CSC 223 — Authoring for the Web

Getting Help

There are a ton of tutorials and helps for web design on the internet. The best way to learn is to mess around and try things. Developing web pages isn't like learning to be a surgeon. If you ask a surgeon, "what happens if we put this artery here?" the answer likely won't be "I'm not sure, let's try it!" But "let's try it!" is exactly what we can do in web development.


Since everyone's style of learning is different, a tutorial or resource that one person likes may not resonate with you. However, here are a few resources that I've found helpful for students in the past:

How to Find Help When You're Stuck

The best place to find answers to specific HTML/CSS questions (or programming questions in general) is StackOverflow.

Let’s say that you’re trying to complete an assignment that asks you to create a web page that uses an ordered list to display a set of steps for a recipe.

The first step would be to break this down into small steps:

# 1. Create an empty file.
# 2. Add the standard HTML tags.
# 3. Add the list.
# 4. Style the list using CSS.

Let’s pretend you know how to do everything but part 4.

You could conceivably try googling for "Make a recipe list" and find a bunch of code that would work. However, in that case you would learn very little. In addition, using such code would be considered plagiarism.

Instead, you should search for just how to do step 4: styling ordered lists with css.

Those results show several examples of how to style a list using CSS.

Avoiding Plagiarism

Note what does and does not count as plagiarism when it comes to programming assignments.

Copying and pasting the CSS code we found directly without modifying or understanding it would constitute plagiarism.

Instead, if you make sure you understand what all of the code does and why, and incorporate those concepts into your own code, that is not plagiarism.

Asking for Help

If you've exhausted everything you can do on your own, please feel free to ask your teacher for assistance. There's a common phrase used in teaching: "there's no such thing as a dumb question." While this may be true, some questions are a lot better than others:

Bad questions

"I don't know what to do."

"I'm stuck."

"I'm lost."

Good question

"I'm working on the ordered lists assignment and I have the HTML part done, but I'm having trouble getting my lists to line up correctly. I have set the margins in the CSS like this ... but the result I get doesn't look right. Can you give me a hint as to what I'm doing wrong? I've attached a screen shot of the result."

The difference between a good question and a bad question is one of agency. Bad questions often indicate a lack of agency, a desire to be "acted upon", whereas good questions show a desire to be an agent who acts, someone who is proactive about their own learning.