For my networked learning project in my Master’s of Educational Technnology class I chose to learn to code HTML. I chose this for a couple reasons. First, it’s something I’ve always wanted to learn. Second, and more practically, with more and more of my class resources on the web I thought it would be beneficial to make changes to my websites beyond what sites like WordPress and Weebly generally allow. The simplicty of these sites is nice, but there are times when knowing a bit of code would have saved me time. To give myself some focus my goal was to learn HTML and CSS to the point that I could code my own landing page for my website, from scratch. The stipulation for this project was that I was only allowed to use forums and Youtube videos to teach myself this skill. I was successful in reaching my goal of building my landing page. Well….mostly. Check out the video below for a demonstration of what I learned.
I ran into a few problems while learning to code. First, learning to code using only forums and videos probably isn’t the best way to learn (at least initially). I definitly found some videos helpful for starting off and found some forums helpful, but there are lot’s of sites that help you learn in a strategic step by step manner. I was often spending time floundering around forums looking for questions that were similar to mine, only to later find a great lesson on Codecademy or somebody’s blog. I see the best use of forums as a tool to use once I’ve figured out the basics of HTML/CSS and can then ask better informed questions to the community. As I mentioned above, I definitely found some helpful videos, but as I got more specific in what I needed to know it was tougher to find videos to answer my questions.
I went from knowing literally nothing about HTML and CSS to being able to understand both and code a web page from scratch using both. The page I created is by no means gorgeous, but from nothing I made something and that was pretty powerful for me. My biggest takeaway from this was not necassarily the web site I created, but all the knowledge I gained in creating the site. Since working on designing the site I’ve migrated my WordPress.com site to a self-hosted WordPress site and feel comfortable making adjustments to the code behind the site. I also really enjoy working with the code and look forward to opportunities this skill will open up. I find myself thinking about code a lot more now and this project has given me the kickstart I needed to really understand webpage creation.
Columns in CSS – http://youtu.be/R5B-UuM6L8A (I ended up getting rid of my columns but racked my brain trying to create them until I found this video.)
Starting off with HTML/CSS – http://youtu.be/VpPM5qlCc5s (Even though I learned a bit from codecademy, this video saved my bacon when it came to learning how to create the physical documents that would contain my website.)
Forums – stackoverflow.com (I may have briefly used forums hosted in other places but this was definitely my primary resource for questions as I learned.)