Communication Through the Web

DCI 108

Winter 2021

Credits: 3

Requirements Met: DCI Minor Core

Class Meeting Metadata
Meets: MW 4:00 - 5:35pm Eastern
Classroom: Virtual (Zoom links in Canvas)
Instructor's Metadata
Instructor: Jason T. Mickel, Ph.D.
E-Mail: mickelj@wlu.edu How to Email a Professor
Phone: (540) 458-8653
Office: Leyburn M33
Office Hours: M 1:00-2:00
T 2:30-3:30
W 11:00-12:00
Or by appointment

Overview

Please note that for the Winter 2021 term, this course is being offered 100% online. The weekly calendar below indicates which class meetings will involve all of us being active simultaneously in Zoom (synchronous) and those meetings that will not require us to meet at our specific class time (asynchronous).

Although the World Wide Web recently turned 30 years old, the medium remains in its relative infancy, and we are still learning how to use it to communicate effectively. This course takes a liberal arts approach to web design and development by:

  1. Starting out by clearly defining the message that is being sent
  2. Determining the audience to whom the message should reach
  3. Shaping the message for the web medium
  4. Designing a web site with a suitable coherent structure, text, and multimedia content
  5. Planning for accessibility to allow access the site for those other than fully capable visitors
  6. Developing the web site using HTML and CSS
  7. Soliciting feedback and making changes and improvements

No prior web development experience is needed, but a desire to learn and be challenged is a must. Further, possessing the spirit to play, allowing yourself patience for trial and error, and having the willingness to put forth effort even when success doesn't come easily all will greatly enhance your ability to make the most of this course.

Learning Outcomes

  • Demonstrate comprehension of communication principles applicable to the Web evidenced through design projects and exams
  • Explain and discuss current issues in web communication through exams
  • Write syntactically correct HTML and CSS that follows generally accepted coding conventions as demonstrated in assignments, exams, and a team-developed web page
  • Show awareness of accessibility issues through design projects and exams
  • Develop skills to manage a development project as evidenced through using Visual Studio Code and a personal web host
  • Gather, interpret, and enact requirements for a project as evidenced by conducting interviews with stakeholders and interested external parties

Work & Time Expectations

You will be learning two new languages in this course while applying them based on several communication and design principles. Expect to spend an average of 6 to 9 hours per week of time outside of class meetings on assignments and preparation. This is typical of all undergraduate courses in which one hour of class time equates to three hours of work out-of-class.

Prerequisites

None

Texts

Required

Don't Make Me Think Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web and Mobile Usability
2014
Steve Krug
ISBN13: 978-0321965516
Free online to W&L students at: Safari Books Online
Learn to Code HTML & CSS
2017
Shay Howe
Free online at: http://learn.shayhowe.com/html-css/
Learn to Code Advanced HTML & CSS
2017
Shay Howe
Free online at: http://learn.shayhowe.com/advanced-html-css/
Additional required readings will be noted in the schedule below.

Software

Visual Studio Code
Accessible via your personal domain — see links in the Resources menu above
GitHub
Register for an account (if you don't already have one) @
https://www.github.com/
JSBin
Access and login with your GitHub account @
https://jsbin.com/?html,css,output

Evaluation

Tracking Your Progress

Your up-to-date course grades are kept in our Canvas course. It will have the most accurate record with the percentage distributions below factored in. To aid with grading your HTML/CSS, I will be using an app called CodePost, which allows me to give you line-by-line, in-place feedback to help you understand where you have made mistakes and can improve. You will receive an invitation email from CodePost for you to sign up (it's free) so that you can access your comments. I will be transferring the grades from there into Canvas, but you'll need to go to CodePost to read comments.

Links to both our Canvas course and to CodePost are in the Resources menu above.

Design and Coding Exercises 30%

Exercises will evaluate your understanding and/or mastery of concepts as we cover them. Some may be completed in-class; however, most will be completed in the time between class meetings.

The culmination of these exercises will result in a web site that you may publish as a personal web presence/portfolio that showcases you, your work, and your interests to employers, internships, and graduate schools.

Please refer to the links in the menu above for assignment details.

Exams 20%

There will be two exams: 1) at the end of Week 9, which is halfway through our HTML/CSS work and 2) during finals week.

The exams will be open book, note, and Web; however, you may not consult classmates or any others besides your professor through any form of communication (included but not limited to: written, spoken, electronic, telepathic, osmotic, semaphore, hand signals, or Morse code) during the period that the exam is available.

They will be comprehensive of all information presented throughout the course. Consequently, the exams will be designed to test your ability to apply knowledge versus your capability to memorize.

Failure to attempt either exam will result in failure of the course.

Group Term Project 30%

By the end of the term, you will produce a full-featured web page that tells the story promoting the work of an on-campus organization. You will conduct an interview of your "client" organization to gather content and their desired design layout. You will then utilize communication theory, design skills, HTML, CSS, and multimedia to completely develop the page.

There will be various deliverables throughout the semester to keep you on track. At the end of the term, you will make a brief presentation to the class discussing your page, its design, and its story.

For additional details, please see the Project Page link under Assignments above.

