I just got word that the WordPress and Drupal development course has been approved. It's official name is CS 230W. The course should be on the books for Spring 2016. I'm looking forward to bringing this course to PHP programmers who are unfamiliar with these two powerful content management systems, and to all of the front end people who want to get connected with the code that makes it all work.
Putting together an 18-week course takes hundreds of hours of research, writing, coding, and testing, as well as creating assignments, exercises, and quizzes. When I have enough lead time, I begin working on a new course as much as six months in advance. No matter how much time and care goes into creating a course, there are many bugs and errors that need fixing. Fortunately, students love to find and point out my errors.
I've been asked whether my course will have lots of videos like a Lynda course? Another question is, Why don't more CCSF teachers provide videos of lectures, like U.C. Berkeley or Stanford or MIT? Ah, that would be sweet! Unfortunately it all comes down to funding. Online courses at U.C. Berkeley are given a minium of $250,000 per course for development expenses. In additions, instructors have access to the University's multi-million dollar professional A/V resources. Community colleges, on the other hand, have a budget of $0 for development. Yes, I said $0. You may not know that instructors develop the courses essentially on their own time. If you like your online courses, please tell your instructor --- they'll appreciate it.
The other important consideration for CCSF online courses is Section 508 compliance. The benefit of Sec. 508 compliance is that everyone benefits from accessibility. Part compliance is making sure that all videos are closed-captioned with accompanying transcripts. This means that the videos have to be created well in advance of the first meeting of the course and have to be submitted to the proper department for captioning and compliance-checking. With funding cutbacks at CCSF, this often means a delay of months. Because of the long lag time inherent in the captioning process, most instructors simply don't bother making videos for their courses.
Despite the challenges of creating credit-worthy online courses, I feel that it's worth the effort and investment in time. In the process of creating the coruse, I learn all of the parts that I would skim over if I were learning on my own. In the end, I learn as much as the students. The real plus of teaching is that I get to meet a lot of cool, enthusiastic people who are interested in the things I'm interested in. That's damn cool.