Untangling the Web
Session R, Part 2, 3:15-4:15 pm

Instruction on the Web: Authoring Tutorials in HTML

Katherine M. Whitley
Reference Librarian & Coordinator of Computer-Assisted Reference Services
University of California, San Diego

One impact of the World Wide Web has been to level the playing field to a certain extent for publishing information by putting authoring and displaying tools in the hands of just about anyone who wants to play. At UCSD Science & Engineering Library, we have taken advantage of the Web's instructional possibilities by filling a need to reach users at their own workstations with help materials. HTML provides an almost ideal vehicle for teaching methods that require visual impact, that take advantage of the hypertext nature of the Web, and that can be used remotely.

at their own workstations with help materials. HTML provides an almost ideal vehicle for teaching methods that require visual impact, that take advantage of the hypertext nature of the Web, and that can be used remotely.

As a result, I have developed two tutorials authored in HTML using a publicly available screen capture utility, a simple graphics editor and HTML editor software. I used a Macintosh to develop these tutorials, but will show that this approach is easily used in other platforms. There is a relatively short learning curve for constructing these tutorials, and I will show that just about anyone can do it.

One tutorial is a basic introduction to using Netscape, which also covers strategies for finding information on the Web. The other tutorial is an in- depth guide to the Compendex online database.

I will share variant design concerns for tutorials, plus some tips and some pitfalls I discovered in the authoring process. I will also discuss using one of the Netscape extensions to HTML to create an automatic slide show that can also be controlled somewhat by the user. Finally, I am developing new versions of the tutorials that use the versatile "frames" feature of Netscape Navigator 2.0.


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