Off route 143 in Gotland.  Sweden.

Three-day Web Course

part of Teaching by Philip Greenspun

This is a class for people who are technology experts, e.g., developers of the core Oracle RDBMS server. We thus assume that they are good at thinking formally and good at thinking about complex systems. In general, I do not like to assume any familiarity with particular computer languages, protocols, or systems. However, when teaching this at Oracle it seems safe to assume experience with SQL.

Our objective is to equip the student with the following new skills:

The mechanics are a class that starts at 9:00 am and runs to 5:30 pm every day. Each day includes a total of 90 minutes of break time (45-minute lunch plus three 15-minute breaks). That gives us 7 hours of instruction time per day. Given three days to cover this much territory for an expected audience of more than 100 people, we can't realistically set up each student with a development server and a computer. The class is thus mostly lecture and demonstration.

So that attendees don't go insane sitting passively for 7 hours three days in a row, we should look at some options for breaking up the time:

Speaking of breaking up time, we try to avoid hammering people continuously with material that is only comprehensible to nerds. The class ought to be useful, enjoyable, and effective for people from marketing, general management backgrounds, etc. It is OK to leave these guys in a fog for a 90-minute section but I don't think it is fair to torture them with code examples for an entire afternoon. So we'll try to alternate units that don't require any tech background with units that do.

Day 1

9:00 - 9:15 Welcome

We won't cover the agenda in any detail because we assume students will leaf through their paper handouts.

9:15 - 10:45 Sociology: What kinds of Web services are useful?

-- break --

11:00 - 12:30 Technology Underpinnings

-- 45-minute lunch --

1:15 - 2:45 Information and interaction design for the Web

Note: here is where people who've never seen HTML before will learn it.
-- break --

3:00 - 4:30 Programming Languages and Environments

-- break --

4:45 - 5:30 The Ultimate Web-based Collaboration Challenge, I

-- refreshments/discussion --

Day 2

9:00 - 9:15 Interesting Questions from Yesterday

After having a night to think about the stuff that came up in private discussions...

9:15 - 10:45 The Ultimate Web-based Collaboration Challenge, II

-- break --

11:00 - 12:30 Money: The mechanics of getting rich on the Internet

-- 45-minute lunch --

1:15 - 2:45 Making it work 24x7

Note: here is where people learn about XML.
-- break --

3:00 - 4:30 Open Challenges in Web-based Collaboration

-- break --

4:45 - 5:30 User Tracking

-- refreshments/discussion --

Day 3

9:00 - 9:15 Interesting Questions from Yesterday

After having a night to think about the stuff that came up in private discussions...

9:15 - 10:45 Using a WYSIWYG database development tool

Oracle WebDB team demonstrates building a complete application. I propose that we build a Web-based system for helping a user keep his or her New Year's resolutions. So a user gets to enter a set of resolutions, e.g., "exercise twice per week". The system should be capable of sending reminder emails if the schedule isn't being met. These reminder emails to include URLs that, if clicked on, will result in the recording of "yes, I exercised within the past day". The system should be able to show a history of whether the user kept the resolutions.
-- break --

11:00 - 12:30 Web Publishing with a capital P

We look at whether WYSIWYG tools address the fundamental problem faced by large Web publishers.
-- 45-minute lunch --

1:15 - 2:45 Personalization

-- break --

Reader's Comments

I went to Philip's seminar to hear him speak on his web experiences. Philip comes across as a very entertaining speaker who has worthwhile things to say. I found his seminar interesting and about the best quick introduction to the web world that I could ever find.

There is another reason I attended his seminar. My employer paid the $175 it cost. This meant that I could get much more knowledge in a working day than I could reading a page here and a page there on the bus and at home. It was an efficient use of my time. [To most consulting companies, $175 is small change].

-- Jagadeesh Venugopal, October 28, 1999

I find it interesting that the first two comments on this page are less than stellar. I understand that people are busy... but it would appear to me that you need to moderate this discussion. This is a great example of the need to have PEOPLE behind the technology employed on the web.

OK... enough about that. Where is the class offered and when? Also, do you cover information NOT in your book. I have read it cover to cover but would like some more information. Is this the class to take? Please include this information on the webpage.

-- ralph chuck, October 30, 1999

For anyone who has not read or understood Philip and Alex's Guide I heartily recommend the One-day Web Course.

-- Phil Geer, May 11, 2000
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