Sunday, December 5, 2021

Creating a web

Students build Internet sites to keep in touch with friends and family and to express their creativi

December 7, 2000

Jeremy Meadows wanted to connect with a growing web of friends with sites on the Internet.

“I knew a lot of people that had them and I wanted to jump on the bandwagon, too,” said the English graduate student, who created www.msu.edu/~meadows7 in 1996.

In the past four years, Meadows has seen the number of student Web sites rapidly branch out.

“There are definitely a lot more Web sites since I started college,” he said.

The Internet “really took off” during the 1995-1996 school year, said Dave Krauss, a senior specialist in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences who began teaching over the Internet with MSU’s first Virtual University course in fall 1996.

Since then, constructing Web sites has become part of the curriculum for classes such as Computer Science 101 and sections of American Thought and Language. Many students make Web sites on their own to post résumés, keep friends and family up-to-date on their lives and let the cyberworld know a little about them.

Meadows said a personal Web site offers a place for self-expression.

“It provides a forum for whatever things you want to say, whatever you want to put out there,” he said.

As part of Krauss’ Virtual University course, students create a homepage. They must write a brief introduction, create a logo to put on the page and post their résumé and links to the course.

“About half the students will take that page and run with it,” Krauss said. “They have their MP3 archives and stuff.”

Krauss said he might drop the Web site part of the course, because most students already have sites.

“A lot of guys get this stuff in high school already,” he said. “And a lot of university courses require students to make Web sites.

“At first, it was new and we wanted to make sure all students learned how to do it, but now so many courses teach it and almost everybody has a Web site.”

Crop and soil sciences junior Jessica Smith had to create Web sites for two different MSU classes. She kept the site she made for ATL 150 because it was bigger.

At www.msu.edu/~smith149, Web surfers can check out Smith’s résumé, her background information, some of her favorite paintings, books and pastimes, and links to bands, television shows and movies.

“The résumé and the paper about my family was part of my ATL class,” she said. “I’m not a very computer-oriented person. The university is definitely good at having us work with that stuff.

“I have a friend who had CPS 101, and the Web site she had to do for that was kind of interesting. She had access to more things like backgrounds and scrolling words.”

Within the past few years, Web sites have become much more elaborate, Krauss said.

“They show a little bit of everything,” he said. “It used to be your name, who you are and maybe a few pictures. Now students put on graphics, movies, sounds.”

No-preference sophomore Christopher Bray’s site, created two months ago, includes some of these more elaborate features.

The introduction to www.msu.edu/~braychr2 is a video Bray created. The video gallery showcases short movies such as “Mechanical Man,” “One Ryder” and “The Cube,” which Bray created using 3D Studio Max and Adobe Premiere. Many still pictures of the movies are posted in the image gallery, which also displays likenesses of a canyon, a fetus and the Earth. Bray also used 3D Studio Max and Adobe Photoshop to create these images.

“I kind of wanted to learn how to use the program for making (a Web site) and I wanted to put my résumé online. I also wanted to set up a gallery - my hobby is making 3-D graphics, and I wanted to set up what I did,” Bray said.

Some sites allow users to showcase their work. MSU’s “The Daily Jolt” - msu.dailyjolt.com - is run by students, and provides a place for students to post and receive information.

Users can personalize the site, which has information on campus and area events, to their own needs and interests.

“MSU’s Web site is totally run by the administrators. It’s not student-friendly - it’s basically just a resource for information, whereas we’re a resource for entertainment and information,” said co-founder Solomon Amster, a general management senior.

Krauss said many sites can now be customized.

“Many students do that,” he said. “They can change the color and do lots of cool stuff.”

Sophomore Casey Meekhof’s site is on his friend’s server, rather than MSU’s.

“It’s cooler to have caseymeekhof.com,” he said. “I’m a computer science major, so I’m into that kind of stuff.”

Meekhof said he wasn’t too impressed with MSU students’ sites.

“I did some random searches just to see what people are doing,” he said. “Most of (the sites) are garbage, like just for classes.”

He updates his site once a month.

“It’s kind of like a constant work in progress,” Meekhof said.

Meadows, who updates his site a couple times a year, said it has become a creative outlet. He said he changes everything, from the introductory paragraph to the graphics to the links.

“I post whatever ideas come to mind because you can put anything you want on it,” he said.

Krauss said Web sites are “just another form of communication.”

“It’s neat for communication with students, for teaching,” he said. “There’s lots of information out there - it just depends on if you’re looking for it.”

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