Module Table of Contents | Format and Layout Page | Infrastructure Issues Working Group | The Virtual Geography Department

Unit 2 -- basic formatting.

Background Information
Instructor's Notes
Student Instructions

Background Information:

2.0 Introduction

In order to format pages for the Virtual Geography Department, you should be familiar with basic html, including:

If you are not, an excellent set of on-line reference materials is available.

 Although the Virtual Geography Department uses frames as a navigational tool, you do not need to be able to make frames.

2.1 Typographic conventions used in these Formatting Instructions

 Most instructions are presented in normal text. Sample code appears in

text and should be reproduced exactly in your modules, unless otherwise noted.

2.2 Required Module Elements

 Below are detailed instructions for formatting those items such as navigation tools and a standard footer which should appear on every page of a module . Following those instructions are details on formatting the title page, Facts of Publication page, Module Overview, Supporting Materials page, and Units. Each of these sections except the units will be formatted indentically in eveny module prepared for the Virtual Department. The goal is to provide continuity throughout the materials. The format of units, however, is largely left to undividual authors and working group leaders. Beyond a skeleton outline, which includes the standard navigation and attribution tools, authors have a good deal of freedom. The Unit Formatting instructions below do contain recommendations for the design of units, along with some sample pages.

In order to comply with the instructions below, each of the major sections of your modules should be placed in a separate html file:

Title page and Table of Contents
Module Overview
Unit 1
Unit 2
Unit N
Supporting Materials
Notes on Active Pedagogy
Evaluation and Comment forms

More detailed information about recommended naming conventions may be found in Unit 4: Directory Structure and Links.

Instructor's Notes (in this case, Workgroup Leaders' Notes)

Student Instructions (actually, Author Instructions)

Formatting Instructions for: Items Which Appear on Every Page: Navigation Bar
Link to the next section
Title Page and Front Matter
Module Overview
Text-based units
Supporting Materials

Formatting Instructions for Items which should appear on every page of a Module:

    1. Navigation Bar -- At the top of each page you should place a navigation bar that links to the first page of the module (the Table of Contents), the Topic page, the Working Group home page, and the Virtual Department home page. The links should be arranged in order from the "nearest" page (module Table of Contents) to the "farthest" (Virtual Department). Exception: The first page of a module (the Title Page) will not have a link the Table of Contents.

     The navigation bar is a table with one row and one column, border width = 2, and links should appear in a single line of text, centered, with each link separated by a "|" (usually shift-\).

Sample Code: Navigation Bar


&lta href = "module1.htm">
Module Table of Contents</a>
    |   Up one level (topic page)
    |   Up two levels (working group page)
    |   &lta href ="
The Virtual Geography Department </a>


    2. Link to the next section -- At the end of each section you should place a link to the next page in the module. This link should be centered and say "On to ... (Unit or Section title). This link should be followed by a horizontal rule, size=3.

    3. Footer -- The bottom of each page must include its date of creation, the name of the author, the date of the most recent revision, and the URL for the page. This information should be in a font size one step smaller than that on the rest of the page (Set font size = -1). The footer does not need a link to the Module's revision history because that is maintained in the Facts of Publication page. See the bottom of this page for an example.
    Sample Code: Footer
    &ltfont size=-1>
    &ltI>&ltHR size=3&gtCreated 22 July 1996 by Shannon Crum.  
    Last updated 22 July 1996 by slc.&ltbr>
    The URL for this page is 

If you have formatted these three items correctly, your module pages will look something like this:

Formatting Instructions for Title Page and Front Matter

The Title Page should contain each of the following items, in order:

  1. Navigation Bar
  2. Title -- Should be centered and in heading level 1
  3. Horizontal Rule -- size=3
  4. Disclaimer -- Should read exactly as follows:
  5. This module is part of the Virtual Geography 
    Department Project and has been prepared for the 
    _____________Working Group of the Project.  These 
    materials may be used for study, research, and education,  
    but please credit the author and source: Your Name, 
    The Virtual  Geography Department Project, Your 
    All commercial rights reserved.  Copyright 1996 by Your Name.
    To make suggestions and corrections please contact the 
    Virtual Geography Department Project at 
    Facts of Publication
  6. Horizontal Rule -- size=3
  7. Abstract -- The abstract should be no more than 150 words.
  8. Horizontal Rule -- size=3
  9. Table of Contents -- should be in heading level three. The following items must be included and linked from the Table of Contents:
  10. In those modules containing tutorials or active learning modules, units will be subdivided into Background Information, Instructor's Notes, and Student Instructions. Modules composed of slide collections, lecture notes, study guides, etc., may or may not have these sub-sections.
  11. HR size=3
  12. standard footer
If you have formatted the Title Page correctly, it will look like this:

Formatting Instructions for the Module Overview

 The Module Overview should contain each of the following items, in order:

  1. Navigation Bar
  2. Module Overview:  Title of Module
    -- in Heading Level 2
  3. list
  4. link to Unit One
  5. Horizontal rule
  6. standard footer
The Module Overview for this module contains details about each of the items listed above.

Formatting Instructions for text-based units

 Every unit should contain a Navigation Bar, Forward Link, and the Standard Footer. The other items listed below are simply recommendations.

  1. Navigation Bar
  2. Unit # -- Unit Title
    The title should be flush left and in heading level 2
  3. (optional)If the Background Information is very long, you may wish to include a mini-Table of Contents at the beginning of the unit, just under the Unit Title, with links to the Background Information, Instructor Notes, and Student Instructions. See the top of this Unit for an example.
  4. Background Information -- in heading level 3. All Units should have background information to orient students and instructors to the contents.
  5. Guide for Instructors. This should link to a separate file.
  6. Student instructions
  7. forward links: On to Unit n+1OR on to the Supporting Materials (if this is the last unit)
  8. HR size=3
  9. Standard Footer

Formatting Instructions for the Supporting Materials Page

 The Supporting Materials Page should contain each of the following items, in order:

  1. Navigation Bar
  2. Supporting Materials
  3. include the following items, as appropriate:
  4. Link to Notes on Active Pedagogy
  5. a link back to the Table of Contents, centered on the page
  6. HR size=3
  7. standard footer

On to Unit 3: Page Layout and Graphics

Created 6 September 1996 by Shannon Crum. Last updated 9 September 1996 by slc.