- Develop new processes for covering cutting-edge technologies. Universities have well-established methodologies for adding new courses, most of which take significant time and effort. In most cases, time is not of the essence when offering these courses, so it does not matter that it can take a year or two to develop a new course. However, with technology courses, rapid development and deployment of classes is vital to maintaining a relevant, modern program. Universities and accreditation bodies must work together to make sure students are taught relevant material in a timely fashion with less bureaucratic obstacles preventing this from taking place.
- Pay adjunct instructors according to their worth. Currently, adjunct instructors make little money teaching a course, sometimes as little as $15/hr with no benefits. Adjuncts teach for the love of teaching. Most have “day jobs” where they are using web design skills and staying on the cutting edge, and that is how they are valuable to colleges and universities. Because of their real-world experience, they are best qualified to differentiate between trendy technology with a short shelf-life and substantial changes to the field. When adjunct instructors can make $100/hr freelancing or $15/hr teaching, most will freelance instead. If universities pay adjunct instructors more, they will attract higher quality instructors, instructors who love teaching and don’t have to sacrifice their livelihood to teach students.
Until colleges and universities can offer an education of value to students, enrollments in web design courses will continue to decline. Finding ways to keep the curriculum up-to-date, incorporating real-world perspectives and knowledge, and collaborating across departments to provide a complete picture of the field of web design are critical for increasing enrollments.
Thanks to my friend and colleague James Lambert for editing, suggestions, and great discussions about web design curriculum.
– Jen Kramer, BRIDGE Guest Blogger
For over twelve years, Jen Kramer has been educating clients, colleagues, friends and graduate students about the meaning of a “quality website.” Jen develops sites that are functional, usable, accessible, and supportive of business and marketing goals. She has built highly customized Joomla websites since 2005.
Jen is a lynda.com author with nine published titles, including the popular “Joomla 2.5 Essential Training” and “Web Site Strategy and Planning.” She has written two books published by Wrox Press (a division of Wiley) – Joomla! Start to Finish: How to Plan, Execute, and Maintain Your Web Site and Joomla! 24-Hour Trainer.
Jen currently offers courses through Harvard Extension, Community College of Vermont, and the Center for Digital Imaging Arts at Boston University. Jen earned a BS in Biology at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MS in Internet Strategy Management at the Marlboro College Graduate School.