Students’ comments from fall 2019

Each of these comments was given on the UF course evaluation form for JOU 3633 in fall 2019. Of course there were some negative comments too, but those are not included here.

“Professor McAdams’s course was one of the most challenging courses I have taken in my time at UF, but I appreciated every minute of it. I feel I have a competitive edge as I’m looking for jobs in the next few months.”

“Very passionate about subject and really helpful. One of the best professors I’ve had!”

“Overall, I enjoyed the way the course was set up. The weekly video tutorials were very helpful and the textbook provided a lot of great detail on topics.”

“Professor McAdams is a great professor who has taught us a lot about coding. One of her greatest strengths as an instructor is her thoroughness and attention to detail in everything she does like our lecture videos and assignment instructions. This made it easy not only to understand the content she was teaching but also be able to know exactly what I have to do for the assignments in order to get a good grade.”

“Enthusiastic about the course and made herself available for an extra 3 hours on Friday, which proved to be tantamount to my success. Easy to talk to explain problems, too. She was very patient with problems students faced, no matter the size of the problem; I really appreciated this aspect.”

“Professor McAdams knew the answers to my questions and if she couldn’t figure it out she spent her time to do so. She answered my emails promptly and was an overall good instructor.”

“Professor McAdams was very helpful and supportive throughout the entire semester. Her lectures were thorough and provided a lot of information from the book and external sources. She was very present with her students and would always provide links to helpful resources used by professionals in the field.”

“I can make my own website now and understand coding language! Super helpful.”

“Everything I learned in this course will help me in the future should I decide to go down a creative route or not.”

“The entirety of the frontend development I learned in this course will help me in my professional growth. I’ve diversified my skill set and can now expand the types of positions I apply for.”

“HTML, CSS, and JavaScript will not only be applicable in a potential job for the future, but these three things have already helped me use my brain in ways that I never did before.”


Fall 2019 in Web Apps

Here are some things students said about this course (on the official course evaluation form) at the end of fall 2018:

This course had an assortment of resources and reference material. It let students not only prepare, but go beyond the scope of the course itself if they wanted to. The instructions for assignments were very well detailed and thorough. Reading material was always relevant. Workshop hours were great, especially having them at the end of the week when the deadline is coming fast.

I love the world of tech and coding, and I could tell from my first day in lab that Professor McAdams had the same interest and enthusiasm. Even better, she had the skills I was looking to gain. The class required a lot of effort; it was intense. I had to put in more time into this class than my more difficult classes, but it was worth it and it goes to show how much effort McAdams put into the course herself. Thanks to this class, I feel confident in the skills I have learned and I feel at a good starting point to keep learning and developing my front-end skills independently.

Intro to Web Apps is one of the most valuable classes I’ve taken in the j-school. I really got a sense of new skills that I could see myself using in career — even an entry-level position in digital editorial — that would set me apart from other applicants (or at least put me in the ranks of other journalism grads who have web design skills). The course-load was challenging with quizzes/a hefty amount of reading and videos each week, but the format of the class made sense for what we were learning, and it challenged me to come to lab as prepared as possible and soak in all the material in the way that worked best for me.

This class was really difficult for me and I hated it at times during each project, but each time I finished a new one I was so proud of my work and I’m so glad I have this new skill. I thought that all of the course materials were relevant and helpful to the assignments.

My favorite class of the semester. I learned so much!

Tips after Assignment 2 (HTML)

How can you do better?

One great tip is to run your HTML through a validator. Robbins explains this on page 67 (chapter 4). The one I use is here — the HTML5 validator. Check the two options, select “Text Field,” delete the default in the field, and then paste in your entire HTML — from the DOCTYPE line at the top to the closing HTML tag at the bottom. Click Validate and see what happens.

Screen shot of HTML5 validator

Filenames and folder names: Professionals lowercase all filenames and folder names. Also, NO SPACES. Robbins says this explicitly on page 53. Your page will not validate if any image filenames have spaces in them, for example.

Making your content fit to be seen by others: A photo caption that says “Photo by Joe Blow” is okay (really that’s a photo credit). A photo caption that says “Original Photo Here” doesn’t look like something I would expect to see on a real website.

Choice of filenames: For any assignment, the main page in a folder can be index.html. For Assignment 2, recipe.html makes sense. Naming a file assignment2.html looks like homework. Think about your portfolio.

Text for the alt attribute value:Alternate text (also referred to as alt text) should serve as a substitute for the image content — serving the same purpose and presenting the same information” (Robbins, page 126). More here, from the W3C, keeper of all Web standards.

Editing a super-long URL: Any super-long URL is unwieldy, and also, it will often throw an error in the validator. I demonstrated how to fix this in the “Assignment 2 Part 2” walkthrough video, at 4:00 in the video. This editing is also recommended for links you click in social media, like this one:

See the question mark in the URL? That question mark and everything following it can be deleted:

That is a cleaner, shorter and better URL to share and to use on your Web pages. But a word to the wise: ALWAYS click the link on your page to double-check that it goes where you intended it to go.