The Education of a Web Professional: Presenting our Process (Part 3)

Last week, my Web Design and Development III class culminated their 2-week long design sprint process with a presentation to several stakeholders and a few student spectators.

Each member of the team had responsibilities during the development of the presentation, and I encouraged everyone to take a speaking part. In total, the presentation was approximately 10-15 minutes long, and in my opinion, went very well. I was very impressed with the courage, confidence, and professionalism of the students. Additionally, their collaboration and teamwork was on full display as they made their way through the material.

Several representatives from our college’s marketing department were on hand to hear the presentation, and to witness one example of how the design sprint process might be used for other projects around campus. Again, we are fortunate to have some very skilled design sprint facilitators helping us with this, and we are grateful for the opportunity to be a “guinea pig” to for this process. The marketing folks seemed to appreciate the ways in which the design sprint was utilized in our class, and asked some good probing questions of the students. They also offered some tips on presenting. It was great for the students to have an opportunity to meet with real world creative professionals!

My sincerest thanks to the students who stuck around to support their colleagues! I hope that the presentation gave you a glimpse into some of the other courses in the department, and generated a bit of excitement for the work you might be undertaking soon!

Overall, I am very happy with the way our design sprint and resulting presentation came together. We have a LOT of work to do in the next 10 weeks, but I’m confident that the students will work together to tackle this technology challenge to the best of their abilities.

Next up, the “bake off“!

My next post will be about the results of the class’ research on platforms, services, tech specs, and solutions that we will recommend for the client project.

As always, thanks for reading!
-Dr. J.

The Education of a Web Professional: A Hands-On Semester (Part 1)

This semester, I have the delight and privilege of working with upper-level web design and development students in our Web III course. This has historically been one of my favorite classes to teach since we are able to get out of the “muck” of HTML, CSS, and Javascript syntax, and into some really fun, practical, and portfolio-worthy work. Of course, the fundamentals are important, but this class tends to be super satisfying for students because of its scope and professional approach.

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GIFTS: Fostering Professionalism in Applied Communication Courses: Making Sense of Dollars and Cents* – Project Details

*This work was presented at the Ohio Communication Association Conference, October, 2018

Background & Rationale

In applied communication courses such as graphic design or web development, students must balance many different types of learning. In addition to technical tools, students are also challenged to develop a deep understanding of design, information architecture, communication theory, and in some cases, history of the field or notable individuals. Despite the depth and rigor of postsecondary applied communication curricula, research suggests that students entering the workforce are not entirely prepared; a PayScale (2016) survey discovered that only half of the responding managers felt that newly hired college graduates were adequately prepared for their positions. Additionally, an increasing number of communication practitioners is forsaking the “traditional” career trajectory and opting instead to work independently. Edelman Intelligence (2017) found that 36% of the US workforce maintains a freelance practice. The same study projects that freelancers will be the majority by 2027, if current growth rates persist. As communication educators, then, it is important that we help students develop not only technical mastery, but in-demand soft skills as well as habits and professional practices that will give them an advantage in a competitive industry. The ‘Making Sense of Dollars and Cents’ project goes beyond classroom learning. It gives students the opportunity to research industry best-practices; understand foundational business processes; explore technological tools/systems; and develop good habits around tracking and reporting time and money. I’ve found that this project also gives students an incredible confidence boost as it attaches a quantifiable dollar amount to the work they’re doing in class. On average, the students in a recent Web Design III class invoiced more than $5700 during the course of the semester!

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