The Web Standards Project » Curriculum Working together for standards Fri, 01 Mar 2013 18:30:30 +0000 en hourly 1 Web Design Course Materials Licensed to W3C Wed, 08 Feb 2012 12:01:25 +0000 cschmitt As professional web builders we know that the web is constantly changing and our methods and practices must respond and adapt as well.

There are so many new disciplines web professionals need to be know about, if not specizlized in, that weren’t around ten or even five years ago.

It’s not always easy to keep on the latest and greatest in web and mobile tips, tricks and techniques.

Sometimes it’s downright difficult.

If it’s hard to keep up with the changes as professionals, so it must be even more so for our teachers of the craft.

InterACT Curriculum

For the past several years, a group of dedicated and talented volunteers have been working to help fix that.

Our Education Task Force has developed a world-class curriculum – we’re talking about tools for teaching.

Materials such as syllabii, quiz questions, recommended readings, and more aid in creating web professionals that are ready for the job market that so desperately needs young, competent web builders.

With such a strident resource, professors, educators to teach standards-based web design and development in their own classrooms.

Available on our web site, Web Standards Project InterACT Curriculum have found their way into some forward-thinking classrooms all over the world.

And it’s totally free.

Web Standards’ Textbook

In addition, the Education Task Force published a textbook based off the curriculum titled InterACT with Web Standards.

This web standards textbook is a available from Peachpit, which has published classics such as Jeffrey Zeldman and Ethan Marcotte’s Designing with Web Standards and Dave Shea and Molly E. Holzschlag’s The Zen of CSS Design.

InterACT and W3C Join Forces

Today, I’m happy to announce that the curriculum reaches even more people than ever before.

The InterACT Curriculum developed through Web Standards Educational Task Force has been licensed to W3C.

Through their resources and network, the curriculum will be used to teach companies and organizations, large and super-large, about standards-based education.

And it only seems appropriate that InterACT finds yet another home that is the W3C.

The Educational Task Force’s InterACT was one of the primary catalytics that led to the formation of the Open Web Education Alliance (OWEA) under the W3C.

We Need Your Help

To continue to expand the curriculum, the Education Task Force needs your help.

You don’t need to be a self-proclaimed web guru or a mobile ninja to help.

We people that specialize in all facets of web and mobile design and development that includes copywriters, content strategists, user experts, project managers, and more.

There’s room for everyone and, frankly, it has been and will continue to be people like yourself reading this message right now that will make world-caliber educational material.

Join the Team

Contribute to a curriculum that gets in the hands of tomorrow’s builders today.

Fill out the contribution form or reach out to EduTF leaders, Glenda Sims and Mark DuBois to ask how you can get more involved.

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InterACT With Web Standards Book Released Wed, 09 Jun 2010 08:00:32 +0000 ccasciano InterACT With Web Standards: A Holistic Approach to Web Design. It is the first book released by WaSP, and it directly ties into the work that the Education Task Force and other contributors have put into the courses in the InterACT curriculum.]]> InterACT with Web Standards isn’t a paper copy (or ebook copy) of the online curriculum in textbook format but rather it takes the same motivations and wisdom that goes into the online material and creates a new tool for those trying to learn or teach the profession of building web sites in an educational setting or to the those learning in their own.

From my seat on the sidelines of the book project I found it to be one of those rare gem that provides insight from a variety of working professionals on the topics they know best — from content creation to markup to accessibility — all along the way teaching the fundamentals and craft that goes into building successful web sites. While the middle third of the book covers page building with HTML and CSS it is surrounded by discussion of topics from strategy to marketing to accessibility to something so many technical books leave off — how to use the web to keep learning about the web as it evolves.

That is the core of why I’m loving seeing the work the authors have done with this book and with the WaSP InterACT Curriculum. Education, be it in higher education settings, professional and business settings or those self educating, in our fast moving and always changing field has to cover these fundamentals and core principles as much as it is about current coding techniques or the current crop of browsers or devices. The authors, many of whom have been in the business for a decade or more, have built up knowledge of these fundamentals and work hard to pass them onto the reader.

Information about InterAct with Web Standards and its authors is available on the book’s companion website. It is worth noting that 25% of author proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to the Open Web Education Alliance.

This Friday, June 11, many of the authors are participating in an online book launch event and conference. Though it is sold out, if you sign up for the waiting list you’ll be informed when tapings if the event are available.

Finally, you can read up on and support the curriculum initiatives at the WaSP InterACT Curriculum, support the Open Web Education Alliance win a grant with your vote on Drumbeat, or check out the Opera Web Standards Curriculum.

