Students design web pages for area businesses as a part of coursework

Students in Diane Keller’s web design course at Dakota College at Bottineau learn by doing. As a final project for the course, her students are required to design web pages for area businesses.

The one student in her course this semester will design a website for an area fire arms dealer, said Keller. Last spring a class of four students, including three at Dakota College and one taking the class over the interactive video network (IVN) from Lake Region State College in Devils Lake, designed a web page for the Harvey Ambulance Service.

“You couldn’t ask for better experience,” said Keller.

Two of the students, Derek Jacobs, who graduated from Dakota College at Bottineau in December, and Coral Rodriguez, who will be graduating soon, said they both will use their web design skills in future employment.

Jacobs had done research to come up with a rough plan for the website during a previous technology class he took at the college. During the spring 2012 semester, he and his classmates presented the proposal to members of the Harvey Ambulance Squad board and got their input. The board members told the students what they liked and what didn’t work as well for them. Ambulance personnel collected content they wanted included in the website and provided it to the students, who assembled and organized the information. The students then met again with the board members to obtain final design approval. During the final eight weeks of the semester the students edited photos, created graphics, and wrote the code for the website. The board members gave approval for the website, which was launched in May 2012 and is still in use.

“For me it helped with getting some experience in knowing how to deal with customers, what kind of questions they ask,” said Rodriguez.

Jacobs agreed that working with clients and learning what they want and need in a website is important. He also looked at websites for other ambulance services and imitated the best designs.

“A website doesn’t need to be all sorts of flashy to be functional,” said Jacobs. “It has to be simple and solid. As far as I know, they’re still happy with it.”

Angie Mack, a board member with the Harvey Ambulance Service and an EMT I85, said the website provides the informaiton that the ambulance service wanted. It provides information about what the ambulance service does, provides information about training dates. The website also includes information about the members and includes a portal that helps ambulance members schedule, the times they are available to volunteer and a gallery of photos. The website is located at (www.harveyambulance.org).

“It’s very user friendly and functional,” Mack said.

Students at Dakota College at Bottineau volunteered their services when they created the website. “It’s a great service learning project,” said Keller.

Keller said more people should take a web design course. The demand for people with skills in technology is increasing, even as fewer people are enrolled in those courses.

For more information about the class and other information technology courses, contact Dakota College at Bottineau. (www.dakotacollege.edu/contact.php)