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  1. #1
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    View my web project for University project

    Hi,

    I am a second year Multimedia Communication BA student and I am expected to do a JavaScript tutorial web site for beginners, even though I have only had 5 weeks to learn it myself! (typical Uni' brief). I would like a good grade, I am happy with my approach but am not sure if I have the content technically correct.

    You may notice an aversion from equations in my examples, this is because I hate maths (hence BA not BS) Please be gentle on me as I have gigantic proportions of other stuff to complete, but if I have made any serious errors so far (I think It's 90% finished) - please do not hesitate to remark.

    Thank you

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  3. #2
    WDF Staff smoseley's Avatar
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    Since you're asking about the "art" of teaching, I'll stray from the technicalities of JavaScript in my response:
    1. First thing, lose the Comic Sans-Serif font. It is illegible, and a poor choice for important content (such as a tutorial). A good choice for a web font for a tutorial would be 10 pt. Arial / Helvetica / Sans-Serif (such as you see on this site)
    2. I like the metaphor of the "Alien Language", but find a way to more subtly blend that strategy into the title of your tutorial. As it stands, I would think on first glance at your tutorial that it's a children's story about an alien named Mork.
    3. The navigation needs to be a little clearer... integrate it into the block of the lesson a little better... either by making it a step-by-step progression of links at the top and bottom of each page of the lesson, or by making the block of links on the left somehow visually integrate into the page more noticeably. Also, put a link back to the title page of the lesson.
    4. Code blocks (examples) should be presented using the <xmp> tag. Within the <xmp> element, you can put any html code you want and it will be presented in mono-spaced font with white-space preservation... great for doing examples (thus the name "xmp" - short for "example"). You can augment this element with a CSS style to outline it in a gray box so that your code looks neatly formatted. Easy way to add code blocks! (not many people know this one, either)
    5. Make the lesson interesting. There has to be a reason for people to click from page to page to page. You can use teasers to give people an inkling of what's coming up (soon, you'll be able to x, y, z !!!) to keep them wanting more. Be creative with this. Look at some tutorials that you like to get ideas of how to keep people interested


    That's it! Great start, though. You've got a decent tutorial on your hands... just need to finish it up! Try out my suggestions and see if they "click" with you.

  4. #3
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    I'm going to do the unthinkable and dare to disagree with transio (somewhat). Personally, I think that targetting a younger, "newbie" market isn't such a bad thing. The whole point of the tutorials is that they're generally for beginners, and if you keep it light, loose, and friendly for them, they're more likely to understand and follow it.

    I also like the idea of the "alien" theme, but I think if anything you should go the opposite of what transio said. Create an alien "character" and use him as your narrator. He can explain the various functions and maybe pop up with a small tip every so often. ("Helpful hint: by defining a variable and assigning the name of your form to it, you won't have to retype your form name every time.") You may even want to have him "morph" into a human as people go through the lessons and become more familiar with Javascript. Just make sure you clearly explain upfront who the alien is and what he's supposed to do.

    I think if you do this, it would be helpful for both kids and adults. Whether we admit it or not, we as adults occasionally like to revert back to our childhood in varying degrees. I have a 5-year-old nephew, and when he was a baby I used to love watching Sesame Street with him before I went to work (they finally taught me how to count at the age of 22!) I like watching Warner Brothers cartoons with him too; he likes the animation, and I love listening to Yosemite Sam go "ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh HATE that RABBIT!" I swear that there are people out there that have kids just so they can play with the toys and watch the TV shows all over again too. So if you adopt the theme that you're going with, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

    Having said that, I'm not sure that Comic Sans MS is the best body font either. As an anti-aliased header, it's not bad, but it doesn't generally lend itself well to body. Try using Verdana for the body and Comic Sans MS for the headers.
    If I've helped you out in any way, please pay it forward. My wife and I are walking for Autism Speaks. Please donate, and thanks.

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  5. #4
    WDF Staff smoseley's Avatar
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    Adam, while I respect your opinion, I disagree with its fundamental logic, which is that beginners want something light-hearted and casual. Modern psychology teaches us that learning style has nothing to do with one's level of knowledge, but with one's general psychological profile, thinking patterns, and certain physical characteristics, such as hearing or visual impairment.

