How Professors Would Improve Web Professional Education

Webprofessionals.org heads up National Web Professional Educators Training Series

WebProfessionals.org in collaboration with a number of U.S. based IT educational consortium’s conducted a series of nationwide workshops entitled “Aligning and Improving Web Professional Education” with emphasis on HTML5, JavaScript and jQuery.

In addition to providing training in the latest technologies, WebProfessionals.org invited and met with hundreds of Community College professors and High School teachers in several key regions in the U.S. to a series of roundtable discussions entitled: “Challenges, Barriers, Opportunities and Solutions to Web Professional Education.

Participants were invited to share their frustrations and barriers to improving Web professional education and what they think should be done to remedy the situation.

The following is a representative sample of their concerns (in order or importance) from the Frisco, Texas event that took place in July 2012. A summary of the key findings from the Frisco, TX event can be found by listening to the interview with Professor Mark DuBois, Webprofessionals.org Director of Education and Professor at Illinois Central College (ICC) below.

mark-dubois-web-professionals.org


Mark DuBois, Director of Education WebProfessionals.org and Professor at Illinois Central College (ICC)

Top 10 Issues by Group Vote

1. One size does not fit all – career classes vs. academic classes (and administration equating)
2. Recruitment as possible issue. Lot of returning students perceive they can’t get a job.
3. Class size (minimum number needed before class makes).
4. HS counselors direct students elsewhere (outsourcing is depleting IT value is their perception). College advising is just s bad.
5. De-emphasis on technical. Computer literacy classes ending. Perception is that students already know. THIS IS WRONG.
6. Least competent (administrators) are making decisions.
7. HS not feeding directly into college. HS foundational, college more advanced.
8. Classes need to be more project based and engaging.
9. Too many silos (need to cross these) in academia. Hard to get into core (all about AP and state tests).
10. Identify how core academic classes materials appear in so many parts of technical studies. Linked learning.
11. Time – particularly in HS (no ability to collaborate).

Additional Feedback in depth

* Budget crunch – more administrative things pushed to faculty. Taking time away from classroom. Taking a toll.
* Curriculum process is too slow.
* Need deeper discounts on Adobe software
* State not talking to community colleges. Get standards in high school which aren’t up to date. Working on Texas engineering course for 5 years.
* Let people from HS talk to community college professors.
* In Texas – TEA standards need to approve curriculum.
* Often administration base decisions on graduates of degrees. Not counting many people as completers. Limited to 2 certificates per degree. Often get people who come back to class for one or two semesters.
* Administration does not understand work force. Not supposed to specialize. Any special courses need to be included in degree program.
* Fit latest flavors of technology into existing programs.
* Need art and creative aspects included as well as technology.
* Lots of silos – prerequisites for classes kill collaboration.
* WECM – this is what CTE is called in Texas.
* Elizabeth – concerns – administration wants graduates, but every class needs a minimum of 15 students. Don’t care if need the class to graduate – no exceptions. Only have 12 students who will be eligible for a more advanced class.
* Pam – everyone getting push for more people in classes. Emerging tech courses get paid at higher rate per credit hour. Want to treat academic and technical as the same. We are lucky to have some classes once per year.
* Classes cancelled early. Students typically don’t enroll until week before class. Academics are running – students enroll early. Technology students don’t know if they have the funds until right before class. School has cut off late registration. Technical held to same standards as academics and we don’t work the same way. “One size does not fit all.”
* Brian – key to solving this is because of high school. Lots of students want to get dual credit for English classes. Need to introduce these technologies in high school. Need connection between HS and college. Project “Lead the way” should have web incorporated. Bridge to college classes. Students need to be competent with computers and web. Looking to re-write entire course curriculum. Done by teachers and master teachers. PLTW.ORG – lot of money getting behind. Also work with state level. Programs get a pass and don’t need to follow outdated state standards. Not expensive.
* Sami – big talk on forums. Lovejoy and Duncanville HS
* Elizabeth – de-emphasis on anything technical. No longer computer literacy course. People in administration – kids are thought to be more tech savvy. But students are consumers – they have no clue how it works. Administration is illiterate and they don’t know it. Level of computer skills is less now than it was 10 years ago. Can no longer assume students know Word. Varies by district. More affluent schools provide more training.
* Ann – took major computer literacy class out – state of Texas – you are computer literate if you know how to find things on the Internet. Consider DHMO website as example. Just because students find something on the WWW, doesn’t mean they can apply a “rule of reasonableness.”
* Elizabeth – Dallas students take computer and math test. If they fail computer test, they have to take a 3 hour class. Need some sort of benchmark. Need to address people coming back.
* Sami – talking to NASA director – build base up from high school. Certifications passed by HS students. They can take more advanced courses in college.
* Elizabeth – two people in class played video/ computer games. Out of entire class. May be socio-economic issue.
* Brian – many of the projects are boring.
* Justin – teachers are boring. Nearing retirement.
* Bill – not enough students in pipeline. Second level classes run one to two sections maximum. Need to work on recruitment.
* Bruce – problem and solution – perception. HS counselors tell students to stay away from IT – all outsourced. Never get a job. Help – cross silo. Show business department that students need web, social networking. Get electives people in HS to buy in. Many business classes should cover technical topics.
* Bill – break down silos. Web design is all about business.
* Justin – in HS – time is big issue. 25 minute break at lunch. Teach form 7:30 until 3 p.m. straight. No chance to collaborate with other teacher.
* Bruce – in California – had book – how much core classes integrate with technical classes. Create series of projects which would be graded by others. Work together (across disciplines).
* Bill – linked learning. Incorporate concepts between academics and technical.
* Pam – develop a packet (tool kit). Web as career. Tool kit with solutions.
* Glen – least competent are making decisions. Administration doesn’t know. Check to see if student needs intro class.
* Jon – issue – finding jobs for students. Would be nice to have articulation from 2 year to 4 year program.
* Elizabeth – need national standard on the value of a web degree. What are your ratings? Complete with student learning outcomes?
* Bill – review process to compare your program against others throughout country. Propose that this is done via school of web. We need a standard. Students also need soft skills.

