I am a full-time instructor of web design & development courses at Portland Community College's beautiful Rock Creek campus.
I have over
23 years of experience in web site design and development as an educator, user experience and user interface designer and consultant. I have years of work experience in the corporate sector which includes designing web-based outage monitoring and process automation for Charter/Spectrum and just before joining PCC, working as the Community Manager and as a Technical Lead at Janrain. I strive to bring my professional experience into the classroom to prepare students for careers outside of PCC, by providing real-world examples in my coursework.
Read reviews from students of my courses at ratemyprofessors.com.
- Computer Applications & Web Technologies SAC Co-Chair (Web Subcommittee), 2017-2019
- Staff Advisor - PCC Web Club
- High School Dual Credit Support, Web (Rock Creek Campus)
- CTE Assessment Coach, 2018-2019
Philosophy of Teaching
As an instructor of user experience design and development in a career technical education program, my aim is to motivate students to become problem-solvers and life-long learners in web technologies.
I incorporate aspects of Case Method teaching in my courses. In short:
- Industry-standard concepts are broken down and explored, then implemented in an environment that encourages risk-taking and independent thought.
- Uncertainty in the learning environment is embraced. Our jobs are to make sense out of chaos.
- The opportunity to make mistakes and learn from them is key to learning how to navigate ones way out of problems. Therefore, I strive to get students thinking on their feet as soon as possible.
- Everyone works in a Case Method learning environment, including the instructor. Learning happens serendipitously while working and problem-solving.
Philosophy of Web Design
- Web design and development is a trade. Anyone who puts in the time and effort to become good at this can become so. But you can also make it your craft and life-long passion if you wish.
- Trying very hard at something and failing at it should be celebrated as an opportunity to grow. People who don't fail some of the time aren't realizing their full potential. It's more important to learn how to recover from mistakes (which happen) as it is to just do things perfectly. This is how we learn to problem-solve.
- Networking is crucial to professional success. Networking is about creating and cultivating relationships. Networking is not about who you know; it's about who knows you.
- The end user is the final authority. The client is an important collaborator and pays the bills, but their influence ends there. Content is not king.
- Unlearning bad habits and letting go of preconceived notions of how things must be done are both more important than picking up new skills.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: I'm a program student and I noticed that there are 47 different electives in your program. Which electives do you recommend to students?
A: If you're interested in design, Photoshop and Illustrator.
For either design or development track students, CAS211W (WordPress Themes and Customizations) and CAS265 (Emerging Web Tools & Trends) are must-dos.
Q: What's the secret to becoming a great designer/developer?
A: Create a project. When that's done, do another one. Repeat this process constantly until you're so good at this, people want to pay you to do this for a living and you do it for 40+ hours per week and you become even greater at it. Then, pass on this secret "work hard at something to become better at it" method to others.
Q: I see you use [technology] at PCC. Can we contact you regarding our amazing platform which does the same thing but differently? Signed, Account Manager at [company].
I'm not a decision maker and I assure you, if we're shopping for technologies, we'll have heard of you and we'll call you. ;)
Q: I want to create my own website. If you could recommend any one course for someone who wants to learn how to create websites but doesn't want to do an entire degree or certificate, which would you recommend?
A: CAS111W - Beginning Web Design: WordPress. Hands down.
As of this writing, WordPress runs about a third of all websites on the internet and comprises close to 60% of all implementations of a content management system, and the course positions you to be able to set up hosting and spin up WordPress instances as early as the second week of class. Don't let the word beginning fool you! It's actually a very robust course which teaches students how to become self-sufficient in a very popular platform for all levels of web design / development expertise. I consider myself to be a WordPress designer/developer and every project I've done since 2005 (with the exception of this site you're looking at now and one attempt at Ruby on Rails) has been done in WordPress.
Q: I'm with an area employer and I have an internship opportunity available for one of your students. Do you do internships at PCC?
A: We have co-operative education requirements for our certificate and degree tracks. There's more to the Co-operative Education process than can fit into this site so please contact me and we can discuss this opportunity.
Q: How do I audit one of your courses?
A: PCC requires that all individuals auditing courses first apply to become a PCC student (why wait... start now!), and then register and pay for the course in question. In the first week of class, students then write to their instructor to let them know that they wish to take the course as an audit rather than as a letter grade. This is done for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is for the safety and the privacy of all the students (including audit students) in the course. Any requests I receive to circumvent this college requirement will be denied without exceptions, so please do not ask.
For anyone wishing to audit one of my courses which has prerequisite courses, write to me and we can discuss whether you have the skills necessary to receive an override.
Q: I'm an industry professional and wish to take one of your courses, but it has prerequisites which I don't need to take because I'm sure I know all these things already. How can I get into your course?
A: It's common for industry professionals to come back and take courses to keep their skills up to date and I enjoy having these students in my courses. Carefully review the prerequisite course's Course Content and Outcomes Guide before making the determination that you have the skills in question; you might be surprised to learn you do not, or we may cover additional skills in those courses that you don't know. Courses with prerequisites presuppose proficiency of the skills in the prerequisites, so we delve right into these skills with little or no review. This is done so that we don't waste class time covering concepts that students should already be proficient in, having passed the course.
Depending on the course, I may ask to see proof in these skills in the form of some examples of your work. We teach HTML5 and CSS3/preprocessors in the two courses we do the most overrides for (CAS206 and CAS215, respectively), so if your knowledge of HTML and CSS is a few years old, please consider taking these courses to get up to speed on these changes. More to the point: if your work examples are full of HTML 4.01 markup and use tables for page layout or your work consists entirely of work in content management systems where you haven't touched any code, you should get your skills up to par.
Once we have established that you will be able to take the course in question, you must first submit an application to become a PCC student, and then you can sign up for the course when registration is open for that quarter.
If you are an industry professional seeking to audit a course, see FAQ #1 above.
Q: I got a prereq override! Does this mean I technically passed that course?
A: If you do receive an override of a prereq course, please understand that this is not the same as having received credit for the prerequisite course. If you do receive a prerequisite override and you decide later to complete a degree or certificate, you will most likely need to receive a course substitution to make up the credits or simply take that course to satisfy the requirements of the degree or certificate. Additionally, these overrides are at the discretion of that particular instructor, so if an instructor provides you with an override, there is no guarantee that a different instructor will honor the same overriden prereq course.