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About Section Highlights:

2008 National Contest Winners
When is National History Day?

Online Discussion: Web Site Category

Thursday, December 13th from 3-5pm Eastern Time

Join NHD for an online discussion on the new Web Site Category. Katrina Dodro will act as producer for the discussion, while Lourdes Morales, the California state coordinator, will answer your questions.

About Lourdes Morales: Lourdes Morales has been with the Constitutional Rights Foundation for the last 17 years. She has worked with the History Day program since the inception of the web site category in California in 1997. California began piloting the web site category as a demonstration category in hopes of expanding the reach of History Day and encourage participation by even more students. In 2000, because of steady growth of participation in the category, the web site became an official category in California. In 2006, Lourdes became the head state coordinator for the state.

How To Send in Questions or Comments
To participate, send your questions to katrina@nhd.org. Questions will be answered as they are received. However, there may be significant delays in posting answers, depending on the number of questions and comments that are submited.

How to See Questions As They Are Updated
As new questions and answers are posted to the discussion page, you will be able to view them by refreshing your browser every few minutes. You can do this by pressing ctrl-R or pressing the "Refresh" button in your browser.

Let's Get Started!
From Katrina, the producer: Hello everyone,
Thank you for joining us today for NHD's online discussion about the web site category. The staff in the national office is very excited that this category will be premiering at nationals this year.

The questions, answers, and comments collected today will be archived on this site, and can be reviewed whenever you'd like. Please excuse any typos that may appear today. Due to the fast pace of keeping up with your questions, we may have quite a few. Any typos will be cleaned up before we archive the page.

I'd like to make one point for all of the students with us today; the most important part of the web site category, like all categories, is the research . The technical aspects of this category are very (insert word here: cool/sweet/hot), but without proper research and formulating a strong thesis, all the bells and whistles you put into a web site will be for nothing. No matter how great your web site looks, historical quality still counts for 60% of the evaluation score.

I'm sure you've got lots of questions, so let's get started.

Jack From Colorado: What program of web site software would you suggest for 2 middle schoolers in the NHD program? We do not recommend any one software program. There are lots of software programs you can purchase or download for free. Do a search of what software is out there. Review the software and see what would work for you and your students, cost (if any), effectiveness, user friendly and accuracy of the software program.

Casey: Hi, I am a student in the 8th grade in the web site category. I would like to know how to make a web site. I am looking for information like what are the basics and where I could make one. I have the application Dreamcast (a web site making application) and don't know how to use it. It is very advanced. if you have any advice for me please e-mail me. I would greatly appreciate the help. There are many software programs that claim to be for the novice (features like tutorials, templates, drag and drop, or website wizards). Do a search of what software is out there. Review the software and see what would work for you, cost (if any), effectiveness, user friendly and accuracy of the software program.

Jarek From Plano, TX: What are the requirements of a web site presentation? What are the restrictions? Do you pay for web site hosting or does my family have to pay for it? Review the web site rules in the contest rulebook on page 21 for more detailed requirements/limitations. Basically, there is a 1,200 visible, student–composed words limitation and the entire site can use up to 100MB, including multimedia. The multimedia must not last more than 45 seconds and may not include student-composed narration. You must have a 'home page' with the name "index" and all pages must be interconnected with hypertext links.

NHD requires that your web site be submitted on CD-R for advance judging, there is no need to host your website.

Max From Minnesota: Can I set up my home page so that when index.bat (instead of index.html) was clicked, it would launch a few programs to run in the background, and then pull up index2.html? It wouldn't connect to the internet. It would also be completely transparent to the judges, and act like they clicked an actual page. It depends on the programs you are referring to. If you are referring to programs that come basic with Windows (Javascript or Netscape) you'll have no problem. However, if you are referring to additional programs that are not basic like FrontPage, your web site might not be able to be viewed on some computers. It is your responsibility to ensure that the judges can view your site.

Sue From Columbus, GA: My question has to do with monitoring the process. I know nothing about web sites but I have a few students who would like to try the category. When students do a paper I make them turn in an outline, a performance student turns in a script, etc. What can I have the students show me as a preliminary outline, if you will, so I know where they are going with their project? You can do the same thing with the web site that you do with the paper. One suggestion is to have students outline the web site on index cards - one card for each page. This helps students to organize their thoughts and also helps them to understand that a web site is NOT linear (unlike a paper). Each index card should have a complete thought process; in other words, each one should be able to stand as on its own. Therefore, if a student was to number the cards 1-5, the story would make sense if they were laid out 2,1,5 or 4,2,3 or 5,3,1,4,2.

From Worcester, PA: Please better explain the note to Rule 4 regarding Web Sites (page 21 of the NHD Contest Rule Book). Basically, this means that you can't have someone else create something especially for your web site. For example, if you have an uncle that designs graphics design a graphic you to use on your web site that is unacceptable. However, using something that has already been created is acceptable. Can music (properly credited) be used? Yes, you may use music with proper citations.

Natalie From Waipahu, HI: I have several students doing the web site, but many do not know how to figure out the MB's. Can you tell us how we can find out how many MB we are using? To view the size of your web site file, right click on file you want and click on properties. Can the students place their web pages on freewebs.com? Not for the competition. All web sites must be turned in on CD-Rs.

