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The homepage is one of the most important parts of a website. It is the user’s first impression of the site and often communicates the most important or significant information. A teacher’s class website is no different. Class website homepages are an online expression of what the class is about. Teachers can personalize their class homepages to make them a center piece in their class content management.
The class website homepage is organized into a number of sections, many of which can be controlled by the teacher. Sections are comprised of automatically displayed content and teacher created content. The most prominent section on the homepage is the text content area. The upper part of this section contains automatically displayed notifications of upcoming assignments and lesson plans. Students and parents can click on any assignment to view the full details. The lower section is controlled by a published page a teacher has created and set to display as the homepage content.
To the right of the main homepage section is additional class information. Teachers with class permission for the class will display in the teacher information box. Clicking on the “More Class Information” link will open a new window that contains additional teacher information, the class schedule, additional class websites, and the course description.
Below this box is a list of all pages the teacher has created for the website. Students and parents can jump to all page published by the teacher by clicking the blue arrow link or open featured pages by clicking on their titles. Teachers can customize the order of the pages within this section. See more about publishing pages.
The boxes containing additional class resources and information and the upcoming assignment and lesson plan section are automatically displayed content. Teachers can manage all other content on their homepage including the background of the website.
Choosing a Homepage
Homepage content is entirely up to the teacher. Most of the homepage personalization comes from the teacher’s ability to edit the homepage content by creating various pages. Pages can be set up to include static content about the class such as the course overview or the course outline or can be created to communicate a specific period within the class such as a unit change. If a teacher would like to change the content of the homepage, they can simply create a new page with the new content and set that page as the homepage section. This way all content created remains available to reuse as needed. Teachers are encouraged to think creatively about their homepage content and use it as an extension of their classroom teaching.
Content for the homepage is created using Pages. New pages are added from the Pages tab on the class website management section in the Teacher Portal. Once the page has been published and is available to view on the class website by the students or parents, it will become available as an option to set as the homepage. Pages can be set as the homepage section in two different areas:
- Homepage tab: select which page should be used as the homepage using the dropdown menu option above the “Set as Homepage” button on the Homepage tab. All published pages will be available for selection from this dropdown menu. Once the desired page is selected, click the “Set as Homepage” button to save the selection.
Settings on a Specific Page: under the published section on the Pages tab, click on the gear icon in the lower right corner of the desired page tile; this will display all editing and publishing options for that page. Select the “Set as Homepage” option from the list.
Once a page has been set to use as the homepage, a yellow star will appear in the page tile indicating that this page is currently active as the homepage.
Teachers can create as many pages as they like for use as the homepage and use the publishing settings and the “Set as Homepage” option to control when it is displayed to students and parents.
Teachers can set the background color or image for their class website. Background images display full screen, so it is best to use images with large dimensions (e.g. 1600×1200). The background color of the website will display while the background image is loading so it is a good idea to set both.
Under the “Personalize” section on the homepage teachers can select between three background options:
- Default Look: the class website background remains white.
- Background Color: set the class website background to a preferred color by clicking on the “Background Color” field and selecting from the color picker.
- Background Image: set the class website to a background image by clicking the “Select from My Computer” button.
A preview of what the class website will look like with the personalized background will render in the preview window to the right so teachers have an idea of what their site will look like before they save the changes.
Whenever a change is made to the homepage, all changes must be saved. There are two save options for homepages:
- Save (All Active Sections)
The “Save (All Active Sections)” allows teachers to use the same class website homepage across all class sections of one of their active courses.
- Save (This Section)
The “Save (This Section)” allows teachers to only edit the homepage for one section of their active course, thus making it possible to have a different homepage per class section.