Thread: Your job...
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Old February 15 2013, 04:45 PM   #48
Robert Maxwell
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Re: Your job...

Since I have nowhere else to put this, I'll entertain/bore you all with a story from my college days, when I worked as a computer lab supervisor--essentially a glorified babysitter for clueless users.

I worked in the computer lab in the Human Performance building, where they trained future PE teachers. So, we're not talking about the most tech savvy people to begin with.

As part of their curriculum, they had a professor who believed it was vital for future teachers to know how to create a website. A good idea, really. A skill I think is valuable for most lay people to have at least some idea how to pull off.

But she (their professor) screwed it up in a few essential ways:

1. She hated Microsoft with a passion, so she forced her students to do their websites using Adobe Pagemill. Adobe Pagemill is a horrible, horrible program, or at least it was in 2000.
2. She didn't teach them even the most basic concepts of how the Web works. Things like relative vs. absolute links, media embedding, etc.
3. She gave them all a project to build a multipage personal website without really teaching them how to do it.

I had a lab full of people trying to do this assignment. They had problem after problem. They didn't understand what they were doing. After the fifth person came to me for help, I decided to take things into my own hands. I got their attention, asked if they were all there to work on the Pagemill project, and they were. So, I gave them all a crash course on how the Web works, and how to effectively do their assignment.

I had people trying to embed full videos, several megabytes in size, and store their websites on 1.44MB floppy disks. No, this does not work.

I had people embedding images stored on a local hard drive or a ZIP disk, and then they wondered why the images didn't work once they uploaded to the "live" site. Pagemill was absolute shit at understanding people intended to embed images and have them available via relative links.

The FTP functionality in Pagemill was garbage. The WYSIWYG editor was also shit. Just an awful, awful program. I ended up having some of them use Netscape Composer, which at least didn't crash constantly, and could competently put a page together. When they were done, I had them modify the header tags to indicate they'd created the pages with Pagemill instead of Composer.

I stayed open a couple hours late to make sure they all got it done. Did I mention it was due the next day? Typical college students, leaving huge projects to the night before they're due to even get started.

They all got decent grades on the assignment, at least. I was glad when I didn't end up having to deal with anything like that again.
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