MMS9401 Creating digital content - Semester 1 , 2007 unit guide

Semester 1, 2007

Chief Examiner

Matthew Coller


Caulfield : Matthew Coller


This unit will develop the fundamental concepts of website authoring, from design to implementation. Students will develop skills in creating digital content which is authored to deal with the particular issues of web publishing. The unit will examine HTML/XHTML, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), the W3C Document Object Model (DOM) and JavaScript as the fundamental website authoring suite. In addition HTML embedded server-side script languages, such as ColdFusion, will be used to create dynamic database driven content. The unit will also introduce wider W3C standards, web usability and web design spcification.


At the completion of this unit students will have a theoretical and conceptual understanding of:

  • the characteristics of commercial web sites and the authoring/management issues associated with them;
  • the features and applicability of a range of software tools and methodologies which are used in the development of websites;
  • internet standards and protocols, in particular the impact of World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) standards in this area;
  • a web-based document as an instance of the W3C Document Object Model;
  • website accessibility and usability issues;
  • the role that products such as Macromedia Flash can play in web authoring;
  • copyright related issues as they apply to web authoring.

At the completion of this unit students will have developed attitudes that enable them to:

  • appreciate the flexibility required in dealing with clients in a variety of situations encountered in the tendering/authoring process;
  • demonstrate a critical attitude towards assessing the success of websites;
  • demonstrate a recognition of the strengths and weaknesses of information technology in the context of the development and use of web based multimedia systems.

At the completion of this unit students will have the skills to:

  • code web pages using standard HTML/XHTML, including forms;
  • create and manipulate digital content for websites, including basic audio and animation;
  • make use of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to add style to web documents;
  • use JavaScript to add interactivity to HTML pages;
  • access and manipulate DOM objects in a web document;
  • write HTML embedded script code (such as ColdFusion) to produce dynamic database driven web documents;
  • produce design specification documents applicable to a web site authoring task.


There are no prerequisites for this unit.

Unit relationships

MMS9401 is a core subject for the course Master of Multimedia. It is a prerequisite for MMS9402 Digital Media Authoring, and VCM4501 Multimedia Studio.

You may not study this unit and CPE1003, FIT1011, IMS1402 or MMS1402 in your degree.

Texts and software

Required text(s)

MacDonald, M, Creating Web Sites: The Missing Manual, Pogue Press / O'Reilly, 2005, ISBN:0-596-00842-2
Andrew, R & Shafer, D, HTML Utopia: Designing Without Tables Using CSS, 2nd Edition, Sitepoint, 2006, ISBN:0-9752402-7-7

Textbook availability

Text books are available from the Monash University Book Shops. Availability from other suppliers cannot be assured. The Bookshop orders texts in specifically for this unit. You are advised to purchase your text book early.

Software requirements

The unit covers the following software:

All software will be provided in computer laboratories (if you wish to have after-hours access, this can be arranged with ITS). Alternatively, students may use their home computer with their own copies of the software installed.

Software may be:

  • purchased at academic price at good software retailers

Hardware requirements

Information about computer use for students is available from the ITS Student Resource Guide in the Monash University Handbook. You will need to allocate up to 8 hours per week for use of a computer, including time for discussion groups.

Recommended reading

Library access

You may need to access the Monash library either personally to be able to satisfactorily complete the subject.  Be sure to obtain a copy of the Library Guide, and if necessary, the instructions for remote access from the library website.

Study resources

Study resources for MMS9401 are:

The FIT1012 web site on MUSO, where lecture slides, weekly tutorial requirements, assignment specifications, sample solutions and supplementary material will be posted.

Structure and organisation

Week Topics Key Dates
1 Introduction to subject; The Internet in context
2 How the web works; HTML / FTP
3 W3C standardisation; XHTML/CSS/Javascript/DOM
4 Images on the Web; Copyright Work Requirement 1 due (Photoshop/Flash)
5 Web design methodologies; Accessibility
6 CSS layout methods; Browser issues Work Requirement 2 due (CSS)
Non teaching week
7 The Document Object Model; Javascript
8 Macromedia Flash; Sound on the Web Assignment 2 due
9 Web hosting; Domains; Search engines; ColdFusion basics Work Requirement 3 due
10 Javascripted forms; Form validation, Server files
11 Database access, HTTP methods Work Requirement 4 due
12 Site testing, Getting a job Assignment 3 due
13 Exam revision


The timetable for on-campus classes for this unit can be viewed in Allocate+


Assessment weighting

Assessment for the unit consists of two assignments and four work requirements with a weighting of 60% and an examination with a weighting of 40%.

Assessment Policy

To pass this unit you must:

  • Attend 80% of the tutorials (or have a medical certificate to excuse further absence).
  • Achieve a mark at least 40% for each component of assessment (assignment and exam).
  • Achieve an overall mark of 50% or above.

Your score for the unit will be calculated by:

Adding together the assignment and examination components with the appropriate weighting applied.

If you achieve less that 40% for either component, your final mark will be the score for that component alone (and hence a fail).

Assessment Requirements

Assessment Due Date Weighting
HTML/CSS Website Tuesday 24th April 20%
Dynamic Website Friday 25th May 20 %
4 x Work Requirements Weeks 4, 6, 9, 11 20 %
The exam is 2 hours long and is open book. Exam period (S2/06) starts on 23/10/06 40 %

Assignment specifications will be made available on MUSO.

Assignment Submission

Assignments must be uploaded to the studentweb server by the due date. You may also be asked to submit a hard copy of your assignments on CD-ROM.

Assignments may not be emailed except by prior arrangement.

Extensions and late submissions

Late submission of assignments

Penalties are incurred from the due date at the rate of a 10% reduction in grade for each day (including weekends) if the assignment is late.

