Course Building 101 or Hoping I Get It Right

As I mentioned in my last post I want to offer a Web Design and Development (WDD) course next fall.  I know absolutely nothing about this topic. It is not something I have really been interested in over the years.  I have had a student dive into it a few years ago and actually ended up getting paid to build websites while he was going to school here.  I sort of looked over his shoulder but that was about it. The kid was smarter that i was so I just left him alone in this area. He was the stereo typical uber-geek.  But now it is time to bring this into my skill set. Most, if not all, of my blog readers are teachers. We understand the difference between just learning a new topic and learning it and being able to teach it.  It can be a bit of a tightrope walk at times. Personally I like to be good at something before I teach it but since I started teaching CS thirty some years ago that has not always been an option. Now that I think about it, that has never been an option.  So I am going to dive in to Web Design with no experience and no resources from a previous teacher. In the next series of posts I am going to try to explain the process I am going to go through to build a WDD course.

Here is my plan:

Step 1 – Google.

Step 2 – more Google.

Step 3 – contact a friend at the university that teaches WDD.

I have started Step 1, 2 and 3.  I Googled “web design curriculum” and just started hitting links.  One of my major requirements is my resources have to be free. All my courses have a $0 budget but I have had this budget constraint for the last 18 years so it does not bother me.  A nice thing about a $0 budget is I have never wasted money on something that I later thought was junk. I have found lots of junk but free junk can be trashed without feeling bad. So far I have found these three resources.  The UW course was updated on 2012 so it should still be good. The second is a commercial product that is pretty direct with little except the coding aspect. The third is an interactive tutorial. I am not a great fan of interactives (threatens job security) but I will give it a look over.

I also have to find an editor.  Several articles suggest just using Notepad or some very basic text editor.  I have two reasons against this approach. First, I am lazy. Enough said. Second, I want to learn the tools that would actually be used by a semi-pro to build the HTML code.  For example in my Java class we are using Eclipse. So far we are having more trouble learning Eclipse than Java but I consider this part of the learning experience. That is why I have a guru friend at the university.  When we have an IDE or language issue he wanders over and lends a hand.

I just talked to my college guru.  He recommended Visual Studio Code. I have looked at VSC before and abandoned it because i could not get it working in minutes.  I have very little tolerance for IDEs I cannot figure out fairly quickly. (Small Basic spoiled me a few years ago.) I just spent a little more time with VSC and got it working with HTML.  I added a live HTML extension. Pretty slick. I will play with it some more.

Now I need to start working through the three resources I have found so far, look for some more, build a little knowledge and start thinking about how I am going to approach teaching WDD.  Piece of cake.

4 Responses to “Course Building 101 or Hoping I Get It Right”

  1. Clark Scholten Says:

    Thanks for the website links!

    At our school, we offer 9 weeks of HTML/CSS as a part of the Exploring Computer Science class. By the end of the nine weeks, students have the basics of HTML and CSS and can build a simple static website with a navigation bar to move between pages.

    Next year we are going to add on a new full semester course that will build on it and cover additional things like forms, more of CSS and then go into JavaScript. That is my project for the summer!

    I made use of a lot of the material that is and found that very helpful to learn from and also as lesson ideas for the unit.

    Good luck and keep these posts coming! Learning lots…

  2. bobirving13 Says:

    I teach a little bit of HTML in the middle school, and I recommend Notepad (or Notepad++). Perhaps it’s different in high school, but as you say, you don’t want to spend most of your time learning the editor! I would never use VS for web design, for instance. Just not worth the trouble.

    • gflint Says:

      I plan to look at both. VSC has a nice WYSIWYG extension. Anything I do in the code is immediately executed in the side window. It eliminates the need to test everything in a browser window. I am also trying Notepad++ while testing VSC. If VSC becomes a pain I will know Notepad++.

  3. gasstationwithoutpumps Says: and have browser-based editors that show the code and the result side-by-side for HTML and CSS

    Free and nothing to install, but you do need internet access.

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