Internship Week Five, Six, Seven, & Eight

Over the last month things have gotten into a routine for the courses that are a part of my internship. Each week is another meeting to work on the semester’s project. The research and planning has been done for the last week or so, and the focus has shifted to getting the their project websites programmed. As a class we had fun during the research phase, we looked up many examples of sites for comparison purposes. We also spent some time focusing on older websites to see how styling and design has changed over the years.

Of the the sites we looked through, finding out that has been owned since August 30th, 1994 was quite surprising. You can even call Santa Claus. Yes, we called Santa. Another site was for a donkey rescue program. I am a little disappointed that the students chose to remodel Hooved Animal Humane Society (HAHS), when they could have redone Save Your Ass Rescue as their project. We missed the opportunity to make a lot of great jokes.

We have run into two issues during the last month of the internship. The first issue I have noticed, is that the students are graded the same if they have a full team or not. Unfortunately, this has impacted one of the groups in a section. I have no say in their grade, so there is little I can do, but I can take note of their concern when I teach my own courses in the future. It is a difficult balancing act, because all the work needs to be done for the project to be completed, but since they have less members the quality of the work in some areas might suffer. The students each are taking on more individually, but I think they feel the grades they received did not factor that in.

The second issue is more of a bureaucratic issue. I have taken it upon myself, at the request of a student, to try to make some of the available services more accessible. To do this, the internal firewall at the university has to be adjusted to allow these connections. This request has been scrutinized by the security team, and they have offered up some alternative solutions. Unfortunately these solutions are not really applicable or beneficial with the current need. There has been some push from the department for the security to process the request, but understandably the security would like to make additional changes to make things better from their perspective. I feel this is a very grey area, as both sides have their merits, but I do not know who will win out in this debate.

Lastly, outside of the internship I am presenting two times at HASTAC 2017. The first presentation, a workshop, will be on Friday, November 3rd, from 10:00 am until 12:00 pm, in the trailer (TR541) conference room (107). My workshop materials and part of the presentation are available online. The second presentation will be a project demo, that will take place Saturday at 1:45 pm until 2:15 pm in Classroom Building 1 Room 301.

Preparing for these presentations has taken up a considerable amount of my time. I have done many technical workshops, but I am working on presenting material to an audience of varying technological backgrounds. Ideally everyone will be able to follow along, but if the room is filled to capacity it will be difficult to keep everyone on track. I am trying to counter this issue by having a lot of the material prepared ahead of time and written out, so that each person can move at their own pace and not be lost. I have some concerns some attendees will be unable to find the workshop, as the trailer is not marked on the university map or HASTAC conference map. Either way, I am sure the conference will be a great experience.




1 comment

  1. Hi, Mike,
    It sounds like you have some of the same thoughts and concerns as I do. Pushing the students to explore and really look at the evolution of Web design, from the source up, is an important aspect of any front-end teaching. Too often, it seems DM students, Web or game track, see the high gloss or veneer offered from a finished game or something made through WordPress, and underestimate the hundreds of people hours that have been invested in making a basic framework. For me, it seems it creates a bit of a disappointment or low point for the students, and then once they start engaging a little, it becomes much easier for the conceptual thinking to flow and the technical skills to be picked up more easily. I’ve enjoyed having your class down the hall from mine, and being able to catch part of what you and your students are working on, despite me not able to always remember what class you’re teaching.

    You raise an ever-growing issue about some of the issues the university is facing. Its size has made it difficult to understand and empathize with what colleges and departments are doing pedagogically and technically. IT needs to understand the academic demands of an academic program, and yet both sides are weighted down by information security and cost factors that continue to complicate even the simplest of requests (I’m going to inquiry into your firewall issue since it does unfortunately seem to be stalled again). Technology, security, pedagogy, IT, and budget must find a better way to recognize each other.

    I’m really disappointed I wasn’t able to attend your session, but I’m glad you were able to present twice. No matter how many people attended, I believe the experience helps your speaker/teacher/presenter skills that you will no doubt have to do again in the future. I hope there is a formal feedback process so that way you might get some additional understanding from your audience. It would be great if we could find a conference where we could team up on a presentation; they certainly help push us into knowing our “stuff” better.

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