Date: November 20, 2013
by Eloise Ravell
Thomas Michaud, assistant professor of web design at Andrews University, published his first textbook, Foundations of Web Design: Introduction to HTML and CSS, in August 2013 through Pearson Education. The textbook focuses on the fundamental skills necessary for writing, or coding, a website using the core languages of HTML and CSS for any student pursuing a career in web design, front-end developing or any other design-related job.
“A friend of mine, who has also coauthored a book for Pearson Education, recommended they talk to me and see if I was interested in writing,” Michaud says. “I told them of previous plans of self-publishing my own book for my introductory course in web design that I teach and was asked to submit a proposal and draft of a chapter.”
Completing the book within three months out of his allowed five, Michaud would write a chapter at a time and submit each one separately for editing. Jonathan Wolfer, a design student at Andrews, contributed by making the cover along with the interior design and layout.
Michaud divulged that the textbook required him to think of how to write for an audience versus simply speaking to a class. To make it more user-friendly, the book’s slender design and ability to lay flat enables it to easily fit between the student and the computer.
“There was certainly enjoyment knowing I was finally writing a book that I felt best fit my course curriculum,” Michaud continues, “There are many great books on HTML and CSS, but they didn't fit how I felt the course worked best in a classroom.”
Michaud’s textbook is currently being used this semester in his Web I class, an eight-week intensive course that specifically focuses on HTML and CSS and it is also a reference tool for the remaining three courses in the web design program.
A number of other schools are considering introducing this textbook into their curricula for similar programs. Michaud plans to release materials including assignments, projects, grading rubrics, quizzes and video lectures based on his textbook. Additionally, he will be writing articles on the importance of students, as well as people of any age, learning the basics of coding and is hoping to present at South-by-Southwest Education (SXSW Edu).
“My editors were top notch in helping me find my voice and they helped me to critically think about why something either needed to be included or removed,” says Michaud. “We all came away believing this book would really be different.”
Images: Thomas Michaud by Darren Heslop, IMC
Textbook cover by Amazon.com