have and understanding of how crowlers search content on the web
- The overview section is graphical representation of the visitor, pages visited, feed added, and spiders (or crawlers)
- The last hits section shows you who visited your site, from where, their IP, which country, which browser and operating system they use, and the files visited.
- Last search terms; is about which search engine and which search term has led to your site
- Last pages is all about the last pages visited
- Last referrers; if you placed links to your site on other sites that will tell you exactly which referral was used
- Last spiders; simply the spiders Crawlers that visited your site.
You have loads of option with this plugin, that will teach your students quite a lot and get to understand the back end of web design as well as technology.
The spy section can give you more detailed information about the visitors themselves, where they are and what they are looking at right now.
It’s very easy to set the plugin, only install it and it will do the rest for you.
This article is based on my difficulties to get the students to create CMS websites and I guess will give an advice to Multimedia/Web Design tutors to get their students going with the learning of skills which are needed on the market. This a challenge that I have been trying to overcome to the last 3 years and this year I have managed to get the opportunity to get students to experiment directly with CMS. The experiment was quite challenging, considering issues with equipment. With my Level 1 NOCN Multimedia I have simply used the online wordpress.com so they could have the basics, and the core of assignment only required them mess around with templates. With the level 2, they need more advanced skills such as the ability to plan, create, make changes, upload, experiment, test and amend.
To be able to get students to experiment with CMS you will need to –
1 – Get a web domain name, with hosting solution (in my case my site is hosted by www.heartinet.co.uk, they are cheap, £2.90 for a .co.uk domain named and easy to use)
Some internet service providers (ISP) offers free web space , but for the purpose of this project, you need an ISP that will provide you with services which allow you as much freedom as you need to get your students working. This is very important because you will be able to demonstrate how to effectively manage a domain, and also you have full control of your own domain. With a free domain the chance is that you don’t have a lot of choice (i.e wordpress.com is a good start for learning content management; free domain and hosting, but your students can not experience with plugins and back-end configuration for free. If your institution can afford it just create a domain for each students, this is good if you teach on a one-to-one basis.