[ubuntu-uk] School websites

gazz pmgazz at gmx.co.uk
Sat Jun 11 16:32:30 UTC 2011

I know people with PhDs who won't write HMTL onto an open access
academic site I run. It's not that people are too stupid, it's that
they're too busy and don't do it often enough to be able to remember the
markup between times - and they don't have time/skills to find their own
errors when they make them - and the whole page goes wonky. It's a
frustrating experience for them. I agree, it's a pain in the arse for
*me* downloading pdfs for everything but I do understand why people put
them up.  My convenience is not the only issue at stake ;) 

They should, of course, be given a wyswyg CMS - of which there are
plenty of FOSS examples - WP, for example, has a 'paste Word document'
button. But admin workers or IT teachers usually have little control
over these things. 

School IT teachers and techies are of variable quality but often have
very little training and experience and are also often relatively
isolated from wider techie networks. The obfuscate and obstruct because
that's both the the Microsoft AND public-sector culture they were
'brought up' in and because they have people taking out frustration on
them all day and don't want to open out potential areas of 'trouble' by
changing to systems they don't know. 

The solutions to these problems are rarely pure and never simple. People
need support and encouragement to change habits and the hydra of the
problem usually has multiple heads. 

We do what we can, but we have very little funding and the people we
work with often have even less. It takes patience and baby-steps. 

I do think the change in gov't policy will help enormously - few gov't
employees want to fly in the face of prevailing policy. 


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