Monday, March 4, 2013

Putting together a simple professional website


Not much on there yet.

I decided I don't like Google sites (which I had used before), and I really need a more professional platform than F&OST to point people to. Wordpress also has the prospect of upgrading to a .com and some nicer themes in the future, but this is perfect for now.

Not that there's much variability, but let me know what you like to see in a professional website.


  1. I find your career puzzling. It is my understanding that a PhD thesis can be an anthology of three published articles. So it seems to me you have completed your thesis, if your advisor accepts your selection. Or are you writing research articles on the side earlier than most of your cohort?

    -- Robert

  2. List of papers, certainly, ideally with abstracts or links to abstracts. Maybe an introductory line about your primary areas of expertise or research interest.

    Schooling, awards, the usual academic boilerplate. Office hours are always nice to know.

    Facebook and Linkln and a link to this site are optional -- I'd recommend against actually since they aren't bonafide professional references.

    Some amount of biographical info. Not your hobbies and children's names and photos of the familiy pets, but enough to make obvious that this is the Daniel Kuehn born in the US in the 1980s, rather than the Daniel Kuehn from Munich born in 1948.

    A nice head-and-shoulders photo seems useful, and a picture of some scene at your university (the building where your office is located, for example) is always nice. (It needn't be an actual picture of your office -- no need to call in professional cleaners!)

    Probably you should go slow on adding Buy-Your-Books-At-Amazon links and tip jars and XXXX Visitors Since January 2013 counters. Also the banners for Miller Genuine Draft and XXX PORN XXX 24/7! don't seem especially academic.

    Readable type -- the same font, with different type sizes -- is recommended. Generous margins. Maybe a button to push to shrink the display down so it's legible on tablet screens? (What kind of options does Wordpress give you?)

    Less is More, as a rule. And trust your own judgement - you set FAOST up reasonably well, after all.

    1. Aw, I figured the porn sites would DRAW visitors!

  3. Actually, to be honest, I preferred the Google Sites set-up that you had, but suit yourself Daniel. Otherwise, I agree with Mike Shupp's recommendations.

    1. I don't know - it just looked less sleek. Plus at some point I'm likely to upgrade to a .com which seems easier with wordpress.

  4. Leave it the way it is. Since everyone else actually puts information on their websites, a blank home page is something that could make you stand out.

    1. You do realize there are other pages on the site and that I haven't finished anything up yet.

      What do you like in an academic website home page?

  5. I commented before this on what as a casual visitor I might want to see. This is what I would like to see as a student:

    (1) The courses you are currently teaching, with lecture times and location (e.g. "Econ 402, Intermediate Macroeconomics, MWF 9:30 - 11:00 AM, Schneider Hall 223")

    (2) Current reading assignments ("Samuelson 2008, Chapter 14, pp 403-419") for say the previous week, this week, and the coming week.

    (3) Suggested or strongly recommended additional reading for the coming lecture. Asking an undergraduate to read or skim over one or two papers in the course of a week seems reasonable -- don't expect them all to do so, of course! -- and grad students ought to get through a book a week, assuming they don't get bogged down in technical details.

    (4) Important administrative details. ("Papers on Exorbitant Taxation are due Friday, March 5; no excuses accepted for lateness. Midterm exam, April 17, 9:30 AM, Walker Memorial 405. This counts for one quarter of your final grade. Final exam June 4. COURSE DROP DATE: FEBRUARY 15, 2017")

    (5) Office hours. Names and offices and email addresses of section instructors and teaching assistants, if applicable.

    (6) Links to specific course-related websites, if you require any sort of on-line discussion or other activity.

    Portions of this ought to be updated weekly.

    (7) What might be nice, although I realize this is asking for a lot, is some sort of How-Am-I-Doing information. ("Currently the class has 32 registered students. Based on papers and test results through March 1, 4 students have achieved A-level results, 12 B-level, 8 C-level, 4 D-Level. These results contribute one fifth of the final grade. Please consult with your section instructor if you are displeased with your current standing.")

    Give your crummy students the information they need to have without the embarassment of crawling into your office and "Professor Kuehn, my name is Snodgrass, I don't know the final exam is, and I haven't been turning in papers, can I do that now? and I missed the second exam, is that going to hurt me much?"

    I stress this strongly, from extensive experience as a crummy student.

    1. Thanks - very good things to keep in mind although at this point I'm not teaching any classes!


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