Free Skool:Spring 2013

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New Haven Free Skool Web Design & Development class

  • The focus of this class will be Web development with WordPress.
  • Each participant has a WordPress instance created for them, and we dig in. A secondary focus will be basic HTML and CSS editing, so that participants will better understand the underlying nature of Web pages.
  • We'll need a quick overview of wiki editing as well, so that we can use this wiki for collaboration.
  • Finally, the facilitators will hammer home the importance of freedom, openness, and the role of FOSS (free/open-source software) in building and maintaining a free Web.

Time and Location

Classes take place Wednesdays 5:30pm to 6:30pm EST, March 13 & 20 and April 3, 10, & 17 at The People's Arts Collective of New Haven:

212 College St, New Haven, CT 06511

Optionally, after class sessions can be scheduled, preferably somewhere with beer and the Internet.

Signing Up

There are a few ways to do this, there's a signup sheet at the Free Skool website, but it requires giving your information to Google via Google Docs. You can also just contact the facilitators (listed below) directly, or just show up. Classes are typically 13-16 people, but we have room for (maybe) 20 people and will try to make computers available for participants upon request.


Sean "Diggity" O'Brien or

Hans Schoenburg


We've moved the list of participants to a new page, since it got too long.

Class Blogs

We've moved the list of blogs to a new page, since it got too long.

Class Outline

Session 1

March 13, 2013

Quick Overview of HTML and CSS

WordPress Blogs

Freedom Tips

  1. Install Firefox with the Web Developer extension.
  2. While you're at it, why not block ads and browse the Web more securely?

Session 2

March 20, 2013

Dive Into WordPress

  • Overview of WordPress features, with an emphasis on the basic setup.
  • See our WordPress Basics.

Freedom Tips

  1. Install a search plugin that doesn't spy on you (like Google does).
  2. DuckDuckGo is the safest way to search, even on your phone.

Session 3

April 3, 2013

  • More hacking on our WordPress installations, and we spent most of the session helping hands-on with individual questions. We also did a basic introduction to wiki editing, a brought some more users online with their own WordPress instances.

Wiki Editing

Citing Works

  • For details about how you should cite books, articles, and websites, read this page.

Freedom Tips

  1. Find out what Creative Commons is and why it's important for the Web.
  2. Did you know you can search for free culture works that you can remix, adapt, and distribute freely?

Session 4

April 10, 2013

How Websites Work

What is Free Software?

Freedom Tips

  1. Did you know you don't have to use Windows or Mac OSX? Learn what's wrong with Apple and Microsoft.
  2. While you're at it, why not try an alternative OS from our list?

Session 5

April 17, 2013

Origins of the Web

Miscellaneous videos on the history of the Web:

Advertising and Business Interests

The motivation of Web developers matters. Advertising and business interests shape the Web.

  1. If people have too many choices, they won't choose at all.
  2. Social Validation: When people are uncertain, they'll look to peers.
  3. Scarcity: Less available items seem to be more valuable.
  4. Food, Sex, or Danger: These are powerful triggers for action.
  5. Power of Faces: Humans focus on faces.
  6. Story: Humans process information best in story form.
  7. Commitment: Start by asking for small commitments.
  • Some of these conclusions and the research they're based upon are questionable. However, we need to understand the role such conclusions play on the Web. This video represents the "school of thought" of Web-based business.

Freedom Tips

  1. Have you tried downloading and reading free eBooks?
  2. Take a look at the 42K+ eBooks available at Project Gutenberg and the smaller Calibre DRM-free library.

Class Materials

Did you know you can "roll your own" PDF from any page(s) of this site by clicking Print/export > Download as PDF in the sidebar?

More Resources

  • Links to all kinds of cool (and helpful!) stuff.

Software Recommendations



Recommended Web Hosts

Wiki Editing Help

Tips on editing this wiki.