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John Simkin

Virtual School History Website

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I've just contacted Bart Vanhulle, webmaster in Brussels.

He was very quick to respond :lol:

He's gathering all problems and will look into them. I offered him my support in sorting out our technical problems.

I don't know what type of contract EUN has with the German cms-firm Contens, but I guess Contens has to cooperate and make this cms work for EUN.

If anyone finds problems in uploading/ editing etc, please put them in this forum!

At the moment Bart Vanhulle, Anne Gilleran and Chui Hsia know of the problems we've encountered this weekend.

The log-in problems klicking on [editors] and the Union Jack have been solved (24-05-2004 12:00am)

Edited by N. Zijlstra

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Email from Chui Hsia

Below are my responses to some of your notes. I assume you will pass these on to anyone in the team who also needs/wants to know? Thanks.

ABOUT: Details of the VS History Department. This would include latest news and latest meetings.

You can do this by creating new documents under the About level. 'About' is programmed to look for documents below level 2 (ie, the bottom level) and to automatically describe them on level 2. See page 3 of the user guide for a description of the site structure.

RESOURCES: It was decided that this section should include articles, newsletters and history website directory.

OK this is fine. Tomorrow, I will create folders called 'Articles', 'Newsletters' and 'Directory' under the Resources level. I need to do this as there is an application that collects documents from level 4 and publishes them automatically on level 3.

PROJECTS: The department is currently involved in several projects on a wide variety of subjects including the Olympic Games, Second World War, Oral History, Medieval Pilgrimage, Spanish Civil War. This is the section where this teaching material will be placed.

I have to create the sub-folders and insert the application syntax (see above). I notice that at your department meeting, you went ahead with moving the content without first telling me the names of the sub-folders to create, so I will spend a bit of time tomorrow inserting the application for the automatic display, as described in the above point.

TEAM: Biographies and contact details of department members.

I have cleaned up this area. All the pages had empty intro areas (called 'Teaser' in Contens) and the pictures were inserted as HTML. I have used the 'Image' upload function built into Contens for your photos. You will find details of how to add pictures in the user guide. The new user guide is available on the Virtual School Community, in the sub-area called 'Meetings, documents and links' then click on 'Contens documents', which is the first item on the page:

http://community.eun.org/entry_page.cfm?area=69

(5) Until replaced later this year Dalibor, as head of department, will take charge of transferring material from the old to the new website. If other members run into ny technical problems they should send a description of this problem to

Dalibor and Chui Hsia.

Jst to Dalibor, thanks. If he is unable to solve it, he will be in touch with me. This is to simplify the process of fixing problems so we do not have several people asking several other people about a problem they encounter.

(8) Nico will be concentrating on the Iceman and Propaganda projects. Nico will also be playing an important role in dealing with the echnical problems of uploading material to the new VS website.

Note on the above, too, I am here and willing to help solve Contens problems but I would like to deal with one member of the History team only. I would describe this person as the editor-in-charge. I have asked Dalibor to give me a list of names of people who will be editing (no more than 4 per department), and the name of the person who will be editor-in-charge.

As the new head of department will need to take over responsibility for the CMS system they will also need intensive training on how to do this.

I agree! Good idea.

(13) We believe we need to have ID's for all active members of the istory Department. Since we have already delegated the tasks we don't ee any problems of interfering with each others work. This is an mportant issue for the active members of the department.

We have set a limit of 4 per department, to be able to manage the user dminstration properly. I am sure your department will be able to work within this limit, especially since Contens supports multiple sessions of the same user account at the same time.

Sunday 23rd May: We continued working on the website until the CMS system

went down (very frustrating).

Yes, indeed!

Technical Problems with the CMS

Please refer to message sent to Anders for points 1 to 12.

13. How do you control font and size of font. This is a particular problem when importing text from another document.

There are two fields were you can input text (not counting the header): teaser and content. If you paste stuff into Content, it keeps all its original formatting. However, if you paste stuff into the Teaser field, it keeps only the line breaks.

So, if you are copying and pasting content from another Web page, I suggest you paste first into the Teaser field, then copy (or cut) out of the teaser field and paste into the Content field. I use this all the time, it works for me and it is not incovenient.