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Six New Courses Added to the InterACT Curriculum Thu, 18 Mar 2010 00:10:09 +0000 awalter It was just one year ago that The WaSP released its open curriculum project InterACT designed to help educators roll web standards and industry best practices into their courses. InterACT debuted at SxSWi 2009 with eleven courses created by a host of veteran educators and industry pros. Today, six more essential courses (that’s seventeen courses in total now if you’re counting) join our living curriculum to help schools prepare their students for a career working on the Web.

As is true of all InterACT courses, these six new courses contain competencies (the stuff students need to master in order to pass the class), assignments with grading rubrics, exam questions, recommended texts and readings, and technologies required to teach the course.

Though we’ve spent hundreds of hours developing these courses, we know the hardest work is still ahead. We need your help to get these courses into high schools, and colleges around the world. If you are an educator, use these courses (they are free and licensed under Creative Commons). If you are a student, tell your teachers about InterACT (gold star for you!). If you are an industry pro, connect with a local school to let them know about InterACT, or better yet, give a short presentation on web standards in the real world. Regardless of your connection to web education, you can help move the cause forward with a tweet, a blog post, or a conversation with a colleague.

These six courses are just a piece of what InterACT is working on. Stay tuned.

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The Dawn of the Education Era Mon, 16 Mar 2009 20:27:03 +0000 feather It is with great pleasure that we unveil the WaSP InterAct Curriculum, an initiative that aims to unite industry, educators, and practitioners with one common goal: to improve the quality of education that the next generation of web professionals have available to them. Combining best practices in web design and development with best practices in education and human resources, we have assembled a group of passionate leaders that care deeply about education and that want to ensure that regardless of who you are, or where you’re learning about building the web — on your own, in an education institution or even on the job — you learn best practices and have the skills that your employers want and need.

I was priveleged to see a glimpse of this in action at Web Directions North and saw the Shared Passion that was demonstrated by everyone there, and this initiative is nothing less than thrilling. We at WaSP hope that you’re as excited about this as we are.

Please join me in openly congratulating our team members of the WaSP Education Task Force that were so instrumental in planning and executing this unmatched resource: Aarron Walter, Steph Troeth, Leslie Jensen-Inman. There are many more contributors to this project, but without these three, this simply wouldn’t have happened. The three of you are inspirational to us all and give us a taste of what can be accomplished.

It doesn’t end there, though. The web evolves. Web Standards evolve. And so will this resource. If you have a passion for education and making a difference, we’d love to have you involved.

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Shared Passion Mon, 16 Feb 2009 03:49:43 +0000 feather Something magical happens when you put a group of people that have a shared passion in the same room together. We’re not just talking “excitement” here, either. We’re talking passion — the kind that keeps the fire in the belly burning; the kind that brings people together from far away lands and unites them in a way that instantly seems like they’ve been friends forever.

This was the feeling in Denver at the education-focus day “Ed Directions North” (held in conjunction with Web Directions North). The day included teachers from high schools, from colleges and universities and from industry. The premise was simple: bring together educators, web professionals and industry representatives to create a kind of think tank on improving the quality of education for the next generation of web professionals.

I say “we” but really I mean to say that there were a few key people that were involved in putting this together:

The tireless work of these people, especially Steph, Aarron and Chris with the hands-on work, and John for his support of the concept and the event combined with the work of Leslie Jensen-Inman and Bill Cullifer for their “Web Professional Education Summit” made for an excellent event with a focus on education like we haven’t seen before.

I was asked to share my expertise in accessibility (and teaching accessibility), others were there to share other specialties: Dave Shea, Mike ™ Smith, and Christian Heilmann (though I ended up delivering Christian’s slides on JavaScript as he got stuck in London with flight delays)

The bottom line? This was one of the most exciting events I’ve participated in. It was more than just a pre-conference. It was a group of people with a shared passion for education. It was enough to give me goosebumps, and others tell me they got an incredible buzz from it as well. This sounds incredibly corny to write, but on that day, we came away feeling like we really could make the world a better place. We had new friends, allies and conviction to improve the curriculum and teaching and learning materials for tomorrow’s web designers and developers.

This passion is what you’ll see when you come see the WaSP panel at SXSW and learn of the work that we’re doing on the education front. This passion is what you’ll see as we create our direction forward as the Web Standards Project. This passion is what you’ll see as WaSP implements a vision of improving and continuing education about web standards and accessibility best practices. I hope you share the passion that we do.

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Announcing the WaSP Curriculum Framework Thu, 31 Jul 2008 13:18:40 +0000 steph In parallel to the wonderful work that Chris Mills and team are doing on the Opera Web Standards Curriculum, the Education Task Force has begun efforts since March this year on a complementary project: the WaSP Curriculum Framework. Our framework aims to identify the skill sets and competencies that aspiring Web professionals need to acquire to prepare them for their chosen careers.

