Week 1 reflection: HTML and CSS from the beginning

Lesson number one.

Don’t get sick in the first week of a P2PU course.

I’ve been trying to deal with a virus and still go to work. Bad idea. If I had have taken the necessary time off early on, then I might have warded off the problems of the last week. Achingly sore throat, no voice, developing into hacking debilitating cough. All sapped me of energy and I didn’t spend enough time working on the requirements of the HTML/CSS course.

Jamie set us the task of getting to know the people in the groups we’ve been allocated to. I did that, because I’m good at making contact and feel comfortable sharing information. I’m in a group with Alejandro, Jesus, Justine and James. They hail from Mexico, Venuzeula, Florida and Sweden and all of them seem to be a lot more adept with their skill base than I am. That’s made things seem pretty daunting. I’ve wanted to ask questions, but I’ve found myself in the uncomfortable position of feeling not up to the task. It seems to me that the questions I need answering are all pretty basic and it’s somewhat embarrassing to have to ask them. If there’s something I can take away from this last week, it’s the ability to have greater empathy for the kids who are struggling with concepts. That’s me right now, and it’s not a great space to be in.

I figured out the text editor I needed when using a Mac, and tried writing out what I assume is pretty basic code over and over. I haven’t committed it to memory, and haven’t spent enough time doing it. I can see I am going to have to devote time to catching up now that I’m starting to feel a bit better. I want to know how coders know how far to indent code for specific lines, but once again, it seems like a lame question to ask. My take is that you just have to get a handle on the indentations and where they need to lie, and then use the tab to move to a space near where it begins and use the arrow key to get it in the right position. I’ll have to spend more time on this rote learning task in the coming week and hope I can catch up.

I haven’t done the view source exercise -another thing that I need to catch up on. It’s not hard, just compromised because I’ve been getting home from work and pretty much doing what needs to be done for the kids and then trying to sleep in between coughing.

Jamie isn’t providing video lectures, but to be honest, I think something like that would help someone like me. I feel like I need to be shown before I try and do stuff by myself, probably because this is so new to me. I haven’t used the IRC chat room, and probably should have. Like I said before, my questions seem so base level, and it feels a bit embarrassing having to ask them!!

I do want to learn from this course, but that means I have to do the work. I am going to have to commit double the time this week to it so that I can feel like I’m on top of it. Wish me luck!

11 Comments

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11 responses to “Week 1 reflection: HTML and CSS from the beginning

  1. murcha

    Hi Jenny, what an interesting and honest post! As I read this, I wondered how many students feel like that in the classroom! I need to think about the consequences for learning and teaching in my own classroom. All the best with the html and css!

    • jennylu

      Thanks Anne. It’s certainly interesting being on the other side of the fence! Might just make me a better teacher in the long run.

  2. Hi Jenny,
    If you are after some really good video tutorials to complement this course I strongly recommend lynda.com. They have great stuff on most of the major creative applications as well as web development. It does cost about $25 for a month’s subscription but I’ve found them really useful.

    • jennylu

      Thanks for the tip Chris. I think I am going to have to seek out outside support. I can self direct my own learning pretty well, but I’m going to need to see how things are done and have it explained. Floundering like I am right now is not going to make a coder out of me!

  3. It’s great to feel out of your depth, isn’t it? You do get much more empathy for the kids that sit their in your classroom avoiding your eyes. Learning a foreign language does that for me, and I have a HUGE amount of respect for the international girls in our school now. Hope you managed to ask some of those questions. Did you give/are you going to give Jamie that feedback? (I’ll confess that I’m so non-computer literate I didn’t even understand most of your post.)
    Good luck!
    Josie x

    • jennylu

      Hopefully Jamie will read this post and maybe offer some web conferencing to help luddites like me out! Thanks for visiting Josie- I appreciate you leaving a comment.
      Jenny : )

  4. Hi Jenny
    I am also finding it a bit of a challenge as I am not used to coding from scratch so I am also finding my way these first 2 weeks.
    I think it will get easier once you understand the basics and I am sure I have made some mistakes in my tasks this week but thats the best way to learn :)
    James

  5. Jo

    Hi Miss Luca,
    Sounds like you were awfully sick! I remember seeing you in the Library not a week or so ago: your voice was so alienish. <— (not a word)
    Your blog and Clustr map are both amazing! How did you manage to establish such an outstanding online profile, and how did you obtain so many viewers?? The internet is a pretty incredible thing.
    Most of this post I don't understand- I'm not much of an ICT guru. Recently I got an iPad 2 and now I feel more in the "cool IT group" but really I know zip. Your blog is really wonderful!!
    <3 Jo

    • jennylu

      Thanks for visiting my blog Jo. I’ve been writing for over three years, and I think it’s the consistency of posting that has built readership. If you post on a frequent basis, people will be more likely to come back to visit to see what you’re offering. I totally agree with you that the internet is a pretty incredible thing; writing this blog has provided me with so many opportunities. It’s changed my life really.
      Come and see me with your iPad. I might be able to recommend some useful apps to you that will make it easier to use it at school.

      I read your post tonight on your blog. You write well Jo – maybe writing a blog might change your life too!

      Mrs. Luca : )

  6. Hi Jenny,

    When I started learning HTML 3 years ago I found this Youtube video extremely helpful:

    My take on indentations is just to be consistent (I prefer to use two spaces for each nested element, many use 4) – Of course, if your tutor is suggesting something as best practice then that’s probably best for now. The only purpose of indentations though is to make your code readable to the human eye – a web browser will ignore it in HTML and CSS.

    If you want to ask someone not in your group the embarrassingly simple questions, I’d be happy to answer them…

    Good luck with continuing – after the initial hurdles it gets much easier, I promise!

    Jackson

    • jennylu

      You really don’t know how helpful this comment is Jackson, and don’t be surprised if i contact you over the next week to ask those embarrassing questions! I’m going to take heed of your advice and believe that this will get easier, although right now I’m not so sure. I’m just about to write my late week 2 reflection where I admit my very public failure thus far!!

      Jenny – trying to : )

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