~~* Paul's Justice Blog - launched July 4 *~~

FrontPage news: A graduate student looks at peace, justice, and web design

Karen McKie

Up ] Site Map ] Syllabus ] [ From Karen ] Student Participants ] Help StopViolence ] Books ]

As a student in Paul Leighton’s Violence and Society course in the Fall of 1999, I found the Internet to be an integral part of our learning environment – so it made sense to use that medium to offer resources and solutions to the problems facing our society. When I took on the Independent Study project of creating a website based on the collective contributions of the class, I had no idea what such a project would entail. I offer these notes to explain how the project came together and to offer some suggestions for anyone who might take on a similar project.

Initially, the idea had been for each student to choose a topic dealing with restorative justice and solutions to violence, and to make a list of several quality websites that dealt with that topic. We ended up with most students submitting links for a variety of topics, but in the end we were able to channel them into the main basic groups that now comprise our topic headings. The students were to submit a disk with one file containing their group of links and descriptions of the links. When I sat down to test the links and add them to a web page, I entered a nightmare world of computer viruses and disks with several files in which I never found the links for the project. I quickly dispensed with the disks altogether and began to wade through the hard copies and transfer each link to a 3 by 5 index card. (Sometimes the trusted primitive methods work best.) I should note that computer viruses were rampant on the university computer system at this time, and no one knowingly submitted a virus. It’s also worth mentioning that instructors can easily overestimate the computer literacy of their students, and some students will have trouble with the concepts of files and disks and may need extra assistance. An ounce of prevention…

I ended up with several stacks of index cards arranged by category, which I then tested over a period of weeks to insure that the links were still valid, often having to rework the address to find the link at all. With that over, I bookmarked all the links on my computer and began to realize I had to face what I had been avoiding: the actual construction of the page. Sure, it sounded easy enough. But having never created a web page or used Front Page at all, I really didn’t know where to begin. I ended up typing each link in by hand and then later figured out how to rename the link, replacing the html address with other text. This sounds basic, but each step in the process was like stumbling around in the dark – it was literally trial and error. After thirteen tries I had a working page that I submitted to Dr. Leighton. He had never tried his hand at web design either, but after a few complications was able to transform the initial project into the streamlined vision it is today. I’ve learned a lot about the trials and triumphs of web design!

More important than the technical aspects, this project has given me a new perspective on social problems. Instead of feeling disconnected and helpless, I take pride in knowing that our class has created something useful and positive that will continue. The links my fellow students came up with are an impressive collection of valuable information and inspiration that speak to the compassion and concern of each of them. I realize that justice and peace are not just topics to discuss – they are our responsibility and call to action. This project is a first step in that direction.

Up ] Site Map ] Syllabus ] [ From Karen ] Student Participants ] Help StopViolence ] Books ]



Search WWW Search StopViolence.com


Copyright © 2000 - 2007 Paul Leighton. Permission is freely given to link to these pages or use them for non-commercial purposes, including distribution of printed copies at or below cost. For other uses, please contact the owner


This site is an affiliate of Amazon and Hostway. Ordering WebHosting or shopping at Amazon provides a contribution to this site, or examine other options to help StopViolence. Thanks for your support.