In order to help educational institutions to identify and include material for these competencies, we are creating a set of foundation courses that can be readily adapted into an existing program at a college, school or university.

The framework will include a collection of tools:

  • Course overviews
  • 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
  • Ideas for assignments and test questions that allow educators to measure a student’s mastery of each competency
  • Recommended textbooks and readings, including articles from the Opera Web Standards Curriculum and other reputable sources
  • A list of helpful resources, tools, and utilities specific to each course that will help both educators and students

Why is it called a framework? Given the velocity at which Web technology unravels, we recognize that required skill sets can change rapidly, and that the best way to keep this material useful is for the education community to enrich it with their expertise and experiences. In this way, the WaSP Curriculum Framework will be a “living curriculum” that we hope would be a knowledge base of required skills.

The framework will include guidelines to help educators around the world develop assignments and learning modules that address issues specific to their classrooms. These independently developed teaching materials can then be submitted back to the WaSP Curriculum Framework for review and potential inclusion in the project.

We are also actively working on connecting with other organizations and institutions to create as comprehensive a curriculum framework as possible.

We encourage everyone to get involved by contributing content to the framework upon its initial release in March 2009. In the meantime, join the WaSP Edu Facebook group to share your insights and participate in the discussion. Of course, there is always the WaSP EduTF public discussion list if Facebook isn’t your thing.

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Curriculum Survey Results Mon, 28 Jul 2008 16:22:57 +0000 rdickerson Early in 2006, members of the Web Standards Project Education Task Force and the World Wide Web Consortium Quality Assurance Interest Group first met to discuss the need for a standards-based curriculum to aid Educational Professionals in higher education teach modern Web techniques. At that time, it was decided that more information was needed and could be gathered with a survey. Questions were formulated and much of the next year was spent taming an unruly survey engine. 

The survey was launched in the second quarter of 2007 and educators in both secondary and higher education were targeted. The survey ran for approximately three months. After many starts, stops, and delays (which included the recruitment of Industry and Educational Professionals to the Task Force), the results of the survey are available.

When Educational Professionals were asked what their biggest challenges to implementing a curriculum for best practices, including accessibility and Web standards, they indicated the lack of appropriate materials and reference materials. With both the Opera Web Standards Curriculum and the Web Standards Project Curriculum Framework in active development, this should no longer be an issue.

Later this year, the Education Task Force plans to run another iteration of the survey. We hope to have multiple translations of the survey at that time. If you are interested in translating the survey into another language, please contact the Education Task Force.

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Opera Web Standards Curriculum Tue, 08 Jul 2008 13:43:40 +0000 rdickerson Opera Web Standards Curriculum. The initial 23 of 50 proposed articles are published and available.]]> The curriculum is intended to provide a comprehensive set of tutorials designed to raise the level of education and Web Standards awareness. The curriculum has been released under a Creative Commons license and is free to use and share.

Chris states:

We think it will be useful to anyone who wants to learn or teach client-side web design/development “the right way”, including students and teachers at schools or universities, trainers and employees inside companies, etc. It already has support from several universities and large companies, including Yahoo!

Translations and packaging of the curriculum as PDFs is on the to-do list.

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EduTF Report Highlights Curriculum Project Fri, 16 May 2008 15:41:16 +0000 hmkoltz The WaSP Education Task Force (EduTF) report updates our activity, announces new members, and offers a report on a Web standards based Curriculum Project.

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.

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Education Task Force Curriculum Survey Wed, 13 Jun 2007 10:02:05 +0000 rdickerson A little over a year ago, WaSP member and Education Task Force Co-lead Holly Marie Koltz wrote “On Quality Education”. Holly wrote about the difficulty in finding quality programs in higher education that teach best practices. Students find that they have to learn best practices on their own. Unfortunately, this has not changed much in the past year. Institutions continue to teach outdated practices and students continue to learn bad practices. Other educators who propose classes in modern Web design and development often face opposition by colleagues in their program. While yet others are looking for guidance in the conversion of their program.

From time to time, the Task Force has been contacted by educational professionals who are teaching Web standards and best practices in their programs.

The WaSP Education Task Force and W3C Quality Assurance Interest Group propose the creation of a curriculum framework to help educators teach best practices in Web design and development more effectively. Upon completing modules in such a curriculum, a student should have sound knowledge of best practices and a solid foundation upon which to build.

If you are an educator or have influence over curriculum, we would like your input with regard to this subject. We have created a short survey as a first step to accomplish this task. The survey is brief and includes nine questions.

If you have additional comments or questions, please email us at

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