Buying Retin

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26 Responses to “Buying Retin”

  1. Abi Noda

    Nice post, Anthony. This recent topic of discussion has been especially relevant to me: I am an 18 year old designer/web developer and, for little awhile, was searching for a reputable university program that fit my interests. I couldn’t find anything, and am instead pursuing a degree in computer science. What I’ve realized, however, that design and development are in the end things that are limited in their ability to be “taught” in a classroom. In place of a college degree in web design, I plan on continuing my education through online/print resources, work experience, and internships. I should mention that I am thrilled by your new “creative internships” website. I recently went through a good deal of google-searching to find an internship for myself in Chicago, and I am confident that your new site will ease the path for future internship seekers.

  2. Paul

    I think this resonates with every student who was taught web design. Last year in colleges it was commonplace to use tables for ‘ease’ and there was little regard of semantic content.

    I am working with a bunch of great web designers and developers on a project called which is aimed at this particular market, with great articles being written as we speak, and a launch of early 2009. You can follow them on Twitter @scrunchup.

  3. Web Design India

    Yes, you are right. If we want to give proper education about web design to students we have to change old curriculum. And students have some practical work related to web design development. We have to fix some basic standard regarding web design .

  4. Zach LeBar

    As was the case with Abi Noda, I’m in a very similar situation, about to graduate high school. I’ve been lurking in the shadows of this career for a while now, and it’s become both a hobby and a passion for me. I certainly haven’t found anything approaching competent education from my local school districts, at the high school level. They still advocate using the WYSIWYG editor of Dreamweaver, and no mention is ever made of design principles or theory.

    I’m learned far more from online sources than I ever could from a classroom around me. Now the only thing missing from the equation would be work experience. I think I’ll check that creative internships site for help there. ;)

  5. Paul Davis

    A friend who is doing IT at school, was told how to make a ‘modern’ way of designing websites, with tables and inline CSS.

    I myself am completely self tought and am doing standard complaint work for clients.

    Says it all really.

  6. John McMullen

    I’m a Flash instructor at a local college and taught the ‘Intro to Web’ course once. We were required to teach tables and styling using font tags and what not. I won’t teach that class again, it just hurt me to know I was teaching something wrong. I let the students know that too by saying things like, “I have to teach you this, but don’t ever use it.”

  7. Stephen M. James

    As a Media Communication graduate, I only had one class that mentioned HTML (the other interactive class was on interactive CDs and that was 2005!)

    The interactive educational system attracts either those that are wanting to interact with/impact people as a focus or those that can’t make it in the “real world.” Maybe interactive teachers should have to create a web site every few years instead of writing an academic paper. But then, who would review it?

  8. Brenelz

    Surprisingly for me, I found a great course that taught me everything from graphics to programming to networking and security. Was a great course!

  9. Zinni

    I am glad to see so many comments on this article, as it is a subject that I have been really passionate about in the past. Thank you everyone!

    @John McMullen - Your perspective is definitely not new to me. When in college I actually had a couple of discussions with faculty in charge of the interactive program and they gave me a similar response. I commend you for refusing to teach the class, as I never really felt the professors were doing their duty when they just blindly taught what they were told to even if it was no longer relevant.

    Your response also reminded me of the typical excuse we would get for outdated course objectives. We would always hear “these tools may not be up to date, but you will at least have an understanding. You will really need to learn how to do it in the real world anyways.” I wonder how many other students are being given this exact same line of bull…

  10. Walter Wimberly

    Universities are good at teaching things which don’t change over time (physics, history, and English Lit. are all examples of things which haven’t changed too much - especially on the under-grad level), and ensuring a level of quality by checking credentials. However, they are not so good at keeping up with a field which changes on a continual basis because it is a moving target with different opinions of what a “qualified” instructor is.

    How do you define a “good” web designer. Is it someone who remains gainfully employed during this economic down turn, is it someone who creates “pretty” websites, is it someone who can build to a client’s request, someone who builds “standards” based websites, or someone who can generate income from a web site. Often these are conflicting characteristics. Universities have a hard time with that as they have to have a way to prove that the instructor is qualified to justify the expense to students.

    Their qualification process is by no means perfect, or even close in many ways, but it exists for a reason.

  11. Stephen

    I had an Advanced Multimedia Design class recently where we were told that clicking “Export to Dreamweaver” in Adobe Fireworks was sufficient.

    He was serious.

  12. Zinni


    I agree with you to an extent, but the same could be said about print design and there are a number of excellent programs out there for print. I think the problem that you are describing is the attempt of programs to be everything to everyone. Instead they should be focusing on creating programming that fits one of the major roles of web designers that you have stated.

    I am not saying all programs should be the same, but they should pick one area and focus on that. There are enough schools out there that if they all did this then it would be much easier for a student to pick which program they want to attend because they will be able to see the differences between them.

