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Hi. I thought that it might be useful to share with you the following judges' comments on last year's entries. They may be helpful as you review your website before the submission deadline and judges' review on June 29, 2009. 


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The following comments were made by one or more of the judges as they viewed the websites using the criteria as their guide in allotting points.

Alt tags: too many non-descriptive words and/or phrases for images and photos. Remember that visually impaired students cannot read images or photos and it is imperative that an alt tag is used to describe them. Judges either did a mouse over on images and photos or read the website source code using the find command and the words " alt" and "tag" to search for them. Describing a photo or image as "photo" or "image 1, 2, or 3 or "cocky" is not helpful for the visually impaired. Think what you would want as a full description so that you could identify the image or photo were you visually impaired. BTW, many of the banners used by your institution could not be read by the visually impaired. The judges suggest that before you submit your site in the awards program that you have one or two visually impaired students "read" your web pages.

Mission statements: preferably on the home page or with an easily identifiable link to it on another web page. This is not a statement of center philosophy but rather a statement that specifies the goals of the center.

Student photos in the center: The alt tag ought to describe how many, male or female, and activity. Try to have 3 to 5 student photos at a minimum.

Floor plan: very few sites had one. Get someone in the art, design, or drafting department to help. Even if your center has space in different parts of a building or campus, have a plan so that students can find them.

Welcome message: very few had one and when they did, it was not accompanied by a photo of the center administrator and a signature at the bottom of the welcome.

History of the center: only one website had a history of its center. Such a history places the center historically at the institution. A history ought to contain information such as the origin of the center (date, founder, administrative patron), change in administrators and location, program start-up dates, outstanding events, awards. This is archival information that may be read by central administration, faculty, student services colleagues, students, and parents. Photos can be helpful as a part of the history. Look at the model history on the University of Texas Learning Center website.

Link from institution: Strive to impress on the institution that a link to the learning center is equally as important as links to career centers, disability centers, and library services. Get to know the institutional webmaster who can be helpful to get a link from the institutional home page to your center.

Link from distance education program to your center: If your institution has a distance education program, try to have the DE department link to your center for student help with learning and study strategies relevant to online success. 

Feedback link to your website webmaster: Normally at the bottom of the website home page but may be at the bottom of all web pages.

Page update: Every page ought to have listed at the bottom the date of the latest changes to the website.

Links to learning and study strategies resources: With so many useful learning, study strategies, and content enhancing material on the Internet, it is important that these be reviewed to become links on a learning center's website for students to self-refer and for tutors and learning specialists to prescribe. These links ought to be highly visible and easy to access. 

Hard to find links: Many important links were not quickly visible to students that use the website. 

Browser problem: The site may look great in Internet Explorer but awful in Firefox. Try to view your site using different browsers--at a minimum, IE, Firefox, and also Safari on a Mac. Remember not all students use Internet Explorer. 


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I hope that these comments will be helpful.  Collegially....... 

[log in to unmask]                "In times of change, learners inherit the
Frank L Christ                    earth, while the learned find themselves
Emeritus, CSULB              beautifully equipped to deal with a
                                              world that no longer exists".. Eric Hoffer
LSCHE Web site:            http://www.pvc.maricopa.edu/~lsche/

[log in to unmask]                "In times of change, learners inherit the
Frank L Christ                    earth, while the learned find themselves
Emeritus, CSULB              beautifully equipped to deal with a
                                              world that no longer exists".. Eric Hoffer
LSCHE Web site:            http://www.pvc.maricopa.edu/~lsche/

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