5 Simple Ideas for… Why you should use Online Design

Written by Jessica Young

When I joined my middle school’s yearbook staff, we were still using grease pencils and big, plastic croppers to size our photos. Layouts were done in carbon copy triplicate and most deadlines were spent in the darkroom.

Only 15 years later, my students can take, download, edit and place photos faster than I can take attendance. The yearbook falls into place before their eyes, instead of in piecemeal proofs and disjointed deadlines. Technology has forever changed the way we document the year.

Innovations like Online Design, Walsworth’s online program, have changed yearbook creation. Even with a competent skill set in programs like InDesign, I choose to use Online Design with my yearbook staff. For us, the choice is simple: we design online.

1. Online Design is mobile.

While we meet as a class, there is no way all of our work can be completed at school. The mobility of Online Design allows my students to work from home or elsewhere on campus, to complete their spreads.  Additionally, I am not chained to my desk and our school server to submit pages. I can submit from home or anywhere I have an internet connection.

2. Online Design is simple.

Sit a student in front of a blank InDesign document and many times his or her face will go equally blank. Where do you start with all the tools, menus and functions? Online Design has taken the same functionality and put it into manageable pieces. The work my yearbook students complete in Online Design often looks more professional than what my newspaper students put together in their desktop publishing programs.

3. Online Design is self-contained.

When my students work on a spread, I know they have all the tools they will need at their disposal. They can edit their photos and build graphics within the program. They don’t need advanced knowledge of an entire creative suite. With Online Design, all of their work can be completed in one place.

4. Online Design is organized.

As someone who appreciates meticulous to-do lists and flow charts, I love the organizational components of Online Design. The program allows me to set up pages, apply deadlines, assign students and manage their workflow easily. I can see how much time students are spending logged into the program. I can move a page if we change our ladder. I can visualize our signatures and flats to make sure we’re meeting deadlines.

5. Online Design makes yearbook accessible.

With the user-friendly features, bright design and visually stimulating interface, Online Design appeals to the variety of learners on my staff. Because of the ease of use of the program and the setup of the operating system, any kid can figure out how to work within the program. Online Design takes the complicated process of desktop publishing and makes it fun, easy to use and simple. Students who struggle in almost every other content area find success in yearbook because the tools support their learning style.

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Jessica Young

Jessica Young, MJE, teaches photography and advises the yearbook and newspaper at Orange Glen High School in Escondido, Calif. Young was named a 2012 Rising Star by the Journalism Education Association (JEA). She is the President of the San Diego Journalism Education Association and was co-chair of the local committee for the JEA/NSPA Spring National High School Journalism Convention in San Diego in April 2014. Young also is a member of the Quill and Scroll board of trustees and directors.