  13. Al Wasco

    As someone who teaches Web and Interactive Design at Cuyahoga Community College, I know exactly what people are talking about in this thread. In academia we struggle to stay on top of developments in the field, not always successfully. It used to be that typically community/junior colleges could hire part-time instructors who were working professionals even if they lacked academic credentials. This was one way we could keep our teaching current.

    For better or worse, many (most?) colleges are trying to raise the academic standards for part-timers. Our school now requires at least a Bachelor’s degree for ALL instructors. This obviously will prevent us from hiring some people who are extremely skilled but lack the credential. In fact we had to fight to get the requirement of Masters degree reduced to a preference!

    I can see both sides of this argument, and won’t pursue it here, but would encourage potential students to talk directly with the department heads and/or faculty of ANY school they are considering to find out how they approach web and interactive design. Some still focus on “making it pretty” while others are more up to date with standards/usability.

    We try to teach a balance of design, function and usability, but I can tell you that finding qualified instructors to do this is a challenge.

    Best regards,
    Al Wasco, Assistant Professor
    Visual Communication & Design/Interactive Media
    Cuyahoga Community College

  14. Robert

    This is a topic that doesn’t get discussed enough. 30 years ago Universities were always at the cutting edge.

    Today it seems that you have a much better chance at landing a good development job if you don’t have a degree. Just convince your interviewer that you spend the 4 years you would have been in college doing something more productive. Like programming PHP/mysql sites.

    I think one of the contributing factors was the introduction of PHP and MySQL about 10 years ago. Prior to that there was no way kids could get access to the tools they needed to learn how to develop real apps. PHP and MySQL just kind of opened pandora’s box and Academia still hasn’t figured out what happened.

  15. Fab

    nice article !! I had a php programming class a semester ago and we were still been taught to code in the procedural way where the rest of the world is now switching into in object oriented way of coding !!

  16. Zinni


    Thank you for giving your great insider opinion. I am glad to hear you tell students to talk to their department heads, I think this is something that most students don’t think they are allowed (or care?) to do.

  17. Al Wasco

    Another piece of advice I give potential students may be even more important: when considering a school, look at the student work. If it looks like what you’d like to be doing, keep the school on your list. Then talk with instructors/department heads and current students. Otherwise, look elsewhere.

    In terms of how we teach design and technology, I’m spending a sabbatical year researching just those questions. Here’s more info:

  18. Nathan

    I agree totally and completely with this. I recently graduated college and with the majority of the small companies who need design work wanting web work done…I feel totally lost.

    I want to an accredited school, received a degree in design and don’t know ANYTHING about web design. I’ve been slaving around on dreamweaver, reading design blogs and burying my face in to just try to learn the essentials. I feel totally inadequate in that respect.

    It hurts to pay my 200 dollar student loan payment every month knowing that I didn’t even get a base to jump from in the web world.

  19. Ryan Colgin

    I agree with Jeff as well - I’d much rather a professor that had 4 years of real world design experience, than one with a two year masters degree and two years of teaching experience.

    Professors should have a high percentage of ‘real-world’ design projects in their folio to be considered.

  20. Ellen

    I work at a university, and there are a few factors that I haven’t seen mentioned above.

    Please realize that ALL universities of repute have to comply with a regulating body. Ours must comply with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

    These regulating bodies are VERY strict in their requirements for teaching faculty. Institutions that employ faculty members who do not have terminal degrees have to prove that this is the best option for the student. This is no small task.

    And at times it does seem to get a bit ridiculous. A friend who does have a terminal degree (Zology)and who has written a highly respected textbook for the field in which she teaches (Human Physiology) had to be supported to the regulating body because her terminal degree was not in the same subject she was teaching.

    When we don’t have the time, or want to spend the time, to research a person’s specific abilities, we use the degree as a measure. And sadly, the measure is rarely the most accurate representation of the man(person).

    It’s not just ‘new’ fields, either. I can recall complaining in the 70’s that many of my architecture instructors hadn’t built any real buildings.

    It’s the concept of university. It’s been stretched beyond learning to think to cover what might best be taught in a technical school. That includes engineering, physics, web, human physiology,you name it. Anything that moves faster than a glacial pace.

    The university model doesn’t fit fast moving information. Which is fine if you’re pondering philosophy or theology or literature. You WANT to know what others were pondering 25 years ago, or 250 years ago, or longer.

    But how would anyone even hope to get a bachelors, much less a masters or doctorate, in Web? When the spiffy new thing I’m learning now is outdated tomorrow?

    Back way up, and try this on for size:

    1) there is very little reason for an employer to require any kind of degree (beyond perhaps an associates from a reputable web design/mastery program) for web work. I know way too many smart folks who are wizard level practitioners with no formal training in anything they do. Look at product, not paper.

