Protocol of the meeting on June 25, 2001

Possible Web Development Curriculum

by Elisabeth Lackner

Discussion statements

· Can we have a platform neutral curriculum?

· We need tests at the entry level for students to guarantee a high standard.

· Albert Davis: the networking course should be changed - platform neutral and broader approach

· Michael: the goal is to eventually have a credit barring series of courses that reflect high academic standards. This is a (for the CIC) new market that we want to develop. We want to push for quality.

· Students might probably end up applying for this Web Development certificate (WDC) program through the New School Admission department.

· Rubin: elaborates on the difference between adult students and traditional students: adult students can not absorb that much of material in the same amount of time due to professional and private responsibilities. On the other hand, adult students have more experiences with life in general and how to approach problem solving.

· Rubin: The job market does not look good for web designers who do not have knowledge about the technical backend.

· Michael: We better start small but with quality: students have to commit to the program; they have to do homework and if a student does not meet the requirements to pass the course, he or she has to repeat the course before he or she can move on.

· Albert Davis: does not agree with Rubin: the web is continuing to be an excellent place to build applications, to do b2b business, flashy web sites and of course graphic people are part of it.

· Albert Davis: If we want high standards we have to guarantee that instructors do not teach the same material in two different courses and that different instructors teach the same material in the same course.

· Albert Davis: Secondly, we have the duality UNIX vs. NT: where do the courses fit in?

· Tom Tomasovic: We have to teach more platform neutral.

· Brett Wynkoop: Intro to Server Side Scripting is never platform neutral.

· Brett and Rubin have had problems to get to GISMO.

· Michael: What is the best way of communication? We would like to have the curriculum developed by mid of September.

· Albert Davis: lets talk about platform compatibility: Let us think about courses where platform does not matter: e.g. 1. the networking course: networking never needs one particular platform: the traditional networking course has to change! 2. SQL language works on any database. We should have a neutral core and elective courses offered on one or the other platform.

· Brett: Win NT server: visual basic as the server side scripting language; ASP - VB or PERL scripting; Basic is a relative sloppy programming language: if we teach Basic as an introduction to programming, our students might become sloppy programmers; Basic, Visual Basic and HTML create very sloppy writers/programmers - therefore, should we think of not offering Visual Basics?

· Albert and Brett: The certificate program should produce students qualified for what exactly?

· Tom: there is a gap between graphic people and the administrator of the server network. This middle person is the web developer.

· Brett: People call themselves Web developer when they know some HTML. In other words, the term Web developer might be a too broad term. Real Web developer should now Server-Side Scripting, building CGI, knowing the in and outs of the Web Server and it's Operation System, broad knowledge of networking and so forth. We have actually 3 types here: 1. graphic people, 2. Web developer, and 3. people who run server.

· Brett: Web developers need to have:

· Server-side Operation System knowledge

· Web Server knowledge

· Software knowledge

· Understanding of how to write CGIs that do not compromise the system

· Tom: Yes of course, we address the Web Developer type.

· Kamel: Maybe we could think of a different title?

· Rubin: We need a core of courses to which every student has to commit.

· Albert: Lets define core:

· Brett: First of all a basic networking course needs to cover:

· The basics of the Internet

· The basics of Servers


· DNS Server

· Communication between client and server

· How do protocols work

· Michael: what about pre-requisites?

· Brett: The networking course really does not require prerequisites; there should be hands on demonstrations of course

· Discussion about problems with the New School network

· Consensus about: a 12-session HTML course should be the prerequisite for the certificate program.

· Michael: we can have a challenge exam for the prerequisite - if the person can prove that she/he knows HTML, she/he can skip it.

· Albert: a second core course: database; database is platform neutral (SQL...); doesn't need to be Access;

· Brett: the third core course: a programming class. Is it possible to offer a platform neutral programming course? E.g.: we could cover 3 different languages in order to give an overview and demonstrate the different uses of languages on different platforms. C, PERL, and Basics are to an extend platform neutral languages. Most languages of course are platform dependent - this must be emphasized in the course. E.g. UNIX /shell programming; Student should learn the strengths and weaknesses of different programs; we should them expose to different languages so they can choose and focus on a specific language on a specific platform in an elective course.

· Albert: there are many plus points for this argument/suggestion

· Rubin: introduction to three different programming languages is too much material in order to teach an introduction to the programming craft. It is enough to get students feet wet and to introduce them to the material. What can be taught?

