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Guidelines for the 2004-2005 Seevak website competition

Congratulations on electing to participate in this year’s Seevak website competition, the eighth at Boston Latin School.  You can view previous years’ websites on the parent website for this competition.  Go to:


and explore the various years of the competition.  Make notes on what you like and what you don’t like.

This packet will explore the following topics.  It is the main document pertaining to the web competition, though there will be other notices along the way.

I.      The topic of this year’s competition

II.    Team requirements

III.  Working with your faculty adviser and your website design adviser

IV. Research and crediting material

V.   Deadlines

VI. Where can I work on my site?  Who should I see with problems?

VII.  Do I Use a PC or Mac to build my site?  And how do I turn in my final                  project?

VIII.   Use of computers in room 307

IX.    Training classes

X.           Formatting, building, and housing your site:

XI.           Code, browsers, and software used on or with your site

XII.     Software and pirated software:

XIII.     Final check for any errors on your site:

XIV.     Dropping out of the competition

XV.        Conduct of the competition:

XVI.     Guidelines for your presentation at Harvard


Appendix A:            Deadlines 2004-2005

Appendix B:            Judging Criteria

FORMS:                  Intent to participate

I        The topic of this year’s competition

The topic for this year’s Seevak Facing History Prize competition is a person or group in the twentieth century that has taken a courageous stand and, as a result, has made an important difference to society, either on a local, national, or international scale.  The topic encourages the investigation of an individual or group that contributed in some special way to building or improving tolerance, human rights, justice for individuals and the citizenry and/or democratic institutions.  The person selected could be someone well known or could be someone local, perhaps less well known, but who has contributed something meaningful and important to the betterment of society. 

            These guidelines are precisely those that the judges will be given for this competition.

            Please be sure that your topic fits within these topic guidelines.  It would be a shame to put in all this work and not to be truly eligible in the judges’ eyes because your project doesn’t fit the topic as described above.   Take a look at Appendix B (the criteria that the judges use).  Keep these in mind as you develop and refine your site.

            Also, as you finalize your topic choice, consider this.  Are there many resources on this person or group available to you, as a student?  Is this person widely known?  In doing research will you discover anything new?  Can you take advantage of people to interview or film footage to incorporate into your project?  Will this person or group hold your attention all the way through April? 

II.            Team requirements 

Your team must consist of three members.  All three must work on and contribute to the project in some way. It’s especially ideal if you divide responsibilities so that you each specialize but can bring together your various talents to make a project succeed.  Make sure you are aware that, in the course of this project, you’ll be seeing a lot of your fellow teammates. It’s a good idea to be sure that you like one another!  You may be staying over one another’s houses, not sleeping for innumerable hours until the presentation.  It’s critical that you have good chemistry on your team, that you can find time when everyone can work on this, and that you will avoid responsibilities being placed on one person more than any other person on the team. 


III.  Working with your faculty adviser and your technology adviser

You are required to meet your faculty adviser (and Ms. Freeman will give you his/her name in early January) at least 4 times during this competition. You are encouraged to meet with him/her even more often.  The faculty advisers are eager to hear what you are doing research-wise and writing-wise and to make helpful suggestions.  They are not judging you.  They want you to do well.  Take advantage of them—they are assigned to you as resources.  Ask them how you can research aspects of your topic.  What books/periodicals/internet resources, etc. can you use?  What would be useful images to include?  Who might you interview?  Ask the librarians as well.  They know lots of stuff.  There are many resourceful people in this building.  Use them!

You are also going to be assigned to a technology adviser.  This will likely be a Boston Latin alum who has already been through the Seevak competition process.  The purpose of the technology adviser is to make sure that you are thinking conceptually about your site from the very start.  He/she will then be there to keep you on track, to make sure that you are using your time effectively, and that you are building your site in a timely and methodical fashion.   He/she, too, wants you to do well. 

The dates by which you need to have a meeting with both your faculty adviser and your technology adviser (and these meetings will take place separately, not together) are:

(1)  by Friday, January 21

(2)  by Friday, February 11

(3)  by Friday, March 18

(4)  by Monday, April 11


Typically, these meetings will last between 15 and 30 minutes.

IV             Research and crediting material

·               Do original research!  Dig deeply into your topic.  Find sources in all sorts of places.  Don’t rely exclusively on one book, or on the Internet, or on one interview.  Consider this like any other research project.  You need multiple sources. 

·               Use a rich array of materials.  Try to interview people about your topic—but make sure they are appropriate people, who have something interesting and relevant to say about it.  Find film or video that would be relevant and then include exceprts.

·               All the standard rules regarding research and plagiarism, etc. apply to this project.  The school’s honor code applies as well.

