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The Minimalist’s Guide to Creating a Class or Course Web Site

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Have you wished you had a web site to share assignments, links, discussions, and more, but always thought it would be too difficult to create one? It absolutely doesn't have to be.

Educators are increasingly turning to technology to improve their teaching, communication and organization skills. Having a web page to use to deliver and organize content and make it easy for students to work, communicate, and stay connected outside of class hours is essential in this modern age.

One free application for creating web sites for courses that is hugely popular with teachers is Weebly.com. It doesn’t get much easier than Weebly – its free, fast, and very user friendly, but also powerful enough to meet sophisticated needs.

Weebly logoBefore We Get Started…

As a busy teacher, we know you don’t have a lot of time to go hunting for information and conducting a ton of research on a topic.  Hopefully, we’ll be able to answer all your questions right here – and maybe provide a little bit of encouragement and motivation too!

However, if we left something off the list, please be sure to add your thoughts in the comment section below.

What is Weebly?

Weebly is a website builder that helps you create a dynamic, interactive site for your classroom.  While Weebly comes with a variety of useful features, perhaps the most notable is the fact that the program is entirely free!

Most teachers find the free version of Weebly is more than sufficient.  However, there is a Pro version that offers even more perks (the once-a-year fee is about $40).

I have zero website design skills.  Will I be able to figure this thing out?!

Weebly is famous for its user-friendly features.  After all, you only need an email address and password to get started!

The entire program operates with a “drag and drop” feature.  You won’t need to have any computer programming or HTML skills.

After creating your account, you have the option to choose one of any 70 different themes for your site.  Once you’ve chosen a theme, you can customize it to your own preferences.

Even without design or development skills, there are still plenty of features you can add to your site.  Weebly makes it easy to create photo galleries and slide shows.  You can even embed YouTube videos and add Google maps.

Is it an education-minded tech tool?

Weebly is very education-friendly.  It even has a dedicated education arm (which is what we're linking to in this post).  The program has a few specific features that are appealing to teachers:

  • Weebly sites are ad-free.  You won’t have to worry about students or parents coming across a randomly generated advertisement that is inappropriate or offensive.
  • You can create an assignment form on your website.  This allows students to upload and submit their homework from your site.
  • Within your teacher account, you can create 40 student accounts (for free!).  With this access, the students can create their own websites and blogs.
  • Teachers have the ability to monitor comments on their students’ websites.
  • You have the ability to make your teacher site (and/or student sites) private or public.
  • Weebly offers a great referral program.  If you add a “sign up” link to your page and someone uses the link to create their own account, you (and the new Weebly member) get a $10 credit.  You can use these funds to upgrade your existing account to include additional features.
  • Changes are automatically saved.  As a busy teacher, it might be challenging to find a time where you can create an entire website from start to finish.  Weebly will save your content as you write.  That means you can close the window at any time and all your information will be saved until your next visit.

What kind of information should I share on my Weebly website?

One of the best features of Weebly is the fact that you are only limited by your imagination.  While each educator is different, many teachers use their site to share information like:

  • Class calendar/syllabus
  • Homework and Project Assignments
  • Announcements
  • Supply list
  • Learning resources
  • Classroom rules and expectations
  • Parent involvement opportunities
  • Teacher biography
  • Contact information (or contact form)

Other than communicating with my students and parents, what else can I do with this website?

Again, the sky is the limit with Weebly.  If you can think it, you and your students can probably do it!  Here are some examples of how teachers are using Weebly for in-class activities and homework assignments:

  • Students can create a website and turn it into a visual essay.
  • A student website can easily be a research project presentation.
  • After conducting a science experiment, students might like to create a visual lab report.
  • Make a period of history come alive with a digital scrapbook.
  • Weebly offers a free blogging tool.  Encourage students to use this for writing assignments, observations, reflections, or a reading journal.
  • Encourage a group of students to create a website and use it for their oral presentation.  The rest of the class can leave comments to show they were listening!
  • Younger students can get involved too by creating whole class projects.  Create a new page or site after teaching each unit.  Students will be able to reflect long after the unit ends.

Can I see examples of teacher sites created with Weebly?

Lots of teachers use Weebly – and it seems everyone has their own way of doing things.  Here are a few sites to check out, gather tips and get inspired:

Alright.  I’ll give it a try.  Is there anything else I should know?

As the teacher and owner of the primary account, you will have to set up each student’s account yourself.  The free version allows for 40 accounts (in addition to the teacher’s).  The pro version provides space for 50 students to get involved.  $10 will buy you 10 additional accounts.

When you are creating the student accounts, remember privacy issues.  You probably don’t want to use the child’s real name.  You can create a code of some sort to identify each student while keeping personal information off the web.

For example, you might use the first two letters of the last name and the first three letters of the child’s first name.  This will be helpful when it comes time to grade projects since the majority of grade books are alphabetized by last name.

Hopefully, this information has been more than enough to get you started with Weebly.  If you have additional questions, please leave them in the comment section below.  We would also love to hear from other teachers who have used Weebly – your insight is greatly appreciated!

Related Posts (if the above topic is of interest, you might want to check these out):
How to Combine Existing Digital Learning Materials into Great New Content: 11 Awesome Mash Up Tools
20 Warning Signs That you are Falling Behind the Times with Technology as a Teacher
8 Exciting Technology-Enhanced Teaching and Learning Approaches That Teachers are Embracing in 2014

19 COMMENTS

  1. […] The Minimalist’s Guide to Creating a Class or Course Web Site. Educators are increasingly turning to technology to improve their teaching, communication and organization skills. Having a web page to use to deliver and organize content and make it easy for students to work, communicate, and stay connected outside of class hours is essential in this modern age. […]

  2. […] "Educators are increasingly turning to technology to improve their teaching, communication and organization skills. Having a web page to use to deliver and organize content and make it easy for students to work, communicate, and stay connected outside of class hours is essential in this modern age. One free application for creating web sites for courses that is hugely popular with teachers is Weebly.com."  […]

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