Month: April 2019

Defense of Contract

At the beginning of this project Genevieve and I wrote a contract that guided us in the creation of our website. You can read it here

Our Mission Statement

Genevieve and I worked incredibly hard to fulfill the goals we set for ourselves in the first part of our contract. Our website is the most comprehensive account of information available and would be a great resource for any students interested in researching the case.

Our website is also very easy to navigate, which I take a lot of pride in. We direct people to the most central parts of the website on the homepage while also having a navigation bar at the top. People can either go through the pages one by one or choose the ones most applicable to their research.

We did change one of the sections of the website once we started organizing all of our information. We decided we did not have enough for the “key players” page, and chose to make a “public responses” one instead. This was the right decision for our website. It helped us meet our overall goal.


We built our website using Parabola, and we did choose a purple and grey color scheme. The look of our website is both true to the book and professional. As far as the visual aspect of our project, we did exactly what we stated with the overall look.

We interviewed Karin Perry by emailing her questions. Therefore we had no audio clips to include in the site. However, we did state that we might discover different tools as we went. I used GoogleSheets to create the graphs on the page “Norman and Whittier Middle School.” We simply used embed to keep the interactive function. We did use TimelineJS, Coggle, and

Division of Labor and Structure

We stated that we would divide our labor evenly by each worked on four main sections of the website. It actually ended up that each of us worked on three main pages and collaborated on four, instead of only two. After we chose to not include the key players page, Genevieve took on creating the public responses page. We both worked on the Primary Sources and Home pages.

The division of labor did not go exactly how we had it planned, but we mostly followed the guide we had set for ourselves. We also worked to keep the labor even as we finished the website. We collaborated as we went to make sure that our pages looked well together.

I remained in charge of communication with Karin Perry, while Genevieve received official documents from the school. We worked together on the timeline, visuals, and interview.

In Conclusion

The last section of our contract indicated the specific milestones we tried to keep to as we worked on our project.

Overall, despite changing one page from the structure we had originally planned, Genevieve and I created plan for our website that we followed through to create something we are very proud of. Part of creating it was learning as we went, but we chose to leave room for development in our contract. The structure, design, and intellectual content of the site are on par with what we set out to do with this project.

Amending the Website

So far, we have received feedback from three different people on our website. One thing that everyone seems to agree on is the need for information on the pages that we left blank for navigation. I think this is a good point. The “About” page is the one I am in charge of, and I think it needs some sort of context for why we chose to make pages about those specific topics. I liked Professor Hajo’s (I think) suggestion to explain how the author, book, and school district come together to be important to the case.

I also tend to use too many commas in almost everything that I write. I am very aware of this fault and plan on fixing it throughout the website as I go along. The pages with more grammar issues are more than likely the ones that I had most of the power in creating.

Another thing that all three of the people reviewing our site pointed out is the need for more explanation concerning the files that we included. This means on the About Glass page, explaining the part of the parent complaint better, since it was unclear where it came from. I also plan on going through our documents page to add explanations about each particular document. Telena said she had trouble loading the PDF files that we embedded, so we might also consider converting them to JPEG for convenience purposes.

For convenience purposes, I also need to go through the entire site, and make sure the links we used all open in a new tab. We were not very consistent about that originally.

On the about Norman and Whittier page, I know that I have a lot of work to do before it is perfect. I put the graphs in, but I did not include any sort of conclusions based off of the data that I collected. Telena also pointed out that she thought the page needed a visual of the actual town or school to give the audience an idea of what it is like. Over the weekend, I will go and take my own pictures to possibly add one.

I tried to conclude that the northwest part of Norman was a wealthy part of the city with my chart alone; however I was having trouble finding any evidence about that on the internet. I could talk about person experience, and possibly add a quote from someone I know who lives in Norman and worked at Whittier to back up the assumptions that I made. I asked her about it, and she was willing to help. However, she asked if I wanted her to be frank that she remain unnamed on the website.

The section on the website where we talk about ourselves and the project needs only slight amending. I think we will create a parent page with a new name, so that we do not have “about” and “about us” on our navigation bar. I would also like to add an acknowledgements section so that we can thank all of the people who have so graciously helped us throughout this entire process.

