Are tags a thing of the past?

Are <meta> tags a thing of the past?

Well…yes, and no! This article will explore which <meta tags> help and which hinder and are obsolete.

Traditionally, meta tags used to be placed in the head section of a webpage, hidden away from the public, they were used to help bots find out about your website contents. An example of such is given below.

With advances in search engine optimisation technology (SEO) the importance of meta tags has been superseded by the relevance of the page contents, rather than what the developer thought were the best keywords. Often, a website could receive a higher ‘click-rate’ than it should because the developer included popular keywords in the meta tags. If you wanted to drive traffic in ‘the good old days’ you would simply include keywords popular at the time – even if they had absolutely nothing to do with the site content! Wack “Spice Girls” in as a meta tag and you would get a higher ranking. This eventually became a real issue, with genuine websites ranking lower than those with irrelevant keywords. The search engines soon developed better algorithms that searched keywords within the page and marked up with – <h1><h2><section><article><strong><em><id=> -etc. In fact, it could now be argued that keywords hinder your ranking by restricting what people are actually typing to find your site. It can also have a detrimental impact on your website if your rivals can see the keywords you are using to try to attract customers.

<meta name=”description”> however, can be a very useful tag. In using the meta description tag, you can directly control what is displayed in the listing for each page displayed in the search engine results. Without this tag, the search engine will return what it thinks is a suitable description of your site.

You don’t need to restrict this tag to just a site description either, you could include phone and contact details so they are shown without the need to access your page. This can be very useful for a GP surgery were someone just quickly needs to find the phone number to book an appointment. It is also the quickest way to impact on the searcher. It is an easy way to tell prospective clients (in less than 155 characters) what you are about before they click. If your description better fits their need than a competitors description, you are more likely to get the clickthrough. So the description tag is not mandatory, but it can help you control the description of the site and potentially drive traffic.

The robots tag is invaluable if you want to “hide” certain pages or content from public search engines by telling the bot what not to crawl and what to crawl. You may have an employee or student area that you do not wish to include in a public search for instance. In which case you would just tell the robot to ignore those pages with a <meta name=”robots” content=”no index, no follow” /> in the header of the page you want to hide.

The Open Graph (OG) meta tag enables a web site/page to “become a rich object in a social graph”. In other words, sites like Facebook will use the OG tags to better understand the site content and display images and information about it. These tags are crucial if you want to control how your site looks when shared on social media. Although this may seem regressive- having to rely on meta tags again – they are based on RDF protocols and, if used, have 4 mandatory tags. If we use IMDB as an example, the following then is a list of required tags to create an open graph object =

  1. og:title – The title of your object as it should appear within the graph, e.g., “The Rock”.
  2. og:type – The type of your object, e.g., “video.movie”. Depending on the type you specify, other properties may also be required.
  3. og:image – An image URL which should represent your object within the graph.
  4. og:url – The canonical URL of your object that will be used as its permanent ID in the graph, e.g., “http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0117500/”.

This would translate in HTML as

<html prefix="og: http://ogp.me/ns#">
<head>
<title>The Rock (1996)</title>
<meta property="og:title" content="The Rock" />
<meta property="og:type" content="video.movie" />
<meta property="og:url" content="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0117500/" />
<meta property="og:image" content="http://ia.media-imdb.com/images/rock.jpg" />
...
</head>
...
</html>

So then, in conclusion, it can be said that with the exception of the description meta tag – meta tags are dead? I would reluctantly answer – “if the purpose is to aid SEO, then yes. The meta tag is dead. However, if you want to control its description in a search engine, or the way it displays on social media then you still need to use them. OK, so the OG meta tag is not a meta tag in the traditional sense, it still needs to be placed in the header. This is something WordPress will not allow without the use of Plugins and trickery – but please, do NOT get me started on WordPress! WordPress is to Web Dev what “nighthawks” are to archaeologists!