    2) there is NO excuse for any instructor, university level or otherwise, to teach a practice that is more than 6 months in the grave, unless they’re teaching history. Yes, I know schools are full of faculty who think CSS is the next big new thing, including here where I work. I have no idea how to get them to realize that they are teaching dead technology - everything we’ve tried falls on deaf ears. It’s like insisting that your geography term paper be written in Latin. Which I’m betting someone does.

    3) as a society we need to step back and examine what should be happening at the university, and what can and should happen elsewhere. For example, we shouldn’t be teaching people the mechanics or reading and writing at this level; it should have been taught much earlier. We shouldn’t be teaching how to use Photoshop, either. What we should teach is how to read and write with thought and precision, how to create or examine an image and understand what one might do with it, or how to best use that image towards our ends.

    I’m not saying there’s no place in the university curriculum for someone who wants to design for the web. There’s a whole lot of theory out there. I’d like to see us challenging our instructors to ask questions, such as:

    How do we make the ‘information highway’ a better source of information? How do we connect people better? How do we deliver the information in more innovative ways? What does this do for/to our society? How can we use this tool to move us toward the societies we want to live in? How do we break out of the boundaries imposed by print and presence to design better web sites? Why does the web exist?

    These are the questions that you won’t find answered in a half dozen well written how-to books. But they’re questions that I think deserve deep thought and intelligent discourse.

    In short, quit asking universities to do something they aren’t designed to do. Embrace technical training as something of high value.

    After all, I haven’t heard anyone bemoaning a lack of historians or philosophers, but we do need more engineers, scientists, and yes, people who can write smashing good code.

  21. Zinni


    Even though this article may sound like I am arguing for more current tech related education, I am actually on your side. I too believe the educational institutions should be teaching more theory, and definately not teaching outdated tech. Which is exactly why I agree with your statement:

    We shouldn’t be teaching how to use Photoshop, either. What we should teach is how to read and write with thought and precision, how to create or examine an image and understand what one might do with it, or how to best use that image towards our ends.

    Design theory is the one thing I always tell younger designers what they should be looking for in a program. However when it comes to the web, my experience is that these institutions are not apply the theory in the right way. Most professors are so married to print that they only way they can teach anything web or interactive related is by trying to make it something it is not. The other concern I have is the underlying notion that web design is not actually design, that I often overhear coming from students of such programs.

    There is still a definite need for educators and program who truly understand the medium and can explain the connection between interactivity, user interaction, and design theory. None of this has anything to do with CSS or HTML.

    As an employer I am far more interested in student’s with this knowledge than those who can turn a PSD into HTML.

  22. Claire

    It would be fantastic if Web Design made it into the classroom. It would be a standard for employers to base thier decisions on. However, it is kind of nice in the same way that there are no web design courses. It is nice to not have any ‘standards’ as such. It is nice to find out things from others, and everyone share their ideas. I can imagine a lot would change if web design courses were brought into the education system. Would a lot of web secrets be given away?

  23. instrymentkachalka

    Great site..I enjoyed it a lot..BTW Its the first time I’m posting my comments on a public place.

  24. I have just visited your site which I adored I will speak about it with my entourage to make you publicity and still cheer with the webmaster


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  • Paul Gordon: Aaah, I love KickStarter projects. I’m hoping they come over to the UK very soon. Nick, the very best of luck with...
  • Firma Rehberi: thanks for this.
  • James Kemp: In the end, everything thing is designed. Plain things are still designed, but with usability in mind. The two bounce off...
  • Joshua: Being more of a graphic designer than a web designer, I think I can agree with the concept here. I do a lot of web layout mockups...
  • estudio web: Muy buen blog de diseño! great blog! thanks from Argentina.
  • theComplex: @Lisa – I have the same issue. And sometimes I get so caught up in how irritated I am at that client that the...
  • Daus: I don’t think there is “rules” in webdesign. It is just trend, and people (read: designer) often...
  • Web Design Australia: Forcing yourself to work on something when you’re stressed won’t give you the results that you want....
  • Benny: Great post and good tips! I also have this problem from time to time, having trouble finding that perfect ‘inspiratio...
  • Luci: Conventions and standards, in my mind, are different kettles of fish. Standards, like coding standards, I think exist for good...
  • Tom Hermans: Although I want a website to be visually appealing, and to stand out etc.. I also want it to be a handy instrument that is...
  • Vim: This list is always a good tip however its something that most designers already know, finding inspiration can be hard, but to get...
  • LA Woodarts Designer: An excellent reminder to step back sometimes. It’s amazing how often the business part blocks the creative....
  • Ben Rama: shouldnt it be as simple as if it works it works in an ideal world great post – thanks
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