I suggest that you do not try to edit the font information as there is already a style sheet associated with this site, and any changes of font at document level will make the page look out of place or inconsistent with the rest of the site. Please see the team member pages on your department site for examples of what I mean. I have 'cleaned' the HTML on all your personal bio pages by copying the text from Content into Teaser and then back again. This gets rid of all the font formatting.

14. We need to know how often the material is backed-up on our new website.

How we can retrieve earlier versions when material is deleted by mistake. Who do we contact? What is the procedure?

I have never deleted anything by mistake, so I can only answer you theoretically. There is something called the Contens library, where all 'objects' (documents, spots, pictures) live. If you lose something, it will probably be still in the library. Please ask me if this happens as I cannot tell you the procedure off hand (having never deleted anything I didn't intend to delete).

John, I am sending this message to Anders and Dalibor also as I am aware that we are still in the early stages of a new process. To avoid confusion, I would prefer if I could deal with one member of the team only, whether it be you or someone else. I hope this is acceptable to everyone and I congratulate you all on your formidable commitment to the project as well as your productivity.

Best wishes,

Chui Hsia

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Answer to my e-mail sent yesterday to Anne Gilleran and Chui Hsia.

Dear Dalibor,

It seems that you and the group had a very productive time despite the frustrations. The new CMS is very stable, but like all such systems it has constraints and this takes getting used to. I am sorry about our servers I too was working over the weekend and experienced the same frustrations. I really appreciate all the work that each one of you do for the Virtual School.

We will try to get the logins for you as soon as possible.

Best regards

Anne

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Message from Chui Hsia

I have been advised by our Web developer, Bart, that the reason your gif images were not successfully inserted into Contens was because the name of the image file contained a special character, namely the letter O with an umlaut.

Names of files should not contain characters with accents, just "English letters", as he put it. Bart will fix the ones that are currently in the system, but please remember this for the future.

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I have added a new page entitled Cold War Oral History Project. It reads:

The History Department of the European Virtual School is launching a Cold War Oral Project. The plan is to start threads where people can provide first-hand accounts on important Cold War events. This will include people’s accounts of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Vietnam War, the building and pulling down of the Berlin Wall, the reunification of Germany, etc. It is hoped that people will post their recollections from all over the world. This is something that students could get involved in by interviewing parents or grandparents about these events. This material could then be used as a teaching resource. For example, I plan to create some teaching activities based on the material that is produced.

Could you always add your name, age, etc. at the time the event took place. If possible, add a picture of yourself at this date. If it is an interview use the name, age, photograph, etc. of the person being interviewed.

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showforum=140

Please contribute to this website. I thought Dalibor might want to start a thread on the Prague Spring. Anders must some interesting stories to tell about his role in trying to overthrow capitalism. I am sure we all have something to say about the Berlin War, Fall of Communism, etc.

Did anyone create a page called "War". I could not really see the point of this as it appears to link sideways to other projects. My understanding of the system is that this index page will be created automatically by Contens.

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I have just uploaded the following:

The History Department of the European Virtual School is launching an Olympic Games Oral Project. The plan is to start threads where people can post their recollections of previous Olympic Games. It is hoped that we will be able to persuade former competitors to post their thoughts as well.

The second part of this project will involve people posting their impressions of the 2004 Olympic Games.

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showforum=143

I see that nothing has happened to our website this week. Does anyone know when our material will be uploaded?

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I have started a discussion on what a national history curriculum should contain.

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=822

It might be a good idea to put the best contributions onto the Virtual School website. This could become a good way of using the forum. We could then put a link back that would enable people reading the material on the VS website, to go to the forum and contribute their views. If of the required standard, this could then be added to the website.

I see that the VS website has still not been updated. It hardly inspires you to bother placing material on the site. Have you heard anything about this Dalibor?

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I am thinking about setting up a Flash film (with a collaboration of a school colleague) on Olympic Games and Cold War. It will be an interactive world map which you can move the mouse on the places where the Olympic Games took place and that, when mouse over, would show the main political problems linked to the Cold War that characterised the different Games. Of course, the main point will be the boycotts to Moscow and Los Angeles games.

Do you consider this sort of resource to be appropriate to the Olympic Games project? As I didn’t attend to Gothenburg, I feel a bit “lost” as far as new projects are concerned.

I would like to have your opinion before proposing to my colleague the elaboration of the Flash film.

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Dalibor, Richard, John, Nico...

