World Wide Web Design

Nicole Hamberger, Staff Writer

Unsurprisingly, given Farmingdale High School’s extensive list of class electives, it can be difficult for students to narrow down that list to only a few electives each year.  From art to science, and business to Microsoft Computer Applications and Web Design, it may come as a surprise that one of the most complicated elective titles is paired with one of the most enjoyable and entertaining electives.   

Microsoft Computer Applications and Web Design is a full year course that is split into focusing on Web Design during the first semester and Microsoft Computer Applications during the second semester.  “It is [not an overly difficult class] class but it is really fun and it teaches a lot,” says senior Danielle Hopkins, “I took the class because I thought it would be an interesting and beneficial course that would also set me apart from other students for college.”

For the Web Design focus, the class learned how to make websites from scratch using a software program called Adobe Dreamweaver.  The class learns how to use and understand the computer languages that formulate the websites, also known as XHTML: Extensible Hypertext Markup Language.  This is essential to designing websites because when formulating a web page, XHTML requires specific commands and command brackets to specify what action is to be done on the web page.  For example, if you want to write Farmingdale on the center of your web page in italicized and bold, you need to include open close brackets < > with the XHTML language for bold, centered, and italicized.  The Adobe Dreamweaver program page would read <div align=”center”> <strong> <em> Farmingdale </em> </strong> < /div align=”center> and when launched as a website, it would read Farmingdale in the center of the page, bold, and italicized.  

Throughout the class, students learn different codes and practice them by making websites as class projects.  Projects include making a website order form, making tables, incorporating pictures, videos, and sound, linking outside websites, making an image map, and more.  Remaining in the project parameters, teacher Mr. Viik gives students a lot of freedom to create web pages based on their own interests — except for his mandatory webpage about the life of Bob Dylan.  “Students should take this class because they get to be on top of recent technology and there is good balance of being analytical and creative,” says Mr. Viik. “Students get six college credits and learn very practical skills that they can use after high school and make them stand out in the crowd in the 21st century.”  

Aside from the XHTML language, students also learn the CSS computer language, which stands for Cascading Style Sheets.  With CSS, a “stylesheet” is created that is internally or externally linked to the webpage and determines all the properties of the web page.  CSS allows more freedom in design and properties than HTML, like expanding and moving pictures and text, specific positioning, shapes, and transition effects.  CSS is more interesting than HTML because of the variety it gives, but it can also be a bit more difficult.  As Danielle Hopkins says, “CSS is sometimes more like CS-Stress.”  But with the fun projects and generous deadlines, stress will be the last thing on your mind, unless you are trying to come up with a clever pun to overshadow Mr. Viik’s funny, but bad, jokes.

Moving on to the second semester, the class has just started learning the Microsoft Computer Applications.  For the past few weeks, the class has been learning all the properties in Microsoft Word 2013 and will soon be moving on to Powerpoint, Excel, and Publisher.  The class is practicing how to properly use all the features Microsoft has to offer and preparing for a nationwide Microsoft exam that will be taken at the end of the quarter.  They are learning features in design, page layout, proofing, mailings, citations, and picture and text features.  “I’m enjoying learning Microsoft,” says Danielle Hopkins, “and it’s called Microsoft for a reason, it’s not Micro-hard.”  

Through the course, students are learning valuable skills that they will use in college and for many years after college.  With the increasing presence of technology in our world, it is important to maximize our use of the technology available.  The Microsoft Computer Applications and Web Design elective informatively introduces designing websites and using the Microsoft Applications, while surrounded by fun projects and Bob Dylan music.  The times, they are-a-changin, and with technology only growing, these skills will be useful for many years in the future, regardless of what things have changed.  


 * photo via Google Images under the Creative Commons license