Summary – 1. Getting Started

Summary 1. Getting Started

Introductions and expectations – Welcome to Web Development

Thanks for the introductions (and dog pictures). It is always nice to “meet” the class. For some online courses you just work on the assignments on your own and turn them in. Not in CIS89A. There will be lots of great resources and interesting ideas shared throughout the course. Please help to make this an enjoyable, friendly, interactive learning experience. Ask questions. Comment on the discussions. Some of the best information comes along that way.

From the discussions and the Week 1 in Review assignment, many great questions and comments came up. Here are some that are particularly helpful.

Personalized learning – new to the web, advanced practitioner, something for everyone

Each module includes a coding assignment that covers the topic in depth. The Willard textbook does a pretty good job of showing what is important and how to use the tags, attributes and properties appropriately.

For other areas and activities, the depth and breadth will depend on individual baseline and interest. Everyone should learn something new from each of the course activities. Someone who is completely new to using the web may struggle with saving their work in Thimble. Others with a strong programming background may be interested in learning the inner working of cyber security for a commercial site.

Some topics, like Web Mechanics are very broad and will be covered throughout the course. There isn’t one simple reference that covers it. If you have specific questions, please ask.

Tracking assignments

You can check your Grades any time. There is a link to Grades in the lower left navigation menu.

If we are working on Week 3 and you don’t have a grade for the Week 2 assignment, either it hasn’t been graded yet (usually with 2 days of the due date) or you didn’t submit it. Not sure – please ask.

Internet and the Web – what’s the difference?

Short answer – The World Wide Web (web) is just a small portion of the entire internet. Although there are billions of web pages and this is what most people access, there is a lot of “plumbing” and computer-to-computer traffic that is important for many forms of communications, as well. If you are really interested, check out the OSi Standard 7 Layer Model description.

HTML and CSS – how are they related?

The Willard textbook explains that the HTML style attributes of the page display can be applied directly to the content, or the whole page or to an entire web site. Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is the process for coding the HTML for describing the style information and how it will be applied to your site as it is displayed by the visitors’ browsers. We will spend a lot of time on both HTML and CSS.

Cyber security

Other than being aware that there is an issue with security associated with any web site, this topic is beyond the scope of this course.

If you are just creating a personal web site to tell about your hobbies, you don’t have a problem. Most web hosts have some security that is likely to be adequate.

However if you are running a commercial site that take credit card information or a medical records site that collects personal information, you must understand security and how to handle customer data. There are DeAnza courses for that. For large corporations and institutions, cyber security is often the responsibility of a specialized team.

Advanced track

Advanced track would depend on the interests of people who want to go this route.

Other than participate in the weekly discussions along with the rest of the class, you can work on something interesting and challenging to you. This assumes that you already have a working knowledge of some areas of the course that you can build on.

I would like to see a proposal so we can discuss the appropriateness for credit for this course, the level of challenge for you, the scope of the project and the estimated time to complete.

If there are others working on an advanced track, sharing ideas and reviewing work as a separate group can be arranged.

Controlling notifications from discussions

You can control the discussion notifications a couple of ways. Check your Profile – lower left navigation menu. This controls the frequency and type of notifications generally.

Also you can control the notifications from individual forums – see the Forums link in the Activities menu – navigation menu on the right side of the main course page.

Finally each individual discussion forum topic has a drop down to select notification (or not) for that specific discussion topic.

The News forum is beyond your control. This is to ensure that you are notified if there are any important course announcements.

Be sure to check out the different settings for the discussion topic display. These include newest first, oldest first, nested and threaded. All can be useful and good to know about.

Discussion threads – replies to replies

There are discussions described in the Assignments. There should be a discussion topic with that name in the Discussion forum with the instructor as the creator of that topic. Post your information as a Reply to these.

Sometimes students create new discussion topics. These are not the “official” discussions.

If you want to reply to a student’s post within a discussion topic, you can Reply to their post. This will then become a “thread” or series of related posts within the discussion topic.

Were any women involved in the creation of HTML?

A number of women were involved in the creation of the internet, the worldwide web and HTML. Grace Hopper is often considered as one of the important contributors to computer science and the internet. Nicola Pellow was directly involved, working with Tim Berners-Lee at CERN on components of the worldwide web.

Do web developers write all the source code?

Many web developers use editors to develop code. They usually copy and paste big chunks of code too. Some one had to write all that source code once, before there were all the fancy tools.

An important reason for learning HTML and CSS is to ensure that you know what is going on in the code, even if your don’t write it all yourself directly. It is really handy to be able to fix the HTML code directly, especially if the tool has made a mistake that can’t be undone with the tool. It does happen.

Thimble and/or Voyager

Thimble is a great tool to get everyone going. You can use it for all the coding assignments if you wish.

Everyone has an account on the DeAnza Voyager server. For one of the later assignments, you are required to demonstrate that you can upload and manage files in that environment. If you prefer to use Voyager for all your coding assignments, rather then Thimble, you can do that.

2. HTML Basics

Although web pages have become more complex and visually impressive, they are created using the same basic HTML elements that have been the foundation of the web from the beginning. It is all about letting the world know you have something to say and you understand the simple framework for a web page.

Wow! That was just the first week.

So much information. So many great questions. We are off to a great start!

Participate in the discussions early and often. Try to do some work on the course activities every day. That is the best way to learn in a self-directed learning environment like an online course.


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