COMP 1950 — Intermediate Web Design & Development. I decided to take this course because, though I’ve been doing Web design for years, it was all self-taught, and I figured there were some gaps in my knowledge and methodology.
Most of the course wasn’t too challenging to me. XHTML? CSS? No problemo (though it was a useful refresher on some advanced CSS techniques I’d read about but never used, like attribute selectors). The class on development methodology was a good formalising of techniques I’d been trying to use on my own, and the jQuery class was quite useful.
I admit I got a little overconfident about the midterm, and flubbed a couple of questions I could have answered if I’d studied a little more. Or, y’know, at all.
Then came the final project: five of us doing a small site mockup and design. It wasn’t a terribly big job, but it would be a good exercise to apply everything we’d learned so far. I could have let someone else take the reins, but since I knew the most Web design of my team, I figured I was here to learn, so I focused on another one of my gaps: I volunteered to be the manager and spokesman.
What did I learn?
- I learned not to micromanage. Several times I was tempted to take charge, tell my teammates How Things Should Be Done, but I heroically resisted. This was their project too, and they had to learn by doing. I helped them along by mentoring and advising, and keeping track of the big picture.
- I learned I had to plan. Realistically, it wasn’t much of an option, because we only had a couple of weeks together as a team. We got the job done, sure, but it probably wasn’t that efficient.
- I learned I had to get to know my teammates. Before we got together, I’d only spoken to two of them (my immediate neighbours). I knew the skills of one of them, and that’s it. In our one team meeting we divided up tasks pretty well, mostly by volunteering, so that turned out okay.
- I learned I could do it. And that’s a big deal, because I’d never been in a leadership position before, and wasn’t sure I had it in me to do it. And sure, things didn’t go as smoothly as I would have liked, but we finished the project on time, didn’t kill each other, and I got praise from some of my teammates for my managing. So hey, mission accomplished!