As Websites become essential to schools, it’s difficult to know what should be placed on them, who should have access to what, and how to keep up with supervision and maintenance of content. If you search online for ideas, you’ll find the usual: include your AUP, stress what’s considered private information with students, provide a school calendar and contact information, set up firewalls and filters, etc. But you won’t find everything you need. For example:
- While many school sites provide different levels of access for parents, students, and faculty, it’s not easy to decide what should go into which areas and how much of the site should be public.
- Schools have tended not to put student names on sites, but releases sent by schools to the media often end up on media sites. Such releases may broadcast student names, pictures, and towns, and highlight involvement in specific activities. What does this mean for school Websites?
- Although schools may not list sporting events, schedules, and their locations except for student or parent access; coaches from other schools, news reporters, and community members interested in following teams may appreciate this information. Should sports and perhaps other activity notices be public even though they detail where which students are when?
- The whole realm of interactivity and supervision/monitoring can be overwhelming. Does your site link to social networks such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Flickr, or Pinterest? How about student blogs? Is it intertwined with a course management system such as Moodle? How do you handle comments on your site or the social networks? The list goes on.
- And then, there’s site maintenance of content. Are teachers keeping their Moodle pages current, is the information about your courses correct, are your staff lists and content information up-to-date, have you changed your AUP to keep up with new technologies, are the latest sports rosters posted, were the changes in the school activities schedule put online, if a correction is needed, who makes it? . . .
Most schools can’t afford full-time Internet managers, but as parents begin to expect more and more from schools—up-to-the-minute information, photos from field trips, info on programs, videos of activities, and interactivity and resources for themselves and their children, how can schools keep up?