COM1000 Beginning HTML Overview

HTML (Hypertext Markup Language, CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), and JS (Javascript) are the three primary languages that are used to create web pages. Every time you consume content on the web, those languages were used to create what you are seeing, hearing, reading, or watching.  If you’ve wanted to learn about basic web coding, now’s your chance.

Nashville State Community College has a a 13 week course on basic web coding this semester. It is being offered through the Visual Communications department. No coding experience is required. Classes begin on January 19, 2016,  so if you’re not a current student of NSCC you need to apply to the school and be admitted before you can enroll in the class.


Course Name: COM1000 Beginning HTML
Day/time: Thursday 6-9 PM
Location: Nashville State Community College, Main Campus (White Bridge Rd), Clement Building (C-108)

For more information contact:

Dale Rogers, M.Ed.
Assistant Professor, Web & Multimedia Design
Nashville State Community College
ofc: 615-353-3504


Anyone who creates content to be consumed on the World-Wide Web will at some point be face to face with the technologies that govern how that content is presented. Nashville State’s COM1000 Beginning HTML course covers that process.

We consume web content through an application called a “user-agent”. A user agent is some tool (an agent) that allows you (the user) to see, hear, read, watch, listen, or somehow consume content. Most typically, the user-agent is a web browser. The Web browser is the key to everything. As designers, podcasters, bloggers, marketers, trainers, salespeople, writers, illustrator, videographers, filmmakers, etc, we want to engage with our audience through the web browser. Therefore, we need to know a little something about how to get the browser to display our content as we intended it.

The three main languages that the browser uses to accomplish that are:

  1. HTML (Hypertext Markup Language)
  2. CSS (Cascading Style Sheets)
  3. JS (Javascript)

HTML allows us to put a structured object (an element), say a heading, paragraph, video, or an image, on a page. HTML contains tags that tell the browser what it can do with that element.

Every element has properties. When we want to determine the type of font, size, color, or location of a heading… when we want to determine the dimensions of a video, how it will be placed on the page, we use CSS to control an elements properties.

If we want to control an element’s properties based on some criteria, for example, when a button or link gets clicked, or a link is hovered, then we need to use scripting. That’s where Javascript comes in. It allows us to manipulate an object’s properties dynamically.

In COM1000 you will be introduced to the underlying languages that affect how content is displayed on a web page according to current best practices. It will give you the solid foundations for further exploration.

The course is part of Nashville State Community College’s Web Design concentration in the Visual Communications Associate in Applied Science degree. While the course is part of a degree, anyone from the community can enroll as a non-degree seeking student.

Online Retention Strategies

About this document

This is a supporting document for a panel discussion I participated in at Nashville State Community College on 8/14/2014. The topic was Early Intervention Strategies – Making the Connection.

Note: This is a easy reference to the materials I provided during the panel discussion. It is not an exhaustive list for all of the panel members.


Retention in higher education is an issue1. When the course delivery is online, it is even more so. In a 2013 article in EduCause, one cited study found that roughly 5 percent of students who signed up for a Coursera MOOC earned a credential signifying official completion of the course2. Since MOOCs are large self study courses with little to no instructor guidance, this is not surprising. Nashville State’s retention numbers are not so dramatic, but judging from the numbers of students that do not complete even my own online classes, the percentage of success is not as good as my own face to face courses. Why?

During my graduate program in eLearning Design, it was stressed that online education should emphasize “high touch” in addition to “high tech.” This notion is consistent with my own experience. It also concurs with the findings of several studies that I’ve found for your convenience (see references). In general, reaching out personally to the students through email, discussion forums, phone, and office visits going a long way of building a sense of community. That sense of community, for many students, is essential for success. To foster that sense of community early on, I follow the practices as outlined in the following list.

My List

The strategies are easy.

  1. I send out a bulk email to all my advisees the first week I’m back on campus. I invite them to connect with me for advising and help with their schedule. I also list the courses they “should” be enrolled in that semester due to course availability. I’ll do that on Aug 13 or 14th. Depending on the fires that burning when I walk in the door.
  2. When online classes start, I send an email to all of the students telling them to watch the discussion forums. I post important to dos in the discussion forum
  3. Towards the end of the first week, I look at the progress of all my online students, if there are some that have not  logged in yet, or posted an introductory message, I send them an email to see if they need help. If I don’t hear from them by week two, I call.
  4. I watch the discussion forum every day. If the discussion forum gets quiet, I’ll post a message to see how everyone is doing. Sometimes that gets a response. Not always. I find that students watch their email more than the discussion forum in some classes.
  5. Following the due date of an assignment, I check to see that everyone has submitted it. There may be an opportunity for low lying fruit here. If a student hasn’t submitted the assignment, that is an opportunity to reach out. A quick email asking if they need help is often the nudge they need. It let’s them know that someone is monitoring them. Just knowing that I’m paying attention is itself is a motivator.
  6. When teaching, I always tell my students that our relationship is just beginning. I tell them that if they have an issue, I’m available. Then when they test that, I follow up. It helps me build trust.
  7. I have mandatory “reflective writing” assignments throughout the semester. Even for those students that don’t reach out, it gives me a peek into their process, challenges, and over-all experience of the course and subject matter. Sometimes, quiet students are still enjoying the course. (whether or not that is reflected in IDEA).
  8. Allow students to work on projects that interest them and connect to the real-world.


