Creating Web Documents

These materials have been prepared for a one-credit class. If you are not enrolled in the class, you are welcome to look at and read these lessons for free. However, I won't grade your assignment or answer questions if you are not officially enrolled.


This course, as all college courses, requires students to assume full responsibility for meeting course requirements.

If you are unwilling or unable to take responsibility for your actions in this course, please drop it.

If you continue in this course, you are bound by and take the consequences of all the course requirements and rules: Syllabus, Ethics, Due Diligence, Turning in Assignments, Grading, and On-Time Policy.

Overview of this Course

The purpose of this course is to give you skill and knowledge as a beginning creator of World Wide Web documents. You will leave from this course with the ability to create simple Web documents that conform to standards, exhibit Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) features, and convey a message. You'll learn how to define a Web document type, validate a Web document, and use basic elements such as paragraphs, lists, images, hyperlinks, and tables.

You will also learn to access Internet/Web reference information, services, and software online so that you can gain more knowledge or resources when you require it.

With these skills, you should be able to create basic Web documents for other courses, your job, or your personal enjoyment. Also, with this appreciation for the makeup of Web documents, you'll be more prepared for Web content development.

Course Objectives

In this course, you will

  1. Perform simple Web document production tasks accurately using real-world tools under real-world constraints and pressure (including deadlines) employing problem-solving, communication, and project-management skills.
  2. Learn the structure of an HTML file
  3. Understand the basic HTML elements
  4. Validate an HTML document
  5. Learn the HTML table element
  6. Gain an appreciation of how a set of Web documents convey a message (a portfolio)
  7. Know how to access online reference information
  8. Develop an appreciation for how HTML fits into related technologies

Please note that this course is limited in its coverage and scope due to its nature as a one-credit, introductory, undergraduate course open to persons in all majors with no pre-requisites.

Course themes

  • Real-World Challenges: Throughout this course, you will be challenged to learn these real-world lessons:
    • Creating Web documents requires attention to detail;
    • Creating Web documents requires that you take on the responsibility to ensure that the document you create meets its content requirements as well as its deadline for completion.
  • Basics: In our 15 hours of instruction, I want to give you competence in the fundamental structure and organization of Web documents. The important part of your learning is to see how structure, content, and style are three different and separate aspects of a Web document.

    In 15 hours, you probably could learn more HTML syntax only, but exposed to only syntax, you would not be ready to extend your knowledge or be prepared for the new methods of Web document composition.

    These fundamentals are important even in light of software programs that help you create HTML documents (Front Page, Dreamweaver) without understanding syntax, structure, and style. When these software programs produce non-standard, flaky, and unusuable Web documents, you as a Web document creator will need to troubleshoot and fix the problems. Understanding fundamentals will be key to that ability.

    Just as someone who knows calculus still needs to know algrebra; and someone who knows algebra still needs to know arithmetic; so too does a competent Web document creator need to know and understand the fundamentals of HTML document types as base knowledge on which to build. This fundamental knowledge will prepare you to understand and implement the many new Web document types that are being continuously introduced.

    Knowing the basics will also help you appreciate that creating Web documents is nothing like creating paper documents. The Web is truly a new medium, and your deep understanding of its fundamental structure will give you more insight into how best to use this new medium well.

  • Standards: This course is aimed at giving you comptence in standard HTML because using standards is most likely to produce Web documents that have a high degree of technical integrity.

    Web documents that conform to standards:

    • are most likely to be readable in the Web browsers of the past, present and future;
    • are most easily made accessible to people with disabilities;
    • are most likely to produce usable interfaces to the user; and
    • are poised to be easily translatable into the document types that the W3C regularly releases.

    Non-standard HTML increases production costs, training costs, and leads to documents that can fail for users of certain browsers. Browser manufacturers have deliberately introduced incompatabile, proprietary HTML elements in the past in order to gain market share. By sticking to HTML standards, you can avoid problems that would inevitably follow if you create Web documents that are "optimized" for just one browser type.

What this course is not

What I am assuming about you

  • You know how to use a personal computer, mouse, and keyboard
  • You can have access to an Internet account and Web browser
  • You are competent in sending and receiving electronic mail messages
  • You can quickly learn how to use a Web browser
  • You can quickly learn how to edit text files
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