Electronic School Magazine, June 1998, p. A31

http://www.electronic-school.com/0698f4.html

A recent telephone poll of about 20 school districts by Electronic School magazine shows two basic approaches to managing web sites: centralized and decentralized management.

What’s best? In the short term, the authors recommend a centralized model, where a “web master” at the district level (such as a supt., asst. supt., tech. coordinator) culls content from the various building-level administrators for the central district-level web site.

While this method gets a web site up and working quickly, it becomes labor intensive and inefficient over the long term—which is where a decentralized approach is more suitable.

In the decentralized model, building representatives implement their own school-level web sites, consulting with the district-level webmaster whose main responsibility is the district’s web site, not those of the schools. Although this method requires more training and time from building-level staff, those staff members do not have to depend on the district to update or change their building’s content.

The authors—a superintendent, an asst. supt., and an education technology consultant—outline a seven-step model for developing decentralized web management:

  1. tap people to be members of district-level and building-level web teams.

  2. train these teams to develop content and learn web authoring skills.

  3. clearly articulate goals for the web site.

  4. outline the flow of content-writing to web-publishing.

  5. identify other school/district web sites to emulate.

  6. use the same web software at all locations to ensure consistency and compatibility.

  7. make frequent website updates.