It works for me is to reach out early and encourage students to connect with me and with the class (preferably in one place, i.e. the discussion forum, so I don’t have to duplicate my communications effort and waste time). The students that decide to connect typically have a good experience. There are some that choose not to connect. Some struggle. The independent learners do fine. The “no-shows” are not going to engage regardless of what I do, so there is nothing I can do about it. As the semester gets rolling, teaching, grading, solving student problems, meetings, and other faculty responsibilities take up a lot of time and making extra effort for student out-reach becomes more difficult.

I hope you find this article, the list, and the references helpful. Want to continue the discussion? Reach out. Leave a comment or contact me via my contact page.



  1. Institutional Retention and Graduation Rates for Undergraduate Students. (2014). Institute of Education Sciences.
  2. Daphne Koller, Andrew Ng, Chuong Do, and Zhenghao Chen (2012). Retention and Intention in Massive Open Online Courses: In Depth. Educause,
  3. Chapter 1: Concerns and Opportunities for Online Student Retention, in the book, Motivating and Retaining Online Students: Research-Based Strategies That Work, by Rosemary M. Lehman and Simone C.O. Conceição. It is part of the Jossey-Bass Guides to Online Teaching and Learning. Published by Jossey-Bass, A Wiley Brand. One Montgomery Street, Suite 1200, San Francisco, CA 94104-4594. [] Copyright © 2014 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.,
  4. Zhenghao Chen, Justin Cheng, Daniel Chia, Pang Wei Koh (2012). CS224W Final Report
    Engagement, Interaction, and Retention in Online Classes, Stanford University.
  5. Mandy Zatynski (2013). Calling for Success: Online Retention Rates Get Boost From Personal Outreach.



This article is meant to address some frequent questions I get from Visual Communication students regarding registration.

Student question: How can I determine which general education classes are available online?

General Education Core Course Web Page

First you need to determine the corresponding course numbers for the Gen. Ed. classes you wish to take so you can determine if they are offered online during the semester you need. Fortunately, Nashville State offers a wide selection of online classes for General Education. The following link will take you to the NSCC General Education Core Course web page,

Let’s say you want to take the beginning English Composition course. According to the course rubric, the course number is ENGL 1010  (English Composition I). Now you want to determine if ENGL 1010 is offered during your semester as an online offering.

Information Technology Web Page

Go to the Information Technology page at You will find the Term and Program fields followed by the Search button in the right column.

Screen shot of Term and Program fields on

Enter the term you are interested in and the program your course rubric falls into.

For example, let’s say you want to find out the English Composition I course for the Spring  2017 semester. Select Spring 2017 in the Term field.

Screen shot of Term Spring 2017 from

Since the course rubric for the English Composition I course is ENGL 1010, select ENGL in the Program Field and then select the Search button.

screen-shot_Program_Search from

The resulting page will show the following information on each course being offered (Note the offerings are by campus):

CRN, Course, Section, Course Name, Status, Enrolled, Seats Available, Days, Time, Room, Instructor, Session

Since the question was concerned with online courses, we are interested in the CRN, Course, Section, Course Name, and Seats Available fields.

CRN (Course Registration Number) is the number you put into the CRN field when you register online for the course.

Course and Course Name fields will ensure you are selecting the correct course, i.e. ENGL 1010 English Composition I.

Seats Available field indicates how many seats are left in the course. If the number is 0 (zero), the class is full.

Section field indicates when the class is offered according to the following rules for the Main Nashville Campus:

  • Sections that begin with a N are daytime on-ground classes: e.g. N01, N02
  • Sections that begin with a N4 are nightime on-ground classes; e.g. N40, N41
  • Sections that begin with a W are are online classes; e.g. W01, W02
  • Sections that begin with a R are TN eCampus online classes; e.g. R50, R51

The Results

For the Spring 2017 class the following options are available as of today (Nov 2, 2016):

10218 ENGL-1010 N01 English Composition I A 0 25 MWF 0800 AM - 0855 AM K-204 Burridge L Full Term
Note for the course above: Students may be required to register for ENGL 0815 as a co-requisite.


10248 ENGL-1010 N18 English Composition I A 0 25 TR 0220 PM - 0345 PM K-208 Rooks R Full Term
Note for the course above: Students may be required to register for ENGL 0815 as a co-requisite.

10251 ENGL-1010 N40 English Composition I A 0 25 T 0600 PM - 0900 PM K-209 Full Term
Note for the course above: Students may be required to register for ENGL 0815 as a co-requisite.


10255 ENGL-1010 N43 English Composition I A 0 25 R 0600 PM - 0900 PM K-209 Full Term
Note for the course above: Students may be required to register for ENGL 0815 as a co-requisite.

and finally...

11207 ENGL-1010 W01 English Composition I A 0 25 WEB Weir B Full Term

11210 ENGL-1010 W06 English Composition I A 0 25 WEB Beadles L Full Term

Course Registration Numbers (CRN) are shown in Bold Red
Section numbers are shown in bold Blue.

Note that these numbers are always changing during registration. Seats fill up fast. Just because you see 4 seats available for a course now, doesn’t mean they’ll be there tomorrow. Once you see enrollment availability, register immediately for that class and pay asap so you do not loose that registration.


You register online via You will need your A number and password to access the system.

Student Question: How do I know which courses I should register for any given semester?

For Visual Communication students the following course information should help guide you.

The following classes are only offered during the Fall Semester:

  • COM 1306 Web Animation
  • COM1500 WordPress
  • ENGL 2116 Writing for the Web

The following classes are only offered during the Spring Semester:

  • BUS 1050 Legal Issues for the Web
  • COM 1040 Presentation Media
  • COM 1300 Site Building I–Dreamweaver®
  • COM2020 Multimedia Design
  • COM2700 Multimedia and Web Design Capstone

Advising sheets for the Visual Communications concentrations can be found at: