About the class

Web sites used to be built primarily from scratch, starting with a text file and an image editor. Today, even the web sites of major news organizations and large companies often are built with modified off-the-shelf software and design templates. This class emphasizes choosing the right tools for a given site among the numerous software programs, templates, widgets and extensions available online today.

What you will learn in this class:
  • File-folder structure, HTML and cascading style sheets (CSS).
  • Design principles and web navigation.
  • How to create your own blog/site using an installation of Wordpress.
  • What makes a successful blog.
  • How to modify a Wordpress blog’s design (using CSS or built-in tools).
  • Web site hosting and domain name management.
  • How to use search engine optimization and social media to drive traffic to your site.
Class format
This class will be taught entirely online. Assignments will be posted to this website each weekday from May 21 to June 8. All assignments must be completed by 11 p.m. June 11 (see individual due dates). Students should expect to spend as much as 45 hours on classwork during the course of the class.

Although I give individual due dates for assignments, those are really just meant to keep you on track for the semester. I will accept all assignments up until the final deadline of 11 p.m. on June 11.

    About the instructor

    Chris Snider is an assistant professor at Drake University, where he started in August 2010. In addition to teaching web design class, Chris teaches classes on social media strategy, digital media strategy, multimedia (video, audio, photography) and design.

    He was previously the digital editor at the Des Moines Register, editor of Juice magazine, news design director at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and designer at the Baltimore Sun.

    Chris lives in West Des Moines with his wife, Laura. Chris has two children, Henry and Madigan, and a third on the way this summer.

    Office hours
    Chris will be available for office hours 11 a.m.-noon daily during the course (but he won't necessarily be in his Drake office). You can e-mail chris.snider@drake.edu or post to the Questions & Comments area of this blog. If you want to meet in person, email Chris to work out a time.

    Chris will not be available from 11-noon these days: May 22, 29, 30 and 31. He will be online those days but in meetings during those times.