Hi all,

First post - I teach IT and support half of the computer network for the Arts & IT section at Bathurst TAFE. We teach Web Design (as well as other courses like Digital Media and Client Support) and for the last five years have pushed for students to not only design using XHTML and CSS but to have assessments meet the standards for the different WAI levels. With pressure from teachers and the Head Teacher students have access to Internet Explorer, Firefox, Mozilla, Opera and Lynx. The last three years have seen hosting on LAMP servers so students are required to learn PHP and MySQL.

The modules are the same as those used by all the other TAFE Campuses but our teachers are determined to produce students who know the standards and can design effective, artistic and meet the standards. We have been blocked by the IT Network support staff at higher levels but with pressure from staff and students the required applications have been installed because it is the teaching that is important.

Keep up the pressure about standards compliance - it is important and will save businesses large sums of money (just ask Target USA).

Regards,

Steve

On 14/02/2006, at 10:28 PM, Ric Raftis wrote:

Your comments reminded me that I had neglected to mention something else regarding my TAFE experiences. Perhaps I should mention that I am 50 years of age and attended as a mature age student and not someone out of high school, however despite all amounts of agitating and lobbying, the Bendigo TAFE refused to provide access to Firefox or Opera or any other browser apart from IE. That was the only browser that you could use to access the outside world. You couldn't install or run your own versions locally, so consequently Firefox and the Web Developer Extension were not available to test your sites or ensure that code was valid.

Maybe this will change in the future, but it has to come from the top. The thing that I found most amazing was that the IT people in charge of the networks had the say over the people delivering the courses. It was actually the network administrators that stymied the efforts of the lecturers by denying access to better browsers and tools. You would have thought that IT professionals would be far more aware of the benefits of using compliant browsers and be implementing these in our educational institutions.

Regards,

Ric

Michael Nelson wrote:

Ric Raftis wrote:

    It was interesting reading your post James because it seems that
    TAFEs across the country may vary widely despite courses
    supposedly being drawn from a national based syllabus and
    providing national accreditation.

Related to this, I reckon one of the biggest problems causing a lack of standards in Web design education is a lack of collaboration. Each facilitator/lecturor is re-inventing the wheel with activities and resources largely due to IP restrictions within their workplace. In reality, many facilitators just end up re-using the same resources that's been used for the last 5 years because on their own they don't have time to update both their own skills and the resources they use.

The ironic thing is that (nearly) all the best info on Web Design topics is being shared freely by professional designers on their blogs/sites! ... I mean, with excellent sites like http:// webdesignfromscratch.com/ and http://maxdesign.com.au/ published by professionals, what is the role of an educator?

My take is that if lecturors and facilitators were able to collaboratively create and update flexible learning pathways from all the great free stuff out there, we'd be in a better position to help the uptake of standards in Web design education.

(Plug) : 'cause of this, I've started setting up a WebDesign Wikibook over at: http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Web_Design <http://en.wikibooks.org/ wiki/Web_Design> Really it's just ordering and grouping all the great resources out there created by you professionals into some sort of learning pathway with ideas for activities... Feel free to contribute :)

--
Michael Nelson
http://liveandletlearn.net/


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