Remember when FrontPage seemed pretty slick?

The idea of a WYSIWYG HTML editor was more than a little exciting before the Web completely exploded. Now, of course, the Web has completely exploded. Over and over. Through booms and busts, until it's at least peripherally involved in much of what we do. Frontpage is no longer the least bit cool. In fact, it doesn't even exist anymore...Enter Content Management Systems.

Well, maybe you don't. But the idea of a WYSIWYG HTML editor was more than a little exciting before the Web completely exploded. Now, of course, the Web has completely exploded. Over and over. Through booms and busts, until it's at least peripherally involved in much of what we do. Frontpage is no longer the least bit cool. In fact, it doesn't even exist anymore and has been rolled into other much more interesting Microsoft technologies.

There are plenty of high-end tools for creating rich, dynamic websites. Dreamweaver obviously comes to mind, along with Microsoft Expression Web and a handful of other expensive tools for creating professional content. Plenty of free tools will get the job done, too, especially if you don't mind coding. I've been partial to Aptana for a while now, but the other day it occurred to me that not only was there a better way for many people to create websites, but there were better ways to teach it.

Lots of schools offer web design, web programming, and HTML classes. Technical and trade schools offer much more comprehensive programs of study. A basic understanding of markup languages, at least, is a useful skill for the average student and is easily built upon. However, yesterday as I installed first Drupal and then Joomla! on an Ubuntu web server (Aptana can only take a mediocre web programmer like me so far), I realized that many students would be better served learning about Content Management Systems (CMS).

Not only is the install process itself incredibly instructive (everything from file permissions to MySQL basics could easily be covered as an instructor walked students through the setup on their own virtual servers), but the entire concept of a CMS would resonate well with many students. How many students or adults actually need to code up their own style sheets or write PHP scripts? Obviously some of them do, and we need classes to address this need.

However, most people simply need to learn to communicate and present information in a variety of ways, many of which are enabled by Web technologies. Every blog that gets written, every Facebook wall posting, every Wikipedia entry uses some sort of CMS (at least conceptually). It seems that students could be served very well by understanding some of the inner workings of the systems that make Web 2.0 tick.

Talk back below if you teach some sort of content management system or use a CMS for instructional purposes at your school. Or just share your FrontPage horror stories. It is almost Halloween, after all. Thanks to @MikeBuckley for reminding me about FrontPage - I haven't walked down that memory lane for a while.

Newsletters

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
See All
See All