As usual, I like to do a little round up to tell you about our guest speakers and to thank them. Again, another frantic academic year has blown past with a new version of our second year Web Site Development unit running for the first time. We also say goodbye to our final year practical web unit as we now say hello for 2013/2014 to a dedicated UXD unit, plus a portfolio unit for all of our Web Dev which includes a ‘major project’.
Most things went well, one or two things went wrong, and a few more need to be teaked. But then, that’s the nature of the job, especially with a subject like web design that is in constant flux. Each year is different.
Which brings us to our guests. As usual, we have been very lucky to be able to bring in a number of excellent speakers for all years. Sadly, as usual attendance of students has often been poor. Our first year students had to put up with just me for the basic HTML and CSS. Second years had Garry Byrne @boboshady talking about the web design process and project management, Nathan Beck @Redswish discussing the role of the designer in the web design, and Michael Cropper @MickCropper with an introduction to SEO.
Final year students had the usual run of excellent guests, some returning, some new. MMU’s own design/web guru, Derren Wilson @wilsond gave us all a raft of CSS tips & advice as only a practicing developer can. The fantastic Louis Georgiou @louisgeorgiou nearly came in to deliver his lecture on CMS, but got too busy as MD @computerlovers. @MickCropper from @computerlovers did also give the 3rd years a search marketing lecture. After Christmas we had a run of guests with @boboshady discussing mobile, Rich Clark @Rich_Clark on some of the features of HTML5 beyond the new semantic tags, and Dan Donald @hereinthehive talking all about responsive (despite have just become a dad again).
Final year students also had the pleasure of presenting one of their assignments to us, their tutors, their fellow students and Andrew Clarke @Malarkey. Andy gave the students feedback and short talks on each of the topic areas covered. He also helped us award prizes to the best speakers. A great afternoon, if a little scary for the students! Oh and Andy kindly brought in a whole pile of books from his own library to give to students as well as donating one or two new books as prizes.
What else? Only Andy Budd! Andy @andybudd of @clearleft volunteered to come and talk with students in a very informal Q&A whilst in Manchester for another event. For the small group of students that attended, this was an excellent opportunity with lots of tips and advice regarding the industry. I particularly liked ‘[in your CV] listing you can use MSWord, Photoshop, Dreamweaver, is a bit like a chef listing that she/he can use a pot, a pan, a knife…’.
And finally, of course we worked with our great friend Chris Mills @chrisdavidmills as we ran a December evening event, What does it really mean to create a responsive web site? Speakers included Chris, @boboshady, @hereinthehive and Chris Bush @suthen from @wearesigma. We sold out the 250 seats, with about 150 turning up, which is excellent for a free event. A good night was had by all with some great talks and approaches. We also ran a @Malarkey inspired geek books for students book swap (with a large number donated by Nick Harris @pixelenvy.
And so to the 2013/2014 academic year? As we lose the third year practical web unit I hope to keep a flow of guests by a. bringing in new guests for the UX unit, and b. by running a series of small, evening talks from guests throughout the year. It is hoped that we can make these open to all students, and those in industry.
We will be looking forward to working more with both Chris Mills and Andrew Clarke, and will hopefully be able to announce some larger evening or weekend events with some exciting guests. Keep an eye on @eskins for news.
If I’ve missed anyone out, sorry. Let me know. If you fancy joining in and would like to contribute by guesting for the students, please drop me a line. Richard.