So if you want great SEO, write well-formed code utilising the power of HTML5 with a sprinkling of meaningful <meta tags> that described its content, directs bots and creates Open Graphs for social media inclusion.

#mftLearnToCode #ttrLearnToCode https://genericweb.co.uk/

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Why do we need tutors for online courses?

I work as a tutor for an online training provider and we are often asked, “what is the point of a tutor if they are working online?” In this article, I aim to answer that question. Obviously, it is futile to imply that we are necessary for a student’s success in passing their exams, but I do believe we do play a valuable part in their success and satisfaction. It has certainly been my experience that the greater the interaction with the tutor, the greater the chances the student will have a better experience with the course and, therefore, more likely to pass the first time. Where an online course can often fail, is in contextualising the content and making it relevant to the student’s experience and prior knowledge. By getting to know the student, even if it is through a few emails, we can really help them relate their learning to real-world examples and contextualise the technologies they encounter, both in the course and in the real world.

It is also important to give assurances and confirmation of the students learning journey. Creating confidence in the student’s ability to learn is a crucial foundation for building trust between the student and the information they are learning from the course. The sterile environment of non-contextualised learning online can really be enhanced by human interaction and affirmation. Without, the student can feel alone and unsure they are actually learning. Uncertainty and isolation can lead to failure to finish the course and create an adverse learning journey they will put them off future learning. It doesn’t have to be an isolated negative learning journey, it can be turned around by tutor support.

I could cite hundreds of articles that posit we tend to learn in different ways and in different styles – visual, aural, verbal, physical, logical, social and solitary. Granted, online learning covers much of that, and video tutorials can also cover many of those styles that text-based learning cannot. I would like to add an eighth style – contextualised. The majority of the exams for CompTIA, CIW, and Microsoft are based on the technologies they cover and how to implement them correctly as a solution to a problem. They are not about learning the meanings of acronyms and answering verbatim what they have read. If you are unfamiliar with the technologies you are learning, it is very difficult to contextualise why and when you would employ certain technologies with other technologies to solve the problem. In learning what an acronym can do and why we would use it, the meaning will become apparent in a multiple-choice question anyway. Let’s face it, how many “professionals” remember the exact meaning of all those acronyms they use daily? But, we all know how to use them and when to use them.

To “contextualize something [is] to consider something in relation to the situation in which it happens or exists (Oxford Learners Dictionary).

I have taught all age groups and abilities during my time as lecturer, teacher and now a tutor and I can safely say the most challenging and yet rewarding part was contextualising the learning journey. For me, code is a prime example. Every student wants to dive head first into code and get things going by building the next breakthrough app. Some students can just do this, but most cannot and will falter because they do not understand the theory, structure, and context. Every program is based on an algorithm of some sort. Even if you do not take the time to build an algorithm, one can be applied to the code. I think it essential that students at least understand the principals of algorithms and structure before they code. The program needs reason and it needs context or you just start building unstructured code. If you understand the basics of an algorithm, you understand the blocks and the separate functions/components needed to construct well-formed code. A tutor can help with that. A tutor can feedback best practice, context, and industry trends. A Boolean eLearning platform cannot.

Contextualised learning is not just about placing the technologies to help the student better understand. It is also about how you relate the learning to the individual student, so they can better learn. The very nature of eLearning means we can have students from any background. A generic eLearning platform cannot, by its Boolean nature, explain all things to all people. A tutor, however, can have a blinking good try! Trying to break down the learning journey into a voyage the student can understand and follow is invaluable, and I would argue, only achievable by contextualised learning from a tutor.

—————————————–

I hope this article has gone some way in helping you understand the importance of contextualised learning. If it has…please LIKE, SHARE or FEEDBACK the post. Thank you.

