Defining front end engineering

Nate Koechle from Yahoo! talks about what front end engineers actually do. Don’t start it unless you have plenty of time to watch, it’s nearly an hour and a half long. But it’s worth it, especially if you are teaching HTML, CSS, JavaScript, web development, or any related class.

The reason I’m hoping you’ll take the time to watch this video is because it so clearly states, from an industry perspective, why the WaSP InterAct curriculum project is so important and what it’s actually about. Industry needs graduates who know what Nate is talking about when they are fresh out of school. InterAct means to help you achieve that goal in your own curriculum.

I found this at Yahoo! Video, where you can find links to other talks by Nate Koechley. Nate is an excellent lecturer, well organized, clear, with well presented material. A lesson can be learned  by educators just from watching how he moves through the long talk and keeps you with him. And, the talk is an outline of what curriculum needs to be.

Useful Links: Online Lectures, CSS3 modules, the canvas element, menu possibilities, Boagworld

100 Free Online Lectures that will make you a better teacher is from Best Universities, which is amassing some intresting link resources such as this one on its blog.

Four new W3C modules for CSS3 are in the proposal stage and would support the canvas element. Links to each module are availble here, at

Speaking of the canvas element, Laura Carlson put together some Use Case examples on the ESW Wiki. If you have a browser other than Internet Explorer, you can take a look at some of the possible uses of the canvas element.

Project Seven is testing a new menu system which is very exciting in terms of the design possibilities it may open up.

Boagworld interviewed Aarron Walter this week. Paul gave Aarron a chance to talk about how the WaSP InterAct came into being, where it’s going next and what it means.

How Educators Can Get the Most from WaSP InterAct

Educators, this one’s for you. The WaSP InterAct Curriculum Framework is now available. The curriculum is for high school, community college and universtity level teaching of  Web Design and Development. The focus is on using best practices and web standards to create students trained and capable in the skills most needed by industry.

The eleven completed courses (with more to come) that comprise the initial release are grouped into learning tracks.

  • foundations
  • front-end dev
  • design
  • user science
  • server-side dev
  • professional practice

The eleven currently available courses are:

  • Internet Fundamentals
  • Web Design 1
  • Web Design  2
  • Accessibility
  • DOM Scripting 1
  • Findability
  • Digital Design Production
  • Information Architecture 1
  • Internship
  • Professional Practice
  • Independent Study

If that list does not contain a course you need or currently teach, there are ways to help WaSP develop future courses. First download a PDF of the framework to see the entire range of courses planned. You can help with the courses still in the planning stage in several ways. You can contribute

However, the best way to help with this curriculum is to TEACH WITH IT.

Teach With It

The framework is ready for education and ready for teachers. The courses are modular. That means you can cherry-pick parts and add them into your current classes to see how they work and fit. Or you can choose to take an entire course and use it from start to finish in a semester. Read the Integration Guide to get a comprehensive set of ideas on using the curriculum.

The framework is ready for education and ready for teachers. It contains competencies that can be measured. Exam questions for assessing the competencies are provided. Assignments are provided that address the competencies, with grading rubrics  to help with evaluation.

The framework is ready for education and ready for teachers. Books and resources are listed for core assignments, exploration, online assignments, and external reading assignments. Lab and discussion assignments are suggested. Student blogging assignments are provided. Other outstanding curriculum materials such as the Opera Web Standards Curriculum materials are integrated with the InterAct courses.


The WaSP InterAct curriculum emphasizes best practices and web standards. Why? The InterAct site says,

Web standards are technologies that are free to use, and work the same, regardless of device or platform. Provided you build a website using web standards and best practices, it will be usable by anyone, regardless of their location, the device they are surfing the Web with, and any disabilities they may have.

Standards for HTML, CSS, JavaScript and the other languages that make up the fabric of the Web are critical for its continued growth and success.

Give students a strong grounding in web standards based education and they are ready for the demands of industry, better equipped to find a job in a fast-changing environment, and prepared to step into a job without any additional training from an employer. This last point is a big one with industry, because many companies spend large amounts of time and money training college graduates to do the things they should have learned in college.

Look at the testimonials in support of the WaSP InterAct Curriculum Framework. The people with the jobs to offer your students are stepping up and saying, “We want to hire people with the skills they get from this curriculum.”

Let others know

If you use the materials in the curriculum, let others know. Let the WaSP people know, and offer feedback on the problems and successes you found with the curriculum. It’s a living, changeable framework and your input matters. If you write about your experiences with the curriculum, make sure the WaSP InterAct team knows about it so they can take what you are saying into account.

Let others know who might be interested in teaching with the materials so that the curriculum is adopted in more and more classrooms.

Technorati Tags:

SXSW: No Web Professional Left Behind: Educating the Next Generation

a link to The Interact Home Page

Leon Adkison (from WOW), Chris Mills, Stephanie Troeth, Aarron Walter. On Twitter: @waspinteract

Here’s a summary of the announcement of the WaSP Interact Curriculum in tweet sized bits. I posted these tweets during the panel as @vdebolt. In case you miss the point, the URL where the curriculum lives is,

#sxsw #sxswed WaSP Interact Curriculum: Web Standards based new curriculum

#sxsw #sxswed WaSP Interact: best practices in teaching Web Design and Development

#sxswed Opera Web Standards Curriculum part of the solution

#sxsw #sxswed WaSP Interact: connecting the needs of industry with education best practices

#sxsw #sxswed WaSP Interact: Grand Opening!

#sxsw #sxswed WaSP Interact: Just Released!

#sxsw #sxswed WaSP Interact: connecting education and industry

#sxsw #sxswed WaSP Interact: best practices and skills for professional web designers

#sxsw #sxswed WaSP Interact: open, living curriculum

#sxsw #sxswed WaSP Interact: Six Learning Tracks

#sxsw #sxswed WaSP Interact: tracks are foundations, front-end dev, design, user science, SS dev, professional practice

#sxsw #sxswed WaSP Interact: courses include Internet Fundamentals, Web Design 1 & 2, Accessibility, DOM Scripting 1

#sxsw #sxswed WaSP Interact: courses include Findability, Digital Design Production, Information Arch 1

#sxsw #sxswed WaSP Interact: courses include Internship, Professional Practice, Independent Study

#sxsw #sxswed WaSP Interact: more courses in development

#sxsw #sxswed WaSP Interact:  Core Competencies in every course

#sxsw #sxswed WaSP Interact: exam questions in every course

#sxsw #sxswed WaSP Interact: grading matrices for every assignment

#sxsw #sxswed WaSP Interact: ready-to-use rubrics and assignments

#sxsw #sxswed WaSP Interact: use the parts you want, adapt, integrate

#sxsw #sxswed WaSP Interact: contribute learning modules

#sxsw #sxswed WaSP Interact: contribute assignments

#sxsw #sxswed WaSP Interact: contribute a course

#sxsw #sxswed WaSP Interact: integration guide

As you can see from my Tweets, we really want to get the word out with a link to the new curriculum. Any help in that is appreciated. Please express yourself on how it works if you use it and contribute teaching modules if you can.