When I joined The Iris Review, Tennessee Tech’s creative literary magazine, the faculty advisor asked if anyone could take care of the website.
Whether the students were intimidated by the task or unsure how to start, nobody seemed willing to volunteer. Since then I’ve realized a gap in our education.
In this digital age, everyone can benefit from being tech-savvy. Everything is online from homework help to cat memes, yet Tech no longer has a class or club to facilitate web design.
Tennessee Tech does offer a digital media design concentration, which teaches about creating graphics, layouts, and web designs. Unfortunately, this concentration does not go into the back-end details required for websites, such as scripting and data structures.
Students are left to fend for themselves when learning how to create an impactful online presence, whether that is making a club Discord, a groupchat app, Facebook and Twitter (linked with a webhook), or even building a complete site.
As a student, club leader and minor technology enthusiast, I’ve found several softwares that can help other students’ quality of work and life.
Social media helps new members to find, contact and join clubs. It also allows an easy avenue for the club to post events and schedules, so members can stay in the loop. For clubs that want to maintain multiple media but don’t want to waste time copy-pasting the same announcements, webhooks can automatically move content from one account to another once the post is made.
Some clubs even utilize chat apps so members are constantly in touch, and creating this community allows clubs to thrive even when finals are around the corner and nobody has time for meetings. Discord is an increasingly popular chat app, allowing members to assign roles, organize chat topics, and create bots to help manage these functions.
Google has dozens of useful tools for the average student. Group presentations can be made and shared with Google Slides, so everyone can work on their piece from home. If a club needs to take a survey or create a sign-up sheet, Google Forms makes it simple and shows the statistics in easy to read charts.
However, Google’s spell check only does so much- and so students use Grammarly and ProWritingAid to supplement. I never realized how bad my commas were before Grammarly.
Beyond college, web development knowledge can always be used for business or hobbies, and many sites make building a website incredibly simple.
A simple and free way to be found online is to make your personal site using Wix, Squarespace or Weebly, and link it to social media. The tools offered by these sites are incredibly easy and help make galleries, forums, blogs, or even online shops by dragging and dropping widgets.
For creating a more professional presence, buying a domain through Google Domains or GoDaddy is simple and as inexpensive as $12 a year. The domain can then be hosted through Wix, Amazon, or other sites for a monthly cost.
For now, students rely on themselves to discover new technology, and ironically, learning is as easy as finding a YouTube video. However, it is difficult to search for something if you don’t know it exists in the first place. Perhaps in the future our web development classes will return.