Web Design in retrospect
Slowly making my way to the finish, feeling like the proverbial tortoise in the race to the end of the Winter quarter. But knowing ahead of time how the race is won, I'm beginning to feel that I'm on the right track.
The course is one of the classes I had been looking forward to since I first started with the IT program last Spring, and I'm just a little disappointed at how little time was spent on the technologies versus the underlying design and architecture of a site. I believe it would have been better to first learn the technology tools with which to work with design issues before plunging head-long into the design process. The course seemed backwards to me, and by the time we got to the technologies, there was so little time left that it felt like an overwhelming avalanche of information, much of which seemed to pass me by at the time. That being said, having to go through this final project and implement all the technologies did help in the long run by forcing me to go back through each topic and absorb what I had missed.
Another reason why I had so little time to absorb the technologies was due to a required group project for the course... as if there wasn't enough work to do, we had to build a complete web site as part of a group. Being the elder of the group, that put me in the unenviable position of being the one to which the question: "what do you want me to work on?" was directed one too many times to my liking. What about me? Who do I get to ask that question to? All things considered, it was a positive experience and a worthwhile one, though if I had my way the group project would be moved to an entirely separate course following the one where the student learns all the technologies.
Besides all that, it was a delight finally taking a class with Professor Liz Lawley. A shining star in RIT's IT department, Dr. Lawley's brilliance is evident as soon as she speaks. In fact, like the technology wave of the class, the information she delivers during a lecture can be a bit overwhelming. To prepare for each class, Prof. Lawley would post reading assignments to the class web site — which she herself created for the class by morphing MovableType into very effective courseware. These reading assignments she hand-picked from the reservoir of useful links she keeps, the quality of which should not be underestimated. In fact, I've found her professional links and her del.icio.us/mamamusings links to be invaluable resources for researching and learning many web development technologies.
One of my main objectives for coming back to school was to learn about the web technologies that had seemingly sprung from nowhere during my professional career as a software engineer. And now having completed this web design and technologies course I can honestly say "thank you, Prof." for a job well done, I am well on my way to understanding the web better than I ever did before. =)