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Webheads in Action:
Community formation online and its role in language learning

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Weeks 5 - Feb 22-28

Your own cyber-space for community formation

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More recent links on Web Presence:

The EVOnline syllabus from 2002

  1. Setting up your own web presence: Blogs, Wikis, and Rubrics
  2. Creating your web page
  3. What HTML editor is appropriate for starting your first web page? Netscape Composer, Claris Homepage, Front Page, Homebuilder, Hot Metal
  4. Getting Web space and uploading your files to your web site
  5. Code you can add to your page: Wimba | Webhead Wimba URLs
  6. . More code you can add to your page: GroupBoard
  7. Details on adding the code for Wimba and Groupboard to your web page
  8. Tracking your bookmarks

1. Starting your web presence


See Vance's Blog page at, and also instructions on:

See also Dafne's Feb 3, 2003 chat with Rita, Sus and Arif.(inspired by Maria Irene and Don's postings where they suggested a discussion about blogs) in which they explored some blog sites. The url's to several weblogs are included here:

Dafne Gonzales has prepared instructions on using Bloki at Vance's Bloki is at

Inspired by all your web ventures (though lying low and lagging lamentably all this time), I've now kick-started my own presence online -- and possibly a whole new me. Though I could never have guessed, when I got up this morning, what I was about to do, I became a blogger today -- on impulse -- after finding out about blogging by sheer chance. :-)

Please see what you think: go to

If anyone is as yet unaware of, and would like an introduction to, the wonderful world of blogs (weblogs), I suggest you go to

Blogger is not a new tool to me. last year, I read quite a lot of fascinating diary and serendip Blogs, and when I tried to create one instantly too, I had the usual experience that my elderly worn out macintosh computer (soon to retire!) was unable to manage the Blog system. ... So I tried tentatively to just do likewise in a normal homepage editor: log now and then what came on my mind. After some time, I actually forgot the log again. But you can still see it - I had no intention to show this to anyone at the time I made it, just wanted to .

Editor's suggestion: Check out the Weblog from susnyrop's Site I've started one myself at

More References: The information that was here has been moved to Vance's Blogs page (click here)


Rif's posting to TESLCA-L, 17 Jan 2003 Quoted with permission

I have been using Wiki for a while. It is a great cgi component which enables online collaborative web editing. However, it is limited to hypertext. I mean, it does not allow you to use styles, such as tracking the changes, editing the comments, etc..

One of the best uses of Wiki is the Webblogs. Blogs work like an online collaborative diaries or journals. They allow the users add comments, and keep the tracks of comments. However, you need to do some scripting if you want to deal with each student separetly, because blogs are designed to share in an open way. One example of it is at You can test a good working of a wiki here too. You can try Notable Weblogs link to see more collaborative journals where you can interact with the writers.

ETC: Brainstorm is a php script that works like a wiki and allows users to set user permissions or add images. According to the producers "It can be configured to behave much like either /(a wiki or a weblog)/, or something else entirely, by controlling how much different users can access. If you give anonymous users (users not logged in) free access to create and edit pages, you have something like a Wiki. If you limit access to creating pages to a specific group of one or more people, you have something like a weblog. If you assign access based on areas, you can have something like an online magazine."

phpBB cost free and ad free:


Lena included a URL that I have used to teach teachers how to create rubrics. What I like about it is that you can edit the content, and from there teachers can start creating their own. If you are satisfied with the ones they provide, or your own adaptations, you can have a file there with all your rubrics and go back there to make changes, print or save to your PC.

RubriStar-for making rubrics:

In Feb 2003 Dafne updated us with: "A rubric is a performance-based evaluation instrument. I have been using rubrics for years in my f2f courses, and I have incorporated them to my online evaluation courses. Check these sites to find out what they are, how to use them, and how to design them.

Another Rubric site:
A software Rubric site can be found at
BJ rubric generators "will allow you to make grading rubrics by filling out a simple form. The materials are made instantly and can be printed directly from your computer. Your creations are exclusive to you. If you would like to keep your creations, save them when you make them." <- from the website

Teresa adds: For those of you interested in Rubrics, here's a site I looked into today while going through on line as part of a presentation I'm preparing . There are rubrics for many different activities, but they're not laid out in tables. However, I think the contents of several of them may give you useful ideas.

Note from Vance: The Internet for Beginners group has been posting a lot about Filamentality (a web search will turn up the URL). In any event (this is obviously a note to myself) if someone wants to check it out and report back to the group whether the topic fits here or not ...

Lena is in the Internet for Beginners group and submitted the following:

Hi, JoAnn. Hi all the tesolinternetbeginners. I have just put my Treasure Hunt on the Filamentality Web Site. It Is called Hunt on American writers of the 20th century. The URL is Cheers. Lena.

