The Education of a Web Professional: A Hands-On Semester (Part 1)

This semester, I have the delight and privilege of working with upper-level web design and development students in our Web III course. This has historically been one of my favorite classes to teach since we are able to get out of the “muck” of HTML, CSS, and Javascript syntax, and into some really fun, practical, and portfolio-worthy work. Of course, the fundamentals are important, but this class tends to be super satisfying for students because of its scope and professional approach.

The course description reads as follows:

This project-based course continues the exploration of web development, expanding from XHTML with an introduction to server-side programming and content management systems. The development of business-oriented web sites often requires the web designer to plan for accessing, storing and retrieving information from the server. The actual programming and scripting languages will remain flexible to reflect the latest industry standards. Emphasis is not on the syntax of programming but on problem solving, specifically as a course for web designers.

Over the last three years, I have continued to evolve the course to include a professional development component. Since many of the students in the course are graduating, I believe that we should be challenging them to develop habits and processes that will set them up for success in the industry. (See my post, “Making Sense of Dollars and Sense” for more specifics about how I’ve done this in my course). It has been my mission to help students get as much hands-on, real world experience as possible during their time in our program.

Design Sprint Day 2: Whiteboarding

Prior to the spring of 2019, I met with our institution’s webmaster (Kris), some IT folks, and marketing representatives to discuss a collaborative project between the college and the Web III class. We worked out a plan, and we are currently integrating a large-scale application development project into the semester. As the semester progresses, I will be documenting the work and reflecting on the experience from a pedagogy and teacher-leadership perspective. So far, so good… we’re preparing for our first client “pitch”. Wish us luck!

Check out my next post on The Design Sprint Process we’ve recently undertaken.

Thanks for reading!
– Dr. J.

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