Information Technology Skill Standards
The following is a list of Skill Standards for Information Technology,
developed by the National Workforce Center
for Emerging Technologies (NWCET). The skills standards listed are
from the 2003 edition. Only standards from the Web Development and
Administration career cluster are included since these standards
are specifically addressed in the present curriculum.
Since ours is an introductory course, some of the standards are beyond
the scope of this course. However, schools should consider the full set of
standards in developing or procuring curricula for intermediate and advanced web design courses. Consult the NWCET website for additional information.
The following standards are sub-divided into eight critical work functions.
A.Perform Technical Analysis
- A1. Gather data to identify customer requirements and capacity
In Unit 7, the culminating project includes a Market Analysis survey
which students use to identify the needs of a local community organization
with whom they are partnered.
- A2. Define scope of work
Most activities early in the course are expicitly defined. However, in
the culminating project, students are given only limited boundaries and encouraged to freely define the scope of work, based on the needs of the customer.
- A4. Prepare preliminary application
The curriculum as a whole places a strong emphasis on planning. Websites must be outlined and sketched, then presented to the instructor prior to proceeding with development.
- A5. Create and refine preliminary design or mockup
Prior to the culminating project, most of the web development in the
course focuses on a student portfolio website. This site begins as a
skeletal XHTML document. Then, as students acquire new coding skills, they
return to the site to enhance and update it with new features and styles. At each new phase in the design, they must present their mockup to the instructor.
- A6. Review technical considerations and constraints
Students are taught in Unit 1 to understand core design principles,
including browser compatibility, accessibility, and standards compliance. These themes continue to resurface throughout the course, and students are taught to consider these types of issues early in the planning phase of any new project.
B. Perform Web Programming
- B1. Develop site map application models and user interface specifications
Site map development is covered in Unit 5, Module 1, titled
"Website Navigational Systems." Students participate in an
exercise in which they organize a hypothetical website by arranging index
cards by topic. Then they apply similar techniques to organize the sites
in their portfolio and design, code, and subsequently refine the
navigation system for their portfolio website.
- B2. Choose a site plan
Choosing a site plan is part of the exercise described above.
In the culminating project, the curriculum encourages students to
offer multiple design options to clients.
- B3. Select programming languages, design tools, and
Most coding in this introductory course uses XHTML and CSS. However,
students are exposed to server-side and client-side scripting languages in
Unit 5, Module 3, titled "Scripts and Server-side Technologies" In this module they examine a variety of technologies that are used to deliver web content and discuss pros and cons of each. Also, in Unit 3, Module 2, titled Layout Techniques students learn to control layout using both CSS and XHTML tables, followed by discussion of why a designer might choose either of these techniques over the other.
- B4. Write supporting code
This curriculum teaches standards-based XHTML and CSS coding, which is
inherently clean coding. Throughout the course,
students learn from example websites that are widely respected for
their efficient, readable, and well-commented code.
C.Develop, Deliver, and Manage Content
- C4. Create or adapt content
Assignments provide experiences in both creating and adapting content.
Unit 4 (on Graphics) focuses extensively on adapting content: students
learn to legally
acquire, customize, and effectively utilize images to enhance the design
of their portfolio websites.
- C5. Produce graphics, layout elements, and applicable code
In addition to Unit 4, which is devoted entirely to graphic design,
students are taught and encouraged throughout the course to stylize their
websites using CSS. Students are exposed to a variety of aesthetically
rich yet fully accessible and standards-compliant websites, and are
encouraged to learn from these examples.
- C6. Update content
As noted above under standard A5, students' websites are continually
updated throughout the course. This is particularly true in Unit 5, Module
4, titled "Validating a Website," in which students conduct
variety of validation tests on their websites, then must continually modify and correct their code in order to pass validation.
D. Implement and Maintain Site and Applications
- D1. Plan rollout
Students get a sense of what "rollout" is like at two
points during the course: At the conclusion of Unit 5, they have completed
and validated their portolfio website, which they've been assembling
gradually throughout the course. Second, in the culminating
when they rollout the final website design to their client.
- D2. Facilitate move to production system
Little training is provided on this in the course, but students may be
expected, with the instructor's assistance, to consult with clients on
the logistics of moving content to a production environment.
- D3. Hand off to customer or user
This final phase of project design provides a rewarding moment for students as they hand off their projects to clients at the conclusion of the course.
- D4. Integrate customer feedback
In the culminating project, a strong emphasis is placed on establishing and maintaining open communication between students, clients, and the instructor throughout the project.
E. Manage Web Environment
This work function is outside the scope of this introductory web design course.
F. Manage Enterprise-wide Web Activities
- F1. Define and manage development standards
Development standards are first defined at the beginning of the
course. The first two lessons involve class discussion of what constitutes
a quality website, with input from design experts and existing standards.
Students then develop through consensus a website evaluation rubric, which
is fine-tuned throughout the course and ultimately used as a measure for
evaluating the students' own work.
- F4. Provide quality customer service
The culminating project provides an excellent opportunity for students to practice customer service skills.
G. Perform Testing and Quality Assurance
- G3. Develop and perform usability and integration testing
In Unit 5, Module 1, Lesson 1, students carefully design a usability
test of an existing website. Then each student must conduct the test with three
classmates who act as "users" and write a report
that summarizes their method, results, and conclusions.
- G4. Perform tests
The students are required to rigorously
test their portfolio and client websites for quality control, including
XHTML and CSS validation,
accessibility evaluation, and sitewide checks for spelling errors and broken links.
- G5. Document test results and take corrective actions
In Unit 6, Module 3, titled "Site Management using Web Authoring
Software,", students conduct tests such as those described above in
G4. Many of these tests produce reports showing specific errors. Students
must correct all errors and present final, error-free reports to the
H. Develop and Implement Web Database
This work function is outside the scope of this introductory web design course.
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