Sue From Columbus, GA: How many pages should the average web site have? There's really no such a thing as an average number of pages. Some students will have web sites that are 3 long pages, while others will have web sites which are 10 short pages. What really matters is the content of what is put on the site. Students should try to use all 1,200 words they are allotted to give meaningful insight into their topic.

Sarah From Wyoming: Do the students have to do the entire html on the web site or can they use pre-formatted templates? You can do your web site with which ever one you feel more comfortable working with. However, if you use pre-formatted templates you have to make sure everything is working/interconnected (links/pages) to make sure you can navigate the web site and do not just have a bunch of separate files.

Jacob from West Nyack, NY: If I include film clips in my website do I simply cite them as I would other sources rather than getting permission from the production companies? You may use films clips on your website and are required to credit/cite all your sources and any multimedia used. However, there should be an earnest attempt (letter, e-mail, etc.) to obtain permission to use any copyright material. From Katrina in NHD's Main Office: If you plan to use your web site outside of History Day's educational parameters (for example, if you plan to make your web site live), you must make a vigilant attempt to get permissions for all copyrighted materials. No matter if you get permission or not, you must cite all of your sources.

Alex From Algona, IA: Can I use a autorun.inf to launch my webpage? Honestly, I am not sure what autorun.inf is, but as long as you can view the website with no automatic redirects it should be fine. The judges need to be able to navigate throughout the website at there on pace.

Chris: If a download for the Flash Plug-in is provided on the page, can an entire website be contained within the Flash Plug-in on just the index page? Yes you can. However , if you do this, and, for some reason the judges can't access the Plug-in link, they won't be able to view your site. Also, you are required to provide the judges with hard copy printouts of your web site. This is something that you should seriously think about.

Marie From Fairfield, IA: Can animation be part or all of the website? Animation cannot be your whole web site, but there are no rules against using animation to enhance your site. It is considered multimedia so there is a 45 second time limit and it may not include student-composed narration. Judges will make every effort to view all multimedia content, but if they can't view it can't be evaluated. I am not sure how animation would work on a hard copy printout.
From Katrina
Bear with us, we just got a really long set of questions.
We'll be posting shortly.

Connie From Cleveland, OH: Will judges be able to view Mac CDs? FROM KATRINA:A similar question was asked in another chat. I'm posting it here: I don't know that this is really a formal question, but I would appreciate some guidance in the Mac versus pc debate in creating web sites for internet explorer with a Mac. My teachers are telling me it can't be done, I don't know any better, so I believe them. Microsoft has discontinued support and no longer offers Internet Explorer (IE) for Macs. The way the rules read is that it has to be viewable with a recent version of IE. About 35-40% of the websites I have seen in our program have been created using software on a Mac. Most of what students are likely to do with this technology on the Mac platform is going to be easily read by IE. The tricky part comes in the formatting of the CD's for turn in. Students using new Macs such as the Power Macs and others will be able to format the CD's for both platforms. Students on older machines may have problems. In either case, students should be able with minimal effort to locate a PC machine either elsewhere on campus, at home or in the community to test their website on before sending it in for evaluation. What version of Internet Explorer (at a minimum) will the judges have on their computers? Will judges have Flash and Quicktime installed on their computers? What resolution will the judges' screens be set at? All of these questions have been put together because they all are about what equipment judges will have available to them. The answer is that judges equipment will vary widely. History day has no control over the types of computers that judges use. Keep in mind that most judges will be using a computer at work to view these, so their machines may be 4-6 years old. Your best bet is to stay away from any features that are too cutting edge. Stick with software that was available in 2006 or before. Pick the lowest common denominator which will allow the biggest audience to view it. Can students use Javascript? Yes, you may use Javascript. Javascript is a basic program that comes with windows. If it is not on a particular judge's computer it can be downloaded (it never hurts for you to provide a link). Why are individuals and groups judged together in the web site category? Historically, whenever NHD introduces a new category, there are less students who will do it. Because the numbers are lower, we consolidate the competition so that there are enough students competing in each room. As the category becomes more popular, we will separate them into individual and group. Can the website include interactive activities? Yes, you can include interactive activities on your website. Just make sure that you do not violate any rule requirements/limitations or student-composed word limitations.

Brian and Trisha From Ambler, PA: What is the most common program used to create the websites? There are many different programs out there, so there are many different ones used. Which one do you recommend? NHD does not recommend any one product. I suggest that you go to a few history web sites that you trust, look at the bottom of the page, and see what they used to create their sites. Of course, there may be people out there reading this who have recommendations; we'd love to hear them! Can you use templates downloaded or purchased from the internet? Yes, you can. Also, Microsoft Word and Publisher both have web page templates that are included in the system (NOTE: they have mixed reviews).

From Lourdes: I am so excited that the website category is finally a national category. As technology continues to advance it is great to see National History Day moving along with technology. I do hope this chat has been helpful and informative. If you have any other questions or concerns feel free to contact me. I know it will be a learning process but it will be very interesting to see the great website projects. Here in California we have been doing the website category for ten years and every year we learned something new and worked on improving the website category.
From Katrina:Many thanks for all of the great questions. A special THANK YOU goes out to Lourdes Morales for being willing to work on this for the past 2 1/2 hours!

If your particular question was not answered, that is because it was already answered in a question that someone else asked. Please read the whole transcript for lots of useful goodies.

Here are a few helpful links that you can go to for more resources about the web site category:

Web Site Rules
Evaluation Form
Web Site Category Information

Good Luck!

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