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Peer Review

HTML and CSS for Beginners



Overall Numeric Rating:

4.75 stars
Content Quality: 4.75 stars
Effectiveness: 4.5 stars
Ease of Use: 5 stars
Reviewed: Mar 28, 2014 by Information Technology Editorial Board
Overview: This is a free course targeted to users learning about HTML and CSS. The course is subdivided into 5 units with multiple readings and some activities. The estimated time for the course is 30 hours. It is suitable for continuing education and adult learners who need a refresher or a more thorough grounding in this areas. The course progressively builds on basic html programming such as lists, paragraphs, and headings to considerably more advanced technologies (ASP, PHP, Javascript and XML). There is a discussion on publishing your website. Each chapter contains readings, hands on activities, and an assessment. All units have clearly identified outlines and learning outcomes.
Type of Material: Online course
Recommended Uses: This course can be used in self-paced continuing education learning; however, it would be more efficient if taken in a group setting. The course would benefit from a facilitator.
Technical Requirements: Current browser, text editor in Windows, Mac, or Linux, ability to view YouTube videos, reliable internet connection. Requirements listed in the course: √ Have access to a computer. √ Have continuous broadband Internet access. √ Have the ability/permission to install plug-ins or software (e.g. Adobe Reader or Flash). √ Have the ability to download and save files and documents to a computer. √ Have the ability to open Microsoft files and documents (.doc, .ppt, .xls, etc.). √ Have competency in the English language. √ Have read the Saylor Student Handbook. √ Have software capable of editing plain text-formatted files (e.g. Notepad, Textedit, Gedit, or Vim; NOTE: students may want to install free and open-source software with convenient features for editing and creating HTML and CSS files, e.g. Bluefish, Notepad X, or Notepad++).
Identify Major Learning Goals: The students will create a basic website using HTML and CSS. The students will publish the website.
Target Student Population: High school, college, working professionals in any field dealing with education and /or technology
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Basic knowledge of Word processing/using a text editor, Internet navigation, opening/downloading, and saving files.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4.75 stars
Strengths: The material is clear, accurate, and organized. It provides a good foundation for anyone wishing to learn the basics of web page creation and publishing.
Concerns: More coverage should be devoted to HTML5. There should be more hands on activities on this topic. Learners would benefit greatly from having a facilitator even if only once a week. The course may take less or more than 30 hours. It depends on the learner's background. All timings for each unit are approximate.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4.5 stars
Strengths: The course consists all important elements (lectures, activities, and assessments, as well as a final exam). Assessments are graded and an email confirmation is sent. This course could be used in college or in a self-paced continuing education or as a very thorough job aid/professional development tool at work.
Concerns: It would be helpful to have a facilitator and peer activities. The course is very thorough but it is dry. There is a lot of reading in plain text/pdf files and some of them don't load very well. The course could be more interactive. The timing to take the course will differ for each course participant depending on professional backgrounds, experience, and learning styles.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: The site is clearly and logically designed. The layout is consistent through the course and through other courses offered by Saylor. The navigation is clean, attractive, and intuitive. The layout of the course is easy to follow. The design is high quality and makes it attractive to IT and non IT learners alike. It's a good example of an online self-paced course for professional development.
Concerns: Having a search engine to search for concepts and topics such as HTML 5 would be very helpful. There is no such search engine WITHIN the course; it would help learners who are looking for something very specific within the course. Perhaps "chunk" some topics a little more and offer more interactive exercises. Emphasize Twitter channels and Community discussion forms for this course (peer interaction possibilities).