· Brett:

· Code Style

· The specifics of the Operation System in use

· Looping

· Decision making

· Albert: core course number 4 could be XML

· Tom: maybe we could count the numbers of sessions instead of the numbers of courses?!

· Everybody likes this idea!!

· Tom: JavaScript should be core course. And PERL also. What should be pre-requisites for PERL? What do students need to know?

· Michael: at the end of the certificate, students should be able to build a portfolio after taking the core and elective courses. Students should be employable.

· Remove PERL from UNIX? Could we offer 6 sessions UNIX, 6 sessions PERL?

· Brett: PERL is very UNIX like. People with UNIX knowledge definitely have an easier time learning PERL.

· Rubin: we need more UNIX!!

· Brett: Intro to UNIX course = how to navigate through the environment; how to use the editor.

· Tom: this is an argument for Intro to UNIX as a pre-requisite of the certificate program. Maybe we should offer a basic Operation System course that covers UNIX and NT.

· Albert Davis: for UNIX: navigating the editor is for most people new knowledge but most people know how to navigate the Windows OS! There should be an entry test - students registering for the certificate program are expected to be able to navigate the Win OS.

· Brett: in the UNIX OS Level 1 course (12 sessions) I was never able to teach shell programming. Shell programming is material for the Level 2 course.

· Michael: Homework is an integral part of the curriculum - that could make a difference in how much material can be covered in a course.

· Rubin: We can promote the WDC program through user groups and industry associations online.

· Brett: the UNIX OS Level 1 final exam could be a test if people want to waive the Intro to UNIX course.

· Albert Davis: XML is a true cross platform program! We should introduce XML towards the end of the curriculum.

· SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) is XML related; both are languages and platform neutral; for more advanced students;

· Tom: XML could be offered in an elective course.

· Last course: Building Web Applications; XML could be covered in one or two sessions of that course.

· Maybe Internship; small real world project;

· Elisabeth: Writing a proposal for a final project could be a requirement of the certificate. Students work on their final projects in the Building Web Applications course.

· Albert Davis: One out of the 8 core courses could be an elective (limited choice of alternative courses).

· Elisabeth: Advisement and meeting outside class could also be very important.


Objective of the program

The Web Development Certificate program trains students to become web developer.

We defined web developer as a professional with good understanding and working knowledge of:

· Server-side Operation Systems and Web Server

· Software related to Networking, the Internet, and E-Commerce

· Writing Common Gateway Interfaces (CGIs)

The web developer is to distinguish from the web page designer (front end) and the server administrator.

Quality level of the program

The Web Development Certificate program should reflect high academic standards. Ideally we would like the courses to be credit bearing. Pushing for quality is the goal. The material covered in the core courses should reflect a platform neutral training.

Who will be qualified to register for the program


· A 12 session course: WWW Page Design and Construction (HTML)

· A good understanding of the Windows Desktop.

Students need to pass an entry-level test or need to prove otherwise that they are qualified to register for the certificate program.

There will be test for students who want to waive the 12 session WWW Page Design and Construction Course.

Certificate students will be required to participate actively, do extensive homework and meet with advisors. Students can only proceed when they meet the course requirements. In other words, if a student fails a course the same course has to be repeated before the person can move on in the program.

Possible Curriculum

We agreed on the following core courses:

1. Networking (12 sessions):

The course should cover:

· the basics of Internet

· the basics of server


· DNS server

· communication between server and client

· protocols

· hands on demonstrations

2. Database (12 sessions) - not necessarily MS Access

3. Intro to Programming (12 sessions): We had a long discussion about the programming curriculum.

Ideas we discussed:

· An overview course that covers 3 different programming languages. The course would emphasize the differences in use, the strengths and weaknesses of different languages.

· We should require the student to take two programming courses: one intro course and one course on a specific platform (Win NT and Visual Basics or UNIX and PERL)

4. JavaScript (6 sessions)

5. Intro to UNIX (12 sessions)

6. PERL (12 sessions)

7. Building Web Applications:

The course could cover:

· The student could work independently or in a small group on a final development project.

· This project could also serve as a portfolio.

· The instructor works closely with the students and supervises the process.

· A proposal for a final project is required and has to be approved by the instructor in order to register for this advanced course.

· 1-2 sessions of XML

Requirements could be count by sessions rather than numbers of courses.