·               If you use copyrighted material, you must cite your sources.  You should try to secure permissions to use copyrighted material.  Be sure that you identify all sources for copyrighted material.

V.            Deadlines

Make deadlines! If you can’t make one for any reason, please come see Ms. Freeman, or your faculty adviser, or your technology adviser, or Julie Ng or Katarina Yee.  Don’t avoid us!  In order to have all these projects finished on time, we need to have strict deadlines, but we don’t want to lose hardworking teams.  Check in if you having problems with a deadline; don’t hesitate. 

All deadlines are listed on Appendix A of this booklet.  Read through them carefully; you are obliged to meet all of them.  You are responsible for knowing them.  They are established so that the last few weeks of this project doesn’t turn into a nightmarish series of all-nighters.

Ms. Freeman reserves the right to disqualify any team that is missing deadlines without any communication.

VI     Where can I work on my site?   Who should I see with problems?

You may use the computers in room 307 during your study (if there is no other usage in the room during one of Ms. Freeman’s classes; have Ms. Freeman sign a pass) or after school.  There must be a supervising staff person in the classroom when you are working; students are not permitted in classrooms without a designated supervisor.  See Ms. Freeman if you have questions.  You may also use the library computers or those in the other areas of the school if they are staffed after school.

            If you run into problems, you should talk with Ms. Freeman and/or Ke Zhang ’06, who is student coordinator for the competition.  Julie Ng ’03, Katarina Yee ’02, and Rob Winikates ’04 are also troubleshooting for the web competition.

VII   Do I Use a PC or Mac to build my site?  And how do I turn in my final project?

You may use either platform to build your site.  However, the site must be uploadable to the learntoquestion.com server by the competition deadline.  If you have not worked on the project in room 307, you must bring it in on a CD.   No floppy disks will be accepted.  Every disk you submit must have a case and must be labeled with the project title, the three team members’ names, and the date of the disk.

VIII.            Use of computers in room 307

A couple of ground rules.  Ms. Freeman is mighty strict about this, given mice infestations, a desire to avoid mouse-icide, general fastidiousness, and manic-cleanliness. 


·               You may only be in the classroom with the permission of Ms. Freeman and during the school day or with supervision after school.  The classroom will be open after school on Wednesdays and Fridays.  All other days will be at the discretion of Ms. Freeman.

·               Please throw away trash in the plastic-lined trash cans.  Don’t leave crumbs.  Recycle. 

·               On Wednesdays, and Fridays, all chairs along the tables need to be put on the desks so that the custodians may clean. 

·               When the supervising person in the room says that it is time to close up, it is time to close up.  You cannot stay in the room without one of the designated supervisors. 

·               If you wish to leave files on the desktop of a computer, please be certain that you create a folder for your project and place all files within that folder.

·               Be friendly to the computers!

·               DOs and DON’Ts:

·    Don’t check “off” box when selecting from the “chooser.”

·    Don’t eat near computers.  Definitely do not drink near computers! 

·    Don’t leave junk on computers

·    Don’t download games

·    Don’t download Napster, Aimster, Kazaa, etc…

·    Don’t delete other people’s files! Don’t change computer names! Leave them as named.

·    If you store files, store them on the server or on your H: drive.  There’s no guarantee that if you leave something on the desktop, that it will be there again.

·    If something does not work, tell someone!   If a computer is broken and we don’t know why and no one told us, then perhaps we’ll be upset!  Avoid Ms. Freeman becoming upset!  She has high blood pressure.

·    Don’t install software without permission from the proper authority. All necessary software should already be installed. If not, tell us.

·    DO turn off computers when you are done using them.  Go to “special” and then “Shutdown.”

·    Do not turn off the printer.  Use printer sparingly.  Ink is mighty expensive!  As is paper!  If something goes wrong with the printer, tell someone!

·    Don’t use more that one computer per person.  If the room gets crowded, share with members of your team. 

IX        Training classes  

All training classes are currently planned for Wednesdays, beginning on Wednesday, January 12 and occurring every Wednesday that school is in session.  The classes will begin promptly at 2:30 and will conclude around 4:15.  Topics to be covered include:

·      how to begin the project and find a topic appropriate to the creation of a website

·      how to do research suitable for a Seevak website project

·      web design basics

·      using Dreamweaver and Photoshop

·      a little bit of Flash animation

·      uploading, including video and audio.  Compressing video and audio.

X.       Formatting, building, and housing your site 

·               The site must use a presentation screen that is: 800x600.   This is based on the requirements for presentation at Harvard’s amphitheater across the street.  Plan for 800 x 600 and execute the site that way. 

·               Server space on which to build your site: If you need a place to build your site and test, let Julie Ng or Ke Zhang know as soon as possible, so I can arrange for some space for you.