About the Author, – Dr Richard Haddlesey is the founder and Webmaster of English Medieval Architecture in which he gained a Ph.D. in 2010 and holds Qualified Teacher Status relating to I.C.T. and Computer Science. Richard is a professional Web Developer and Digital Archaeologist and holds several degrees relating to this. He is passionate about the dissemination of research and advancement of digital education and Continued Professional Development #CPD. Driven by a desire to better prepare students for industry, Richard left mainstream teaching to focus on a career in tutoring I.T. professionals with real industry-ready skills that matter at The Training Room.

#ttrIT #ttrcareerinIT #ttrLearnToCode

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Read more about Dr Richard Haddlesey BSc MSc PGCE PhD

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There is more to providing learning for the I.T. industry than just teaching code!

As IT trainers, should we be installing and promoting “good practice” and “ethics” alongside the coding and theory?

With the absence of a professional regulatory body in I.T. and web development, it is up to us to self-regulate. In doing so, it is essential that we pass on ethics and good practice to the next generation of developers and coders. It is not enough to just teach “good code” and computational thinking, we must provide the wisdom and morals to allow our students to implement their code in an ethical way.

Hacking, espionage, directed advertisements, ransomware, cyber-terrorism, fake news, fraud, spam, SQL injections, sexting, legacy content, the right to be forgotten -etc. are the headline threats to the future of our “on-line” world. However, beyond the obvious are the underlying ethics that affect our daily interactions in the digital age. It is crucial, I believe, that we create a culture of “best practice” within the IT industry to maintain our integrity and elicit trust from our clients and the wider public.

So, if I am not talking about the headline threats to online and digital ethics, what am I talking about?

I am referring to the need for standards and collaboration across the industry. The simple things that make life easier for us all:

  • Indenting your code so others can read your code
  • Commenting on your code so others can understand it
  • Personalising your code so others can’t plagiarise it
  • Make your code efficient and elegant to inspire others
  • Share code snippets with others so we can learn from your code and you from ours
  • Develop your code to be neutral of external influences (no politics, race, borders)

 

Let us now break these points down.

Indenting code

Indenting code has its advantages and disadvantages, but I will argue the positives far outweigh the negatives. Just as we use white space and paragraph in the written language to add emphasis and separate concepts, written code also benefits from this. Placing blocks of code separate from other blocks, or indented within a larger or parent block, helps others to read your code. Not only that, it makes it much easier for the developer themselves to isolate blocks of code when it comes to debugging or showcasing the code to the client or other team members. Different coding languages will have different levels of indentation built in – Python for example – whereas HTML will not enforce indentation (unless you are using a dedicated code editor or IDE). The W3C does go some way to highlight the need for indentation in their style guide by suggesting

·        Do not add blank lines without a reason.

·        For readability, add blank lines to separate large or logical code blocks.

·        For readability, add two spaces of indentation.

·        Do not use the tab key.

·        Do not use unnecessary blank lines and indentation. It is not necessary to indent every element.

Sublime Text 3 has a really innovative way of helping with indentation, it places gridlines that connect the levels of indent so you can visualise related blocks of code. This also helps with ensuring you properly </close> your elements. As mentioned before though, these are just “best practice” at the most, and are neither enforced nor necessary. This naturally causes ambiguity in code with various editors creating different indent depths, some automatically create indents (Dreamweaver etc) whilst others do not (Notepad++, Sublime Text, Brackets). The point I make here is, someone new to the coding environment using a free editor will not necessarily be aware of indenting. Does this make their code wrong? Does it stop it from working? Will it stop them from being paid? The answer is no! However, it may not endear them to their colleagues and will place them apart as “noobs” and will hopefully imply they are not certified developers – a theme we shall return to later.

<!– Commenting your code –>

I understand that commenting your code is more associated with teachers wanting their students to show their understanding when compiling code, but its use is far more important than that. If you are being paid to write code for a company, they will often own the intellectual property rights to the code. Therefore, they have a right to understand what parts of the code are doing. That aside, if you are working as part of a team, other members of your team will need to know what parts of the code are doing. I am certainly not suggesting you comment every line or element, but you should comment a block, function, iteration, concept, external file etc – for your own understanding and sanity if not that of others. I am not referring to putting in an <alt> text for an image – although clearly, that is good practice too – I am more concerned about professional ethics and good practice rather than semantics.

