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Web Design and the School

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Web Design and Development are rapidly growing fields in todays society and as such the demand for classes to be taught over the subject rises dramatically. It seems to be a recurring theme, however, that the teachers chosen for the jobs are inadequate, misinformed, or in general completely apathetic.

But wait, if the Web is so important and on such a rise why is it that we feel the need to continually hire teachers that are far less than professional caliber? A few interesting points were brought up to me the other day when I discussed this at lunch:

1. Anyone that is old enough to teach Web now was raised in the early days with absolutely no idea what the internet was, much less how to teach it, but the higher age is due to

2. Anyone that is of real professional caliber would never be caught dead teaching in a school because the pay is generally laughable compared to that of the outside world.

So we have two options here to get any form of reasonable teaching, either wait it out for the younger generation to settle down and start teaching or start teaching ourselves.

Another key issue with the schools is that Web is often left to the business department because Programming is more often than not absent from standard curriculum. Now honestly I'm horrified of the idea of Business Majors taking over the web. Why is that? (First, one of my majors is business so I have every right to say this)

Business departments are led by people fascinated by the "amazing" things their computers can do and insist on making everything more "interesting" for some absurd reason. Actually, most everything they do with computers borderlines absurd, but satire is much better for getting a point across:

It's practically a law that if there's any form of data or anything that might be data or even sounds like it needs to be a chart. Nothing is ever sturdy without a chart. Charts clearly show you what's going on, but pay no heed to the fact that there are 50 charts for the food at Taco Bell, that's completely irrelevant, the more charts the better your job must be.

If there aren't at least one set of complimentary colors people will never pay attention to your designs, and that thing had better flash, jump, wink, or at very least scroll otherwise people will actually read the rest of the site. Bonus points for getting the color scheme from your mothers 1980's jacket.

Comic Sans is the be all end all of fonts. It's friendly, bubbly, and just the cutest and most recognizable thing in the world. No no, that designers not throwing up, he's trying to settle the butterflies in his stomach from the wonder inflicted by comic sans. If it's not comic sans or papyrus it's just boring... and we can't ever have that!

Clip Art. If you need anything said you use clip art, there are millions of them ready to use and they're so cool! Use as many as you can across the page.

I'm really hoping you caught some of the satire and mockery in that instead of taking that seriously... To be honest my blood pressure rises when I see Comic Sans or bad color schemes, enough so that my Doc says I'm screwed by the time I'm 70+ and my grandkids bring in their first holographic powerpoints.

Regardless of all of that most people should realize that business departments have no place in the web. Programmers should be the ones teaching the classes and I can tell you there's no comparison between the two.

So what about IDEs? From one of my posts in a recent topic:


Dreamweaver, Web Expressions, and any other IDE should be banned from use for students starting to learn until at LEAST one semester of solid code is discussed in class and the students show a proficient knowledge of the code even on paper. Until they can effectively make a page, code and all, without even touching a computer, they shouldn't even touch an IDE. Why though?

An IDE is a tool for rapid development for experienced coders (or at least seasoned) to get projects done in a way that helps them achieve more results faster than they could using say notepad.

I don't believe for a second that Dreamweaver needs to be taught early because by doing that you're essentially giving students a quick cop-out of knowing code which becomes an extreme detriment and crutch whenever the company or client they work for doesn't have dreamweaver. Dreamweaver is like a crutch to these people that were raised on it, they can't code to save their lives outside of it. That's not what a tool is by a long shot.

These teachers are even worse. They have absolutely no idea what web development is much less any manual coding and Dreamweaver becomes a cop-out for them as well as an "easier way" to teach web design that gets everyone involved and able to "design aesthetically pleasing pages." This is the biggest load of farce excuse school districts come out with and normally this can be attributed to business teachers attempting to teach web design.



I'm in my first year of college at the time of this post and I can tell you from what I've learned on my own I've taught students that asked me more about actual web design in a matter of a few days than the teachers could in an entire year.

Don't even get me started on things such as publisher or table based designs, people who advocate such things need to have their licenses revoked post-haste.

You really want to know how bad it looks whenever a dreamweaver born-and-raised "coder" makes a site? Look at the inline css and the .style up to 100 something, the mess of tables, lack of clean code, and the order is a complete disaster 9 times out of 10.

Everyone starting web, do yourself a favor, hit and actually LEARN the code because anyone that matters can tell.

Then we have the teachers that are obsessed with tables from their prehistoric 1990's web classes... Answer to that? I wrote an entire article on the evils of table design:

With the web turning into a circus of horrid technique is there any chance? We can only hope and pray it does.

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