A Better Way to Get Educated

As you may remember, secondary education for web development and design is something that interests me greatly. I’ve mentioned before that the curriculum taught in most colleges tends to be dated and in need of definite help. Opera published their Web Standards Curriculum, and that was a great step in the right direction, but The Web Standards Project (WaSP) has taken it to an all new level with their recently launched InterAct Curriculum.

WaSP’s InterAct Curriculum was specifically developed to help take some of the pressure off current educators in creating and maintaining a curriculum based on current industry standards. Thanks to the work of numerous educators and industry professionals, the InterAct Curriculum accomplishes that. The current, and initial, release contains 11 courses that fall into one of six general tracks:

  • Foundations

  • Front-end Development

  • Design

  • User Science

  • Server-side Development

  • Professional Practices

A Complete Package

There’s a lot of work that went into the development of the curriculum. For each course there are assignments, core competencies, learning modules, recommend textbooks and additional recommended reading. The content in each course is carefully selected, the books include fantastic titles like Designing with Web Standards and PPK on Javascript, and the recommended reading contains some great writing from around the web, including articles from Opera’s web curriculum.

There are two other releases scheduled, one in March of 2010 and one sometime after that. Each will contain a few more courses, as outlined in their roadmap. The best part is, this is an ongoing project and community driven. That means that the curriculum will not become stagnant, but will continue to evolve with current industry standards.

Getting Involved

Being community driven, there are plenty of ways to get involved. Educators can contribute assignments and modules that they’ve implemented in their own courses and believe to be helpful. There is also a place to discuss the curriculum and input suggestions or criticisms to help fine tune the subjects addressed.

Get the Word Out

I doubt if many educators (if any for that matter) will argue against the value of having the curriculum available to them. Considering all the work that went into its development, and the fact that industry experts were envolved, ensuring that the curriculum lines up with current practices, it’s just too valuable a resource to pass on. I think the biggest challenge then, is to make sure and get the word out about the curriculum.

We need to go out and start sharing the information with local college professors and advisory teams. If we can start communicating the value of adjusting existing curriculum to model the roadmap laid down by WaSP, that would go a very long ways in speeding up the adoption of these courses and helping to increase the level of competence for new professionals fresh out of school. *[WaSP]: Web Standards Project