HTML and CSS from the beginning – Week 3 & 4 reflection (and public failure!)

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Have you ever declared something in a public place and then lived to regret you ever said it?

I’m sure plenty of you have, so you’ll be able to empathise with me as I declare here and now that I have failed spectacularly at the P2PU course I enrolled in.

So, what went wrong?

I think I overestimated my ability to commit time to learning something that is totally new to me and requires so much concentration. I find it hard enough committing time to writing here when I’m working full time and trying to do my best by my workplace and my family. Taking on a whole new set of tasks just kept falling by the wayside.

I was also completely overwhelmed by the discussions taking place in the Google site that was set up to support the project. It seems like most of the regular contributors were already Web developers whose skill set far surpassed mine. Many were already talking about CSS in the early stages when we were learning basic HTML. I felt intimidated and just kept out of discussions because, quite frankly, I had nothing of value to add.

When I did express my failure within the group, Jamie Curle, the course organiser, was very supportive and encouraged me to take things at my own speed. I felt supported, and want to thank Jamie for that.

I did learn quite a lot throughout the process, but more about me and how I prefer to learn and less about code! There were no webinars supporting this course, and I felt like a committed time where I had to sit down and devote myself to taking information in would have been helpful for me. Really early on I was struggling with some basic questions I needed answered, but they seemed so lame I didn’t want to ask them in the google site because I was watching threads that were way above my level of understanding. I needed a reference point where terms were explained, but really, I could have sourced this myself.

This is probably one of the first times I have been intimidated by course content, and I took the tack of ‘push it to the back of the list of things to do’ rather than meeting it head on. I’ve watched students take this course of action over my many years of teaching, but now I feel like I truly understand why they do so. It’s not a good feeling being out of your depth. This experience will certainly help me to have greater empathy with students encountering difficulties, and hopefully I’ll be more open to varying the ways I deliver instruction.

Today Jamie announced that the course is ending before the CSS part begins, because he is having difficulty managing the preparation and follow up needed for the course, along with the demands his own design business.  For me, a relief, for others, disappointing. I totally understand where Jamie is coming from. There comes a time when you need to look after yourself and your own mental health. I have over-committed myself in recent years, and this year made a determined effort to pull back a bit. I think it’s made a difference to my interactions with those closest to me and that’s important. Hopefully Jamie will feel that his decision has been a positive one for him personally.

So there you have it, public failure I am.

But that’s OK. I’ll live on to see another day, and maybe one day the opportunity will arise where I can immerse myself totally in understanding the basics of coding. In the meantime, I’ll keep my eyes peeled for an intensive workshop in some exotic location somewhere warm!

4 Replies to “HTML and CSS from the beginning – Week 3 & 4 reflection (and public failure!)”

  1. I learned HTML originally from two sources, which are still very valuable. First, I tried out the W3C schools tutorials. See

    Next I bought HTML for Dummies, and read it cover to cover.

    Once I had done that much, I tried building things in HTML, and adding CSS as I got more comfortable with the HTML.

    The best part about learning HTML this way was that it was self-paced, and I didn’t need to feel like I was competing with other people who were more advanced than me.

    1. Thanks David. I’ve visited the w3schools site before and figured it would come in handy. Hopefully, I’ll commit some time to learning HTML as i do think it’s important to have an understanding of it. I appreciate the advice. : )

  2. A similar thing happened to me, Jenny. I started a distance course in website design, but had too many competing demands and not enough connection to the class… With hindsight I DID learn a bit about html etc and dont feel too bad about failing – its a byproduct of having a go!

    1. Thanks Linda. I’m a firm believer in a ‘have a go’ attitude to life. Even if you don’t succeed, at least you know you gave it a try. Better than those who never venture forth. : )

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