Intro to Coding

Term: Spring 2023
Instructors: Yoli Martinez (email) and Soo Oh (email)
Announcements: Berkeley Slack
Lecture: Mondays, 6-9pm in 108 North Gate (Lower Newsroom)
Class website: This is it (you’re here!)
Turn in assignments: Use the class link for bCourses

Office hours



Lectures and assignments

Jan. 23: About the class; Intro to HTML


Jan. 30: The HTML document and semantic HTML; Getting started with accessibility


Feb. 6: More HTML elements


The following links have different sections; you are free to read whatever interests you.

  • Images tutorial: dealing with decorative images, images of text, etc.
  • Tables tutorial: different kinds of tables with different kinds of header rows and columns

Helpful Codecademy tutorials

Feb. 13: Accessibility and design

Guest lecture: Holden Foreman, the Washington Post’s first accessibility engineer


We don’t have lecture next week! You can catch up with HTML or get ahead on CSS with the following Codecademy tutorials:

  • Learn HTML, everything in the Syllabus except the “Forms” section
  • Learn CSS, specifically the first set of lessons called “Syntax and Selectors”

Feb. 20: President’s Day

No lecture

Feb. 27: Intro to CSS


Helpful Codecademy tutorials

Mar. 6: More CSS


Mar. 13: More CSS


Helpful Codecademy tutorials

Mar. 20: More CSS, Design and Wireframing


  • Submit Assignment 03-20: Hand-code HTML #2 in bCourses by April 1 at 11:59 pm.
  • Submit final project Wireframe in bcourses by April 15 at 11:59pm. Availiable early so you can review the grading rubric as you think about the final project options.

Mar. 27: Spring break

No lecture

Apr. 3: GitHub Desktop

Apr. 10: Basic JavaScript

Apr. 17: Study Hall

Apr. 24: Guest lecture TBD

May 1: Presentations

Final class

May 8: Final Projects due

No lecture

About the class

Course description

It is increasingly hard to work in journalism without having a basic understanding of how your work will be presented online. In this course, you will be introduced to basic concepts, terms and approaches to web development, including:

  • HTML (the structure of a webpage)
  • CSS (the style and layout of the page)
  • Wireframing and web design
  • Basic JavaScript


By the end of the semester, you will have the tools and knowhow to efficiently communicate with newsroom developers, graphics reporters and designers, whether you want to collaborate on creating a newsletter, a story page or even a site for your documentary or podcast. Or, you might even be interested in becoming a newsroom technologist yourself.

How you present the work, the layout, page hierarchy and interactive elements are at their core critical editorial conversations that require the same thoughtfulness and discussion as any other journalism endeavor. Expect to have those critical conversations in this class, too.


  • None

Required tools

  • Laptop with a Unix or Unix-like operating system (e.g. all Macbooks; a Dell, Lenovo, or ThinkPad with Ubuntu; tell us at class if you have something else)
  • account (it’s free)
  • Text editor: We highly recommend Sublime Text, which is more user-friendly for new coders
  • Color Oracle (accessibility tool for Mac)
  • Poll Everywhere account
  • Proactive inclusivity of and respectful communication with fellow students and instructors

Grading rubric

AAt least 90% of total points
BAt least 80%
CAt least 70%
DAt least 60%
FBelow 60%

Class expectations

The success of this course depends on the level of commitment of each student. It’s up to you to carry out your class work and speak up about any concerns or difficulties you have. In return, we will do our best to provide a clear lesson plan, give you timely feedback, and advise you so you can achieve the course’s objectives.

The Student Code of Conduct is in effect at all times. Additionally, all students must follow the COVID-19 Health & Safety Response.

Attendance and punctuality

We meet 13 times for lecture during the spring semester.

Two unexcused absences will result in dropping a full letter grade; three unexcused absences will result in an F.

We’ll adhere to Berkeley time and start lecture promptly at 6:10 pm. Let us know if you’re rushing from a faraway class and will regularly need a few extra minutes. If you’re going to be late, message both Yoli and Soo in the J-school Slack. One of us will try to monitor the Slack near the beginning of class. Be the least disruptive as you can when you arrive to not disturb the lecture and other students.

