Macromedia University

As one of the leaders in design applications, Macromedia now offers online courses for its software – from learning how to use Macromedia UltraDev, to more general skills such as DHTML or XML. You can choose to sign up for either instructor or study led courses, or a combination of both.

To register as a student for the Macromedia University, you first need to go to www.macromedia.com and click on the link to Resources. The registration process is simple: Fill out your details, enter your eight-digit code, and log in as a student with access to several choices.

You can choose from several different lesson styles – instructor led, self-study and seminar, or a combination of any of the above. Take time to have a quick tour of what’s available to make sure you sign up for the right class. Unfortunately, I was first interested in running through the self-study Quick Skill course in DHTML, but it isn’t available for the Mac.

The classes are listed clearly, and you can take a tour of the virtual campus before signing up. There’s also the option of taking a test, from which the courses to choose will be recommended.

A study-led course has the advantage of allowing you to choose when and where you work. However, for those of us who need more motivation – the equivalent of that slave-driving teacher – an instructor-led course is available.

The classes are presented as interactive Flash movies. Not only are you shown how to perform a certain action, you’re also encouraged to follow the steps and remember sequences. If you get stuck or lose your place, simply listen to the instructions again.

OUR VERDICT

If you aren’t lucky enough to have access to a high-bandwidth leased line in your office, then the cost of spending time online could be prohibitive. You don’t need any Macromedia software to do the course (other than Flash Player). The learning is done through a browser, so you save money there. A subscription to a course library grants you a year of access to all current courses, plus any new courses added during the year. If you want to see if the training courses are worthwhile, Macromedia is offering a 30-day trial.

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