When should we teach microformats?

Since I read Microformats Made Simple I keep toying with this question: when should we teach microformats?

Odd that I didn’t think about this when I read Microformats: Empowering Your Markup for Web 2.0 or when I recommended a couple of articles by John Allsopp in this post.

My only excuse is that I was concerned with learning to use microformats myself for a period, but by the time I read Microformats Made Simple I was ready to think about sharing the information.

Here’s what I’m wondering. Do microformats have a place in a standards-based curriculum like the InterAct Curriculum? When done right, microformats use both valid and semantic HTML. Should they be introduced as a best practice when working the way through a web design 101 or web development 101 or basic HTML class?

For example, when a student learns to create a hyperlink, should the rel attribute be included with that instruction as a standard practice?

If I taught a student how to make a link to their home page, should I teach them to do this:

<a href="http://www.webteacher.ws/" rel="me">Web Teacher</a>

or this?

<a href="http://www.webteacher.ws/">Web Teacher</a>

Or perhaps the web design 101 courses need a module or a couple of lectures or a single lecture/lab on microformats in one concentrated dose? When should a student learn to make an hCard? Or to use any other microformat?

What do you think?

2 thoughts on “When should we teach microformats?

  1. This is a question I have been pondering myself. I definitely think it should be part of the curriculum, but I could see it being done at different times.

    First, I could see it be being done when classes are first being discussed. The discussion could revolve around how to use classes in a semantic way rather than a more layout focused way, where the instructor would introduce Microformats as one option. The value you would be, the students would learn early on about Microformats and have the chance to start using them right away. The draw back is that I could easily become overwhelming trying to learn all that at once.

    The second would be once all the basics of HTML are have been taught, having a section where the course would talk about adding more semantic value to the markup. In this instance I think the course could delve deeper into the topic. By this point I, if its a longer running course–like a university course–the students should have a decent grasp on HTML. The disadvantage would be they aren’t learning it from the start, and they could be learning some bad other bad habits on their own.

    Third, do a combination of the two. You could end up having the disadvantages of both, while also having the positives of both.

    It would all depend on the students, and how much they can take in at once. The best thing to do is try out different methods and see what works.

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