- the day: 22nd May 2015
- the place: All sessions take place in room 11_2017, Stockwell Street Building, Greenwich
Tea, Coffee and Biscuits
Learning how to Teach
To a fresh-faced web development student, code looks confusing and scary; a journey into the unknown. Unfortunately, those were my thoughts about having to teach my first class of wide-eyed students just 18 months ago. Over that time I’ve been trying to work out exactly how best to teach technical skills to a diverse crowd of adult learners – which has come with varying degrees of success and failure. In this talk, I’d like to share some of the good times and some of the bad times, and hope to kick-start a conversation about the importance of learning how to teach.
“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist” (Pablo Picasso). Building confidence in Web Design by providing a clear and focussed assignment brief.
At the start of the year, I am often surprised that only about 1 in 15 of my students has ever tinkered with code or tried to build a website. They say they feel quite intimated by learning these new skills. Yet, of course, every one of them routinely surfs the net on a daily basis.
When teaching my first year undergraduates, I go back to basics, getting the students to actively appreciate what they have come to know about the web as experienced web users. This provides them with a great starting point for learning new skills in design and code.
Through trial and error over the years, I have found that keeping the assignment brief clear and focussed around basic conventions and principles of web design really builds students’ confidence and willingness to learn. Becoming overly conceptual and too technical puts up unnecessary barriers to learning and experimenting.
How copycatting can help students become better visual (interface) designers
There are students who have an eye for design, and those who don’t, and who struggle with the simplest of visual design tasks. Those who can make their ideas come to life on the screen, and those who can spend an hour moving an image around and get nothing done.
By using copycatting as a teaching method, I have found a way to help both types of students improve their visual design skills and optimise their design process, especially in the layout phase. In this talk, I will share my ideas and show how I apply copycatting as a method.
Guerrilla web standards in education
Even in this day and age many parts of the world don’t have modern, industry compatible web standards education available, and what is available is often painfully out of date. The educators that know there’s a problem aren’t the ones we need to target. And changing curricula is time consuming and difficult, even when a problem has been identified. Often the only choice is to go around the curriculum with additional sections, after school clubs, out of school clubs, home learning, and general meetups. In this talk Chris shares some of his experience in this area, and looks at some of the new things Mozilla are doing to help the cause.
Lunch (buffet provided)
Keep this frequency clear: staff and student communication – looking for a way forward (update)
Staff/student and student/student communication has always been a challenge in higher education and in recent years it has become more challenging still. There are a number of reasons for this but among the key issues are the following:
- On many courses/programmes, there has been a reduction in the number of face-to-face hours and/or a reduction in the staff student ratio.
- Flexible teaching modes such as part-time, blended and distance mean that communication has to take place outside of the seminar room and lecture theatre and often outside standard office hours.
- Channels of communication that staff are currently familiar with are not necessarily favoured by students. Younger students in particular seem to favour synchronous channels (direct messaging) rather than the more “traditional” asynchronous channels (email, forums, VLEs).
- In very fast-moving subject areas like web design, students cannot be solitary learners. In order to succeed, they need to be able to communicate quickly and easily with one another and to form a learning team, which gathers and collates relevant information.
- Many student cohorts prefer to occupy their own mutual communication space, away from the prying eyes of their tutors. Is it possible or even desirable for tutors to control peer-to-peer communications relating to their teaching?
In order to address some of the above, the teaching team on the MA Web Design & Content Planning programme at the University of Greenwich have this academic year begun an experiment using Slack. Slack is a platform for team communication that is becoming popular in industry. It combines many of the attributes of asynchronous tools with the flexibility of synchronous communication. In addition, and just as importantly, it is platform agnostic and can be used irrespective of operating system, device or location.
This presentation is an updated version of the talk given at last year’s event.
Walking the Tightrope
In this short talk, Christopher Murphy – Senior Lecturer in Interaction Design at The Belfast School of Art – explores the challenges of maintaining high quality, and inspirational, teaching in a climate of intense budgetary pressure. How do we square the circle and deliver more with less?
Work in the Web: Building better connections between industry and education
Work in the Web is a free 3-day intensive workshop for students wanting to work in the Web industry. It runs in-house at Mixd, a small web agency based in Harrogate. Every year we open our doors to a small group of students and run 10 hands-on practical sessions on the skills we think are important to working in the web industry but are often lacking in formal academic programmes.
In this talk, Luke will discuss how Work in the Web came to be, why it’s so important to us, and the importance of building stronger ties between industry professionals and academic institutions.
The term digital design and web designer are becoming obsolete, the emerging role of the designer is to create connected experiences that transcend media. Shifts in teaching away from the terms digital and web will allow us to focus on pedagogy that focuses on creating compelling communication. Adam Procter’s talk proposes that the Hybrid Designer has the potential to free us from assumptions related to media outputs and help us examine the real potential of digital platforms and their interface with other more traditional communication channels.