If I could go back in time and give myself some advice for the intro to web class there are a few things that I would tell myself to do differently. First off I would say practice, practice, practice. The way the class is set up, there is not a lot of homework. The majority of the class is spent learning and then applying the new technique via exercise. So if you do not practice you will have a very difficult time keeping up. All of the coding that is learned builds on itself so if you do not understand an exercise you will fall behind in the class. The best way to practice for all of the exercises is to do the practice exercises that come with the book. The book has a website that goes over all of the coding learned in class.
Second is spending a lot of time on the web. Look at what good web designers are doing now. Look at sites that use html5, css3, and new web techniques. Take note of these techniques and styles and try to apply them to all of your work. Another tip that can help save time is, when building in Photoshop make sure to view the page at one hundred percent. Hit Z on the keyboard and use the magnifying glass to view your document at full size. This helps you see what the site will look like on the browser and prevent you from building to big or too small.
Different browsers will render your code differently. They don’t play together well they all like to have their own style and level of intelligence. Some browsers will read new code and techniques where others will freak out like Internet explorer for example. Browsers need to be taken into consideration when defining the target audience. If your target audience is made up of old Internet explorer users, pick a different project with a different target audience and save yourself from getting a head ache.
Another tip that will help a student coming in to advanced web is work your butt off to get the photo shop comp perfect. You will need a lot of time to code the site and figure out the technical side of it. You should not be wasting any time worrying about how it looks when you should be coding.
Some sites that will be your friend are pxtoem.com, jigsaw.w3.org/css-validator, and validator.w3.org. The first site will help you convert pixels, points, and ems, which will be applied when coding fonts. The second two sites will help you validate your html and css. This will help you trouble shoot coding problems and it is also part of your grade. When Validating the html and css It is good to do it a lot and often. If you wait until the very end to validate you can get slammed with a ton of errors that can be very time consuming to correct. Changing these errors could potentially change the way the site is rendered which means you will have to recode to get the look you want.