Hi, Lena:

Congrats! We have Filamentality activities in common! Yeess!!! I like yours. They are fun to do, aren't they?

Last October, when I took my first online course with Michael Krauss, also a Tesoler, I did a couple of activities for the first time that I, too would like to share with you and the rest of the Webhead community.

One is a Filamentality Subject Sampler - 'Visiting Kenya':

The other is a 'Scenario' about New York City, based on the Filamentality 'Scenarios'

I also have a couple of Quia exercises (unfortunately Quia is not 'free' anymore) at

And a Hot Potatoes xword puzzle on 'Euroland' vocabulary
This one I did on my own. I downloaded the software and tried it.

Let's keep up our work, Lena!

BFN, Teresa

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2. Creating your web pages

A few ideas about making web pages.

One permanent debate seems to be whether one should use a WYSIWYG HTML editor (such as Front Page, Hot Metal, Netscape Composer or whatever) or to learn HTML and use a plain text editor (Notepad).

The advantage of using an HTML editor is that you don't need to understand anything about HTML in order to make a web page. You just choose the things you want to have on your web page and the programme will do the rest. This gets you up and running quickly.

The downside to this approach is that sooner or later you will need to learn some html. You will probably need it to get your navigation links sorted out, or if you want to include a text chat or wimba board. There are also problems with the kind of code that most of these programmes produce. Different HTML editors seem to adopt different standards when it comes to writing html code. This can have some unwanted effects when your page is viewed in different browsers, and is likely to cause more problems in the most recent browsers (Netscape 6.x and IE 6). If you want to see how 'correct' your web page is you can have it checked with an on-line validator

Some people suggest that the best approach is to start by learning the basics of html and coding in a text editor, and then start using an html editor to take out some of the repetetive work. If this is a route that appeal then there is an excellent tutorial at There are versions available in Spanish and Italian.

One final plug, if you do need to mess around with web pages in a text editor, you may find that Windows Notepad is a bit limited - for example you can only have one page open at a time. I have found that NoteTab is extremely useful. It lets you open lots of pages at once and you can do a find and replace in all the open documents. So if you have a website with 72 pages and you change your e-mail address you can open all the pages and get the program to replace your old e-mail with your new e-mail. Using windows notepad that would take several hours; With NoteTab less than 5 minutes.

HTH Pete

Other Webheads have added the following:

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3. What HTML editor is appropriate for starting your first web page?


Netscape Composer

Claris Homepage (for Mac users)

Front Page

"If you want to see what my CALL Online students have created, please visit this page and click on the students' names on the right. These links will take you to their web sites. Most of the Multimedia CALL Lessons on the left are also in html form and on the students' web sites."

Christine Bauer-Ramazani provides these links to hands-on tutorials/workshops on FrontPage that she uses in her online CALL course at

Shun wrote: I tried and found IBM's HomeBuilder to be so user friendly and easy. I bought FrontPage and was unhappy and threw it away. It's newer version shouldn't be so clumsy, though.

Vance responds: I think Dafne is using Front Page now. I've read in lists that the new version of Front Page is more user friendly than before. I used to use Front Page myself some years ago. I found it to be more than I needed at the time, with a level of complexity I didn't understand at the time, but I appreciated some features, such as the map it gives you showing how all the pages in your project interlink. I'm using Hot Metal now and I like it. I particularly like being able to toggled between code and WYSIWYG, and the tags view, once you understand it, is a real plus. It costs about $200. What other webbuilding tools do you find friendly? Vance

I share Vance's appreciation for "some features, such as the map it gives you showing how all the pages in your project interlink". Other practical features:
  • the possibility to have the Folder List open to the left of the page you're working on; a double click on one of them will immediately open it (and I often need to look at other pages in order to check and/or copy & paste something);
  • the possibility to see how your pages interrelate (a click on the Navigation button).

However, as any other application, it has its irritating 'behavior'. For example,

The best thing to do is to type the document directly in FPage. But bear in mind that this will not guarantee a 100% WYSIWYG feature. There are often formats that will not appear on your browser (in my case, IE 5) exactly as you have them in FP. So you will need those 'basic HTML commands' that both Steve Schackne and Edward Tanguay refer to in order to get everything as you want.

Links and images are also very easy to insert.

Best, Teresa

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4. Getting Web space and uploading your files

Vance recommends two sites that are still free:


Dafne has created a tutorial and a diary: "If you are a newbie like me, you will be interested in reading a diary entry I wrote about the process I went through to create my site. It is the link called My Diary. But the URL for that page is "

See also:

Other sources for web hosting:

Uploading: see for links to ...

