Digital Guyana

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To round off the course and consolidate the learning of the previous weeks, we ended the course with a quiz. 38 points were up for grabs and we were pleasantly surprised by how much all the groups got into it. There were some pretty high scorers too, so they must’ve all been paying attention.

Here are the questions:

HTML

1. Which tags open and close an HTML page?

2. What are the tags for?

a) Paragraph
b) Bold
c) Italics

(3 marks)

3. What does HTML stand for?

4. Name a web browser.

5. <img src=”pictures/photo.jpg”></img>

Is the above an image, link or table?

CSS

6. what does CSS stand for?

7. Here is some sample code for linking a .CCS document to a web page:
<link href=”….css” rel=”stylesheet” type=”text/css” media=”all”></link>

Which of the following tags does it belong between?

a) <title></title>

b) <head></head>

c) <body></body>

8. Here is a style attribute:

background-colour: blue;

However, there is something wrong with it, what is this?

9. List two more style attributes. (2 marks)

10. What will the following styles do to a web page:

body {
background-color: black;
}

h1 {
font-size: 18pt;
color: yellow
font-family: verdana;

p {
font-family: arial;
font-size: 9pt;
color: white
}

(3 marks)

Social networking

11. What does ‘open source’ mean when referring to software?

12. Name three social networks.
(3 marks)

13. What is the name of the free, user-created Internet encyclopedia?

Blogging

14. What’s the difference between a ‘post’ and a ‘blog’?

15. What is a ‘blogroll’?

16. Name an online service for finding blog posts written by others.

17. What does ‘SEO’ stand for?

18. Why are links important in blogging? Give one example.

19. Why should you avoid using ‘click here’ as anchor text in links?

20. How many bloggers had signed up with WordPress.com as of Sunday evening, 9 August 09?
153,000, 207,000 or 378,000

Good content

21. Scannability refers to the tendency for peoples’ eyes to skim around web pages more than they would with a printed article. Related to this is the 10 second rule. What is the 10 second rule?

22. Which type of fonts work better online than print, Serif or Sans Serif?

23. Why is it a bad idea to use blue writing on a purple background?

24. Why is it useful for websites to use taglines with their titles?

25. Why is it a bad idea to use really long paragraphs?

26. Name one way you could you check for spelling mistakes?

27. How much slower do people read on the computer screen than print? 25%, 50% or 5%?

GIMP

28. What does the crop tool look like in Gimp?

29. Name two ways to resize an image in Gimp?
(2 marks)

30. What is the keyboard shortcut for undo?

(Maximum 38 marks)

Tags:

On the last day of the course I asked Matt a few questions about the project and his experience in Guyana.

Pontus was only able to make the first two weeks of the project but was an indispensable part of the team, developing the HTML, CSS and advanced HTML parts of the course.

I put a camera in front of Pontus and asked him a few questions at the end of his stay:

Now I’m back in England (and in an office with an incredible broadband connection) I’m able to upload some of the video that I took while out in Guyana.

I’ve got interviews with some of the other guys to come. In the meantime, here’s some footage of us (mainly Pontus here) feeding the manatees in the Georgetown National Park:

For more info read Pontus’s earlier post about the manatees.

In an earlier post I said that a crew from NCN had come to interview us for a feature about our project. Well, here’s the feature itself:

It’s a shame that Hugh’s contribution wasn’t included – most likely due to someone noisily starting up a van’s engine mid-interview.

Big thanks to NCN for airing the feature out and for giving us a copy.

Tags: , ,

This was a half-day session aiming to build on the blogging lessons from the main course. The idea being to build on the students’ basic knowledge and introduce them to

Tools of the trade

We used WordPress.com in the lessons, but there are other blogging platforms, each with slightly different features.

There are comparisons of the various services at Online Journalism Review and TopTenReviews.

Other useful services that we discussed include:

  • Facebook – a social network
  • Twitter – a flexible micro-blogging tool
  • Delicious – a ‘social bookmarking’ website
  • Google Reader – useful for reading blogs via their RSS feeds
  • Firefox and Firefox plugins – a web browser that is preferable to Internet Explorer in many ways and allows for customisation via easy-to-use plugins.

Blog promotion

Four key concepts:

  • Write good content
  • Post regularly
  • Link generously
  • Comment on other blogs

We also looked at the concept of using other social media profiles as outposts.

It’s worth bearing in mind the basics of SEO – incoming links, keywords in tags and titles, relevant anchor text and regular content are all good.

Also, while online interaction is great, you can’t beat meeting people face-to-face for making longer lasting connections and building relationships.

We also looked at more traditional ways to promote a blog – by telling people about it, adding the URL to email signatures/flyers/posters, etc.

Other tips

The following is a random selection of hints and tips aimed at improving your blogging.

Develop an editorial calendar that will allow you to plan blog posts over the year (including any lead-in/previews).

Consider guest posts:

  • Writing on other people’s blogs will introduce you to a new audience
  • Having others write on your blog will provide your readers with a fresh perspective, a new writing style and it’ll help spread the load of writing new content.

Group blogs are blogs with several contributors. Each contributor may have different topics, days of the week to post on. A group blog spreads the amount of effort required from each person, as well as providing a place for structure and support.

Involve your audience – blogs and social media allow audience engagement in ways that broadcast media do not. By interacting with your audience you can strengthen your relationship with them and learn what content they prefer.

While asking your audience and listenting to them is important, you should be wary of pandering to the vocal minority, whose views may not be representative of all your readers.

Statistics – your can use Feedburner and Google Analytics to discover what your readers (including the silent majority) respond to.

Mix up your blog posts – use video, audio, text and photos to provide a rich and varied experience for your readers.

Write like a person – blogs work well as a conversational medium. It’s much easier to converse with a person than a press release.

Know your target audience – build up an impression of who your readers are, what they like, how they get their information and so on. This will help you write for them. Getting out and meeting your readers face to face (ie at events) will help with this.

Comments guidelines – if you have a lot of people commenting on your posts and moderation becomes necessary, it can be useful to have comment guidelines in place. This will explain to people what behaviour is not tolerated and what action (editing/deleting posts and banning commenters) may be taken if they are breached.

Finally, the best way to learn is to look at other successful bloggers and their blogs and see what they do.

During a break in the lessons last week I picked up a copy of the phone book and flicked through to the web design section. There were only a few companies listed:

Website design in Guyana

Interesting that not all of them give a URL for their website.

The next stage was to try and Google and see which companies I could find. A search for ‘website design Guyana’ listed the following companies on the first page:

There were also results for directories such as ddir.org and Ensure, not companies themselves. My photo on Flickr (above) came up too.

Web savvy companies (such as those in the web design industry) can be expected to be ahead of the game when it comes to search engine optimisation. Not only is it a source of business but there’s a trophy element to showing you can control a strong, relevant search term in Google. It’s demonstration of your SEO services, if nothing else.

Of course, I’ve just taken a snapshot of the situation here – it falls well short of the sort of analysis that could be carried out but it’s interesting to see what the local companies are up to.