Student perceptions of progress made during project


After final completion of their websites, students were asked to complete an online questionnaire (see right)

Students were asked to rate their levels of confidence at the start of the project. Each student was asked to rate his/her confidence in being able to create a website to meet the client's requirements. At this stage in the project, a student may be able to reflect on how their perception of the requirements became more reliable as the project progressed. Students were also asked to rate their levels of confidence in their ability to use Wordpress to produce a suitable site.


Confidence in ability to meet requirements

Confidence in meeting requirements


Confidence in using Wordpress at the start of the project

Confidence in using Wordpress


Satisfaction with the final website

All students were at least moderately satisfied with the final results of the website project. Seven students were very satisfied (37%), the rest rating their satisfaction at level 2 or 3. One student who was very satisfied with the final website had rated levels of confidence both in meeting the requirements and in using Wordpress at the lowest level, 'not confident at all'.


There is no significant correlation between confidence at the start and satisfaction with the end product, which might have indicated that students were able to identify a good progression in their learning and skills development. The two data sets have a Pearson's product-moment correlation coefficient of -0.14. The correlation is negative but too weak to be significant.


Student perceptions of value of first session in Rochester.


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.

value of session in Rochester

Student perceptions of the value of the Wordpress clinic session

value of Wordpress clinic bar chart value of Wordpress clinic pie chart

Students were asked to reflect on what they gained from the clinic session. The clinic was designed to be student led as far as possible. Students were asked to come along with things they were having trouble with and to ask James to help them out. The feedback immediately after the session had been very positive and the response in the focus group meeting had been more positive than it had been about the first session. However, students appeared to be less aware of what they had learnt or gained from this session. This could possibly be attributed to the fact that some of them were not aware of what they needed to know and also that some of them have not been very detailed in their responses.


I have attempted to categorise the responses into particular techniques, general help and unspecified. These categories only really show that students felt that they gained something from attending the session. Twelve of the fifteen students who attended the session and took the survey (80%) felt that they learned more with James' help than they otherwise would. Their rating of the value of the session was 2. One student rated it 5 (not valuable at all), and seven students rated it at 1 (very valuable). The level of studentssatisfaction with this session seems to be relatively high. Three students stated that they had done some extra learning in their own time as a result of the session, this was less than after the first session but this may be due to the pressure of work which was greater around the time of the 'clinic' session.


Do students feel that this project has helped them in terms of their future careers?