Personalising your code so others can’t plagiarise it so easily.

Ok, this may seem sneaky, but using another developers code as your own is far sneakier! It may also be prudent to add comments to code to try and catch those plagiarising your code, or using it for financial gain and infringing your intellectual property rights. Beyond commenting, you could also add a few “false” lines of code. I am all for sharing code or examining others code as a starting point or inspiration, but within that, you should <!–comment–> in a #reference to the original code and thus, credit the author.

 

Share code snippets with others so we can learn from your code and you from ours.Finally – join a forum! Learn, share, create, collaborate, ask, tell, say, question, expand. There are plenty of places to get involved. Stack Overflow is simply amazing and a must join for any budding or professional developer. Join “roughly 40 million developers who visit the site every month” and ask more than 8,000 questions a day! Another great resource is GitHub where you can share and collaborate.

I hope this article has gone some way in helping you understand the importance of Industry ethics and “good practice”. If it has…or hasn’t… please LIKESHARE or FEEDBACK the post. Thank you.

About the Author, – Dr Richard Haddlesey is the founder and Webmaster of English Medieval Architecture in which he gained a Ph.D. in 2010 and holds Qualified Teacher Status relating to I.C.T. and Computer Science. Richard is a professional Web Developer and Digital Archaeologist and holds several degrees relating to this. He is passionate about the dissemination of research and advancement of digital education and Continued Professional Development #CPD. Driven by a desire to better prepare students for industry, Richard left mainstream teaching to focus on a career in tutoring I.T. professionals with real industry ready skills that matter at The Training Room.

#ttrIT #ttrcareerinIT #ttrLearnToCode

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IT Courses Online From The Training Room

In 2015 it was reported that the IT industry in the UK experienced its fastest growth since 2008. According to this report, it was also noted that demand for jobs in the IT industry was growing fast, especially among start-ups.

As a result of this growing demand for jobs in the IT industry training courses have become quite popular, whether it be full-time, part-time or e-learning.

Through our years of experience in helping people make a real change in their lives, we recognise that sometimes people don’t have the time to commit to full-time or part-time courses.

If this sounds like your current situation then we might just have the solution to your problem!

Here at The Training Room, we offer a variety of IT e-learning courses which enable you to study at a pace that suits you so that you don’t have to miss out on your commitments such as family life.

Backed by CIW and CompTIA, our range of e-learning IT courses are designed to have you qualified and ‘industry-ready’ for your new career in the IT industry.

In this blog we look at the range of e-learning IT courses offered at The Training Room. From web development to infrastructure technology we’ve got a course to help you turn your passion for IT into a career you love.

Designed With You In Mind

Our approach to flexible learning means that we understand the kind of support people need. This is why we have developed our online learning to include the following benefits for our students:

  • Flexible learning – Through access to our state of the art e-learning platform you can study at a pace that suits you
  • Convenience – As all of your learning takes place online you can study from the comfort of your home
  • Support – As an e-learning student with The Training Room you will be provided with a dedicated tutor who is a specialist in your area to help and support you with your learning
  • No deadline pressure – With our online IT courses you can take control of your start and finish date meaning that there’s no need to feel that dreaded ‘deadline pressure’

Additionally, with our IT e-learning courses, you will also be supported through career support for 3 years along with a guaranteed interview with one of our corporate partners from the moment you register.

Infrastructure Technician Course

Are you a problem solver with a keen interest in computers? If so then a career as a Infrastructure Technician might just be your calling!

