Information Technology students are receiving real world experience creating websites for businesses and artists.
IT instructors Catherine Han Lin and Paul Lewis spoke of how their Diploma of Information Technology (DIT) students are building up their folio - while they complete their course.
The two heard of how fellow RMIT staff member (and occasional children’s author) Annitta Siliato had recently published a collection of true stories - and was in need of some online marketing collateral.
Her book, My Five iFriends, recounts the real-life experiences of primary-school aged children, the friendships they form, and the technology they use.
Han Lin tasked her students with creating a website that would promote Siliato’s book.
“The book’s target audience is mainly primary school kids,” Han Lin said.
“As a result, students have had to create a very attention-grabbing site: with colourful menus, interactive images, and innovative designs.”
Students were given the opportunity to ask questions of their client, hand-code their pages in html and css, and present their sites to Siliato and the rest of their class.
“Each student needed to convince her that their site was the best to market her book effectively; some sites were designed to operate on both mobile devices as well as desktops.
“It’s great for them to get client interaction experience in what is a very introductory program - because if they only learn technical skills, that’s all they have,” Lewis said.
“Conversely, if they can apply those skills to real-life situations, and get feedback, that’s real value-added.”
As well as being given a client, students are also required to seek out businesses in need of a fresh website.
“It gives them an opportunity to contact a real client in the real world,” Lewis said.
One student approached the Bean Project café in RMIT’s Swanston Academic Building. While the store had some online reviews, only now - with the help of an RMIT VE student - will it have a central online presence.
“The student is receiving Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) in the second semester’s Content Management System course for their efforts - as well as a wage.”
Between the cafe owner’s photography skill, and the IT student’s web prowess, they’re constructing an appealing and functional site - testimony to the amazing progress made by the Diploma students.
The program also features a multidisciplinary project - which last semester consisted of a hotel website using WordPress - involving more than 100 students and support from the Diploma of Information Technology’s teachers.
Each client will pay their designer-of-choice for their time - and provide every student with a written recommendation.