Do you know that many employers Google job candidates? If employers find immature or inappropriate content about you, and especially created by you, they may think twice about interviewing you or hiring you. Some Human Resources directors call this "MySpace Syndrome." A job candidate looks qualified and professional, until a Google search turns up a MySpace page with pictures from a drunken party.
While you're working on your professional portfolio, you should also consider what other information an employer could find. Maybe it's time to edit your MySpace, Facebook, Flickr, etc. page, too.
Usability is a critical issue in Web design, but beyond the scope of this course. Many people use the Web. Some are color blind, some are visually impaired, and some have motor control challenges. There are many ways to make a Web page more or less accessible. (e.g., adding ALT text to images). You have a moral obligation to make your website accessible to as many people as possible. If you're a teacher at a public school (or public university), you also have a legal obligation.
Here's a good site for more information: http://www.msu.edu/webaccess/
Spam is unwanted email. Some spammers use automated "sweepers" to look for valid email addresses on the Web, by looking for the "@" sign. If you want to reduce your chances of receiving spam, write your email address using "AT" instead of "@" (e.g., "buchan56 AT msu.edu"). Human beings can replace the "@" if they want to email you.
You don't need to know any of this to create and publish Web pages. But if and when you're ready to try something more challenging, look here.
Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) give you more control over the layout and appearance of your Web site. Most professional Web designers use CSS. (I do.) To appreciate the power of CSS, try clicking on "Presentation" and "General" at the top of this page. Notice that in "Presentation" mode, all the bold text is red instead of black. That's just one example of the power of CSS.
Database-driven Web sites are more dynamic and scalable. Most big commercial sites are database-driven. Course management systems like D2L and Kat are database-driven websites.
Open source software runs most of the Web. Most Web sites use open source software called Linux and Apache. The routers that manage requests for Web pages are open source. Open source software has many potential advantages for schools. I'm an expert on these issues, and I'm happy to talk more about them. See: http://www.netc.org/openoptions
Wiki, PostNuke, and similar software can simplify and amplify the power of the Web for publishing and collaboration.
Web rings are communities of Web sites about a common theme (e.g., Star Wars, the Civil Rights Movement). If you create a site about a specific topic, you might consider joining a Web ring. More people may visit your site.
Microsoft currently has a near-monopoly on word processing software. Microsoft Word is a good program, but it's expensive. Newer versions of Word create documents that won't open in older versions. Schools shouldn't have to upgrade their software unless they want to (and can afford to do so). HTML and other open formats are better for schools, and avoid possible monopolies. For more information, see:
Kym Buchanan is an expert on these issues. They're complex and important. He's happy to talk more about them.