Why teaching Dreamweaver is like being President

I mentioned a while back that I accepted a job teaching Dreamweaver at UNM Continuing Ed. I just completed my first session – a 12 hour class in beginning Dreamweaver. I’ve decided that teaching Dreamweaver is a lot like being the President of the United States.

Here’s why.

  1. You’ve got this big complicated mass of information that you have to deal with. It’s so complicated that it seems overwhelming to some people.
  2. Everyone comes at the problem with different levels of understanding and skill.
  3. Everyone sees something different. No matter how much time you spend explaining how to set up the workspace, arrange the panels, find the menus and windows, and move around in the software, there’s always someone who isn’t seeing what you’re seeing. Therefore, even when you explain everything carefully,  you can bet someone is only hearing the Fox News version.
  4. People get distracted. They’re thinking about food, a phone call, whether they should leave the room to pee right now or try to hold out until a break. Or they have a epiphany about something like background-color and go into a frenzy with the new information. When they tune back in, 30 minutes have gone by.
  5. The buck stops in the instructor’s chair.

See? It’s just like being the POTUS. Well, kind of. A little bit. Maybe not quite so important in the grand scheme of things.

But it is important to the people in your class. So here’s my advice for the POTUS and for myself. Listen to every question and try to answer it fully. Deal with what people are seeing right in front of their faces instead of expecting them to automatically see what you see. Say everything more than once, because not everybody is listening at the same time. And remember that you’re doing this job for the people.

7 thoughts on “Why teaching Dreamweaver is like being President

    • The book that was in use when I signed on with CE was the Visual Quick Start DW by Tom Negrino and Dori Smith. This choice works fine for continuing ed. It carries over all three levels of the class from beginning to advanced and explains everything you could ever do with DW WYSIWYG material. My task with this book is to make sure the students know how to read between the lines (e.g., always read the Tips!) to detect accessibility best practices and best practices regarding code choices and use of various tools like the Property panel.

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