Participation and Class Discussion 20%

Although this is primarily a lecture and lab style course, there will be several opportunities, particularly early in the term, for discussion and questions. During the first few weeks of the course, students will lead discussion on the material assigned. I will designate who will take on specific readings from class-to-class, and students will be responsible for maintaining the discussion for their assigned topics.

As the course progresses, I will offer more instruction on building sites using HTML and CSS. I encourage you to engage with the lectures through asking me questions about the material being presented. If no one speaks up or reaches out with questions, I am forced to assume that you understand everything I am saying.

I have been working with this material professionally for many years, so I know what I'm doing. I need YOU to be brave and converse with me when a concept isn't clear.

Missing class, consistently arriving late, or being unprepared for discussion of readings will negatively impact your participation grade.

Tentative Schedule

Dates of activities and due dates for assignments are always subject to minor shifting. Refer to back to this schedule regularly.

Week 1

Jan 18 - 24
M & W classes synchronous in Zoom
MLK Week - M class meets F
Topics
Readings
Hands-On Activities
Assignments
  • Course Overview & Introductions
  • Project Deliverable #0
  • Exercise #1
  • Applying Audience Theory
  • Exercise #1: Putting Audience Theory to Use
    (Due: Sun, Jan 24 @ 11:55pm ET)
  • Project Deliverable #0: Choosing and Confirming Your Client
    (Due: Fri, Jan 29 @ 11:55pm ET)

Week 2

Jan 25 - 31
M & W classes synchronous in Zoom

Week 3

Feb 1 - 7
M & W classes synchronous in Zoom
Topics
Readings
Hands-On Activities
Assignments

Week 4

Feb 8 - 14
M & W classes synchronous in Zoom
Topics
Readings
Hands-On Activities
Assignments
  • Student-led Discussion
  • Getting to Know Your Computer All Over Again
  • Working with JSBin and VSCode
  • Programming Assignment #1: Starting Your Personal Site
    (Due: Sun, Feb 28 @ 11:55pm ET)

Week 5

Feb 15 - 21
Asynchronous - Professor available in Zoom for questions
Topics
Readings
Hands-On Activities
Assignments
  • Programming Assignment Practice #1: Getting to Know HTML
    (Due: Sun, Feb 21 @ 11:55pm ET)
  • Programming Assignment Practice #2: Getting to Know CSS
    (Due: Sun, Feb 21 @ 11:55pm ET)

Week 6

Feb 22 - 28
Asynchronous - Professor available in Zoom for questions
Topics
Readings
Hands-On Activities
Assignments
  • L2C Chapters 4, 5, 6, 7, & 9
  • L2C-Advanced Chapter 2
  • Programming Assignment Practice #3: CSS Box Model & Positioning
    (Due: Sun, Feb 28 @ 11:55pm ET)
  • Programming Assignment #2: Applying CSS, Multimedia, and Tables to Your Site
    (Due: Wed, Mar 17 @ 11:55pm ET)
  • Project Deliverable #2: Client Website UX Proposal
    (Due: Wed, Mar 17 @ 11:55pm ET)

Week 8

Mar 8 - 14
Asynchronous - Professor available in Zoom for questions
Topics
Readings
Hands-On Activities
Assignments
  • L2C Chapter 10
  • Programming Assignment Practice #5: Multimedia & Tables
    (Due: Sun, Mar 14 @ 11:55pm ET)

Week 9

Mar 15 - 21
Asynchronous - Professor available in Zoom for questions
Topics
Readings
Hands-On Activities
Assignments
  • L2C-Advanced Chapter 4
  • Exam #1: HTML/CSS To Date
    (Opens Thu, Mar 18 @ 8:00am - Closes Mon, Mar 22 @ 5:00pm ET)
  • Programming Assignment Practice #6: Working with Forms
    (Due: Sun, Mar 21 @ 11:55pm ET)
  • Programming Assignment #3: Making Your Site Responsive
    (Due: Wed, Mar 31 @ 11:55pm ET)
  • Project Deliverable #3: Complete Website w/ Full HTML and CSS
    (Due: Wed, Apr 7 @ 11:55pm ET)

Week 10

Mar 22 - 28
Asynchronous - Professor available in Zoom for questions
Topics
Readings
Hands-On Activities
Assignments
  • L2C-Advanced Chapters 3, 7, & 8
  • Programming Assignment Practice #7: Designing for Mobile Devices
    (Due: Sun, Mar 28 @ 11:55pm ET)
  • Programming Assignment #4: Improving CSS, Accessibility, and Fully Responsive, Complete Site
    (Due: Fri, Apr 9 @ 11:55pm ET)

Week 11

Mar 29 - Apr 4
Asynchronous - Professor available in Zoom for questions
Topics
Readings
Hands-On Activities
Assignments
  • Programming Assignment Practice #8: Complex Selecting and Putting Things in Motion
    (Due: Sun, Apr 4 @ 11:55pm ET)

Week 12

Apr 5 - 11
Monday Asynchronous - Professor available in Zoom for questions
Wednesday Synchronous meeting in Zoom
Topics
Readings
Hands-On Activities
Assignments
  • Finalizing the Site for Your Client
  • Site Showcase
  • Exam #2: Final
    (Opens Sat, Apr 10 @ 8:00am - Closes Wed, Apr 14 @ 11:55pm ET)