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EduTF Report Highlights Curriculum Project

By Holly Marie Koltz | May 16th, 2008 | Filed in Curriculum, Education, Education TF, WaSP Announcement

The WaSP Education Task Force (EduTF) report updates our activity, announces new members, and offers a report on a Web standards based Curriculum Project.

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In the past year, the EduTF has been quieter than previous years. We have gone through a few changes, though our mission remains the same.

The WaSP Education Task Force was created in 2005 to work directly with institutions of higher education to help raise awareness of Web standards and accessibility among instructors, administrators, and Web development teams.

Our mission is not a small one. Our work and message needs to reach beyond our reading audience and the Web standards community in order to get information, help, and resources to more people. EduTF is discussing and looking at a variety of ways in which we can help.

To help with our mission, EduTF has added new members, including: Aarron Walter, Gareth Rushgrove, Lars Gunther, Jeffrey Brown, Kathy Keller, Christopher Schmitt, and Virginia DeBolt. Each member has experience with education and a strong passion for improving education in the area of Web standards and technologies.

One task the EduTF has been working on is the publication of the EduTF Survey results. We are reviewing the final draft of the publication and hope to share this information very soon.

The survey results have been very helpful in highlighting key needs, challenges and issues within the educational community and these will be addressed by the EduTF and also through our Curriculum Project.

The Curriculum Project will be a resource that could be used by those in education, as well as, anyone needing to update knowledge on Web related technologies.

Aarron Walter is leading our Curriculum Project and has this informative report to share:

The quality of Web design and development education in our schools is perhaps the most significant barrier preventing the world-wide adoption of Web standards. The EduTF has been hard at work this year developing a curriculum to address this issue. Our goal is to create a curriculum that is modular allowing courses to be selectively integrated into existing programs that need updating, or adopted entirely to serve as the foundation for new Web design and development programs in colleges, universities, and high schools around the world.

This is a big project. We’ve sought guidance from talented educators already teaching standards, and top industry professionals who have helped us identify the tools and topics each course should include. The EduTF is teaming up with Chris Mills of Opera who is leading an initiative to create a broad series of detailed articles that teach basic principles of front end development. These articles will be integrated into a number of courses to provide educators and students with practical references and a solid foundation in Web standards.

The curriculum will be released in stages, the first of which will include a core set of courses that address foundation topics such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, accessibility, information architecture, usability, and the history of the Web. In subsequent releases, courses will be added that address more advanced topics, and specific tools popular in the industry.

Each course will contain a collection of tools for educators including:

  • A course overview
  • Recommended course dependencies indicating what students will need to know before beginning each course
  • Learning competencies describing what students must master in order to receive a passing grade
  • Assignment recommendations and test questions that allow educators to measure a student’s mastery of each competency
  • Recommended readings from Chris Mills’ article series on Web standards and other reputable sources

We hope to release the curriculum in March of 2009 in an online format that will make it easy for educators to access and contribute back to the project. We view it as a living system which will be greatly enhanced by community contributions.

It’s a very big undertaking, but one that we believe could make a significant impact not only on the quality of Web design and development education offered in our schools, but also on the adoption rate of Web standards. If you’re an educator with pedagogical materials or ideas to share, please join the mailing list and our IRC channel to become part of the conversation. We welcome your support and inputs as we proceed with the development of the WaSP Web standards curriculum.

Your Replies

#1 On May 16th, 2008 11:23 am