This session was a learning session, led by Ahmed who is a professional, freelance web and app developer. Essentially this
was a classroom but the setting had been changed. The session was held in office space in Rochester. Students needed to
travel to the office, which was equipped with the laptops and wi-fi access they needed. I had organised the laptops and
transported them to the office ready for the session. The bursary funding available for this project allowed us to finance
this session and the payments included a taxi for five students who had a mathematics lesson close to the session time and
wouldn't have otherwise been able to get from college to Rochester in time for the start of the session.
Students were made aware at the start of the session that Ahmed had extensive experience of designing and developing websites
and that he would take them through the process of moving from a set of requirements towards an outline design for a minimal
viable product (MVP) that has maximum usability. He made the students think about features of websites, what a feature is and
what features are more desirable than others. He was able to present a view of the process completley different from mine,
which was learnt from research rather than experience. Students experienced the process of taking a set of requirements,
identifying features that would help to meet those requirements, evaluating those features and designing with a minimum set
of features. Once these features had been considered and reduced to an optimum number (in this case Ahmed suggested three
main features), students were taught how to search for and install plug-ins.
Feedback from students straight after the session was that they enjoyed it and that they felt they had learned a lot from
it. Of the fifteen students who attended the session and responded to the survey, four (27%) felt that they had learned about
how to evaluate features necessary for a user-friendly site. Responses included: "The main features in depth in order for which
is most inportant in a website", "That websites should be easiest to use by the user", "Useful features to use on websites",
"What areas needed to be on the website". A further three students (20%) identified plug-ins as the most significant learning
taken from the session. So, around 47% of the students who attended the session expressed a recognition of the importance of
the practical and design skills that they had learnt.
Other significant learning identified by students from this session were: three students (20%) felt that they had
learnt about motivation; one student felt that he/she had learnt about speed, this referred to the need to be able to respond
and work speedily in the digital industries; one further student felt that he/she had developed an "ability to learn" as a
result of the session. This same student, when questioned after the session, had actually tried to use Wordpress at home. For
this particular student, this was unusual. My personal perception of this student is that he/she submits all work on time but
at the expense of any thought or quality in the work so to actually do some extra work independently and without being asked to
do so was a positive outcome.
I have categorised all five of the responses described above in the category "Qualities needed in the digital industries".
Three students (20%) cited general learning such as "Wordpress skills", "website planning" and "information about the workplace".
These are placed under the category "other" as it they are considered to be general in nature rather than specific to this session.
Of particular interest to me, in this small sample, is that the two most significant areas identified by the students were the
main learning objective from the session, one that I was not experienced enough to teach myself, and qualities important in the
industry such as motivation and speed of working. There is some evidence here to suggest that a session of this sort has value
in developing skills and qualities pertinent to the digital industries.