November 11, 2013

Google Sites Tips and Tricks

In a previous post - Google Sites for Student Web Publishing - I explained how my students use Google Sites as a tool to publish their class projects online. I'm very happy with Google Sites as an extremely easy tool to use, while it is also one that allows for a lot of creative design and self-expression for students who want to explore those options.

To get started, students build a sample Google Site in Week 2 of class. Here are the instructions I provide for building that sample site: Building a Website.

For most students, this is the first time they have ever built a website, and they are really excited (and relieved) to find out how easy it is. Every semester, some students write me back about how they are going to use Google Sites to build a website for some other reason (another class, a student group, a family project, etc.). That makes me very happy!

Then, over the course of the semester, I have some tips and tricks that I share with students. The list reflects the kinds of questions that students ask and the problems they typically run into. You can see my list here: Google Sites Tips and Tricks.

Do you have some help pages for Google Sites tips and tricks? If you do, leave a comment here! I don't actively use Google Sites for my own web publishing (I prefer blogging software, as I've explained in other posts), so I'm not the world's greatest expert on Google Sites, which means I am always looking to learn new things.

One of the things that I like about Google Sites is that students can manage pretty much everything on their own using the basic instructions I've provided. I do very little technical support for their use of Google Sites, and of course they learn a lot by looking at sites created by previous students.

The biggest problem students run into has to be the Google Sites navigation options. Google Sites has some great navigation options, but it defaults to listing the pages alphabetically, so students have to go in and turn off the automatic navigation in order to sort the pages in the other they want. Once they figure out how to do that, it's not hard to get the navigation working the way they want - but this is the one topic on which I get some desperate emails since Google Sites does not make it obvious just how to reach this magical navigation options screen:

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