Standards-Based Education

March 26, 2004 10AM PST

In a former coal town on the western Canadian coast, nestled in a protected harbour which makes the surrounding area a boater’s paradise, inaccessible from mainland North America save for an hour and a half ferry ride, I received one of the most encouraging signs in a while that standards-based web design is really catching on.

I had the absolute pleasure of spending a leisurely hour ferrying across the Georgia Straight one morning earlier this week to Malaspina University-College on Vancouver Island, then running an afternoon workshop with Jim Rutherford’s Digital Media class. And I’ll say this about the experience — it’s positively uplifting to hear that there are instructors out there who have shelved old-school design methods in favour of standards-based design, and are seeing their students respond in an overwhelmingly positive way.

New this year, the course syllabus has started to heavily promote standards-based design, and as the semester draws to a close it’s proved so successful that a complete 3-credit web standards class is in the works for next year, as well as a heavy bias in this direction across the rest of the course.

This is just fantastic news. I haven’t had my finger on education’s pulse in a while but I mistakenly assumed it’s as bad out there as you’d expect. Instead we have shining examples like Malaspina leading the way, and molding their students for a better web of tomorrow.

It was an honour to go and talk to a class who I suspect could have shown me a few new CSS tricks. (And look at their portfolios, wow.)