·               Space available for each site:  Each site is limited in space.  It should use between 5-10 MB, with additional space available for video footage. No site should be larger than 20 MB.  Be selective in using any video footage. You cannot have every clip in the world!  If your site is too big, it won't go online.  You should compress your video (if used) and optimize your files and graphics.

·               Sites cannot contain the following files (note: other types may be added to this list).  Note: If you don’t know what these codes mean, do not worry!  That’s good!

.doc (MS Word, shouldn't be there)

.psd (PS, doesn't belong either)

.htaccess (definitely not!  These are server manipulation/configuration files)

.php, .cgi, .sh, .pl (These are scripting files, not necessary).

·      The following files are permitted within your site:

.html, .shtml, .htm, .gif, .jpg, .jpeg, .swf, .zi, .wmv, .mov, .mps, .rm, .ram, .qt 

·               Your final product should consist solely of web files.  The site you create and submit should not contain numerous .doc and .psd files.

XI.  Code, browsers, and software used on or with your site

·               Web software: You will have access to any computer in the building to work on your site.  On the Macs, we use Dreamweaver, Flash, and Photoshop to build websites; that is what most of the teams will use.  You are welcome to use the software in there, but we have licenses only for use there; any other software you need you must acquire on your own. 

·               Web scripting: For all you tech/web savvy folks, the following are not permitted as part of your website design:

o      php

o      mysql

o      perl

o      coldfusion

o      asp

·               Essentially, there is to be NO server side scripting. There is no need for it. These will not be dynamic sites.  Any site with these files will not be uploaded onto learntoquestion.com.

·               Browsers:  Your site needs to work on all browsers—Internet Explorer, Firefox, Netscape, Safari, etc.   The judges will be testing your site in all browsers. Some judges may have the latest computers with the latest browsers. Some judges may have equipment from two centuries ago.  Yes, some places do have old computers.  Many educational institutions only have older browsers.

To absolutely cover all bases you should test your site on Internet Explorer 4+ (latest is 6), Netscape 4.7+ (latest is 7.2).  A reasonable assumption would be to develop for Internet Explorer 5+ and Netscape 6.2+ and Safari.  The best browser for you to develop on for a Mac is Safari.  The best browser for you to develop for PC is Firefox 1.0.

The idea is to make the website work for all browsers, all versions. Yes, that is possible and impressive

·               Screen resolution  Keep in mind also the various screen resolutions and you will be presenting on a 800x600 resolution machine. That is not changeable.

XII              Software and pirated software 

·               If you use pirated software, that’s your choice. We don’t want to know about it. Don’t tell us and certainly don’t put it on your website! All software in 307 is licensed.

·               Suggestion: for those of you who have the money, you can purchase software at the Coop on Longwood Avenue at the educational price, which is usually about 75% off MSRP. Ask for details.

·               If you use programs or scripts that you are not the author of—including

Javascript, DHTML, etc., credit the person or organization who wrote the script. If you wrote it with the help of a tutorial, you should credit that tutorial. If you are using something that you have not written, you are stealing!  Please credit the programmers for their hard work.

·               Remember: Competitors who DO use programs or scripts they find online for free should see us.  This is the “Stephen Dewey honorary rule.”  A few years ago, we had two teams using the same script and the sites were in danger of “canceling one another out” in terms of originality.  We don’t want that to happen again. 

·               Be careful about implementing something that is cross browser.  Crossing platforms is problematic.

XIII.            Final check for any errors on your site

Once your website project is uploaded onto learntoquestion.com, you will have ONE opportunity to fix ALL problems that may remain.  This will be done within a three-day period in late March/early April and then the site is frozen as is.  (See the schedule for further details)

XIV              Dropping out of the competition

If you and your team decide to drop out of the competition, you must submit a note in writing to Ms. Freeman with all 3 signatures.  Your names and projects will remain on the final competition list if you have not officially notified me, thereby jeopardizing your future standing with the jury.    Don’t do that!  Let Ms. Freeman know.

XV.            Conduct of the competition

Each team works independently.  It’s fine if you want to talk enthusiastically about your projects, but don’t become ugly and competitive with one another.  This competition is a model of learning new skills and building remarkable sites in tandem.  Ms. Freeman will not allow any inappropriate, competitive, or cutthroat behavior and I reserve the right to remove a team from competition if I observe or hear about such conduct.  There will be no harassment of competing teams and no inappropriate accusations.  It is assumed that everyone is working independently, that you are creating your own site that is uniquely yours and not borrowed or copied from any other source, and that you are working harmoniously. 

Again, I reserve the right to remove any team from consideration which is found to have violated the spirit of this competition.

XVIII.     Guidelines for your presentation at the Harvard building across the street            

will be given to you as we approach the final deadlines.