Education leads the latest issue of A List Apart

Two of the important members of the WaSP Education Task force who have been hard at work on the WaSP Curriculum Framework (WCF) were featured in this weeks issue of A List Apart. More . . .

Two of the important members of the WaSP Education Task force who have been hard at work on the WaSP Curriculum Framework (WCF) were featured in this week’s issue of A List Apart.

Brighter Horizons for Web Education is by the WaSP Edu TF head Aarron Walter.

If you’ve interviewed candidates for positions in the web industry, you’ve probably heard firsthand the heartbreaking stories of recent graduates who are woefully unprepared to enter the workforce. When this happens, we usually respond by cursing the school that miseducated the applicant and return to our work, only to relive the experience with every new round of interviews.

No industry can sustain itself if it doesn’t master the art of cultivating new talent—an art that requires close ties between practitioners and educators. Passively watching education struggle to bridge the divide only contributes to the problem.

. . .

In our ongoing fight to establish wide adoption of standards in our profession, those of us involved in The Web Standards Project have begun trying to tackle the education issue. Industry experts and veteran educators on the WaSP Education Task Force are currently working to develop the WaSP Curriculum Framework (WCF), a modular curriculum that can be used to improve existing curricula or serve as the foundation for emerging programs.

Aarron also describes similar programs from Opera, the Information Architecture Institute, IxDA, and Web Directions North.

Elevate Web Design at the University Level by Leslie Jensen-Inman.

About a year ago, I embarked on a journey to discover where we are in web education and where we need to go.

I interviewed thirty-two web design and development leaders. Each of them expressed interest in the formal education of the next generation of web professionals. Most emphasized a challenge common to higher education: technology moves too fast for curriculum to keep up with it.

. . .

I understand these frustrations. We’re not preparing students and that has a lot to do with the educational bureaucracy and institutions. However, educators should have help shouldering the burden. In partnership, web educators and web professionals can be pioneers for change.

Leslie mentions a number of ways web professionals, businesses, and educators can work together for change.

Women in Tech: Shelley Powers

This is the first of several interviews with women in technology. Today you’ll learn about Shelley Powers. Shelley is perhaps best known as a writer. Her most recent books are Learning JavaScript and Painting the Web. She’s also a programmer and web developer, and she applies a powerful and logical mind to everything she does.

Q: I looked you up on Amazon and found a list of books you’ve written that includes Learning JavaScript, Painting the Web, Adding Ajax, Learning JavaScript: Add Sparkle and Life to Your Web Pages, Unix Power Tools, Practical RDF, Powerbuilder 5 How-To, Developing Asp Components, Dynamic HTML, Dynamic Web Publishing Unleashed, Javascript How-To: The Definitive Javascript Problem-Solver, and Using Perl For Web Programming.


How did you get started on a career as a writer? What was your education and background?

A: I’m a late bloomer educationally. I quit high school when I was 15 and joined a religious cult, Children of God. When I came to my senses and left the group, I went from the frying pan to the fire by marrying, at 16, a man who had learning disabilities and resented the fact that I liked to read. We lived in a house in the country and if it weren’t for the fact that the local library would send books out, and allow you to return them in pre-paid envelopes, I would have had very little to read for two years.

. . . Read the full post at BlogHer.

Web Design Education, again

Two new articles of interest related to education and web design. First, from Maryland Media, is Do Web Designers Need Degrees? Lots of comments, be sure to check them, too. The second is Does Higher Education Produce Web Professionalism at Monday by Noon.

Related Posts:

First Buzz about the WaSP Curriculum Framework

I’ve been blathering on about the new WaSP curriculum project for months now in this blog. It isn’t released yet, but WaSP itself has released the first buzz about it. Announcing the WaSP Curriculum Framework.

The framework will include a collection of tools:

* Course overviews
* Recommended course dependencies indicating what students will need to know before beginning each course
* Learning competencies describing what students must master in order to receive a passing grade
* Ideas for assignments and test questions that allow educators to measure a student’s mastery of each competency
* Recommended textbooks and readings, including articles from the Opera Web Standards Curriculum and other reputable sources
* A list of helpful resources, tools, and utilities specific to each course that will help both educators and students

Why is it called a framework? Given the velocity at which Web technology unravels, we recognize that required skill sets can change rapidly, and that the best way to keep this material useful is for the education community to enrich it with their expertise and experiences. In this way, the WaSP Curriculum Framework will be a “living curriculum” that we hope would be a knowledge base of required skills.

The framework will include guidelines to help educators around the world develop assignments and learning modules that address issues specific to their classrooms. These independently developed teaching materials can then be submitted back to the WaSP Curriculum Framework for review and potential inclusion in the project.

WaSP releases curriculum survey results

Education professionals were asked about what they are doing and what they think should be done in terms of teaching web design courses at the college level. The survey results were released by the WaSP Education Task Force at Curriculum Survey Results.

The WaSP Education Task Force hopes to make the survey available again so that results can be kept current. Keep in mind that Opera just released a web standards curriculum and WaSP is getting ready to do the same. Some of the issues raised by participants of the survey (which was taken several months ago), such as the the lack of appropriate materials and reference materials, may be addressed by these two new curriculum projects.

Useful Links: search Flash, WaSP EduTF on Facebook

TechCrunch reports that Adobe is providing Google and Yahoo with the technology to search and index Flash files. Flash websites will no longer be invisible to the search engines. Well, that certainly changes things. Now that Flash won’t be the whipping boy of web design, in the same category as table-based layouts, we have a lot of rethinking to do. What do you think this is going to mean to the look and feel of the web?

WaSP Education Task Force decided it needed a Facebook page. Which means that I finally joined Facebook. I’m probably the last Facebook holdout in America. I’m so beyond the high school/college demographic I’ve never been tempted by Facebook. In my world, Facebook has officially become ubiquitous.

Added 7/2/08: Adobe’s FAQ page about searchable SWF files.

EduTF Report Highlights Curriculum Project

At the Web Standards Project site, this report highlights the education task force curriculum project.

The Curriculum Project will be a resource that could be used by those in education, as well as, anyone needing to update knowledge on Web related technologies.

If you’re involved in delivering curriculum relating to web technologies, you’ll find a mailing list and other ways to participate mentioned in the article.