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Business English and the World Wide Web: An E-commerce Web Page Project Anthony Crooks Sendai Board of Education Sendai-shi, Miyagi-ken, Japan Outline Introduction Rationale behind the project Background of students Procedure - week by week Product Problems, issues and solutions

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business english and the world wide web an e commerce web page project

Business English and the World Wide Web:An E-commerce Web Page Project

Anthony Crooks

Sendai Board of Education

Sendai-shi, Miyagi-ken, Japan

outline
Outline
  • Introduction
  • Rationale behind the project
  • Background of students
  • Procedure - week by week
  • Product
  • Problems, issues and solutions
rationale
Rationale
  • 5 week computer class – what to do?
  • Maintaining of interest for students.
  • Application of acquired skills.
  • Internet-competent class members.
background of students
Background of Students
  • Participating students were:
    • enrolled at an Intensive English program (IEP) in Melbourne, Australia.
    • in the final weeks of a Business English course.
    • close to upper-intermediate in English competence.
    • computer and Internet literate.
    • had completed a web page in the past.
    • in their mid-twenties.
    • from Asia.
week 1
Week 1
  • Examination and analysis of commercial Internet sites.
  • Revision of students’ web page design techniques.
  • Re-familiarization with web page design package (HotDog).
  • Provision of primary assignment.
primary assignment
Primary Assignment
  • In groups of four, students were to advertise a local business with a website.
  • Their websites should comprise three linked web pages and featuring some of the characteristics found in commercial websites.
  • Their websites should make viewers’ interested in using or buying the businesses’ products and services.
week 1 continued
Week 1 (continued)
  • Students compiled relevant interview questions for business proprietors in the community close to the IEP center.
  • By Week 2 they were to have found a business to use as a website client, and have arranged a time to meet the proprietor.
week 2
Week 2
  • Before class, students:
    • had identified a business and obtained some data.
    • arranged to meet proprietors for interview about their businesses.
  • Initial interview questions were narrowed and refined.
  • Basic web page design skills were further revised.
weeks 3 4
Weeks 3 & 4
  • Preparation of the web pages - discussion on content and design.
  • Opportunity for me to inspect their progress and offer suggestions and advice.
  • Some students used class time to re-interview proprietors and take photos of their businesses.
week 5
Week 5
  • Websites ‘tweaked’ and then inspected and critiqued by class.
  • Assessment by class members and myself.
  • General feedback about the value of the project.
baba s kebabs
Baba’s Kebabs

Introduction/Index

Menu

Location

the book nook
The Book Nook

Introduction/Index

History

OpeningHours

Location

ContactDetails

advantages of the project
Advantages of the Project
  • Students were engaged in a wide range of language acts.
    • Reading (web pages, business brochures).
    • Speaking and listening (to each other, to business proprietors).
    • Writing (web pages).
    • Working collaboratively in English towards products of which they were genuinely proud.
problems
Problems
  • In a number of cases:
    • students used fliers from restaurants to compile their web pages resulting in little English usage.
    • students had difficulty finding compliant proprietors.
    • members of the groups ‘took a back seat’ and were merely observers rather than participants in the creation process.
solutions
Solutions
  • Find compliant proprietors and set up interviews for students.
  • Have students create their own products and services to advertise.
  • Upload the files to the Internet for ‘completion.’
  • Reduce groups to pairs.
  • Ensure that students have specific roles to play in each group.
japan specific issues
Japan-Specific Issues
  • Conducting this project in Japan would reduce the demand on the students to speak English.
  • Greater emphasis needs to be placed on:
    • the students’ interaction in English in class.
    • the preliminary tasks and discussions (e.g. web page examination).
    • the presentation of the final page in English.
  • Foreign businesses in Japan could be used.
requirements
Requirements
  • A computer room with sufficient computers for student use (i.e. one computer per pair).
  • Computers with power enough to handle web design processing tasks (e.g. Pentium+ models).
  • An Internet connection.
  • Web space – free servers such as Homestead, Geocities & NBCi.
resources software
Resources - Software
  • At a minimum, Microsoft Word (saving pages at HTML files) or Netscape Composer.
  • Shareware and freeware packages such as CoffeeCup Free HTML or Arachnophilia (both available at http://www.tucows.com).
  • Online page-building at Geocities and Homestead (suitable for those institutions with with dedicated Internet access).
resources software19
Resources - Software
  • Programs to edit and view images:
    • Paint Shop Pro - http://www.jasc.com
    • ACDSee - http://www.acdsystems.com/english
  • Programs to upload files to the Internet:
    • WS_FTP LE - http://www.ipswitch.com
    • CuteFTP - http://www.cuteftp.com
resources webspace
Resources - Webspace
  • Free webspace is available at the following sites:
    • Geocities: http://www.geocities.com
    • Homestead: http://www.homestead.com
    • NBCi: http://www.nbci.com
    • Tripod: http://www.tripod.lycos.com
    • Angelfire: http://www.angelfire.lycos.com
resources web page guides
Resources - Web Page Guides
  • McFredies, Paul (2000) The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Creating a Web Page, fourth edition, Macmillan.
  • Smith, Bud E. (2000) Creating Web Pages for Dummies, fifth edition, IDG Books Worldwide.
  • http:///www.ehow.com (free online training).
where to find this information
Where to Find This Information…
  • To examine this presentation, including web pages, weblinks, The Language Teacher article and suggested resources, go to:

http://www.anthonycrooks.com