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5. Wimba voice discussion board at

I encourage you to visit our Wimba threaded voice discussion site and leave your voices there. Start a discussion if you like.

Wimba is a great example of a threaded discussion tool, with the extra dimension that you can actually record the discussion. Visit the Wimba site and see if you can find a discussion in a foreign language that you know to experience the remarkable impact this might have on language learning.

Wimba is also an example of a site you visit and register with and download code which you then copy into your own html document and store on your own website. Michael has done the honors for us with Wimba and made the Wimba Webheads page for us.

Here's how ...

Just visit Wimba's site at and select Trial Services and then Cut and Paste Services at This gives you a description of what's on offer. Then select Wimba Manager. Not Registered? Click here to register

I guess you could start at the above url. This registers your use of the product with Wimba and signals to them that you agree to the terms of service. In return they email you the code. This is the proper way to get their code.

Another way to get it is to visit any of our Wimba boards and in your browser, View Source, and then copy the Wimba code from there and paste it in your own web page.

So there's nothing really secret about their code. Basically the code resides on your page but directs users to the Wimba server.

What about all those security warnings?

From Wimba FAQ at

Security Window

"Wimba automatically downloads and installs all the software needed to run on your computer. In particular, Wimba downloads onto your computer a Java applet that has special permissions. Whenever applets with special permissions are downloaded on your computer (by Wimba or some other company), you get notified with a security warning window. The security warning window indicates that the applet indeed comes from Wimba and not some third party that is pretending to be Wimba. Nevertheless, you must still grant the computer permission to download and run the applet on your computer. If you don't choose "yes" (for Internet Explorer) or "grant" (for Netscape), then you will not be able to hear or compose messages in Wimba Boards. You can check "Remember this decision" to avoid these security warnings in the future.

Some Webheads have managed to get Wimba boards up on their very own pages. Click here to see what Webheads have accomplished with Wimba and Groupboard.

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6. GroupBoard

Another example a site where you can download the code and paste it to your own web pages is Groupboard. I've got that code on my site at In our regular weekly meeting last night we visited the site and had a look at some of the many drawings visitors have made and stored there (Susanne's Samba Queen for example). Susanne was able to visit the and in a matter of minutes download the code and install it to one of her web pages. The url is in our logs, but I'm sure Susanne can give it to us quickly in reply.

The point is, you can either use these tools at the urls we have already set up for you, or register at the sites, get the email with a few lines of code, copy those few lines and paste them into your own html, and set up your own Wimba or Groupboard site.

Let us know when you've done that and we'll come visit. All assignments voluntary remember, so if you don't want to make your own, just drop in on ours.

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7. Details on adding the code for Wimba and Groupboard to your web page

My tutorial can illustrate the very basic structure of an html document. That structure is presented here:

Last night, I tried to explain to Dafne and others how to take the code for Wimba or for GroupBoard and put it in your own web page. Dafne finally managed it, but I promised to explain how. When you register with Wimba <> or GroupBoard <> you receive in return email a bit of CODE which you cut and paste into your own web page. Referring to the very basic structure above, the result will look something like this:

<html> <body> paste the CODE here </body> </html>

You take the html and body tags with the code embedded and paste them to a text edited document such as Notepad (in Windows; what's the Mac equivalent?). Then you save the document as anynameyoulike.html. The name of the file is not important but it IS important that it end in dot .htm or .html.

Then you upload this file to your web page either using the File Manager of your web provider or and FTP client. There is more information about creating web page documents and uploading them in the Week 5 syllabus here:

When you've done that, send us the url and we'll visit your page.

If you want to 'dress up' your web page with the Wimba or GroupBoard applet on it, look at the Week 5 syllabus page to see how OR write this list with your questions.

;-| Vance

Hi Everybody,

After my success at adding Wimba to my homepage. Today I tried the Groupboard, and now I also have a a groupboard where you can draw, chat or simply leave a message.

To add both, Wimba and Groupboard to my homepage, I have used Geocities HTML editor, it is very simple. You only have to open the editor and paste the code you have been sent. You don´t even have to write any HTML tag, because they are already there. You can preview the page before saving it.

Then, as Vance said, you give a name.html or name.htm to the page, and there you have your wimba or groupboard. The next step is to link your homepage to that page.

You can access my group board here:
The password is: creative

I want to thank those of you who have left messages in Wimba and guestbook.

Check my groupboard.



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Some community members looked at sites that help users to organize their surfing destinations on the web:

MyBookmarks is a free Internet service that allows registered users to access their bookmarks from anywhere at anytime. The full-featured editor makes it easy to organize and search online bookmarks, and from the interface, users can export them back to their browser to use locally. Furthermore, MyBookmarks provides the option of making some or all bookmarks publicly accessible.

