My two-semester foray into the world of teaching adult classes has finally come to an end. I will not be doing this again (at least not teaching hand-coding of HTML). Much like last semester, I ended with a class on web accessibility, the use of tools like Dreamweaver to complement hand coding, and blogging, of course.
One of my students, who was somewhat discouraged by her inability to keep up all semester, seemed quite excited by the idea of starting a site on Blogger so that she could ease into the world of site creation and practice what she has learned.
I also recommended the video tutorials at Lynda.com. The CD-ROMs and online learning library that Lynda Weinman’s company produces are brilliant, and, quite frankly, they would be a better investment for my former students than these classes. (Many of the Lynda.com tutorials have as much as a half hour of free video content online.)
With the accessibility thing, it often seems like I’m fighting a losing battle. It is so easy to make a web site compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), yet the level of apathy I encounter when it comes to this important human rights issue is appalling. At Princeton, it seems like for every webmaster I educate, or for every site that I help make accessible, another irresponsible hack comes along and creates yet another web site that is hostile to the disabled and flagrantly violates federal law. The ironic shame is that from a purely aesthetic perspective, these are some of the most attractively designed sites on the Princeton web. My attempt to give the “heads up” to one of his more recent clients fell on deaf ears, so now it looks like I will have to contact this designer directly.
BTW, if you are unaware of how to create an accessible web site, check out the Web Accessibility Initiative’s site, scroll to the bottom, watch the video, download the checklist, and then read some of the tutorials linked off of the main page.