wrt homework fall 08

About Homework Assignments

The assignments that are listed on this page are to be completed before class starts the day they are due. Because we meet once a week some of the assignments might be due several days prior to when class meets. This will allow the instructor and the rest of the students to see the work and, if part of the assignment, respond to it.

For Monday, Nov 17

Please complete chapters 7 and 8 in the Photoshop book and be sure that you professional site drafts meet the requirements lists one the assignment page.

Please browse through the CSS web sites listed at CSS Gallery, CSS Loaf, CSS Mania, and Smashing Magazine. Note 5 – 7 features of the sites that you like and the URL of the sites you found them. The features can be uses of links, color, layouts, and so forth.

Thinking about a next version of your professional site, please come up with a detailed pencil sketch that incorporates 3 – 5 of the 7 features you have identified. The pencil sketch should look nothing like what you have in your current site, as the final draft is going to be a completely new site that incorporates a portfolio. Think outside of the box.

For Monday, Nov 3

We can call this assignment “My Two Days without a Mouse” because I would like you to spend two days over the next week without using your mouse (or laptop touchpad). This means whenever you are browsing the web, building web pages, or anything else on the computer that does not require you to have something completed for school or work (although it would be great to see if you could complete an assignment or task without the mouse, too).

I’d like you to comment on your mouse-less computing experiences on the “My Two Days without a Mouse” Blackboard discussion forum by classtime, Monday Nov 3. Your commentary should describe the tasks you were attempting, the problems you faced, and whether or not you were able to complete the task. Discuss how it felt not to have the mouse at your disposal and how that changes your idea of computer use.

Please read in Griffiths, chapters 3 – 6.

For those of you with PCs, use these keyboard shortcuts (.pdf). Mac users, please use these Mac keyboard shortcuts.

Don’t forget that your new professional home page draft and the first 6 chapters of the Photoshop book are due.

For Monday, Oct. 27

Please read in Griffin chapters 1 – 3. Some of this will be review of HTML, but it is also going to be introducing you to XHTML and CSS, which we went over briefly in class. Please also read “What are Web Standards and Why Should I Use Them?” Begin working on your Midterm Learning Record (you don’t want to wait until the last minute) and your CSS professional page draft.

For Monday, Oct. 20

Please read John Slatin’s “The Art of ALT” and the following ( in order) from Joe Clark’s book, Building Accessible Websites: Preface, Appendix A, chapter 3, and chapter 6 (up to “Browser Complications”). All texts are available on the Readings page. We will be working on web page accessibility in class on Monday so it is essential that these are read.

For Monday, Sept. 29

Please read Neilson & Loranger, Chs 3 & 6; Goto & Colter, Chapters 3 (you can skip the pages on budgeting) & 4. While not required, I suggest you read in Goto, Chapter 8 “Testing for Usability,” as it makes a nice companion to Neilson & Loranger and will help you think about the idea of perhaps doing some user testing if you feel you have the time.

Please also start getting into the nitty gritty of the project, using some of the tools described in Web Re-Design, thinking about the web site in terms of Neilson & Loranger’s ideas on usability.

Thinking in terms of your Neilson & Loranger readings, please post a response to the following topic on the Blackboard Neilson Readings 1 Forum Topic:

Using the Neilson’s theories on usability, discuss the usability of Rowan’s Computing and Technology site versus the usability of one other college or university Computing & Technology (or ITS) web site. Please do not use the same site as the other members of your group, but think critically about certain aspects you may be focusing on, or are most interested in. Your posting is due by 5:00pm, Sunday 28 September. You may also use the ideas in the suggested Alertbox reading listed on the inventory analysis page or the online readings section of the course Web site.

If you have time, please read the following fascinating articles:

The Best of Eyetrack III: What We Saw When We Looked Through Their Eyes, which reports a study that “observed 46 people for one hour as their eyes followed mock news websites and real multimedia content.” Really cool stuff, and can you believe that this is the way the report found people viewed web pages?

Compare that agianst this visual of how people read web pages from a Neilson usability presentation page:

And then read Eye-Tracking studies—Usability holy grail? which provides a more skeptical review of eye-tracking technology.

Please meet with your group members to work on Project 1, and come up with 5 questions you would ask the webmaster of the Rowan Computing and Technoogy web site. The questions can range from the goals of the site to audience to reasons why certain sections of the site function the way they do. To help coming up with the 5 questions, your group may want to start a list of all the questions that you have about the site itself. Questions no doubt come up when discussing the site (and thinking about the site) and it may help you keep track of all your questions if you write them down. Please post the 5 questions you have settled upon to your group’s discussion forum on Blackboard by 5:00pm Monday, 29 September. In class, we will discuss the questions.

For Monday, Sept. 22

Please read the Introduction, Chapters 1, 2, and 3, in Web ReDesign 2.0: Workflow that Works, by Kelly Goto and Emily Colter, as well as the Preface and Ch 1 in Prioritizing Web Usability. These chapters will introduce you to the books and the redesign process that will inform the work we will do in Project 1. After reading the chapters, post a response to the Blackboard forum topic entitled, What is it about the web . . . ? Responses should be equivalent to 1/2 page of single space text, and should be posted by 12:00 noon, Sunday, Sept 21. This will give us all a change to read, and perhaps respond to, the posts.

Continue working on your personal page, which is due classtime on Monday, Sept 22. Your home page can be modeled on the sample home page we discussed in class, and must contain at the very least the following features:

  • an image
  • a brief professional statement about yourself (no less than 10 sentences)
  • copyright information
  • the following links:
    • email
    • course page
    • the learning record online page
    • at least 3 pages that you visit often

All images that you use on your web page, if they are not your own, can only be used with permission of the artist or photographer, unless otherwise noted. You can download free images from stock.xcnhg and FreeFoto without getting permission from the photographer. istockphoto has images for $1.50 or less. Though these are only basic designs, begin thinking about these pages as professional sites that you might one day present to a future employer. Remember, the sites are now online and can be seen by anyone with an internet connection, so present yourself in a way that you would like the world to see you.

Please complete in your LRO Parts A1 and A2, and your first two Observations by classtime, Monday Sept 22.

For Monday, Sept. 15

Please make sure you have all the required materials listed on the syllabus. If you do not know your Rowan email address or how to access it, please see go to Rowan Network Account Activation and follow the instructions. I will be sending email to your Rowan address, so if you do not consider it your primary email address please make a habit of checking it on a regular basis.

Read through the Learning Record information web site, especially the pages for students. Then come up with 5 written questions you have about the Learning Record process. Post your questions to the course Blackboard Learning Record Discussion Topic (there is a forum on the Learning Record site; please do not use that one). We will be using your questions to frame our discussion of the Learning Record on Wednesday. Please post your questions by 12:00 noon, Sept. 15 so I have a chance to read them before class.

Please read Computer Classroom Etiquette and connect to the your Home Directory (also known as HDrive) by following the instructions at http://williamwolff.org/courses/connect-to-hdrive/.

Download and install the Firefox browser (if you already have it, make sure it is the most recent version) and the install the Web Developer Toolbar. Download and install HTML-kit (for PC users) or BBEdit 9.0 (for Mac users). These software packages are all free (though BBEdit will require you to uninstall it and reinstall it every 30 days).

In class, we briefly went over some basics of HTML. To get more acquainted with it, please read “Getting Started with HTML” and “More Advanced Features” by Dave Raggett. These are short essays that will introduce you to HTML and what HTML looks like. We’ll get started coding HTML in class on Monday.

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