Level I: HTML to WordPress
This course is designed as an introduction to web design with an emphasis on essential markup languages and Wordpress. The first half of the quarter students will create a simple multi-page website using HTML and CSS. Students will hand-code their web documents rather than relying on an web editor in order to gain a firm grasp of HTML and CSS syntax. The second half of the quarter will focus on the use of WordPress to expand the student’s toolkit for advanced web publishing. Students will create a WordPress site on their own hosting account. The course is a hybrid course with weekly face-to-face sessions and corresponding online resources and assignments.
Weekly class sessions will consist of lectures, discussion, and guided demonstrations. Our time together each week will be packed with important information and skills and therefore attendance is critical to a student’s progress in the course.
The online portion of the course will consist of reading assignments, web development assignments, and quizzes. In addition to the two hours of weekly class time, students should expect to invest another two to five hours of homework each week.
Week 1 – Introduction to Web Servers
We begin with an overview of how the world wide web works, particularly how to effectively manage the web server where your website will reside. Each student is required to purchase a personal web hosting account for the duration of the course, on which they will build their personal website (see the Course Materials section below). We will explore the use of cPanel and FTP as well as discuss web server file management, file permissions, and directory structure. We will review the software used in the course.
Week 2 – Introduction to HTML – the Language of the Web
You will create your first web pages using HTML. We will be hand-coding all of our HTML documents with an emphasis on understanding the syntax and vocabulary of this important markup language. All of your pages will be hosted on your personal web server account.
Week 3 – More HTML
We will continue learning about HTML and will add more elements to our growing vocabulary of tags. We will focus on how to best structure HTML to support effective page layout. Our discussions will include the latest HTML5 tags. Students will create a multi-page linked website by the end of this week of instruction.
Week 4 – CSS
CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) is used to control the formatting and layout of web pages. We will discuss the use of common selectors, and their properties and values. We will emphasize the proper separation of content and style through the use of HTML (content) and CSS (style). Students will learn how to style fonts, links, backgrounds and borders and will understand the impact of the box model on their layout.
Week 5 – More CSS
As we dive deeper into CSS we will experiment with more advanced topics. We will explore CSS positioning and floats. We will learn how styles “cascade” and how to effectively use both internal and external style sheets in your HTML pages. By the end of this week, your web pages will be looking good.
Week 6 – Introduction to WordPress
Wordpress is the most popular blogging and web content management system (CMS) in use today. We will learn how WordPress works and set up an installation of the CMS on our personal web hosting platform. We will learn about the database backend and how to effectively manage a WordPress website, with a special emphasis on security. Students will begin planning their personal WordPress website project to be completed by the end of the semester.
Week 7 – Content in WordPress: Posts, Pages and Media
We will begin creating content in Wordpress. We will discuss the difference between posts and pages and begin adding our first content to the WordPress site. We will learn how to effectively manage media files in WordPress. We will also discuss topics such as categories, tags, archives, meta data, and the taxonomy of Wordpress.
Week 8 – Themes and Child Themes
Themes are the way we control the look and feel of our Wordpress site. We will learn how to find and activate a theme. We will explore the essential ingredients of a theme and discuss the importance of using a child theme when editing the look of our site. We will create a child theme and then experiment creating custom styles. This is where all that HTML and CSS experience will come in handy as you learn how to customize your WordPress site.
Week 9 – Plugins and Widgets
We will expand the possibilities of our WordPress website through the use of plugins and widgets. We will add a contact form, image gallery, sitemap, social media links, e-commerce capabilities and SEO tools.
Week 10 – Templates and Template Tags
We will discuss how templates can be used to control the layout of our Wordpress pages. We will experiment with creating a custom template that utilizes “The Loop” along with template tags to create a specialized page for our WordPress posts. This advanced topic will be covered only briefly. Students who want to explore this and other advanced WordPress topics in more depth are encouraged to enroll in the Advanced WordPress course offered this Spring. Students will complete their personal Wordpress website project this week.
Week 11 – Wrap Up
Students will present their personal website projects to the rest of the class. We will review what we have learned over the quarter and wrap-up any topics that need further explanation.
Web Hosting Account
Each student is required to purchase a web hosting account for the duration of the course (3 months of hosting) from an approved hosting provider (approximately $36). The accounts must meet minimum requirements which include cPanel access, an FTP account, mySQL 5.0+, and PHP 5.2.4+ and must be WordPress compatible. Web hosting sign-up information will be provided when students register for the course.