Blackflip is a browser based bookmark service. It is so good that I wanted to share the information with you all. Backflip is free and is very easy to use. You register and right away you can start filing your webpages in folders that you create to suit your needs. There is tab on top of the page to "Create your folders" Once your have created the folders. You can file your web pages, to do so, you need to go to the "Get Tools" tab.

For example, I selected to file the links I have as "favorite". All my files there went to blackflip and then through the "organization" feature, I sorted out my links into the different folders I had created (Articles, Online Journals, etc). You can add descriptions to each folder and file. Your folders are private, but there is a public directory for those links you would like to share.


As it was discussed this morning, "Backflip looks like a good solution *IF* you are very organized, and use lots of directories and sub-directories." "It also is a way to *BECOME* organized :-)"

Uses in the classroom? "your stds can be directed to the sites you want them to work on" ; "and you can get them to complete very particular tasks, rather than merely surf aimlessly" (quotations taken from TI transcripts)

Shun writes: I used to use a free bookmark service before switching to Backflip. I use neither of them now. I use, maybe more crude and simple. My reason to switch from the first one to Backflip was that it suddenly declared it's not going to support the free service. And the agony of returning all the accumulated bookmarks, all important to me, back to Favorites taught me a lesson. The problem is solvable if there is an easy way of backing up the collected bookmarks or importing/exporting to/from Favorites. I couldn't fine any. So I spent a lot of time on the vain work and lost some of the bookmarks in the process. I started using Backflip then. Many teachers use it including KeikoS who has her bookmarks public. I was suspicious and checked on its mechanism. I find faster than Backflip at times and simpler to learn, no ads. And there is a Yahoo mailing list for users. I'd recommend it. But people have their preferences. Take time before moving all you Favorites or Bookmarks to the service site so you won't make mistake like mine. I know one called Blink. Never built my bookmark there as it has too many ads. Why don't you check others too on Google before you decide. Keywords might be free bookmark service.

I'll still stick to iKeepBookmarks for its simplicity and importing/exporting capability to/from Netscape bookmarks or Internet Explorer Favorites. I tried the same with Bakcflip and never worked. I don't like them to put my precious links in shell, which makes it very difficult to return the links in original format if I ever need to do so. It's the same setup as the So it's my preference to stay with the simplest without ads and with a bbs to support inquiries.

As I have had lots of trouble getting really happy with Backflip, I simply had to check out Shun's recommendation at I Like iKeepbookmarks, too! I will keep comparing the two for speed and ease in creating and sorting my folders! My next plan is to reselect my old links in Backflip and install the most relevant of them to share with you

Tips : to get an instant popup applet where you can add links,

  1. click on popup in the menu,
  2. draw the large icon to your browser toolbar
  3. I got a terrible long Java name in my tiny toolbar, and changed it to a short acronym.

Curious Sus

Organizing your links is the REASON that I started creating web pages. In other words, it may be that online services are free for now and convenient to use, but it is also easy and convenient to create your own web pages, which can be a set of organized links, like bookmarks. My one for computer-assisted language learning is here: This set of pages is nothing more than an organized and annotated set of bookmarks.
Everyone has their own idea of organising files in a meaningful way and other people's pages may not meet your criteria. Here is what I came up with (see link below). This site organises my links but also had another role to fulfil: in the absence of Centre's self-access page it became a point of reference for our students' self-study material. Renata's ESL/CALL Corner
I'm so glad Renata is a member of this listserve (Renata, this is the list where I wanted to post your web site). I recently came across Renata's site on another list and I think it's the cleanest, most organized and comprehensive site I've seen so far -- truly a great model. I suggested that she enter it into a Web Site Award competition -- but am not aware of any for higher education (only K-12 sites). Does anyone know of an organization that reviews sites for recognition? Her site gets my vote.

From: Renata Chylinski <>
Organization: Monash University English Language Centre

I am still recovering...

Being a Virgo (never completely satisfied with the results of her work) I was delighted to read Arlyn's, Aiden's and Dafne's comments about the EFL websites I put together.

You have made my day, friends! This is a real pat on the back and something that will make me continue work overtime... :)

As I mention in my acknowledgement at the bottom of my pages: "Acknowledgement: The links on this webpage take you to many different addresses. These webpages are a result of the hard work of many ESL professionals around the world.You can check the authors at the bottom of each page."

My site is a mere collection, and the praises should be directed to all of these wonderful people who created these activities.

Even the Web-based activities site:
was initially inspired by Tower of English Tipsheets:

and only later started to become an independent, original resource. This cross-fertilisation, achieved through the convenience and expediency of the Internet, can only be seen as a positive development in the strive for the betterment of educational resources.

Thanks again

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