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Welcome to CAVI, the Cisco Academy for the Vision Impaired.

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Welcome to the Intro to HTML 5 and CSS course. We are currently only running one session which meets on Thursday nights since the majority of our students are in the United States and Canada. If we get at least 10 students from Europe and/or Africa, we have the ability to run a second session which will better suit the needs of these students. If we do not have sufficient students to set up a second session, students can still attend. We have a podcast feed of our recorded lectures which is open o all students of the class. Students from Europe and Africa who can not attend live can request a meeting with an instructor if they have questions or need help.

Course Overview

The Intro to HTML 5 and CSS course is designed to teach HTML and web design concepts from the ground up, with no prior knowledge necessary. It is a 22 week course that covers HTML 5, CSS 3 to control the appearance of a website, working with graphics, and how to make a website ready for e-commerce. All content is tailored to support people who are blind or visually impaired. Web server space is provided for students, so no web hosting plan or domain is needed during class.

Upon completion of the course, students will be able to create and maintain a multi-page personal or small business website using HTML, CSS, and a small amount of PHP and/or JavaScript.

Read on to learn about the course and how to enroll.


The curriculum for this course consists of written notes, sample code files, lectures, and an optional study group for students. There is also a support email list where students can discuss what they're learning, ask questions, and exchange ideas.

There are written homework assignments each week to help students put what they're learning into practice. It's very important to do these since writing HTML is the only way to understand how the concepts truly work. The final exam consists of building a website with a minimum of 5 pages featuring the concepts taught in class. This site will be fully built as students do their homework each week.

Topics covered in this class include:

  • Definitions of terminology used in web design
  • Use of web servers and FTP clients to transfer files
  • Discussion of how to choose and register a domain and how to choose a reliable web hosting company
  • Coverage of most of the commonly used HTML tags with their attributes
  • An explanation of how colors and fonts effect a website and how a blind person can use them effectively
  • An explanation of images and how a blind person can use software to work with them
  • Creating lists
  • Creating effective linking strategies both within a site and to external sites.
  • Adding audio and video to web pages
  • Designing tables for data
  • Designing forms
  • Coverage of CSS 3 and how it controls the appearance and function of a website
  • Coverage of commonly used CSS properties and their values
  • Developing an effective layout and navigation system
  • Adding PHP and JavaScript code to a web page, (We use completed scripts that are downloadable to show how to add scripting to a site and allow students to learn these languages on their own if they choose.)
  • Using SSL to secure data sent to and from a website
  • Discussion of how to use a shopping cart and payment gateway for an e-commerce site
  • Hands-on practice with search engine optimization to bring more visitors to a website
  • Discussion of making sites secure
  • Designing interactive elements to build a community around a website

Course Requirements

The following are required to complete this course.

  • 3 to 4 hours a week to attend the lecture and do assignments
  • A Windows or Mac computer with at least 1 GB of RAM
  • If using Windows, you need to be running Vista, 7, or 8 since the version of IE in XP doesn't support HTML 5 or CSS 3
  • A modern screenreader or magnification program such as JAWS 12 and above, NVDA, Window_Eyes, Zoomtext, Magic 12 or higher, or VoiceOver for the Mac, (Narrator is not acceptable)
  • A web browser that supports HTML 5 such as:
    • IE 9 or higher
    • Firefox 13 or higher, (latest version is strongly preferred)
    • Safari under Mac OS Mavericks or Mountain Lion
    • Google Chrome 16 or higher, (latest version is strongly preferred)
  • A stable broadband internet connection
  • An FTP program such as the free and flexible Filezilla or winscp under Windows. Transmit for the Mac can also be used. We will teach you how to use winscp if you've never used it.
  • A Text editor of your choice such as Notepad, EdSharp, or TextEdit for Mac users
  • A headset to attend lectures and work with instructors
  • You will need to have Skype installed to work one on one with instructors
  • Teamspeak, a free chat client, to participate in classes
  • Fluency in English since that is the language used in classes

A Note to IE Users

IE 8 does not support HTML 5 at all. For this reason, Windows XP users need to be willing to use either Firefox or Chrome to test their work. We know that many of you know IE 8 well and like it, but it won't display HTML 5 correctly, no matter what you try. Also ie 9 has hit it's end of life, and many sites will not support this version of IE either.

How to Enroll

Enrolling is easy. After reading this page to make sure the course works for you, Just get the enrollment form in the format of your choice from the Intake page on the Ciscovision website. Fill it out and email it to caviinfo at Once we receive your application, we'll email you to set up a time to speak briefly about how the course works and to make sure the course meets your needs. We're looking forward to seeing you in class.

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Page last modified on August 02, 2017, at 02:22 PM