The guidebook opens with a discussion of the possible content
for web sites at various levels of the education environment. Chapter
1 emphasizes that the content is the first consideration when
the agency decides it wants to build a web site.
Practical considerations necessary for the development and maintenance of
a web site are discussed in chapter 2, including
the rationale for web publishing standards and guidelines for web
site content. Technical guidelines address such issues as password
A web site developed by an education agency will exist within the context
of the overall community. Chapter 3 discusses
some policy issues to be addressed when considering federal, state,
and local regulations. The rationale for having an Acceptable Use
Policy (AUP) is followed by a discussion of the relationship between
the Internet and existing Open Meeting (Sunshine) laws. Policymakers
are encouraged to think about usability guidelines as they relate
to federal and state regulations on accessibility, privacy rights,
and copyright regulations.
The initial premise of chapter 4 is that
any organization can launch a useful web site, no matter what the
level of expertise and funding. However, the sophistication of the
site and physical location of the web servers will depend largely
on where the resources can be found and what funding is available.
This chapter delves more deeply into the issues that face an agency
as it decides whether to develop and host a web site internally
or to outsource the process. The chapter provides some guidelines
to assist in selecting qualified vendors for outsourcing and identifies
the hardware and software that will be needed for internal hosting
and effective use of the web.
Chapter 5 describes the procurement process
and outlines three approaches to developing bid requests: (1) technical
specifications, (2) request for qualifications, and (3) request
for proposals. To help control costs and keep the implementation
on schedule, the bid packet should include as much information as
the agency can possibly determine in advance. This might include
basic design parameters, contract parameters, vendor/contractor
qualifications, and any legal issues that might arise. Less specificity
will often lead to misunderstandings, delays, and cost overruns.
Agencies planning to set up their own Internet nodes or web sites
must consider their hardware and software needs, as well as the
agency's capacity to maintain the site and train the users of the
As the Internet, the web, and other computer applications become
more complex, securing the network becomes more challenging. Historically,
the Internet has been a magnet for attacks by hackers who find the
weak points in a security system and intentionally break and enter
into a restricted computer network. Chapter 6
sorts out the complexities of network security and addresses hardware,
operating system, and software security protocols. This chapter
is intended to meet the needs of more highly technical users. It
provides detailed guidelines for securing Internet nodes and networks,
including wireless networks. The chapter sections concerning data
security and integrity are especially important for district technology
directors, who are responsible for the protection of students and
the data that relate to students and district employees.
This guidebook builds on, and is linked to, other technology guides developed by the National Forum on Education Statistics (the Forum) and available on the NCES web site:
- Technology @ Your Fingertips
provides a basic understanding for school leaders of how technology
can be used in schools.
Safeguarding Your Technology
provides a broad overview of security and the development of security procedures within education organizations.
Technology in Schools
helps educators develop procedures for tracking the ownership and use of technology in schools and school districts.
As with other Forum publications, this guide of technology standards and security reflects the "best-practices" judgments of the state and local education professionals and others who contributed to it. The practices endorsed in this book are not required by the federal government, except for any specific citation of law or regulation. The guide is presented as a resource for others to use as a contribution to their own technology efforts.
The Forum documents mentioned above include extensive discussions of professional development for maximizing the use of computer technology in the education community. The professional development sections include recommendations for both instructional and noninstructional staff. Technology in Schools
even presents suggestions for establishing a computer tracking system for professional development programs.
For readers who want to develop presentations about the topics
covered in this guidebook, a PowerPoint® presentation is available
Agencies may modify the presentation to meet the specific needs
of the organization. Additional copies of this guidebook may be
downloaded from http://nces.ed.gov/forum/publications.asp.