After this thread http://social.expression.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/web/thread/e648bb8b-47e0-4a9d-8241-d0a0e025116b on teaching Expression Web to students I figured I’d download and look at the curriculum Lori Dirks referenced. After all I hadn’t looked at the MS educational resources for v4.
My first issue was how many steps it took to download the files. Each module was a separate download link and from there it was another 3+ clicks before your download actually started. In addition, after the first few downloads I could only download one set of resources at a time despite being on a 20mps connection. It seemed to be a server issue waiting for the MS server to respond.
Starting with the overview pdf I noticed the same links were in there over and over after each module summary. I’m not sure why someone thought it was necessary. The way it was presented and the length of the links caused me to think each link was related to the module it followed not to the same two pages over and over.
They syllabus looked pretty good but my initially favorable impression went away when I opened Module 1, Day 1 to discover Photo Story 3 for Windows as the first lesson. My disappoint stemmed not from the use of Photo Story for storyboarding a website (which might after all be a reasonable thing to do) but because it starts off with import your photos, remove the black border, add titles & music. I have no clue what the relevance of creating a slide show to playback on your computer has to do with the stated topic of Module 1 History and Future of the Web. I can only conclude, particularly from other references within the file that this was included by mistake or at least I would have if the Word doc didn’t start with that exact title followed by Day 1.
Upon opening more pages in module 1 I see that the assignment was to create a multimedia presentation using Photo Story about wikis, blogs, podcasts & webcast with the option to include Web 2.0 topics.
The PowerPoint presentation used to actually provide the lesson material seems to me to be very out of date for an application that was released summer 2010. The latest browser statistics given were for 2003. Market share is shown for Netscape (3.7%), IE 95.9% and “others” (0.4%) which is so completely out of date as to be worse than useless. Browsers such as Firefox (depending on your site topic & location 20-55% market share), Safari, Opera and Chrome each have more market share than the total “other” browsers listed. IE 7 & 8 which have considerably different rendering characteristics from IE 6 weren’t even a gleam on the horizon back in 2003. The site used as a reference for those statistics “onstat.com” leads me now to a page full of advertising that looks like a domain placeholder page. Looking at the W3Schools browser stats page I see a different picture for 2003 with IE having 84.6%, Mozilla 7.2%, Netscape 2.6% and Opera 1.9%. For 2002 the IE percentage is about the same but Netscape was 8.0% and AOL (which depending on exactly when used a custom version of Netscape or IE) at 3-5%.
On the whole though the PowerPoint presentation did contain useful information if someone just removes or updates the browser stats slide. Though using blue links on a blue background is simply idiotic. Sorry but even on my color calibrated monitor there is such low contrast as to make the links virtually invisible. Putting it up on a projector would be even worse. Web 2.0 is of the same vintage as the browser information and has been superseded by “social media” in the Facebook & Twitter mode which is quite different than Web 2.0 social media. I also had to look up what “Freemium Business Model” means since it wasn’t a term I had really heard before. I’d always known that model as “advertising supported” and/or tiered services.
The only other comment I have on the slide deck is that the person using it really needs to be able to flesh out the bullet points with actual knowledge and discussion of what those bullets mean.
Day 2 & Day 3 do contain useful information, particularly the section on copyright. Too many classes don’t adequately address that everything you see on the internet is copyrighted by the site holder or whoever it is that is credit with the article/content. Permission is always needed though in a few cases the article or site itself will grant you permission to use it. So I am glad to see that covered.
Day 4 concentrates on MS Live services, something that I do not think is appropriate at this stage for students. While I have no objection to using Live services like Live Writer or Calendar why services like Live Agent or Windows Live Share (Live Sync?) are included I have no clue. Frankly, I don’t see the benefit to students or even to MS at this point in the curriculum. Ironically, the most useful thing in the Day 4 PowerPoint is the “Practice” instruction to Complete the Web Services tutorial at the W3Schools site but even that is premature. You shouldn’t be concerned about web services until you can actually create a website nor should they be concerned about creating a podcast at this stage of their learning either, especially one with background music nor if the idea is to learn about creating websites is creating a Live blog the thing to do at this time.
Day 5 seems to be somewhat of an overview of the week with the activity set to narrow searches. This week of lessons leaves me very confused about what it is the person is supposed to be learning.
Module 2 review coming up soon.