Introduction to Web Authoring

Web Authoring at OSU’s Computer Science Department

As noted in the course syllabus, the learning outcomes for the Beginning course are to:

  1. Understand and discuss the language of the Internet and web page authoring.
  2. Demonstrate the development process.
  3. Demonstrate best practices.
  4. Envision, design, prototype, produce, test, and promote a web site with consistent and meaningful navigation, quick-loading images, and compliant HTML and CSS.
  5. Recognize good navigation and compliant code.

And for the Intermediate course, the learning outcomes are to

  1. Envision, design, prototype, produce, test, and promote a web site which uses:
    • Compliant HTML and CSS
    • Dynamic navigation
    • Embedded media
    • Database-driven structure and content
    • Secure forms with dynamic user interaction
    • Content Management Systems (CMS) such as a blogs, forums, wikis, and galleries.
  2. Recognize quality design elements and compliant code.
  3. Discuss best practices in web site security, user interface design, content management, and new issues.

These rigorous courses, if you choose to fully engage in the lessons, will prepare you for professional-level web authoring.

What does it mean to author a web site?

The answer is at the same time simple and complex. These jobs can be done by one author or many specialists:

  1. Marking up text with a current version of HTML.
  2. Designing with cascading style sheets (CSS).
  3. Designing with images.
  4. Programming efficiencies with scripts and databases.
  5. Writing for an online audience.
  6. Hosting on secure and unsecure web servers.
  7. Testing in various browsers on various platforms and devices.
  8. Promoting the site to various audiences.

Web sites can come together in many ways; from marking up text in a word processing document to building your own hosted online applications. Review the order of complexity below. CS 195 will work with level 3 to 6 and CS 295 will work with level 3 to 10.

  1. Write in a freely hosted web service site such as FaceBook, WordPress.com, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.
  2. Write in a word processing document and transfer it to a web server (.txt, .doc, .gdoc)
  3. Write in a text-editing application, save/export the file as .html, and transfer it to a web server.
  4. Write in a site management application, save the file as .html, xml, or php, and transfer it to a web server.
  5. Level 4 plus styling with a Cascading Style Sheet (.CSS).
  6. Level 4 and 5 plus graphic design and optimization of images.
  7. Level 5 plus client-side scripts (JavaScript and Ajax, for example).
  8. Level 6 plus service-side scripts (.PHP for example).
  9. Level 7 plus activating and interacting with a database (MySQL, for example).
  10. Configure an installable Content Management Systems (Drupal and WordPress, for example) and design a theme.
  11. Design and produce plugin modules for  installable Content Management Systems.
  12. Design Content Management Systems and plugins (Ruby on Rails, for example).
  13. Convert HTML5 websites to mobile applications.

Necessary Traits and Skills

This course will open up the possibilities available to you inside the Web. To be successful in this class and find the passion many of us have to use the Web to its potential, ascertain if you have most or all of these traits and skills:

Traits

  • Creative thinker
  • Troubleshooter
  • Investigator
  • Interested
  • Entrepreneurial
  • Available
  • Collaborator
  • Organized

Basic Skills

Know each of these skills before starting the web authoring courses.

  • Turn your computer on and off.
  • Turn the volume up and down.
  • Adjust the screen brightness and contrast.
  • Open an application/program.
  • Make a new file in an application.
  • Save Ctl+s and close a file.
  • Reopen Ctl+othe file.
  • Rename a file.
  • Find/search Ctl+f a file.
  • Copy a file from one folder/directory to another.
  • Copy a file or folder/directory from the hard drive to another device.
  • Back up files to a USB or cloud drive.
  • Connect to the internet.
  • Setup an email account.
  • Update the name that will show when someone receives the email.
  • Add an email signature.
  • Set new messages to retain the original message when replying.
  • Send and receive email.
  • Attach a document to an email.
  • Download email attachments and file them on your hard drive.
  • Search for a file online.
  • Download a program, Acrobat (.pdf) file or picture file.
  • Decompress an archive file (.ZIP)

Skills you will learn in the Beginning course

How to…

  • Setup editing and FTP software
  • Connect to a web server
  • Open, edit, save, and upload HTML5 files
  • Open, edit, save, and upload CSS files
  • Open, edit, save, and upload PHP files
  • Open, enhance, optimize, and save image files in various formats for online use
  • Organize folders/directories and files

Students who progress to the Intermediate course need experience with the list above.

Understanding your obligations

Learning new skills can be frustrating for some. Sometimes this frustration is a direct result of poor teaching, poor listening/watching skills, lack of experience with pre-skills, or other distractions. And sometimes, the frustration is normal! Learning is not something that is easily acquired the first time it is heard or seen. A learner must experience the task first hand and practice it again and again to fully understand and make it part of rote memory.

Learning in a classroom or online can be particularly trying when the purpose of the task to learn is not clear, the computer you use is unfamiliar, or other students progress at a different pace. Experienced educators who teach in a computer lab situation know that not all students will listen and watch carefully, stay together, or tell the instructor when he/she is going too fast. Some educators create and print extensive tutorials for students to use in their learning only to find out they are not used. Many students want instructors to do the work for them because they do not want to struggle. Learning computer skills is like playing a game…you must explore like a detective to persevere. If you are not willing to fully engage in the material, stay on track, and ask questions then these courses are not for you!

If you are learning a new skill and don’t feel you have a complete handle on it, try showing someone else. Sharing and teaching is one of the best ways to learn something well (fully understand and retain the new knowledge). Dr. Gary Phillips of the National School Improvement Project (based on Piaget’s theories about learning) makes this claim: People retain learned material at the following levels:

  • 10% of what we hear
  • 15% of what we see
  • 30% of what we see and hear
  • 80% of what we experience actively
  • 90% of what we teach others

Introduction

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