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Peer Review

Creating a Web Page with Netscape Composer

by Karen Hardin


Overall Rating:

3 stars
Content Quality: 3 stars
Effectiveness: 3 stars
Ease of Use: 3.5 stars
Reviewed: Jun 12, 2005 by Teacher Education
Overview: This resource includes two software tutorials. The first tutorial provides
general instructions on how to create a web page using Netscape Composer 4.7.
The second tutorial (linked to the first) provides updated instructions on how
to create a web page using Netscape Composer 7.x.The information offered
includes directions on how to incorporate text, links, graphics, animation; copy
graphics, and edit a webpage. A link to download Netscape Composer is

Learning Goals: The primary goal is to create and post a web page using Netscape Composer.
Target Student Population: This tutorial should work for any novice user but the institution specific
instructions for publishing may cause some confusion.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Users must load a copy of Netscape Composer on their computer. To take best
advantage of this website, users would have already seen a demonstration of how
to use the various tools in Netscape Composer to develop a web page or have
novice web authoring skills
Type of Material: Tutorial or Reference
Recommended Uses: These web pages could be used as a reference after beginning users have already
completed hands-on training. Novice users may use this site as a reference if
creating web pages isn?t a regular activity.
Technical Requirements: Users will need to have access to the Internet and access to a web hosting
service to store web pages that are created. They can download a free copy of
the appropriate version of the web authoring software (Composer) from the
Netscape website. Links to these downloads are provided.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 3 stars
Strengths: The author provides a good list of topics at the top of the page that should
allow familiar users to go directly to a topic they need to review. A link to
the software (Composer) is provided, making it convenient and free (other than
the possible cost of a hosting service) for a new web author to get started.
Instructions for both Netscape 4.7 and Netscape 7.x are provided.

The contents of this webpage should be adequate for someone who has seen a
demonstration and perhaps even had a hands-on introduction to Netscape Composer.
Given this scenario, it would be a good reference page to refresh a novice?s
memory about what to do and how to do it. Screen shots are very helpful and
there is a link to another website with additional resources, including public
domain graphics.

Concerns: The author jumps right into the web authoring process and assumes that users are
familiar with terms such as index.html, jpg and gif. The intended audience may
have had a more detailed explanation during a face-to-face session prior to
being asked to go to the site. However, it is hard to know this since
information about prerequisite knowledge isn?t included either. Either more
detailed directions or more examples may be helpful to a novice. Making this
website interactive would be especially helpful.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 3 stars
Strengths: The strength of this webpage is its simplicity and clarity. No extraneous steps
are included. For example, adding sound would be for advanced users and
directions for this are not included. Just the basic steps needed to develop a
simple webpage are provided. Separating instructions for general users and
students at this particular university is a thoughtful addition. Users with
prior experience with Netscape Composer and who are good at reading directions,
willing to try things out on their own, and able to problem solve on their own
should find this a useful sight. The best use for these pages would be as
reference material for learners who have already received hands-on training and
are just looking for a review of how to accomplish a specific task.
Concerns: Many users will need more help that is offered here. This is more a reference
page rather than a real tutorial because examples showing the results of
following each set of directions are not provided. Making this interactive is
one suggestion for turning it into a real tutorial. It would also be helpful to
add another page of helpful hints from the instructor.The publishing information
is written specifically for the author?s institution. This is to be expected.
However, this means that users from other institutions will need to be prepared
to provide there own publishing information.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 3.5 stars
Strengths: Text is kept to a minimum and screen shots are provided. Targets are provided
so a person returning to this site to refresh their memory about one step can go
directly to that step without having to scroll down the page.

Concerns: The author doesn?t use consistent formatting for identifying menus and commands.
Sometimes these words are boldfaced, other times they are italicized. A
beginning web author from another institution, who has little or no training may
get confused by some of the terminology and the references that are specific to
the author?s institution.The links to other websites do not open in a new
window, which is preferable because novice users of this reference page will
leave it and have to find their way back to it. It would be better if they could
toggle back and forth to reread instructions as they try to download and save a
graphic, for example.

Other Issues and Comments: A student or instructor who has some experience creating and publishing web
pages should find this tutorial easy to use.