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  1. #1
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    Dream Course in Web Design

    This Fall I have been asked to team teach a web design course for the multi-media department at the college I work for. This is a new course. The instructor I am teaming with specializes in GUI design, layout, and usability. I will be focusing on the actual coding of the project.

    The basic idea is to run the class in a production environment. The students (limit of 20) will be creating a new website for he multi-media department. It will be hosted a Macintosh X-serv with PHP and MySQL on the back-end. We are kicking around a ton of ideas but I thought I would get your input. What would you want to get out of class like this?

    I need to come up with the following by next Wednesday:

    Have ideas for Syllabus and Outline
    Have ideas for which technologies we will use
    Have basic specs for target browsers and plugins needed if any

    Feel free to comment on any aspect of this though.

  • #2
    Supreme Overlord Spookster's Avatar
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    What are the students expected to know before taking the course? Prerequisites?
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  • #3
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    Tahts one of the biggest hiccups. This is the only web design course offered in their track so they range is wide open. the prreqs are MCT 1110 and 1210 which are as follows:

    MCT 1110
    Multimedia Essentials
    4:3:3 Su, F, Sp
    Teaches essentials of multimedia production, development, and delivery. Addresses how computer systems and humans interact to make multimedia possible. Studies the current state of the multimedia industry. Covers methods for creating multimedia titles for delivery via CD's and the internet. Includes lectures, demonstrations, and a project during which each student will design, create, and deliver a high-quality multimedia title.

    MCT 1210
    Multimedia Audio Visual Techniques
    4:3:3 F, Sp
    Prerequisite: MCT 1110
    Presents advanced techniques for multimedia production and development. Addresses how audio and visual materials affect human communication and make multimedia possible. Examines current hardware and software tools. Covers methods for creating audio and visual material for multimedia titles. Includes lectures, demonstrations, and a project during which each student will design and create materials for use in a high-quality multimedia title.

    I think the range of student abilites will be the most signifagant challenge.

  • #4
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    My office mate teaches such a course: English 313. You should find a few useful ideas on his course website.
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  • #5
    Supreme Overlord Spookster's Avatar
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    My university did the same thing. They put together an advanced web design course. The course assumed very little prior knowledge except for general programming concepts.

    It introduced several of the major server-side languages, Perl, JSP, PHP and very briefly ASP. It covered interacting with a database including how to connect with the various languages and using SQL. We typically had a project to do with each language and then at the end a final project which we chose which language we wanted to do it in.
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  • #6
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    Now is this going to be a Comp. Sci. level course or a Multimedia Level course? Some of the concepts of database connectivity and nested for loops and all that might be a little too intense for a Multimedia Grade course.

    I took a web design course a year or so ago that was a good general overview. It was geared toward CS majors, so we did some raw JavasScript coding and had a project where we were required to connect to a database to create an mini e-commerce site or something of the sort.

    I say this to recommend the textbook we used. It is called "Internet & World Wide Web - How to Program", part of the Deitel & Deitel series (they are the authors). Its a great reference book for all languages and makes a handy entry level reference book down the road. Their latest version probably covers some form of .NET stuff too.

    If this is Multimedia level driven, you might have everybody do their project using Dreamweaver MX. I have recently started testing the product (currently using Dreamweaver 4) and find there are tons of indepth plugins and predefined scripting for back end languages. This way you could explain the general concepts of these backend issues and possibly go over some code, but they could use the predefined scripts to save them time and require a little tweaking. This would also keep the focus of the course slanted more towards presentation and content display/management.

    Anyways, I should probably get off my soapbox now. Please feel free to deal with this information as you please. 8^D

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    Supreme Overlord Spookster's Avatar
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    At my university they keep the multimedia course and the web development courses seperated so that they can go into depth on each one.
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  • #8
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    The CS department here does not consider web programing to be "programming". It is like the ugly step child they keep in the closet.

    This will be the most in depth web design/programming class the school offeres.

  • #9
    Senior Coder joh6nn's Avatar
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    well, if i were taking such a course, i would expect to get the following from it:

    a brief history of the web, and html, the evolution of browsers, and how we got to where we are today. be sure to get across the idea that they should not be coding just to IExplorer.

    i'd expect to see explanations of what is and is not good design. web safe colors, colors that work together, no "mystery-meat" UI's (the importance of usability), how to set up pages for people with disabilities (eg, screenreaders).

    how to make a simple guestbook, a simple counter, and a simple database.

    i'd say that target browsers should be NS4, IE5+, and Mozilla.

    as for plugins, i'd say java, flash, and shockwave. you may want to discuss using javascript to detect plugins, since there's a definite lack of that on the web
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  • #10
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    I agree with joh6nn ~ and perhaps could offer one more item...
    As the course is multimedia.. more than a passing line please, about connection with regard to usability..

    i have read report after report about the ceo's and advertising honchos who want all the flash and splash on a site.. and have no concerns about how long it takes to load ..

    it loads fast for them with the luxury of high speed corporate access ~ but.. most of the country is still on dial up.. sad but true.. i live in a small town.. army. wired to the max.. dsl is a 4 block area. thats all.

    local car dealer had a hugeeeeee boggy site built. on dial up you could click the link... make and eat a sandwich.. come back. and page still not loaded. couldnt figure out why he didnt get traffic.. he was checking from the builders comp. which had the files all local..

    big companies forget simple usability issues like that. and companies that make high dollar items.... assume and expect that everyone who can afford their product has the ability to see whatever they put on a site....
    which is not true.. ugh. so actually.. i suppose it also raises issue of how to educate those you build for...

    rambling. but hope it helps...


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