Sunday, February 1, 2009

Survey Says Education Lags Behind Design Industries Needs

Ouch! A recent survey says that college web design courses fail to deliver people prepared to work in the web design industry. The survey says college courses don't keep pace with the latest technology. The experts surveyed say that higher education should focus on fundamentals of web design, not just currently popular software.

The survey, called "Teach the Web," was released Jan. 20, 2009 and includes opinions and advice from 32 web design professionals who are considered some of the most knowledgeable and respected in the world.

The survey says that educational bureaucracies move slowly when approving new curriculum, while the web design industry moves fast enough that the curriculum is obsolete by the time they get around to committee approval. One of those surveyed said they don't hire graduates of university web development programs.

In most real-world design fields the culture of large educational institutions (whether K-12 or universities) is unable to cope with the demands of such varied and fast-moving industries. While many well-meaning teachers are doing their best, those in the survey say students come out of a university program not knowing what they'd need to know to be hired.. They claim that most of the time, students have been brought a long way down the wrong path.

Leslie Jensen-Inman (right), an assistant professor at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where she teaches design, business, and technology, wrote the "Teach the Web" survey and said web design college instructors should embrace the business' harsh realities. Jensen-Inman, a member of the Web Standards Project Education Task Force, wrote in the survey's introduction, "Let's face it. Technology moves fast; academia doesn't,"

If we look at a continuum that goes from "historic", "traditional", and "contemporary", to "new", and "emerging" most educational programs in K-12 through college lean toward the traditional side rather than the new and emerging side where students need to perform.

Click on the heading above to go to Jensen-Inman's blog.

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