African American
History & Heritage Site

Teacher Toolkit for Grades K-12

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Copyright 2002 Gerri Gribi ||| Email ||| 1/30/09

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Teacher Toolkit Grades K-12
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Link Policy / Notes on Design & Style

Link Policy

My goal is not to provide the most extensive list of material, but the most selective list. The following elements are considered when determining which links to include:

1) Is the site content rich, and is the majority of that content appropriate to my goal? If the site includes links to additional sites, are those links annotated? (I do not include sites which are merely collections of links to other links.)

2) Who created this site, and what are their credentials? Is this information quickly ascertained or is authorship obscured? Is this an academic site, a commercial site or a personal site? Is there an organizational or provider affiliation and as such, do they have a particular bias? I will not exclude useful, high-quality, content-rich appropriates sites simply because I personally disagree with their bias. However, I call attention to such biases in my annotations.

3) Does the site require the user to supply personal information in order to use the site? If so, the site will probably not be included except in unique circumstances, eg. to access digital holdings. If a site does require registration, I provide this information in my annotation.

4) Is the site designed to be usable and accessible to all? Is it easy to retrieve information? I will not include sites which require the use of a specific browser.

5) Is this site being maintained? If it purports to provide current information, has it been updated in the past six months? Do the links work?

6) All things considered, is this the best site available to present this particular content?

Design and Style

1. Since this is an information-retrieval site, I felt it was more important to make it usable and accessible than "fancy schmancy." Having studied several books on web site usability before undertaking this project, coupled with many hours spent watching real teachers use web sites in school computer labs, I designed this site to accommodate outdated equipment, a slow connection and limited computer access. For example:

I avoid the use of frames, animations, or any other extraneous elements which might distract users or make the pages load more slowly.

I use descriptive text links rather than icons, partly because the links are more obvious, but also because unlike icons, text links will change color so you can see where you've already been.

When selecting links, I've noted if a site requires the use of special downloads or software, and whether lesson plans require student internet access.

I have included a wealth of offline resources such as books, videos and CDs.

To learn more about User-Centered Design I recommend:

Mark Pearrow. Web Site Usability Handbook. Charles River Media, 2000. Read more about it at Amazon.com

2. I have chosen not to hyphenate the term "African American" even when it is used as an adjective because I feel it clutters the page and may interfere with search engines. However, I do include the hyphen when I'm quoting a source, such as the title of a web site or lesson plan. (Though some sites, such as the Library of Congress' AFRICAN AMERICAN ODYSSEY, omit the hypen as well.) To read more about this option, check the Chicago Manual of Style FAQ, accessed 2/5/02.

3. I do not capitalize the words defining race such as "black" or "white" except when used as proper nouns. (so, "black history" but "Black History Month.") This is an acceptable practice according to the Associated Press Stylebook. (Accessed 2/5/02) and the one followed by John Hope Franklin in From Slavery to Freedom.

http://creativefolk.com/toolkit/links.html