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4 thoughts on “How Professors Would Improve Web Professional Education

  1. Robert Bagwell

    Just excellent. Mark’s thoughts on teacher training are spot on. This field is changing so rapidly that no instructors should ever feel bad about insisting on regular and persistent training. I also appreciate his thoughts on the idea that it’s critical that we teach our students how to self-learn. Webprofessionals.org is really the perfect platform for instructors and students to keep up to date on this quickly changing field.

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  2. Sandy Feder

    These are the exact same issues we face in California. How can we work together to solve them?

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  3. SchoolofWeb.org Post author

    Great question Sandy.

    I think one of the ways that we can address these important issues is to continue to discuss them openly and to advocate on behalf of positive improvements and change. My initial thoughts are that by continuing to work together as a team as we have over the years we can and are succeeding in improving Web professional education. In fact, we have had some positive outcomes this year at Sac City College right? Albeit a slow roll.

    For starters, we’ve meet several times on campus to discuss our respective organizational and individual goals and have met with a couple of the deans at Sac City College to discuss those goals. In addition to serving in advisory board capacity with a number of local employers we’ve discussed improvements to the Sac City Community College Web program. As a result, we have made some movement in the right direction including engaging the design (gcomm) department, computer science and the deans in on the to discuss the existing curriculum and student learning outcomes and how we can collectively improve them for next years program offering.

    Moving forward, I’m convinced that Sac City could be the model Web professional program for California. Our collective efforts to promote a more comprehensive and a interdisciplinary program for aspiring and practicing Web professionals is a great step. I am excited about the prospects for the future, the commitment and leadership that you and your colleagues are demonstrating. In fact, I’d like to give a special shout out to Sheley Myra Little, Donald Button, Thomas Cappelletti for their contributions to the efforts. Also, a special shout out to Suzanne Ama, Cerro Coso Community College and Laverne E. Denyer from River City High School for participating in on the discussion and for what they do every day to promote Web professional education.

    Al of that said, we need a much larger and a collective voice. In short, to be successful on a grander scale we need more involvement with business and industry, government and education coming together to address these issues. I am hopeful that those that teach Web professionals at the community colleges nationwide will chime in on the discussion and suggest specific as well as actionable and measure able solutions. As you know, we here at Webprofessionals.org are committed to the cause and we are committed to your program in California.

    Bill Cullifer, Executive Director WebProfessionals.org

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  4. Lori

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