I was initially skeptical of what their instruction might include. But I
should have had some idea that TSTCs program would be better than most for
the mere fact that they enlist an advisory board of industry professionals
to help shape their curriculum. That sort of interest is not generally indicative
of laxitude or myopia.
As the details of their programs were described during our meetings,
I became more and more relieved and encouraged. I was surprised to learn
that all of their fundamental instruction in crafting Web pages is standards-based,
and semantics and accessibility issues are addressed early and often—whether
the class is about HTML/CSS, flash, or ASP.net. It seems that table layouts
and other deprecated or antiquated features of development have no place
in their instruction (hooray!).
Fundamental design, too, seems to be adequately addressed in the curriculum,
and the approach sensible. By the end of our time together I was fairly
confident I could scarcely suggest any better approach for a basic Web
design academic program. The class mix and coursework would seem to be
solid and entirely appropriate for preparing students for our profession.
It was clear that the faculty and department administration are honestly invested in and respect the ideas of the advisory board—and that we had an impact on their programs
It is not just the curriculum that is exceptional. Every one of the instructors
I met impressed me as being knowledgeable, caring, and truly enthusiastic
about their endeavor. The ones that shared deeper insight into their approach
were clearly not content to rest on what they already understood; indicating
their penchant for continuously keeping up with developments in their
specific discipline. The Web changes moment by moment and these folks
clearly understand that and respond appropriately. The curriculum reflects
their attention to the dynamic nature of Web design and development.
Even though this is already a solid program, we board members certainly
had observations and suggestions. I was struck by how the faculty members
treated each and every one of our questions, observations, or suggestions
with great interest and attention. Our discussions were sober and fruitful.
It was clear that the faculty and department administration are honestly
invested in and respect the ideas of the advisory board—and that we had
an impact on their programs.
Overall we had a very nice and very satisfying day. It was a pleasure
to meet and work with my fellow board members; all formidable exponents
of our profession. They included freelancers and those from agencies,
from the very large to the very small. I am honored to be a new member
of the board and look forward to working with all of these folks again,
both board members and faculty.
Anyone who has worked with me or read many of my articles knows that
I’m a rather uncompromising and demanding fellow, but I’m now quite a
fan of what TSTC has going on in their Web design and development department.
If you are an aspiring Web designer or developer and are looking for a
quality college program, I suggest you move to Waco, Texas and enroll
at TSTC (or perhaps even utilize their distance
learning program). They’ve
got it goin’ on, and I suspect that their students do, too.