Students should note that they are, at all times responsible for their work. All relevant data should be backed up on a regular basis. The university has CD burners in the computer labs and blank CDs may be purchased through the campus bookstore.

Loss of project work through hardware failure, virus, or any other reason is not accepted as an excuse for late or non-submission of work.

This policy is strict because comments or guidance will be given on assignments as they are returned, and sample solutions may also be published and distributed, after assignment marking or with the returned assignment. 


It is your responsibility to structure your study program around assignment deadlines, family, work and other commitments. Factors such as normal work pressures, vacations, etc. are seldom regarded as appropriate reasons for granting extensions. 

Requests for extensions must be made by email to the unit lecturer at least two days before the due date. You will be asked to forward original medical certificates in cases of illness, and may be asked to provide other forms of documentation where necessary.

Grading of assessment

Assignments, and the unit, will be marked and allocated a grade according to the following scale:

Grade Percentage/description
HD High Distinction - very high levels of achievement, demonstrated knowledge and understanding, skills in application and high standards of work encompassing all aspects of the tasks.
In the 80+% range of marks for the assignment.
D Distinction - high levels of achievement, but not of the same standards. May have a weakness in one particular aspect, or overall standards may not be quite as high.
In the 70-79% range.
C Credit - sound pass displaying good knowledge or application skills, but some weaknesses in the quality, range or demonstration of understanding.
In the 60-69% range.
P Pass acceptable standard, showing an adequate basic knowledge, understanding or skills, but with definite limitations on the extent of such understanding or application. Some parts may be incomplete.
In the 50-59% range.
N Not satisfactory failure to meet the basic requirements of the assessment.
Below 50%.

Assignment return

We will aim to have assignment results made available to you within two weeks after assignment receipt. Your mark and feedback will be emailed to your monash student email address. Websites on CD will not be returned unless a request is made, so keep a backup copy of your assignments.


Feedback to you

You will receive feedback on your work and progress in this unit. This feedback may be provided through your participation in tutorials and class discussions, as well as through your assignment submissions. It may come in the form of individual advice, marks and comments, or it may be provided as comment or reflection targeted at the group. It may be provided through personal interactions, such as interviews and on-line forums, or through other mechanisms such as on-line self-tests and publication of grade distributions.

Feedback from you

You will be asked to provide feedback to the Faculty through a Unit Evaluation survey at the end of the semester. You may also be asked to complete surveys to help teaching staff improve the unit and unit delivery. Your input to such surveys is very important to the faculty and the teaching staff in maintaining relevant and high quality learning experiences for our students.

And if you are having problems

It is essential that you take action immediately if you realise that you have a problem with your study. The semester is short, so we can help you best if you let us know as soon as problems arise. Regardless of whether the problem is related directly to your progress in the unit, if it is likely to interfere with your progress you should discuss it with your lecturer or a Community Service counsellor as soon as possible.

Unit improvements

In response to student feedback from last year, a textbook has been prescribed this semester, to assist students with the intensive content of the course, and to offer additional coverage of web-related issues.

Plagiarism and cheating

Plagiarism and cheating are regarded as very serious offences. In cases where cheating  has been confirmed, students have been severely penalised, from losing all marks for an assignment, to facing disciplinary action at the Faculty level. While we would wish that all our students adhere to sound ethical conduct and honesty, I will ask you to acquaint yourself with Student Rights and Responsibilities and the Faculty regulations that apply to students detected cheating as these will be applied in all detected cases.

In this University, cheating means seeking to obtain an unfair advantage in any examination or any other written or practical work to be submitted or completed by a student for assessment. It includes the use, or attempted use, of any means to gain an unfair advantage for any assessable work in the unit, where the means is contrary to the instructions for such work. 

When you submit an individual assessment item, such as a program, a report, an essay, assignment or other piece of work, under your name you are understood to be stating that this is your own work. If a submission is identical with, or similar to, someone else's work, an assumption of cheating may arise. If you are planning on working with another student, it is acceptable to undertake research together, and discuss problems, but it is not acceptable to jointly develop or share solutions unless this is specified by your lecturer. 

Intentionally providing students with your solutions to assignments is classified as "assisting to cheat" and students who do this may be subject to disciplinary action. You should take reasonable care that your solution is not accidentally or deliberately obtained by other students. For example, do not leave copies of your work in progress on the hard drives of shared computers, and do not show your work to other students. If you believe this may have happened, please be sure to contact your lecturer as soon as possible.

Cheating also includes taking into an examination any material contrary to the regulations, including any bilingual dictionary, whether or not with the intention of using it to obtain an advantage.

Plagiarism involves the false representation of another person's ideas, or findings, as your own by either copying material or paraphrasing without citing sources. It is both professional and ethical to reference clearly the ideas and information that you have used from another writer. If the source is not identified, then you have plagiarised work of the other author. Plagiarism is a form of dishonesty that is insulting to the reader and grossly unfair to your student colleagues.


Communication methods

Communication from the unit lecturer/tutor and class will be sent to your Monash student email address. Make sure you check this address regularly for specific information about lectures, tutes and assignment dates.

When emailing your lecturer/tutor, begin the subject line with the subject code (MMS9401) for easy identification.


Notices related to the unit during the semester will be placed under each week's MUSO entry. Check this regularly. Failure to read the notices on MUSO is not regarded as grounds for special consideration.

Consultation Times

To be advised.

If direct communication with your unit adviser/lecturer or tutor outside of consultation periods is needed you may contact the lecturer and/or tutors at:

Mr Matthew Coller
Phone +61 3 990 47157

All email communication to you from your lecturer will occur through your Monash student email address. Please ensure that you read it regularly, or forward your email to your main address. Also check that your contact information registered with the University is up to date in My.Monash.

Last updated: Feb 13, 2007