Teaching An Introductary Web Design Course

I’ve been considering for the past year or so on starting an introductary Web Design course as an extra-curriculur activity for students at my former secondary school. When I was at the school and we was creating a Website for GNVQ ICT we had to create a Website in Microsoft Publisher 2003 and actually didn’t learn a single thing about Web Design. We was being taught desktop publishing, in a desktop publishing application, but making something for the World Wide Web. I don’t know what they do now but I intend to contact the school soon about it, depending on what feedback I get from this thread.

I’m no master of Web Design or even a teacher of any sorts. I do have some experience though as there have been 5 occassions when my tutor at a college I used to go to asked me to teach 5 lessons on the Web Design unit we was doing. Each lesson being 50 minutes long by the way. It went a lot better than what the tutor was doing in the other units, but it was probably because I could talk to the others in the class much easier because I was the same age as them, they probably found me more approachable. The same went for the other units on the course, they came to me for help rather than the tutor. I’m a very patient person and I’ve actually always wanted to be an ICT Teacher too, but anyway, enough of my aspirations! That is the experience I have as well as writing some tutorials for my own tutorial Website and teaching some friends HTML & CSS (over MSN). But obviously I’m not a qualified teacher.

Before I start producing a little curriculum for this course (probably a 4 week course or something, not too sure yet) with what to cover in the course and what each lesson will entail and so on I want to determine whether it’s something that is wanted and if so whether I should charge for it or not. What I could do is charge a set fee for so many students or something and then do it or I could do it voluntarily for teaching experience and something to put on my CV (I don’t mind doing it for free either) but I’ve got the problem that if I charge they might not like the price or they might not have any money to invest in such an extra-curricular activity and on the other hand if I do it for free they may not see me as a real professional. Thoughts on this?

Now, after I’ve determined whether they’d be interested in the course and whether to do it for free or charge I’ll need a course to teach. I know there are some teachers here who teach ICT and I know there are some who teach Web Design at community colleges. Did you create your own course / curriculum or do you follow something? I was thinking of creating my own curriculum / course materials. Also, what format do you deliver your lessons in? What are your overall experiences in doing this?

All the feedback and help would be appreciated and helpful I’m sure.

Andrew Cooper

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Hey Andrew, I wouldn’t even consider teaching a web design course until you know what their status is in regards to web design. Contacting the school and asking if they teach web design (followed by whether they would like someone to teach it) would be a good way to go. If they do teach web design since you were last there (quite possible) then you’ll probably not be needed, however if they don’t teach it you can open the negotiations for getting involved in something like that. Potential downsides include that if you wanted to do the teaching job on a regular basis (apart from the obvious extended CRB check) you may well need to get qualified to be a teacher. Education is one of those sticky subjects where in government funded institutions they tend to require qualified people who can back-up their claims they know what their talking about (and or follow a syllabus of their choosing). I don’t think it would be as simple as coming in with a self-built curriculum and going ahead with it (especially as you lack the experience and aren’t qualified either as a trainer or teacher). Simply put, if you want to teach school kids web design, you’re likely to get caught up in all the complexities and have to jump through a lot of hoops to get there (lecturing at college or an open education institution is much more likely to be undertaken). In regards to being paid, I certainly wouldn’t recommend it, the second you get paid you have to know what you’re providing is trialled and tested knowledge (and your an expert in that field with the credibility and experience to match), otherwise you could end up being held liable for any inaccurate information.

The general route to getting involved in teaching web design is to first get the experience in the language and become a professional (which you’re well on the route towards), when you know your language is at a good enough level you’ll want to get your name out so that people can recognise you in that field (thereby securing the educational institutions respective interest for your knowledge and considering you as worthy of teaching the subject), this would probably involve writing about web design (whether articles, that book you were thinking about, etc) and speaking about the subject at conferences. Only when you have the background to showcase yourself as a serious attribute (and not just a professional wanting to throw their hand at the education sector) would you be likely to train or teach the subject beyond offering your skills for free in an “after hours” club (this is the reason why education is in such a state, there’s so many restrictions over what you can teach and how you can do it, the information is out of date before it reaches the classroom). :slight_smile:

Even if you don’t “teach a course”, perhaps you could give a presentation followed by a brief Q/A period. This should be easier to get approved and it will give you (and them) a feel for how a course would go.

Absolutely!

You’re totally right. I was thinking to myself how much of a pain getting an advanced / extended CRB check done and how they might feel towards me teaching too, not being a qualified teacher and all that mumbo-jumbo.

I agree with you completely, yet again! The idea came to mind actually because there is a tutor at my college who isn’t actually a qualified teacher but is a tutor in Web Design (he has built his own course / curriculum) that he teaches at the college and offers a college certificate. But on the other hand he is a Microsoft Certified Trainer in god knows how many MS courses including being a MOS Master Instructor. The Web Design course he teaches is good, all the best practices including separation of HTML and CSS and what not - But I felt I could offer something along the same line (or even better than his course) to school students.

Looking back at the idea, and especially with what issues you’ve brought to my attention it seems like a shabby idea now, but it’s a damn good idea that I asked here first and you’ve given such a helpful response! (As always ;))

Agreeed again and I wouldn’t want to be one of those types of teachers who is good at the subject but not an expert. After some reflection on the education I’ve received so far in my life, looking at what Web Design courses are offered online, and what I’m currently doing at this point in my life it might be a bad time to try and start adding teaching to my plans. Perhaps one day in the future though :smiley:

Although at the same time, I’d rather teach school / college students what I know (and I know that what I know from what I’ve read from the books I have and the Websites I visit is the good stuff!) now rather than have them being taught by people who think they know how to design a Website when they probably have never even produced a live one!

Mittineague - Thanks for the advice too. I’ve decided that for now I won’t be going ahead with these plans and ideas :slight_smile:

Andrew Cooper