Do you use the free web space provided to you by the university?
“No, I never use it,” said sophomore computer science major Cody Bauman.
“We have that?” senior biochemistry major Michael Ryan asks.
Like the H: drive that allows students to save information on the school’s network, the W: drive is space allotted for serving students’ or faculty members’ web pages to the public.
The service, which has been offered for five years, is useful but little-known and little-used by the campus community.
“It’s a space that’s designed for students who want to create web pages. You control what’s on there and you can put a link to it wherever you deem appropriate,” Chief information officer Gloria Barlow said.
Once stored on the W: drive, information is visible on the web to the general public and the Wilkes community.
According to Math and Computer Science department chair Dr. Barbara Bracken, one of the most sensible uses of the system is creating a portfolio displaying professional work for use in a job or internship.
“A website or portfolio about yourself is something you can send to a prospective employer and not only give them facts but show your creativity,” Bracken said.
The service also gives students the opportunity to gain real-life work experience while remaining in a classroom setting.
“When I teach my web design class we use it to host several websites we work on,” assistant professor of integrative media Sara Pisarchick said.
Since basic knowledge of website architecture is required to create a webpage, many students who lack such knowledge may feel they have no use for the W: drive when they encounter it.
“I think it’s underutilized because students may not know how to use it, may not know it’s there and some may not know how to go about creating a web page,” Barlow said.
This November, Pisarchick held a series of free workshops that taught attendees to use their free web space by creating web portfolios, uploading web files and updating their web space.
“There are a lot of programs that will actually plug everything together for you,” Pisarchick explained. “You can have something pretty dynamic with the click of a few buttons, and that’s what we showed people.”
Those who attended the workshop learned to use Adobe Bridge Portfolio Templates. The user simply adds images to a folder and fills out a form, and the program then creates an interactive website including titles and descriptions of the creator’s work.
Pisarchick felt that the endeavor was an overall success. In a survey, all 16 participants in the three sessions rated the workshop as helpful, and most plan to use their web space in the future to create professional portfolios.
“It seems that the general campus community is interested in having something like this available to them,” she said.
Wilkes staff members plan to advertise the service more during the coming semester.
“I think it’s disappointing that we have resources that not enough students know about,” Barlow said. “We want students to have the opportunity to use a lot of technologies that will help them in their academic and future careers.”
See a sample webpage created here: http://studentweb.wilkes.edu/nona.poehler/index.html