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Final Commentary!!

Wow! I survived. Until now, I really had no understanding of how to create a website. In fact, after receiving my B.A. in Sociology and Political Science at New College, I found that several of the positions I was interested in required web design and management skills. This left an unfortunate hole in my resume and put jobs that I was otherwise qualified for out of my reach. Taking this USF Instructional Graphics course with Prof. Simon has not only lifted the fog on what I previously found an intimidating affair, it could be the most practical course in my MLIS trajectory.
My Green Gaia Growers site is not the best example of tantalizing web design but it will be a foundation to better experiments. I think my color schemes may have saved me from the fact that it has a rigid boxed look from it’s prominent table structure. Typically, you’ll want to limit the use of bordered tables to give the site a more fluid appearance. Using a Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) would help me unlock my sites potential allowing me to quickly change the design without altering the content, simply by editing or replacing the style sheet.
Designing a great website not only depends on an artistic eye and design strategy it depends on an adequate understanding of a variety of applications; web editors, image editors, audio editors, etc. and codes; HTML, Javascript, and CSS etc. I was able to learn enough about the process to go much further on my own. I’ve borrowed web design books in the past but none of them were as cogent as the MacDonald, Beaird, and O’Reilly books. In addition, there are so many tutorials, blogs and websites geared toward webdesign that I will have no problem improving my skills. It’s amazing how many free resources are available as well. You can really put together an impressive site with no finances- and only the commitment of time and creativity. This course takes you from the basics to the complex in a well organized approach.
Fortunately the format allowed me the flexibility to operate at a delayed pace. This semester has been tough. I planned on working part time so that I could dedicate myself to my 2 classes and my 2 children but my job turned into a full time endeavor (selling and distributing plants throughout the state of Florida; 15 hr days). If I quit I’d be in dire straits in a horrid job market so I just had to accept the fact that my web project wasn’t going to be superb by semester’s end. I fell several weeks behind so participation to class discussions was pointless (forums and blogs are better when the communications are closer to realtime). I found it useful to read the forums, but most of the students were moving right along so I felt it best to simply find solutions on my own. I’ve been taking Dianne Austin’s Preparing Instructional Media course where the discussion board is an optional feature so my apologies to anyone who wondered why I was not routinely sharing my experiences throughout this course. Nevertheless, this class has put the wind in my sails. I’ve learned so much more than I could have imagined. I can actually look at the source code for a web page and identify the tags! While using Komposer in the WYSIWYG mode I click different parts of the web page and switch to HTML in order to recognize the tag features. After a while, you realize the inverse relationship. Ultimately, learning any technology properly depends on practice and many a sleepless night.

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