Finishing Up the First Draft

Our goal for turning in the first draft was to have all of our pages finished. We did not want to leave anything out, that way the rest of the semester can be spent perfecting anything our peers point out.

Technical Difficulties

As I have said before, I am not the most technologically advanced person in the world. Genevieve and I originally really liked how user friendly a website called Venngage was for that exact purpose. Neither of us had ever created an info graphic before, preferring generally to stick to the writing part of technical writing. Sadly, venngage turned out to be anything but user friendly.

I emailed Leah last week, frantic, because no matter what I tried, I could not get either of our graphics to show up on the site. She installed a plug in for us that still didn’t work. She tried something else that appeared to work from her end, but when I tried to do, it only showed up about half the time.

We were really sad to scrap our graphics, but we had no choice but to start over.

Learning to Use Google Sheets

Since I was working on the page of our site about Norman, Oklahoma and the schools, I knew that I wanted to include relevant information about the people who lived there. I had all of the data, but no knowledge of how to put it in a spreadsheet in the correct form. Eventually, I figured it out, and made three graphs that match our theme. I’m really proud of myself for them.

During this process, I actually feel like I became relatively fluent at embedding things into word press. Besides the actual writing, I was able to play around with the site and make it look exactly the way I wanted it.

Learning by Being Stubborn

There were some little problems with the layout of the website that honestly made me want to throw my computer against a wall. One really dumb one was the fact that WordPress does not automatically register an empty text box on the actual website. I finally figured out (after immense internet searching) that all you have to do is press control+enter.

I love buttons. There are probably 20 buttons on our website because they are exactly what I was looking for. I was so happy when Leah showed us how to use them in class, because I genuinely would never have figured it out.

Overall I am just really proud of the website Genevieve and I have been able to create together. It was not intuitive to me, considering how long I struggled every time we needed to use Google Sheets. However, I think this experience so far has been invaluable, and I can’t to see what everyone else thinks of our website.

Post-Interview Update

After I initially sent the email to Karin Perry, I was surprised that she did not reply quickly. Every other time I contacted her, she was incredibly fast and helpful. I waited two weeks, and emailed her again. This time, she responded with in the hour.

I simply asked if she had gotten my previous email, and asked her to please answer the questions she felt comfortable answering. She was very apologetic that she had not seen my last email. All was okay though, because she had gone above and beyond to answer our question.

Helpful Answers

She answered all our interview questions in this Google Doc.

Her opinions and the information she gave us is going to be incredible helpful to our website. She really felt that Glass did not deserve to be challenged the way that it was. The content of the novel provides so many lessons for young kids. As the librarian, she seemed aware that the kids checking it out were the ones mature enough to deal with the content. Also, I agree that there needs to be books in their school’s library that interest and challenge kids.

Something that I did not know about was the frequency of book challenges in Norman and the surrounding area. Some places it is very common. However, Karin stated that it was the only time a parent challenged a book in the five years that she worked there. This suggests that it was a fairly isolated indecent, brought on by the author visit. The parent probably would not have complained, if the visit had not been made known to them.

Speaking of the visit that never happened, we were interested in how Karin felt about the way that the administration handled the situation. This was my favorite part of her answers, when asked if she felt they handled it correctly:

I absolutely DO NOT. I was disappointed and felt completely let down by the entire situation. It was a knee jerk reaction to cancel Ellen’s speaking engagement. The student should have been asked to skip the speaking engagement instead of canceling it for everyone.

I am really impressed by her outspokenness here. She did say that the school followed all of the written policy very well. However, since this was such an unexpected circumstance, they could have came up with a more effective way to make sure that the student did not attend, without taking the opportunity away from everyone else.

Use for the Website

Karin Perry gave us so much to work with here. She really expressed that book challenging is not an effective response to not liking the content of a book.

Overall, I think most of what she shared will be going in the “About The Case” section of the website. However, we will probably include quotes about her personal opinion on the key players page. We also have a page about the significance of the case, where we will include her answer to our last question about that topic.

Karin has been so much help to us, and I can’t wait to add more information to our website!