Course Description

This course introduces the theory and applied practice of designing for the web according to the most recent, standardized forms of the web’s core languages (HTML, CSS, and JavaScript). The course focuses on an agile, incremental approach to building accessible, usable, and sustainable websites that work across all modern browsers and web-enabled mobile devices. The course also provides a rhetorical and technological foundation for establishing competence in other areas of web-based design and communication, such as web application development.

Goals and Outcomes

Students successfully completing this course will:



  • Andrew, Rachel. The New CSS Layout. New York, NY: A Book Apart, 2017. $14 (eBook), ISBN 9781937557683
  • Lupton, Ellen and Jennifer Cole Phillips. Graphic Design: The New Basics. 2nd ed. Hudson, NY: Princeton Architectural Press, 2015. $35 (paperback), ISBN 9781616893323
  • Stolley, Karl. How to Design and Write Web Pages Today. 2nd ed. Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood/ABC-CLIO, 2017. $40 (paperback), ISBN 9781440857423



  • A blank, bound paper sketchbook of 100 pages or more
  • An email account that you check regularly
  • A browser- or cloud-based bookmarking scheme to aid your information management
  • A Basecamp account (invite will arrive via email); Basecamp, not Blackboard, will be where we coordinate our work and communication in- and outside of class
  • A GitHub account (see note about anonymity in the course technology policy below)
  • The domain of your name (e.g., belongs to the instructor) or, if privacy is a concern, the domain for your public alias
  • A personal computer, ideally Unix-based (Linux, BSD, OS X), with the following software installed:
    • A plain-text editor capable of syntax highlighting; set up to use UTF-8/Unicode character encoding and Unix-style line endings (LF), entabbed with spaces (two spaces per tab). I recommend, if you are looking for a recommendation.
    • Firefox Developer Edition (free)
    • Git (free)
    • Node.js (free)
    • Image-editing software (such as the free and open-source GIMP)
    • As many different browsers as your operating system supports (e.g., Chrome, Opera, Firefox, Vivaldi; all free)

Special Needs

I make it my very top priority to create courses that are welcoming and accessible to all students. I will make additional reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities. In order to receive accommodations, students must obtain a letter of accommodation from the Center for Disability Resources. The Center for Disability Resources is located in IIT Tower, 3424 S. State Street - 3F3-1 (third floor, in the northwest corner across from the Student Health and Wellness Center). Contact the Center by telephone at 312-567-5744, by TDD at 312-567-5135, or via email at

Students who have any difficulty, either permanent or temporary, that might affect their ability to successfully participate in and complete the class should contact me privately, either in person or electronically, at the start of the semester or as a documented difficulty arises. I will adjust methods, materials, or deadlines as necessary to ensure equitable participation for all students.

Mental Health and Well-Being

It’s no secret that attending school while managing and balancing other life concerns is incredibly stressful and at times completely overwhelming. All of us, no matter how outwardly strong, successful, or put-together we might appear, struggle sometimes. Illinois Tech provides all students with a variety of free counseling services. I encourage all students to seek support and help from the Counseling Services unit of the Student Health and Wellness Center. Students facing a crisis situation, especially outside of the Counseling Services unit’s operating hours, may wish to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. The Student Health and Wellness Center maintains a list of other emergency resources worth bookmarking.

Attendance & Participation

Your timely submission of work and active participation in the electronic discussions for this class are required both for your own success and for the success of the class as a whole. I do not squander students’ time with reading quizzes, but I do assign a lot of reading. And I expect you to be prepared to discuss that reading on Basecamp by quoting or making direct references to each week’s assigned reading.

Students intending to earn an A for Participation should be posting substantively on Basecamp five times or more per week, with contributions appearing multiple days per week, all semester long. Students earning a B will post three to five times, and students earning a C will post two times, every week. Fewer than an average of two discussion contributions per week will result in a failing Participation grade.

Assignment Submission

The final deliverables for all major projects in this course will be submitted via email to the instructor, at Draft work will be posted to Basecamp for feedback from the instructor and others in the class. Emails should never include email attachments, but rather URLs pointing to your project’s Git repository or, when you seeking help for a specific problem, a particular file or commit on GitHub. Examples will be demonstrated in class.

Late Work

I do not accept late work. All work must be submitted before the date and time specified in each project description. The deadlines in this class, including for weekly and draft work, are no different from exam dates in classes that have exams. I expect you to treat them accordingly. If you believe you are in danger of missing a deadline, be sure to contact the instructor well ahead of time to see if there are any options available to you. The instructor will not negotiate with you on deadlines that are hours away or have already passed.

Grading Policy

COM 330 Students

A = 90+ pts; B = 80-89 pts; C = 70-79 pts; D = 60-69 pts; E ≤ 59 pts

COM 530 Students

A = 90+ pts; B = 80-89 pts; C = 70-79 pts; E ≤ 69 pts

Grading Criteria

COM 330 Students

COM 530 Students

Technology Policy

Technology is an essential part of learning and day-to-day living. It is therefore essential to this class. You are just as responsible for learning to command various technologies as for any other course content. Difficulty with technology is never an acceptable excuse for being unprepared for class or late with assignments.

If you are having trouble with technology or any other material covered in this course, it is your professional responsibility to do research beyond the resources and guidance provided in class and find supplemental materials that work for you. I also encourage all students to contact me during my office hours or at another arranged time. I prefer that you contact me via Basecamp Ping or email well in advance of assignment and project deadlines.

Note that coming to class with broken or malfunctioning work is far better than showing up with nothing but an excuse like “I just didn’t get it.” For most of the semester, it is expected that you’ll show up with broken work. When you’re learning, effort is more important than perfection. Just be sure to put in the effort early, and not the night before a project is due.

Also, I have asked you to sign up for a GitHub account for this class. Note that GitHub accounts are public, as are most social-type accounts. To protect your privacy you are certainly allowed to use a pseudonym/alias for GitHub and any other account. You may also push to repositories that you keep private, so long as you add the instructor as a collaborator, for grading purposes. At the same time, you might want to think about the high value of establishing GitHub and other accounts under your own name or professional alias. Public accounts where you conduct yourself professionally might well be an asset to your online presence, improving the search results that future schools or employers turn up when they look for you on Google and elsewhere.

Academic Integrity

As with any course at IIT, you are expected to uphold the Code of Academic Honesty as described in the IIT Student Handbook. All work for this course must be your own original effort, including print and digital page design and computer code. Summarizations and quotations of text, as well as any use of open-source code libraries and images not of your own making, should be clearly cited as legally and ethically warranted and rhetorically appropriate. Access, storage, dissemination, and other use of data from third-party sources must conform to the source’s terms of service, licensing, and other relevant legal and ethical restrictions.

If you are at all uncertain as to whether you are submitting work that in whole or in part may violate the Code of Academic Honesty, please contact me immediately and before the work is due. The consequences of academic dishonesty are severe. Any student who violates the Code of Academic Honesty will be subject to expulsion from this course with a failing grade, and I will report the student to the Chair of the Department of Humanities, who may take additional disciplinary action, including reporting violations to the relevant offices of Undergraduate or Graduate Academic Affairs.