Full Sail University

Academics

Notes from my short time at Full Sail Online.

Mid Life Meets College Life


I tried pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Web Design and Development, and making that my primary focus in life. Things didn't work out like I had planned, and I am pursuing other options in my pursuit of web design knowledge.

Inspired by stories of grit and courage from the homeless population in downtown Omaha, NE, I initially wanted to publish stories I was inspired to write. As I became accustomed to the offerings through the Omaha Public Library and Microsoft Windows 95, I learned how to use something known as the internet.

After a few years of aimless writing and steady support from my brother, I decided to try my hand at website development with various WYSIWYG web creators and editors.

Finally, in 2007, Wisti-Thinking.com is created. At the time, Brian (my older and wiser brother) was walking me through some entry-level exercises in Ubuntu Linux. That was one of many experiences that would not only convince me to stop using offerings from Microsoft, but also further lead me down the road to web design and development.

2015 has been a year of ups and downs, with a rocky beginning and an ending with a more positive note.

Those that know me best, know that I've come a long way in the last year. From having a healthier outlook on life, to learning about making more responsible choices that matter, I am finally figuring out for myself that if I want something bad enough, I will bust my butt and make it happen.

My initial four month adjustment period passed, and it's now time for me to get serious about pursuing goal of becoming a website designer - and be on my way to becoming a better employment candidate.

A sincere and heartfelt thank you for all that stuck by me and helped me get to where I am today. The ride's not over yet. In fact, the best is yet to come.


Planning Ahead


I admit, I'd set some lofty goals for myself by enrolling at Full Sail Online. What I was not aware of at the time I enrolled, was what Full Sail's educational focus was, or the impact it had on the entertainment industry, I do not regret my impulsive decision to enroll and pursue a degree in Web Design and Development. I am facing obstacles, sometimes more than one at a time, and learning that by pushing forward without looking back, I can accomplish anything I set out to do.

With every question I have, wondering what various college courses and assignments have to do with web design, comes a deeper appreciation for the hard work that makes web design and development possible. This is important to me, and something I am thankful to be able to learn about - even when the course work seems too difficult for me to understand at a particular moment.

My personal goal, upon graduation, was to know how to design and develop industry-compliant websites, and actually be in a position to know what I am talking about, instead of taking other people's ideas and adopting them as my own.

My initial vision for my professional life, is to be employed in some capacity (either with a reputable company or on my own) designing websites, and showing others how to create their own finished product. This is going to take lots of hard work, many personal sacrifices, motivation, and determination along the way. I will find a way to make this a reality - one way or another.


Industry Terms


I will fill in my own definitions with reference links as I look them up and begin to grasp new concepts. I am no expert. Verify before taking my word.


Developer vs. Designer


The lines can often get blurred, and knowing the difference between these two is vital if you're looking for employment or looking for someone to work on your website. A developer will become immersed in multiple lines of code, managing JavaScript, PHP, and other supportive scripts that the customer or viewer might not see. A designer, on the other hand, knows what it takes to make the appearance of a site fit for content. The designer works on the elements that the site viewer will see.


Front end


The nuts and bolts of what makes a page / site actually work, where the work of optimizing and hand coding the functionality and appearance of a website begins and ends. The web viewer sees this in action when viewing a website. HTML, CSS, and Javascript are all used in front-end development.


Back end


A developer will use an application built with PHP, Python, Ruby on Rails, C/C#/C++ , .NET, or Java to communicate with a database to serve up information that the front-end presents.


Programming


The act of writing, developing, and implementing code (outside of HTML or CSS) in order to improve the funcionality of a web page (or the entire website).


Networking


As it relates to computers - Adding and configuring multiple computers for sharing internet or file access.
As it relates to business - Sharing pertinent information for business or personal use to gather information or request specific services.


Client-side (JavaScript)


Javascript that is designed to run on the website viewer's computer, possibly with enhanced features the viewer needs.


Server-side (PHP)


PHP scripting designed to run on the web server.


Database (SQL)


SQL stands for Structured Query Language. Therefore an SQL Database is an organized collection of data complied in a specific library format.


Markup (HTML, CSS)


Text used to create the website. The server, and viewer's computer use technologies that interpret what to do and decide how the page (or site) should be displayed.


Code Libraries


A collection of various code languages meant for reference and are also used in web design and development.


Object Oriented Methodologies



Responsive Design


A method of designing a website for multiple device screens and resolution. A single stylesheet, in some cases, along with a single design, can be created instead of designing different versions of the same website for different devices from desktop to mobile.


Web Services



Data Parsing (XML, JSON)



Call to Action



Hero



UI


User Interface


UX


User Experience


Wireframe


A technique used in some website creation, where each page gets planned out on paper as a sketch to give both the designer and developer a clearer idea how to arrange each section of a website and to combine it all into the finished product.

Conversion


WYSIWYG


What You See Is What You Get - Adobe Dreamweaver, Sites like WIX

Creative Presentation


Using Microsoft PowerPoint and Screencast, I learned how to put together a slideshow presentation, adding audio to the presentation and converting it to video using a program called Screencast.

The presentation involved me (as my future self, a Full Sail Graduate) selling myself and my acquired skills to potential employers.


Psychology of Play


Going outside of my comfort zone, away from what I had been used to doing, I learned that teamwork is important and that each individual person's skills contribute to the team as a whole. I was team captain on one project involving taking steps to deal with a global issue which was homelessness, and another project which was a commercial about a music call-in center called In Tune.


Technology in the Entertainment and Media Industries


In this class, I was introduced to terms often used in various media industries relating to website development and design. I learned that not only is there a difference between web development and design, but there are also differences between front and back end development. I have an incomplete list on this page, and as time and opportunity permit, I will be looking up definitions and providing source links for each term referenced.


A Web Geek In Training Asks:


Mathematics and Web Design & Development. What is the relationship?

In my second week of (college level) math class, I realized that I can never get away from math in any form. It's present when I microwave last night's leftovers, you can't escape it when paying bills, and where my chosen field of study is concerned, it's there as well.

While this observation is an obvious no-brainer, it does make me wonder what the relationship between mathematics and a career in web design and development really is. There are designs that people come up with that need to fit a specific screen resolution. There are also designs whose elements are created to fit multiple screen resolutions - also known as Responsive Web Designs. This is an avenue I'm interested in pursuing in my post-graduation era.


Field of Study:
Web Design and Development


Pixels to inches

Sometimes, it's important to be able to convert pixels to inches. For example, measure the size of your computer screen. Which unit of measurement are you more likely to use? Most people would probably measure in inches when determining screen size. I believe this is correct where the average computer user is concerned.

This is done when converting digital media to print, such as images, or when you want to retain the layout of your design once you have a permanent hard copy.

Inches to pixels

This is useful when you are scanning an image or document and are trying to optimize your project for the web. You can compress an image for the web, and if you do it right, it will still look good on your potential viewer's device screen without any chance of distortion. I often find myself referring to readily available conversion tables online when altering images from scanned photographs and preparing them for various online web projects. There is definitely a noticeable difference in the size of a standard print photo or document when comparing the original to what shows up on the screen.

Resolution to DPI/PPI

In a nutshell, you convert your measurement in your web based project based on the screen resolution of the device or devices you are doing the project for. If you are designing a project for a screen resolution of 800 x 600 (do people still use this?) then you calculate the resolution and convert it to Dots Per Inch - for print, or Pixels Per Inch - for screen displays.

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