Web Education moving forward – Opera WSC goes to the W3C!

I have been fighting to improve web education for a number of years now – many courses and resources around the world that profess to teach web design/development are woefully out of date, resulting in students completing courses without the real world skills they need to get a job in the web industry. I think that this is the single biggest thing holding us back from making significant improvements to the accessibility, usability and overall quality of the Web, and evolving our industry.

So I’ve gone around and bullied spoken politely to universities and other educational institutions, ranted at web conferences, skirted around governments, and collaborated with like-minded web industry folk on projects such as WaSP InterACT and the Opera Web standards curriculum.

Moving on up

I am very pleased with the uptake of the Web standards curriculum – many schools and unis have started using it on their courses, web industry folk have used it for training new employees and for pointing clients to when they ask too many questions, and it has been translated into numerous languages. But I’d like to get some more visibility for my baby, give it the updates and new material that it so urgently needs, and find a way to get collaborators working on it more easily.

Therefore, I, along with my colleagues at Opera, have decided to move the Web standards curriculum to the W3C Wiki. I have already put the articles up there, and started to make some edits – you can see the web standards curriculum in its new home already, albeit in fairly rough shape so far. We have plans to give the entire course a complete overhaul, as you can see from the ideas recorded in the WSC proposed updates page.

The WSC needs you!

Getting all this work done is going to be a mammoth task – one of the main reasons why we like the idea of moving the WSC into a Wiki format is because it is an easier place for mass collaboration to occur. We would therefore like to ask you, the awesome members of our community, if you could spare some time to help make updates.

To contribute to the new WSC and start making updates, you first need to get a W3C public account, and then use it to log into the W3C Wiki. Next, go to the new web standards curriculum landing page, and have a look around. At this point, there are a number of different ways in which you can contribute:

  1. Suggest updates: Future updates that we think should be made to the WSC are recorded in the discussion page for each article. For example, the discussion page for http://www.w3.org/wiki/The_basics_of_HTML is available at http://www.w3.org/wiki/Talk:The_basics_of_HTML. Each discussion page is available via the “Discussion” link at the top of each main article page. There are also ideas for completely new articles or topics that we feel should be covered at the WSC proposed updates page. Feel free to add ideas to these pages, or alternatively, just go ahead and make changes and additions! This is the community’s work as much as it is ours.
  2. Tech reviews: You could read through articles and look for technical errors/inaccuracies – make the changes yourself, or record them as notes in the discussion page for the article, if you are not sure, and want to discuss it first.
  3. Writing content: If you want to write some content for the WSC, then great! Go ahead and add your own content, or look at the discussion pages and WSC proposed updates page if you need some ideas of what to prioritise.
  4. Copy editing/proofing: if you want to read through and correct typos or grammatical errors, this will also be much appreciated.


We are also more than happy to accept translations of the work, and other localised content! We are currently discussing the best way to add such content – follow the discussion on the W3C public evangelist mailing list.

While much of the content produced will be free standing local content, some of you will want to create and maintain direct translations. To keep track of all the changes made to any of the articles, you can add them to your watch list, so that when someone makes a change to them, you will see those changes in your watchlist (see the MY WATCHLIST link at the top of the Wiki pages). To do this, you click the “watch” link at the top of the page.

Other useful monitoring tools:

3 thoughts on “Web Education moving forward – Opera WSC goes to the W3C!

  1. Hi Chris

    My name is Katie Kalata. I am teaching at Lake Superior State University, and was formerly at Oakton Community College and Park University teaching and developing web courses since HTML – the beginning. I was at the University of Illinois in Chicago when the web was born. I have been for years, focused on developing web curriculum and models. I am currently working on my dissertation at Western Michigan University and my dissertation research involves the scholarly research to help us define web development/web engineering as a profession, and develop support that we truly have a unique body of knowledge. I believe the struggle we have is because we have not united. We are either open source proponents, or mixture or focused on third party software (Adobe and Microsoft schools). We need a way to communicate more than generic open source content but not tie the profession down to third party software and still allow us to incorporate the new technologies, like ipad and mobile development which belong in the web development domains. Until WE claim web development as a profession, I believe WE will lose our voices to those that really don’t understand what it takes in this field, and what we do and how we need to train our students and why we need degrees that prepare students with more then photo skills and using a web editor. We have some articles that cover this topic but I don’t feel they yet justify web as a profession. If anyone else is interested in this topic I would be really pleased to speak with you.

  2. Hi there Katie – thanks for your comment. I agree with a lot of what you have to say here. This is certainly one thing I would love to see, and I would love to hear more of your thoughts on how to try to unite us as teachers of professional web development. This is one of the main reasons I started the web standards curriculum, and I have had some success in getting educators to adopt it as a consistent web education tome. But it is not enough as yet. Do you think we need to include some material at the start of the course explaining why this is all needed?

  3. As a self taught blogger,I appreciate the difficulty of figuring out even the simplest tasks on my own (well, with many, many web sites help!). The explosion of the web seems like a real opportunity for colleges and universities to begin teaching in a systematic way what seems to be learned mostly piecemeal and on the fly. This, of course, has to begin with or at least co-evolve with standards.

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