If you’re sick or have a family emergency, email us anytime before lecture to let us know. (If it’s really an emergency, email when you get the chance — you don’t have to get in touch from the back of an ambulance!)

We will make course materials available on this website and can help you to a reasonable extent. However, it is ultimately your responsibility to catch up with the class.

What should you do if you’re feeling sick?

No matter how OK you feel, don’t come to class if you think you’re contagious (with a cold, flu, strep, coronavirus, etc). Lectures are recorded; however, there is a risk that the wifi is choppy, the recording messes up, or some other problem. Again, it’s ultimately your responsibility to catch up with the class. Talk to us about how.

Assignment deadlines

All assignments must be submitted on time in bCourses. There will be no exceptions made for late assignments except for medical reasons and family emergencies. An assignment will be dropped a full letter grade for every 24 hours that pass after the deadline, starting the minute after the deadline (e.g. an assignment with no mistakes will be graded as 90% one minute after deadline, 80% one minute and 24 hours after deadline, and so on).

Participation in class

  • You’re expected to adhere to the Guidelines for Dialogue & Community Expectations.

  • Set your phone to silent or Do Not Disturb mode before class begins. Do not answer calls or text during class. If it’s an emergency, quietly step outside to take the call.

  • Students should not check email, social media, notifications, or the news during the lecture portions of the class.

  • Students should learn how to receive both positive and critical feedback. Your work will be subject to intensive and substantial editing. It’s not personal, and learning how to take it is a tremendous part of learning how to grow and as a human, as a journalist.

  • Required readings will be discussed in class.

Academic dishonesty and plagiarism

The high academic standard at the University of California, Berkeley, is reflected in each degree that is awarded. As a result, it is up to every student to maintain this high standard by ensuring that all academic work reflects their own ideas or properly attributes the ideas to the original sources. These are some basic expectations of students with regards to academic integrity:

  • Any work submitted should be your own individual thoughts, and should not have been submitted for credit in another course unless you have prior written permission to re-use it in this course from this instructor.
  • All assignments must use “proper attribution,” meaning that you have identified the original source of words or ideas that you reproduce or use in your assignment. This includes drafts and homework assignments.
  • If you’re unclear about expectations around attribution and plagiarism, ask us.

What does proper attribution mean for code when Googling and using are the norm?

I’m so glad you asked. If you were stuck and found code online to help you, link to the resource in your documentation, either in the code comments or in a markdown block for a notebook. Make sure you format or rewrite the code in the preferred style of your programming language (single or double quotes, snake_case or camelCase, and so on).

Disabled Students’ Program

UC Berkeley is committed to creating a learning environment that meets the needs of its diverse student body including students with disabilities. If you anticipate or experience any barriers to learning in this course, please feel welcome to discuss your concerns with us.

If you have a disability, or think you may have a disability, you can work with the Disabled Students’ Program (DSP) to request an official accommodation. DSP is the campus office responsible for authorizing disability-related academic accommodations, in cooperation with the students themselves and their instructors. You can find more information about DSP, including contact information and the application process here: If you have already been approved for accommodations through DSP, please meet with us so we can develop an implementation plan together.

Students who need academic accommodations or have questions about their accommodations should contact DSP, located at 260 César Chávez Student Center. Students may call 642-0518 (voice), 642-6376 (TTY), or e-mail

Additional student services

  • Berkeley Journalism Student Services will help with questions and services related to advising and course registration, career development, funding and financial aid, and more.
  • Basic Needs Center provides support with all the essential resources (food, housing, etc.) needed to not only survive, but thrive here at UC Berkeley.
  • Tang Center Counseling and Psychological Services offers short-term counseling for academic, career and personal issues. There is no charge to get started, and all registered students can access services regardless of their insurance plan.
  • The PATH to Care Center provides affirming, empowering, and confidential support for survivors and those who have experienced gendered violence, including: sexual harassment, dating and intimate partner violence, sexual assault, stalking, and sexual exploitation. Confidential advocates bring a non-judgmental, caring approach to exploring all options, rights, and resources.