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Real World Experience

Having students undertake real-world projects can sometimes be awkward. It’s good experience for the student, however if the students don’t fully participate then it can become a really bad experience for the client. I’ve managed a number of external client projects in the past, many of which have been very successful, however a few of them have been downright disasters.

The benefits from doing external projects are many – students gain good experience working with a client, they usually have to complete the project to a high standard and to a deadline, and its beneficial in terms of employability skills and business networking. If things go well then repeat projects are often forthcoming, but when things go bad then the student, lecturer and college reputation can be put at risk.

Carefully matching students to projects is usually the best policy – ensuring only the most reliable students take on the external projects, and certainly this policy has worked in the past, with many students going on to get further work or employment with the client. The project also needs careful management from the teacher, ensuring that the client and students are communicating effectively and that any problems are resolved quickly.

I’m not managing many external projects at the moment, however a small animation project cropped up this week via a link on Twitter. Twitter is becoming an essential tool in my personal learning network, and aside for the occasional inane dross posted by some people, the majority is usually quite useful if you are careful about who you ‘follow’. I’ve been encouraging students to make use of Twitter in an intelligent way and to network with people who may provide useful information and tips for their course or future employment. Personally I follow many teachers and educators both in Scotland and abroad and this has led me to find out about many new technologies and tools that I can use in my own teaching.

Anyway, back to the animation project, and the HNC Interactive Media and HND Visual Communication students have all been looking at this particular project and brainstorming ideas. The plan is to take an organisation’s static logo and animate it for use in a video and also as a back-projection during an awards ceremony. The logo itself is very intricately patterned, so isn’t necessarily easy to animate. Also, we’ve got to ensure that the animation is suitable for the intended audience. Some students have come up with ideas that just wouldn’t be appropriate, but might be suitable for an episode of South Park! Again careful management is required to create a suitably restrained animation that meets the needs of the client. The finished animation should be complete by early to mid November, so hopefully I’ll be able to post it here  for all to see.

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