    What a good public tutorial should do is address all learning styles so it doesn't "alienate" anyone (like the reference?) which means you have to get your Abstract Thinkers, Concrete Thinkers, Visual-Spatial Learners, blah blah blah... and come up with a style that would appeal to all of them, using a subtle combination of heirarchical progression, iconography and imagery in combination with the text, and multimedia content where necessary.

    Personally, I feel that the whole "alien" bit just makes it look less professional and makes people question the qualifications of the person creating the tutorial... similar to how you'd feel if your "Physics 101" teacher came into class wearing a space suit and antennae talking about "Ever feel like physics is some alien science?" Such an approach can be insulting to people reading it, if their personality and learning style conflicts with it.

  6. #5
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    Actually, I've seen something like that work very effectively. When I took Grade 13 calculus, my teacher started the year off writing out a number gradually approaching 2 but never reaching it as the result of a 1/x + 2 curve. So he decided to demonstrate how stupid it would be to write 2.000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 0000000000000000000000000000000000000001 by writing the 0s in chalk across the top of the wall all the way around the classroom.

    He applied that type of style to teaching...he made it light, he made it easy, he made people want to learn. And we did. I think the lowest grade in his calculus class was a 65. He even taught us how to throw calculus parties where a bunch of us would gather around the swimming pool, set up an outdoor concert stereo and...well, do calculus. WE JAMMIN, MON!

    The thing was that I can't remember a single thing he taught us, but what I do remember is how it was taught. I've been able to apply that sort of teaching style to training my clients ever since, and it works very well.
    If I've helped you out in any way, please pay it forward. My wife and I are walking for Autism Speaks. Please donate, and thanks.

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  7. #6
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    Hi guys,

    thank you both for your input, I intend to implement some changes at the weekend but I am afraid that time is a factor now, but the font for sure is going (thanks for the <xmp> tip transio)

    I know it's off the subject a little but you sound like some usefull guys to know, I have to do some obscure things at Uni' and am always looking to off load some stress. on the subject of learning I have one day left to do a short report considering my learning prefernce (mine is kinesthetic) and how it will affect the way I approach a design process. It also has to consider my strengths and weaknesses in relation to working as part of a team and the implications in a design methodoly (A Technique For Producing Ideas is the closest I have to a theory right now - oh and some mighty strong views on individualism) May post a draft tommorow night if I am feeling brave enough!

    The thing I like most about deadlines is the noise they make as they go rushing past!

  8. #7
    WDF Staff smoseley's Avatar
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    Sure, post it... I for one will give it a read (and I'm sure Adam will, too)...

    I'm very interested in the subject of learning styles and types of thinkers, especially since those subjects apply so deeply to web design (or any kind of advertising, really).

  9. #8
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    As long as it doesn't bore me to death, yes, I will too.
    If I've helped you out in any way, please pay it forward. My wife and I are walking for Autism Speaks. Please donate, and thanks.

    If someone helped you out, be sure to "Like" their post and/or help them in kind. The "Like" link is on the bottom right of each post, beside the "Share" link.

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  10. #9
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    word doc

    Well it's late, not sure what time zone you guys are on but I'm at midnight which is quite early and I've finished my first draft. I am up for some jip off you guys but bare in mind I have going to hand it in tommorrow at 4pm, I'll have a few hours in the morning but that's all.

    As usual I have exceded the word limit, and it's in my usual cynical bs style but the arty types gave me an A16 last time I ripped the brief to bits! I think I have semi stuck to what they wanted though;

    Written report (individual)
    Produce a report that considers your individual learning preferences
    and the way this will affect your approach to the design process. Also consider your strengths in relation to working as part of a team and
    the implications for a design methodology. Reflect on the use of
    contemporary communication technologies and their use in
    collaborative design processes.

  11. #10
    WDF Staff smoseley's Avatar
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    I only looked it over briefly, but it looks great on first glance. In fact, much of the information (the four intelligences, for example) corresponds to some of the research I've been doing for my book in progress. Very interesting stuff !!!


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