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Friday, July 20, 2007

WebCT Frustrations

I've just started a course entitled Advanced Technologies for Distance Education offered by West Georgia University. The University System of Georgia has now placed all their distance education programs under one roof--WebCT Vista. This is my first time using this platform, and I must admit that I have found it very frustrating. To begin with, WebCT Vista only works with certain JAVA runtime environments as well as certain browser versions--neither of which I was using. In fact, my JAVA versions were more recent. So I spent several hours trying to configure my applications to work with WebCT. Now the Browser Check indicates I have everything installed correctly, but I can't access the HTML Creator--definitely a feature that I would find useful in order to enhance my postings.

Our first assignment had us use HTML code to create an enhanced posting and discuss why knowing HTML could be useful. I must admit that knowing HTML can prove to be very practical. First, in my experience with using Microsoft Publisher to create a webpage, Publisher bloats the HTML code—adding unnecessary code. Remember--every extra line makes your page just that tiny bit slower to load - and all those fractions of a second add up! Many parts of the world are still using dial-up.

Learning HTML can widen your scope - you can look at your code, and understand what it is doing. Making a change to your page will be much easier. Moving parts of your page around can sometimes simply be a matter of moving that section of code. You won't have a lot of extra code that isn't doing anything - and who wants to type more than they have to? So your pages will be quicker to load.

If you want to test your code, try http://www.jmarshall.com/easy/html/testbed_f1.html. You can go to his main page for easy HTML tips.

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