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Dan Harding
Dan Harding

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Zines as Open Educational Resources for Code Newbies

Creating open educational resources (OER) is a great way to test or refresh your knowledge whilst helping others to learn.

At October's MozFest, I was fortunate enough to stop by ร‰lรฉonore and Malwine's zine display. I'd missed their session, but the mini magazines they had inspired demonstrated how any subject, from complicated data science to city guides, could be broken down into bitesize indie publications. All you needed was a piece of paper, pen and a topic to share.

Fast forward a few months and after a couple of test runs, creating something related to coding seemed like a neat idea. Repurposing existing resources had worked well, and designing them digitally meant they could be quickly adapted or updated whilst also sharing them online.

Staying true to the 'zine ethos' meant avoiding heavyweight DTP tools, learning curves or the need for a degree in graphic design (although you can probably create some awesome zines if you did). Google Slides, PowerPoint or any other package that allows you to combine basic shapes, text and colour is all you need.

What's more, adding an open license to your work (e.g. Creative Commons) gives others the opportunity to remix or develop your idea into something they can make their own. Especially if it's published in a format that's readily editable. Everybody wins!

From speaking with more experienced developers, it's easy to forget how hard it can be to learn so many new things all at the same time. But even as a beginner, I was still able to produce an introductory guide to CSS Grid that covers some of its basic principles. And that's the beauty of zines, they are for newbies and experts alike.

Here's the end result:

CSS Grid Zine layout in Google Slides

From there, the slides could be quickly pasted into a printable template (see below) and recorded as a gif or video (although watch out for accessibility issues).

Think you can explain a coding topic as a zine? Then give it a try!

Here are some resources you might find helpful:

You'll also need:

  • A printer
  • A pair of scissors

And if this zine has whet your appetite for more CSS Grid, I highly recommend you check out Wes Bos' free course, Jen Simmons' Layout Land or Rachel Andrew's Grid by Example. ๐Ÿ’ฏ๐Ÿ‘Œ

Top comments (1)

lkreimann profile image
Lea Reimann ๐Ÿฆ„

This is an awesome idea! Thanks for sharing and creating :)