Frequently Asked Questions

If you have a question and don’t see it in the list, please post it to the comments section below.

GD 65 – Web Design 1

What are the prerequisites for GD 65?

There are no prerequisites for this class, but the advised skills are: Graphic Design 18 – Introduction to Graphic Design Applications (advised) or Entertainment Technology 11 – Computer Skills for Digital Media.

Is a book required for GD65 and where do I purchase it?

Yes, the following book is required:
Jennifer Niederst Robbins – Learning Web Design: A Beginner’s Guide to HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and Web Graphics, O’Reilly Media, 2012, 4th Edition 978-1449319274

The SMC bookstore should have copies. If not, check with an online retailer like Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

If you’re having difficulty finding a print version, please consider the following digital alternatives:

1. A digital Kindle version from Amazon costs around $24.79, or

2. From the O’Reilly website (they publish the book) you can get an eBook version (includes the following formats: ePub, mobi, pdf) for $39.99


And of course, you should be able to find a used copy on Amazon for somewhere around $25-$50.

What do I do if I have technical problems with the eCompanion site?

If you have technical questions about access issues or passwords, etc. please contact the help-desk at helpdesk@smconline.org or by phone at 877-740-2213. This service is available to online students 24/7. ALWAYS go to the help-desk for technical assistance as I am here to teach the course and cannot help you with technical issues. There is a help tab on every page within the smconline.org platform.

On the Tools menu, click Tech Support. The Contact Help Desk page opens. There is a phone number and email address and a CHAT LIVE WITH A HELP-DESK PERSON option as well.

How do I ask questions during the online GD 65 course ?

Monday – Thursday: I’ll respond within 24 hours through the discussion board on the eCompanion site under the threaded discussion for either general questions or that week’s assignment.

Friday, Sat, Sun:  I’l respond within 24 hours through email at cavanaugh_jamie@smc.edu.

If you need to email me about something you’d like to remain private or if your question needs immediate attention, you may email me at cavanaugh_jamie@smc.edu.

The quizzes are online and are 10 short-answer or multiple choice questions. When a quiz is due I’ll post a link to it in that week’s class notes. Please be sure to complete the quiz by the due date posted and be sure to hit the “Done” button at the end of the quiz to ensure it is submitted.

As an online student, can I use the computer lab on campus?

Yes,  students who are taking a hybrid class are eligible to use the computer lab on the AIR campus.

For the final project for GD 65 will I be able to make any kind of website?

The final project for this class is to redesign and build a small website. You can choose an existing website of your choice (except I do not allow students to create their own portfolio website). The website must be a business or organization, and not a personal site for you or someone you know.

Is there anything else I need to buy for GD 65, like a pen tablet?

While a pen tablet, or Wacom tablet, isn’t required for this class, I have several students who prefer using a tablet. I myself don’t use one, but I can see how it would be great to have one.

If you have access to a computer (either Mac or PC), Photoshop, Dreamweaver and a Flash drive (or DropBox or GoogleDrive account for storing files), you have everything you need for this class.

How can I find out more about Tumblr, and about privacy and Tumblr?

Be sure to watch the “walk-through” video on Tumblr posted in the Class 01 notes. Here is another good resource on how-to use Tumblr.  We use Tumblr in this class to post some of your work in this class. My suggestion is to never post anything private on your Tumblr blog and if you do not want search engines to find your Tumblr site you may change this in your settings. Also, if privacy is an issue, I recommend deleting your Tumblr blog at the end of our 8-week class.

GD 66 – Web Design 2

Where can I find a copy of the recommended class textbook?

The recommended class textbook HTML and CSS: Design and Build Websites should be available at the the SMC bookstore. If not, check with an online retailer like Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

And of course, you can find a used print copy on Amazon for somewhere around $15.

The companion website for the book is http://htmlandcssbook.com

General Questions

Where can I find my grades for the course?

Grades for all assignments and projects are posted in the eCompanion site for the course. Login to Corsair Connect to find the link to the eCompanion site for the course.

How do I change the avatar image next to my posts in the Comments section?

If you want to change your Avatar, create a avatar through Gravatar, and a globally recognized avatar will be associated with your email address. For example, you can create an avatar for your email address and your own custom avatar will appear when you comment on this site.


Where is the best place to buy computer software with a student discount?

Many of my students have recommended the following online stores for buying software:


Consider purchasing a subscription to the Adobe Creative Cloud to have access to all the Creative Suite software. Here’s more information about the Creative Cloud.

What is the difference between a Web Designer and a Web Developer?

Basically, a Web Developer is responsible for the backend production and programming of the website, while the Web Designer does the frontend development: design, coding and light scripting like JavaScript. Web Design was once a part of Graphic Design programs exclusively but it’s now very much its own separate area of study. Web Design is really evolving into a much larger area of study know as Interaction Design.

In the past, graphic designers often designed for the Web, but now there are designers who only do Web Design. And the thinking now is that Web Designers need to know how to code HTML/CSS –and some JavaScript helps too!

Here’s a good article outlining job descriptions for Web/Interactive Careers:

I'm interested in learning about mobile Apps. What GD course covers this?

If you’re interested in learning about process and design for mobile Apps, be sure to take Graphic Design 75 – Mobile Design 1. Note, that currently it’s not offered every semester, so keep your eyes out for it. And, it’s not a programming course, so if you’re interested in building mobile Apps, check out the course in the SMC Computer Science program called CS 53A and 53B, iOS Development with Objective-C and/or CS 86, Android Development.

Leave a comment