JavaScripting for Interactive Educational Webs

[Intro] [Overview] [Basics] [More] [Forms] [If] [Queries] [Time] [Random] [Loops] [Misc.] [References] [HTML]

Introduction and Overview

Abstract: An introduction to and overview of a workshop (with hands-on exercises) on JavaScript in Education presented at the EdMedia'97 world conference on multimedia and hypermedia in education.


With the growth of the World-Wide Web, page authors have begun to find themselves hampered by the limitations of HTML. Since HTML is a markup language rather than a programming language, it lacks many of the features that designers of interactive pages might want. For example, HTML does not support arbitrary conditionals that might allow one to present the same page in different ways, depending on knowledge of the user. Similarly, HTML does not give the page author direct access to the browser, so that, for example, a page might easily link to the previous page or bring up a page in a new window (there are mechanisms for doing this, but they are not general purpose).

JavaScript is a programming language developed by Netscape Communications Corporation for building interactive pages on the World-Wide Web. As a document author, you embed JavaScript code within your HTML page. That JavaScript is then executed when the page is loaded (or when the user clicks on buttons on your page).

Structure of Workshop

Today, we'll learn the basics of JavaScript and explore some educational applications of JavaScript. The following is a rough outline of what I expect to cover. We are likely to modify this structure as questions and ideas come up. In general, we will spend five-ten minutes discussing each topic, and then five-ten minutes doing hands-on exercises. Since I didn't know the setup of the room at the time I wrote this documentation, some exercises say "the instructor will tell you ...".

We can't hope to learn all of JavaScript in the short time available, so the outline is only a rough guide. The tutorial should give you sufficient skills to explore in new and different directions after you leave. We are likely to modify this structure as questions and ideas come up. Feel free to ask questions when you are confused, or to suggest topics or problems you'd like to cover.

All materials for this tutorial (and perhaps a few others) can be found online at URL


Additional Handouts

The course packet also includes a few additional materials, including a short guide to HTML and printouts of the various JavaScript libraries used in this workshop.

[Intro] [Overview] [Basics] [More] [Forms] [If] [Queries] [Time] [Random] [Loops] [Misc.] [References] [HTML]

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