Thanks for your prompt reply. Actually, I do not feel so lost :hotorwot

I have just started to work on a Flash film that will encompass most of the Olympic Games from Helsinki 1952 to Barcelona 1992. It will show information (icons and written content) on Cold War and its influence in the differente Games. From the ban on GDR to participate in Helsinki to the South African participation in Barcelona 1992

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I have just started to work on a Flash film that will encompass most of the Olympic Games from Helsinki 1952 to Barcelona 1992.  It will show information (icons and written content) on Cold War and its influence in the differente Games. From the ban on GDR to participate in Helsinki to the South African participation in Barcelona 1992

This is a great idea. This is an obvious example of something that should be kept on your website.

However, I was rather disturbed by this comment from Dalibor:

Two days ago did I sent to you and the others a letter from Chui Hsia where the rules about our participation are outlined They are as follows:

- Preference should be given to unique content created by members of the Virtual School.

- Content should reside on the Virtual School site wherever possible.

- External links should be avoided, unless the link is an 'additional resource' or an 'authoritative site'.

If these guidelines are followed it will severely restrict what we can do. Especially those members of the department who are no longer receiving any funding from the Virtual School.

The external links comment is ridiculous. It is by the external links to the forum that we are creating material. Chui Hsia also seems to be unaware that external links are rewarded by search-engines (it is one of the reasons why I get such high-rankings). By restricting external links you are also restricting your number of visitors.

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However, I was rather disturbed by this comment from Dalibor:

Two days ago did I sent to you and the others a letter from Chui Hsia  where  the rules about our participation are outlined They are as follows:

- Preference should be given to unique content created by members of the Virtual School.

- Content should reside on the Virtual School site wherever possible.

- External links should be avoided, unless the link is an 'additional resource' or an 'authoritative site'.

If these guidelines are followed it will severely restrict what we can do. Especially those members of the department who are no longer receiving any funding from the Virtual School.

The external links comment is ridiculous. It is by the external links to the forum that we are creating material. Chui Hsia also seems to be unaware that external links are rewarded by search-engines (it is one of the reasons why I get such high-rankings). By restricting external links you are also restricting your number of visitors.

It’s unwise for us to have two parallel debates going on.

Chui Hsia, the editor of Virtual school/ History department is not part of this network and subsequently not reading your comments and suggestions which you publish at Educational Forum. (Do you think that she should be a part? If you answer yes, please do inform me why do you think so ……)

The letters from Chui Hsia are forwarded to all of you when they contain important information about the webbing of the History department new site.

So was also done with a letter which among others information contained outlines of Virtual School publications policy. Are you reading all her mails carefully? If you do you can immediately confront her with arguments against by answering her mails.

Again, I do feel that arguing against her and her writings (and her superior’s ideas) on this site is slightly farfetched.

I wrote previously that I do consider it to be not completely without problems to publish all her letters at Educational Forum (which is open to anyone) because she either asks me not to do so or because they are only of importance to the members of History department.

I do believe that we should have some discipline towards Virtual school/ History department as long as we agree to be a part of the network. By that I mean that we should obey Virtual school/History department rules. Or do you have another opinion? Which in that case?

Edited by Dalibor Svoboda

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Again, I do feel that arguing against her and her writings (and her superior’s ideas) on this site is slightly farfetched.

I do believe that we should have some discipline towards Virtual school/ History department as long as we agree to be a part of the network. By that I mean that we should obey Virtual school/History department rules. Or do you have another opinion? Which in that case?

Dalibor: I do not know what you mean by “superior ideas”. What I do know is that Chui Hsia’s comments about external links has profound implications for what was agreed last week in Sweden. As you know, the vast majority of material that we have produced for the Virtual School is currently on member websites. There are historical reasons for this. In the future we will place the material we have produced directly onto the VS website. We are now in a position to do that. However, I for one do not have the time to place the old material onto the new VS website. If you do have the time, you are free to take that material from my website and place it on the new website. I am sure the other members with websites will agree to you doing this.

I am disturbed that after a week the work we did last week has still not been uploaded? Is there any connection between this and the fact we concentrated on producing links to material on other websites? If so, the time we spent on this work has been wasted. I for one, will not be spending anymore time on this website until this position has been clarified?

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1. Dalibor: I do not know what you mean by “superior ideas”.

