W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-webed@w3.org > January 2012

Re: Moving forward with web education work

From: Chris Mills <cmills@opera.com>
Date: Mon, 30 Jan 2012 16:39:02 +0000
Cc: public-webed@w3.org
Message-Id: <6F9E8E87-C4C3-4335-8EF9-18A66842EFFD@opera.com>
To: prisca <prisca@eyedea.eu>

On 27 Jan 2012, at 14:40, prisca wrote:

> Hey Chris :)
> echoing others - all I can do is apologise sorry for not replying sooner.... especially after I mentioned  my struggles to you with trying to get involved here....
> sorry about that...

No worries at all - I'm sorry if I came across as being a bit grumpy last week.

> all this does though is highlight the problem that I have - and many others who are teaching might have the same issues. With the overload of bureaucracy demanded for documenting learner's progress etc now growing more and more each year it seems - this does take time away from everything else.

I am certainly hearing this from a lot of other educators too - so much more paperwork to deal with, leading to less time for actual personal development and projects like this.

> I'm delivering teaching for web - and I would love to contribute - but keeping up with the messages via this email group with lots of useful suggestions and comments I found hard and almost impossible, simply due to the sheer amount of emails. I tried to read them all - couldn't find the time, I tried to comment on some of the thoughts brought forward and some of the ideas I had - again, lack of time and keeping track of the comments meant I didn't do that either.

Ok, so perhaps it would work better if I just handed you a task here and there, or asked for feedback on something when needed, and you can dig in if you have time, rather than me expecting you to keep up with the whole list?

> I love where this is going and can see how brilliant this could be - however - I am getting worried about how suitable some of these materials would be for teaching, especially for entry level students. I can only go by colleagues of mine who are delivering A-Levels, GCSEs and level 1/2 courses - and who are now all asked to deliver web related units.
> I always have to think of Anna Debenham and what she highlighted in her talks, silly units, odd requirements etc...
> Looking at the bits that I managed to keep up with on here - I couldn't see anything that I could forward to them to help them out. All seemed much more related to proper web design/development teaching - all a bit too advanced , perhaps too technically worded for my colleagues to be able to use easily. I'm sure those resources will be brilliant for courses which aim to train up the new cohort of webdesigners/developers - so that's all good.
> However, how about the entry level - the practical approach to teaching people only the very basics - to get nice project brief written to apply those skills, to have teaching material that could be used in the class room - for both adults and younger age groups?
> All I know is that a lot of teaching is really out of date - and that starts with the entry level or more introductory teaching, not only the full on web related courses only.
> Please don't get me wrong - for example, the Web Standards Curriculum is truly fantastic - very useful and a brilliant resource for all, accessible easily etc etc.... I have tried to use it in class - and my students are adults, aiming to work as webdesigners. So I thought it will be perfect - the right target group for this sort of content, writing style and level. 
> But my individual lessons with more visual documentation (often not always) and a more custom presentation, like coloured arrows, highlighted text and plenty of screenshots are the ones my students tend to take to much easier than the brilliant articles on the Web Standards Curriculum ... to my surprise.
> (an example, just to show you what I mean, here's a tutorial on FireFTP I wrote 5 years ago by now...: http://graphiceyedea.co.uk/11/upload-via-ftp-in-firefox-fireftp - very popular with students who seem to refer back to outside of class and cope just fine with solving issues themselves)
> Considering my colleagues and their students who need to do web only as a small part of their courses - all this is even more of an issue....

So basically what you are saying is that the tutorials as they stand are not immediately useful for actual teaching. I talked to Anna Debenham about this earlier today actually, and she said very similar things. 

So maybe we should treat the tutorials as learning material for people whom that approach suits, and background learning for teachers to read before the class, and for advanced students  but then create a set of bridging materials for actually teaching the classes with? 

These could take the form of slideshows that teach the syntax and basic concepts in a very visual and non-wordy way, coupled with exercises to give the students to do, to actually learn the stuff in practice. (And their solutions of course). This would probably fit in well with the curriculum structures.

Would this be a better approach?

I could try to create a prototype to show you all.

> Now, I'm not saying I have any answers here  these are just a few thoughts which I meant to commment on much sooner....
> Basically, I'm worried there's lots of time spent creating, collating and producing resources which might be wrong for teaching in the classroom and be more of a reference for more advanced students, rather than a practical solution right now.
> I think we need people who need to teach web to test these as we go along - get feedback during the process and amend/edit to suit.

Yes, we absolutely need to get it right asap, as we have such limited resources to do this.

> I thought that maybe a forum might be a better way for us all to move things forward? Possibly organised into categories by level, filter option by tag for topics? 
> I feel I would be able to manage that better ~ for example, if I write up something for my students anyway - say about typography - I could then just add this to the right category on the forum, get feedback - or share it is as resource.

I am not sure - I think this might be more of a personal preference thing. I personally find forums a lot more fiddly to handle than e-mail lists. Has anyone else got any strong feelings on this?

Maybe we could organise a hybrid approach? Perhaps use e-mail, but then add tags into the subject line if the thread concerns one particular subject, or is or particular relevance to one or two people?

> As for getting my colleagues some support in their teaching - they might not have time or motivation to be involved directly themselves - but a forum might offer the right platform for them to find useful resources to use immediately, try out and give feedback directly. I imagine lots of good input on wording and illustrative examples.

Ok, I can see how a public forum might be useful for getting wider feedback from a group of occasional contributors, for example if we want to solicit feedback.

I'll mull this over!

thanks so much for your feedback,

Received on Monday, 30 January 2012 16:39:41 UTC

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