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Published January 18, 2015 | Multidisciplinary

Getting to Know You: Creating Your On-line Biography with Profweb

As a teacher, it is difficult to build rapport with every last one of your students. That said, what if you could tell your whole class about yourself in a structured way to get the ball rolling?

Enter Profweb.

Did you know that Profweb offers free hosting for your educational web sites? It has certainly been an invaluable part of my toolbox since I began working in the college network in 2006. With a few simple tools, you can create a presence on the web, and take a proactive step to building your on-line reputation. Not to mention it's fun! Let's take a look at what you need:

  1. A word processor or web page editing software.
  2. A program to edit pictures.
  3. A program to upload your files to Profweb.

To keep things simple, let's use a word processor to create your home page on Profweb. I used the LibreOffice, available for free on the Internet, but you may be more comfortable with Microsoft Word. You may want to grab a piece of paper to map out what you want to say on the site. Perhaps you can start with a brief biography that talks about yourself and your professional interests. You can follow this up with some links to useful web sites or documents that may be helpful to your students. Finally, you can talk about some of your personal interests. Watch this short video to take a look how it is done, and remember to save your file with the file name index.html for later.

Making a biography web page with word processing software (LibreOffice)

Next, to humanize your foray into the digital sphere, why not include a photo of yourself, or an avatar, if you prefer. For this, we will use an absolutely amazing piece of free software called the GIMP. After taking a picture with our digital camera and putting it on our hard drive, we want to crop the image to show just the essential part of the photo. I won't show you how to shave off a few pounds with the GIMP in this article, and assure you that my Profweb picture hasn't been doctored. However, I won't tell you what year it was taken!

The following short video will show you how I cropped my photo for Profweb using the GIMP.

Now we need to add the photo to your biography page, and then save the word processing document as 'index.html'. Here's how to integrate the photo and export your word processing document as a web page (.html).

Adding a picture to your biography web page and saving for the web

Our last step involves transferring your bio page from your computer to Profweb's web server, so that your students can see your home page. For this, I used a piece of software called Filezilla (a File Transfer Protocol or FTP software). Here's a quick tutorial on uploading your file:

Uploading a web page to Profweb with Filezilla

Once you have succeeded in performing these tasks, you will have acquired the key skills to create any type of informational page for your educational practice. Bravo!

Pretty simple, eh?  Why not start off the year on the right foot by spending a couple of minutes this week writing up your bio and requesting some hosting space from Profweb with this simple form?  It's your first step at setting the Internet straight on the great person that you are, and not leaving your digital fate to one of those teacher rating sites!

For questions regarding the Web Space, you can contact a Profweb technician by email or by phone (418-647-6600 ext. 6776). Whether you have a technical question or a question about the possibilities offered by the Web Space, you can count on the support of the Profweb team!

Editor's note

This whole article was produced using Open Source Software. The operating system used is Ubuntu Linux. The article was written using the LibreOffice suite (Writer). Images were edited using the GIMP and files were transferred using Filezilla. The video capsules were recorded using RecordMyDesktop and edited using OpenShot (both for Linux). Everything was done on a Dell Computer that was refurbished by a local deinstitutionalization business that helps youth get back on track and gain work experience.

3 comment(s)

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    Ryan W. Moon wrote January 22, 2015 at 12:30 PM

    If you want a little more control over the presentation of your biography page, and to go "under the hood" with html, I recommend BlueGriffon ( http://bluegriffon.org/pages/Download ) which is a multi-platform (Win/Mac/Linux) editor. It has a What You See Is What You Get interface much like word processing programs. If I receive enough comments with requests, I'll post a tutorial on BlueGriffon before the spring!

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    Ryan W. Moon wrote January 22, 2015 at 12:31 PM

    Forgot to mention that it's Open Source and free for download!

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    Norm Spatz wrote January 28, 2015 at 10:53 PM

    What I found really interesting about this article was the fact that the videos really made the information come to life. I think as teachers, if we are going to dabble in the flipped classroom, we all should aim to master the art of making acessible interesting videos, as Ryan obviously has!

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