a rubric for grading student web projects
Page Contents: Contrary to popular belief (i.e., what your "MTV Generation" students might think) good web-page design is not simply a matter of throwing a bunch of fancy graphics and sounds on a screen. If you have used the web for any length of time, you know how annoying high-graphic/low-content sites can be. Therefore, it is first of all paramount that our students understand that their page is about content first. Graphics and sounds are to be used when they ENHANCE the content.
According to the Yale Style Guide, good web pages give the same information good journalism has for years. Thus your student's first responsibility is the make certain the following information is available:
What? According to research, you have about ten seconds to capture the average web-browser's interest. Although new web browsers might be "wowed" temporarily by fancy graphics, experienced users will want to know right away, what your site is about, to determine if it may have the information they want. Note how the front page of this site contains a brief paragraph concerning the goals and content of the site. Your students need to first of all have a clear grasp of the GOALS and CONTENT of their own page, and work hard to clearly, and concisely express this information to their readers.
Who? Experienced web-browsers will also want to know right away who created this page. There are so many web pages floating about in cyberspace, knowing the author, and the author's motives and expertise helps the reader determine quickly if the page is worth the time to browse. For example, if I am researching "alcoholism", a page put out by Alcoholics Anonymous, may be more helpful than a page by "Miller-Lite". This information should be easily discernible by the browser.
When? The experienced browser will want to know if your page is current and relevant. Thus they will want to know when the student's page was created, last updated, and if there is any new information. Remember, the reader is wanting to know quickly if this site offers any new or original information.
Where? One final question the savvy web browser will want to know is where the page originates from? A page that originates from -- say -- the public library may be of more value to the reader than a page from a private server. It all depends on the type of information the browser is looking for. And, it's up to the web-page designer to provide that information.
Remember also, every page should have the basics of good design, including the following: (1) clear home links, (2) "new" notifications, and (3) the opportunity to send feedback to the web-page designer.