Web Teacher’s Seldom Asked Questions

Okay, never asked questions. Seldom is an exaggeration. But always that philosophical question lingers in the air: why are you here? These SAQs (okay NAQs) will explain everything.

The famous Santorini Sunset

Q: Why are you here?

A: I started here because I wanted to talk about how non-web-standards-based and non-teachable most of the tech books I was using to teach with were. Books are better now, so I mostly talk nice about them.

Q: Do you have any really great tips?

A: I have a lot of tips, but this is the best one. In fact, it is such a great tip I’m calling it Virginia’s Law Against Unintended HTML. It goes like this:

Play with the way your content will look before the content is on the page, not after.

Virginia’s Law Against Unintended HTML is so all-encompassing it applies to blog users and Dreamweaver users, too.*

Q: What’s this teacher thing?

A: Well, I’m an educator. You thought I was a dream in PHP coder? No, I’m an educator. So when I talk about web design or technology or web education, it’s always through that peculiar filter.

Q: Who cares about that web education crap, anyway?

A: Mostly teachers and students and web standards gurus and accessibility advocates and corporate trainers and human resource managers and small businesses in search of a web site. Even self-taught learners scrolling among Google results. Are you anything like those people?

Q: You’re always going on about women. What’s up with that?

A: I support good work from others. I’m not the jealous type so it doesn’t bother me to promote other people’s work rather than my own. I support good work from both men and women, but I love to point out what women do because they are a misused and misunderstood element in the tech world. I’m a woman, so I know this. I’m also old – would you rather I was always going on about old people?

Q: What’s a good book to read about web design?

A: Start with books about HTML and CSS. Read a lot of those. After you get really good at those two things, read books about JavaScript or PHP. I’ve recommended a few books over the years. Read good books about design and Photoshop, too. Read the books I wrote, for gosh sakes, and buy them brand new, not used. Thank you.

Q: What are you learning about lately?

A: I’m quite interested in HTML5 and study it a lot. The new CSS is fascinating, too. I like new ideas. If your job is to produce HTML emails for big corporations, I recommend you study HTML 3.2 a lot. You can make big money by doing things from the old days that everyone else has forgotten how to do. HTML 3.2 anyone?

Q: Has social media changed the world?

A: Wait, I will answer as soon as I update my Twitter and take my turn in Words with Friends. Oh, look what my friend said on Facebook – isn’t that cute? Uhh, what was the question?

*Look! A Footnote: Some people refer to this concept as separation of content from presentation, but I refer to it as Virginia’s Law Against Unintended HTML.

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