2. I am disturbed that after a week the work we did last week has still not been uploaded? Is there any connection between this and the fact we concentrated on producing links to material on other websites? If so, the time we spent on this work has been wasted. I for one, will not be spending anymore time on this website until this position has been clarified?

1. I do think that web editor Chui Hsia is not alone when the publishing rules are discussed in Brussels office. I guess that Anne Gilleran and others from the management team are deciding guidance for and policy of Virtual school and its departments together. I assumed (maybe wrongly) that they are her superiors.

I do believe that Juan Carlos proposal of placing the same material at two websites simultaneously is the solution. After creating it the content or it’s most important parts could be move to History departmental or for that matter elsewhere else. Or is this procedure time consuming in excess?

2. I ask Chui Hsia where are the material we moved to the new site at the meeting in Gothenburg. I especially ask for Articles I was working with. She sent me to http://www.eun.org/ww/en/pub/virtual_schoo...y/resources.htm

The Resources contains four sublevel headlines (I didn’t ask for Directory??) and Articles are uploaded. Your Newsletters are published too.

It seems to me that she alone wants to create sublevels in the sections which are still empty and then publish our work under them. What kind of sublevel headlines do you want to have in the sections you are responsible for?

Edited by Dalibor Svoboda

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(1) I do think that web editor Chui Hsia is not alone when the publishing rules are discussed in Brussels office. I guess that Anne Gilleran and others from the management team are deciding guidance for and policy of Virtual school and its departments together. I assumed (maybe wrongly) that they are her superiors.

(2) I do believe that Juan Carlos proposal of placing the same material at two websites simultaneously is the solution. After creating it the content or it’s most important parts could be move to History departmental or for that matter elsewhere else. Or is this procedure time consuming in excess?

(3) I ask Chui Hsia where are the material we moved to the new site at the meeting in Gothenburg. I especially ask for Articles I was working with. She sent me to http://www.eun.org/ww/en/pub/virtual_schoo...y/resources.htm

The Resources contains four sublevel headlines (I didn’t ask for Directory??) and Articles are uploaded. Your Newsletters are published too.

(1) I see what you mean. You meant the “ideas of her superiors” rather than “superior ideas”. Of course you are right on this. I am sure Chui Hsia knows more about the way the internet works than to have developed this policy. However, the point remains, we need to get this policy clarified.

(2) Yes there is no real problem about the production of new content (except for the use of photographs and flash animation that will probably have to be kept on member’s websites. As I said, my point is about material that has been produced in the past? If we are not to have links to this material, who is going to spend the time transferring it to the new website?

(3) The material you refer to here has not been uploaded (I looked only minutes ago). The links from About, Resources and Activities are still not working. Only Projects and Team seem to have been tackled. In the Projects section the links to external sites have been removed. Therefore it looks like nothing has been done on the Aviation Project.

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1. The material you refer to here has not been uploaded (I looked only minutes ago). The links from About, Resources and Activities are still not working. Only Projects and Team seem to have been tackled. In the Projects section the links to external sites have been removed. Therefore it looks like nothing has been done on the Aviation Project.

2. As I said, my point is about material that has been produced in the past? If we are not to have links to this material, who is going to spend the time transferring it to the new website?

1. When I click on the link it led me to the Resources which contain four sublevels which look like this:

Directory

Desription will be added later.

Virtual School newsletters

Teaching History Online is published by Spartacus Educational in association with the History Department of the Virtual School. The newsletter includes news, reviews of websites and articles on using ICT in the history classroom.

Notices in Brief

These items are collected and published by members of the History department. The list is updated every month, so visit this page regularly for new ideas.

Articles on History, Education and ICT

This section contains articles about ICT and pedagogy. Some articles are about ICT and history teaching. If you would like to have your article published here please contact: dalibor@fredrika.se

All articles are published as I wrote a moment ago ……..

The rest of the problems you mentioned shall I resend to Chui Hsia immediately for investigation.

2. If you clearly indicate what of yours works should be moved from your pages to the new one I can try to do this piece by piece over a longer period of time. It’s probably my task because I’m co-ordinator (until december!) of these things.

Right now I do have little time because schools in Sweden start to go on for summer holiday. This is a hectic time.

I do believe than I August there should be possibility to start removal of the most important material to our new page from your old pages.

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