The curriculum can be taught using both a traditional classroom approach and an independent approach to learning. The weighting of each approach can vary according to the learning styles of the students you have and your own teaching philosophy.
It is important to have the students become more independent learners and problem solvers as the course progresses. These are the skills students will need to succeed in Web Design/Development.
Note: Students will require at least one month of each four month semester to work independently on their term website project and their assigned term project.
A traditional classroom study approach can be followed where a lecture is given in the beginning of class, followed by some form of practice like an assignment. Traditional tests/quizzes can also be used.
With this approach all students are basically working on the same lesson. Advanced students can be encouraged to help teach their peers, or they can explore advanced topics related to each lesson by using online tutorials like codeacademy or similar. Advanced students can also work on their term website project. Advanced sections of the curriculum are marked as (advanced).
Some students are independent learners and can work independently. These students will do very well with project based learning. The advantage to this approach is it allows each student to work at a pace that best meets their needs.
Cooperative learning can also be integrated into the curriculum. For example, students can collaborate on showing their learning by completing a website project together.
Project Based Learning : Benefits and Strategies
- Project based learning engages students by having them create something meaningful to themselves or the community around them.
Strategy: Encourage students to seek out opportunities for the development of web projects. This can involve projects for family members or friends. Students can also advertise their services online.
- Creating projects almost always leads to unexpected twists and turns of the students’ paths of learning.
Strategy: Encourage students to go beyond their limits of knowledge on any project or assignment.
- Designing projects encourages problem solving.
Strategy: Use your own work experiences to introduce problems that you had to solve in the workplace. Walk students through the steps that you took to solve the problems that you encountered.
Strategy: Lead students through the steps needed to solve a problem, do not give direct answers. Encourage students to solve their own problems by searching online forums or online tutorials; stack overflow is a great resource for solving technology problems.
- Creating projects makes students put themselves in the shoes of the end user. They must consider the individual(end user) who will use the product.
Strategy: Encourage students to test each other’s projects (products).
- Creating projects provides opportunities for collaboration.
Strategy: Encourage students to heavily comment their code in order that other programmers can easily understand what they have coded.
Strategy: Integrate collaboration into assignments where possible.
- Designing projects transfers responsibility for the learning process to the student.
Strategy: Have students reflect on how they solved problems.
Strategy: Put students in the role of teacher by having them teach other students.