At the Training Room, we offer our Infrastructure Technician course which is a globally recognised qualification accredited by CompTIA. Our flexible e-learning course will provide you with all the knowledge you need on becoming an Infrastructure Technician, from working with operating systems to setting up a computer. The modules covered in this course include:

  • IT Fundamentals – This module focuses on understanding computer components, setting up and maintaining computers to network fundamentals.
  • CompTIA A+ – This specific module goes deeper into understanding working with other operating systems, safety and operational considerations and security threats.
  • CompTIA Network+ – Serving as an introduction to networks, this module will give you a better scope of network topologies, wiring standards and connectors, IP addresses and subnetting.

Web Development Course

Coding your way to becoming a Junior Web Developer has never been easier with our W eb Design and Development course. Our course will have you qualified and ‘industry-ready’ for your next step as a Web Developer.

Our qualification in web design and development includes modules in:

  • CSS3 – Understanding the essentials of CSS3 while learning the application of basic and advanced functions of the current version
  • HTML5 – Understanding the technologies implemented for enhancing user web experiences
  • Graphical User Interface (GUI) Design – Learning the use of website development tools
  • Networking – This module will develop your understanding of basic data communication components, configuring common hardware for operations and the role of networking hardware
  • JavaScript – Learning to use Javascript for creation of forms while getting a better understanding of Javascript security issues

Security Technologist Course

For those keen to learn about online security we offer our Security Technologist coursewhich is also accredited by the industry recognised and respected CompTIA.

Our Security Technologist course is designed to provide you with a greater understanding of analysing risks, uncovering breaches and developing solutions for security of information. The course covers the following modules:

  • CompTIA A+ – Understanding operational considerations and security threats to working with other operating systems.
  • CompTIA Network+ – Developing a better scope on network topologies, wiring standards and connectors
  • CompTIA Security+ – Growing your understanding and practice of monitoring and diagnosing networkings to protecting wireless networks from viruses and security risks

Software Developer Course

If you have a basic knowledge of computer skills which is combined with a keep interest in coding then our Software Developer course is just for you!

Here at The Training Room, we offer our Software Developer course which is designed to equip you with all the knowledge you need to become a successful Software Developer . The modules in this course include:

  • Microsoft Software Development Fundamentals (MTA) – Developing knowledge in core programming, general software development and understanding databases
  • CIW: Advanced HTML5 and CSS3 Specialist – Gaining hands-on experience in HTML5 and CSS3
  • Oracle OCA Java SE 8 Programmer Course – Learning the fundamentals of Oracle Java SE 8 Programmer through developing Java applications to master Java data types
  • Microsoft MCSA/MCSE Querying Microsoft SQL Server 2012 – Understanding performance based labs, database objects and working and modifying data

Ready to start your journey as an IT professional?

If you are ready to start your journey as an IT professional then check out our IT online courses here. Likewise, you can also check out our website for further information on The Training Room. Or, why not give one of our friendly advisors a call or fill out an enquiry form on our website to request more information.

Your next career in the IT industry is just one step away, start your journey with The Training Room!

PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS A REPOST FROM THE TRAINING ROOM AND NOT MY OWN WORDS. ALL CONTENT IS COPYRIGHT OF THE TRAINING ROOM. THEY OWN ALL THIS CONTENT. I AM JUST AN EMPLOYEE.

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IT Security Courses Online From The Training Room

Cybercrime has been on the rise in recent years, so much so that in late 2016 Tesco Bank had £2.5million stolen from the current accounts of 9,000 customers.

As cybercrime has become more present in society this has resulted in a growing demand for all industries to
ensure that their information is kept safe from the reach of hackers. As a result of this growing demand for stronger online security, the need for Security Technologist’s has become quite important, in all industries.

Here at The Training Room , we recognise that although many people have a genuine passion for IT security they can often find themselves quite time poor meaning that they don’t have time to commit to full-time or part-time study.

This is why at the Training Room we offer our Security Technologist online course which is e-learning course accredited by the industry recognised and respected CompTIA.

 

Visit the course page

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