Week 4, Day 1

Digital Methodology

Posted by on 10th Jun 2019

This week, our focus will be "Digital Methodology," which means "answering questions and solving problems with digital tools." This post outlines the work that lies ahead and gets you started working toward your Digital Methodology Project

This week, you'll work on two closely related projects in sequence:

Taken together, these two projects may be some challenging work ahead, but I know you can do it! Since the webpage will be a container for your methodology research, it's OK to work on both of these at the same time, but I recommend spending Monday and Tuesday working on the module and learning some HTML, then Wednesday and Thursday building and completing your webpage using the HTML skills you've acquired.

Goals for Today

  • Choose a module and join the channel
  • Begin learning some HTML with Codecademy and W3Schools

Choose a module and join the channel

You'll find Digital Methodology modules at the DGST101.net modules page with the tag "methodology." Because we're a smaller class, please choose "Networks", "Image Visualization", or "Text Analysis" so we end up with three cohorts working on modules. Having a smaller number like this helps ensure that you'll have a handful of other people in your group, so you'll have at least those other person to help you figure things out as you work. With these three modules and the tasks, there may be a significant amount of "figuring things out" in terms of installing and using software.

When you do find yourself getting stuck (and you will! and that's OK!) don't be shy about asking for help in your module channel or the general #help channel.

Like the other module units we've done so far, you'll focus on a task or two on the suggested task list to work toward. Find the appropriate channel for your module, and try to complete Phase 1 today.

Begin learning some HTML

HTML is the language that runs the web and many of the apps you use every day. It stands for HyperText Markup Language, so because it's a language for marking up text, it's technically not a programming language. It does, however, have a specific syntax and vocabulary that you have to use correctly in order for it to do what you want it to do.

In the face-to-face version of this class, I usually spend a few days talking about this in class with explanations and follow-along tutorials. I do these in conjunction with the self-paced online learning tools at Codecademy and W3Schools, which are both useful but approach the topic in different ways.

HTML is new to most students in DGST101, and working with it can feel awkward and intimidating at first. There's a lot to remember, so I try to give students as many ways as possible to learn it, with the hope that between the three methods of instruction, enough of it "sticks" that you can start using it confidently.

Since this is an online class, I can't do the face-to-face coaching I normally would, but I do plan on releasing some videos later this week. Until then, take a look at the lessons at both Codecademy and W3Schools and start working through them:

For Codecademy, create a free account, and work your way through the interactive lessons in the "Learn HTML" course. You have to complete one lesson to move on to the next. Callenge yourself to avoid using hints to move the lesson forward!

For W3Schools.com, work on the "HTML5 Tutorial". Start at the beginning and work your way to get to the "HTML Styles - CSS" chapter. For each chapter, try the examples, and complete 3 or 4 of the exercises or quizzes.

After you've completed both of these lessons with Codecademy and W3Schools, discuss your experience in Slack compare the two websites for their different teaching styles. I've made a #discuss-html channel for this purpose, so join it when you're ready.