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A WEBPAGE CREATED WITH GOOGLE SITES AS AN APPROPRIATE TOOL FOR SUPPORT ON TEACHING

D. Moldes, F.J. Deive, M. Pazos, M.A. Sanromán

University of Vigo (SPAIN)
The use of a webpage as teaching support could be a very useful tool since this alternative allows including high amounts of information presented in an attractive and motivating style. However the design and construction of a satisfactory webpage may be arduous and time consuming. In addition, the use of specific software could be a need to assure a minimal quality of the resulting webpage.
Fortunately, there are several platforms which help on the webpage construction with attractive and useful designs. One of them is the tool proposed by Google: “Google Sites”. Every member of a Google account has the access to this tool, which comprises a lot of possible webpage designs for free and easy to customize. Google Sites is a perfect platform to create a useful webpage as teaching support without hard work but with an attractive appearance.
In this work, the employment of this tool is presented regarding the subject “Biotechnological Processes”. Most of the items selected to create the webpage menu are useful for the course development: class announcements (news related with the course), class calendar, reading list (recommended bibliography), useful web links, class photos and videos, forms and docs, and contact with the teacher. These items could be easily extended in number, modified or deleted in order to improve the webpage application.
Some advantages of Google Sites in combination with other Google tools are:
• Synchronization of the Google Calendar tool with the webpage. This aspect allows the student to be informed about the exact dates, hours and locations of class activities (master classes, practical classes, visits to biotech companies).
• Direct contact of the student with the teacher’s e-mail.
• Possible surveys with Google Docs.
• Notification of changes on the webpage with Google Reader. The students may be informed, by RSS feeds, when a modification in the webpage was performed.
• Possible monitoring of visits in the webpage by means of Google Analytics.
• Google may also notice on the students mobile phones about the changes on the webpage if they perform the necessary configuration.
Another possibility of Google Sites is the possibility of sharing the contents with selected persons, as the webpage may be public or just be shared with the students.
The author of the webpage can get a full access to it just with an internet connection. In this way the teacher can modify or include new material, links or whatever at work, at home or wherever he/she is located.
Although many virtual environments for teaching are available, the accessibility and possibilities of Google Sites make this public and free tool an excellent platform as teaching support.