Team Web Development Project

Students practice creating a web development project and presenting it to an audience in teams, essential skills in this field.

Goals: Students will

  • practice working in teams, a common necessity in web development
  • learn new skills and techniques to complete a project  independently
  • investigate an area of front-end web development that they are interested in, but was not covered in the course
  • practice presenting their technical work in a manner understandable to their audience

Class: DGMD E-27: Beyond the Basics of Front-End Web Design

Introduction/Background: Students in this course practice the use of CSS for designing webpages. The course is a semester’s worth of material packed in to “J-term”, three weeks during winter break in January, and thus is very fast-paced. Students are expected to already have a working understanding of HTML and CSS. In this assignment, students practice skills that are critical to a web developer’s career: working in teams, and learning new concepts independently, without the assistance of a class. Students work with 1 or 2 partners on a topic of their choosing that goes deeper into CSS. Each student builds coded parts of the projects individually, and they jointly construct a presentation on the topic.

Procedure:

Week 1

  • Students were provided with a detailed instruction sheet on the course website detailing all phases of the project (attached). The project was assigned on the first day of J-term  (January term) and was due the last day of J-term.
  • After reviewing the full activity, students were invited to attend one or two optional lunches after class at a restaurant in Harvard Square. This gave students the opportunity to network in an informal environment and talk about their topics of interest. In the course evaluations, several students mentioned how much they enjoyed this part of the cours. The instructor believes this project works best if students have an opportunity to get to know each other first.

Week 2

  • With partners identified, students constructed a proposal for their project. This was reviewed by the instructor, and once it was accepted, they could begin work.
  • Students also created their own grading rubric for whatever they were preparing. At least 20% of the grade had to come from the presentation, and at least 50% of the grade had to come from a code deliverable. Students could allocate the remaining 30% of their grade into those areas according to their choice, or they could create a third area for grading. Students then began researching their topic of interest.

Week 3

  • Students completed research in their topics of interest and constructed an 11 minute presentation (for groups of 2) or 15 minute presentation (groups of 3) about their work during a mini-conference in the last class. Students learned about a variety of topics not covered in the course.  . Students had to use clear and concise communication skills to explain the technique or topic of interest so that everyone understood the new material.The presentations held students’ interest for a full 3 hours.
  • Privately, students completed a code deliverable which they submitted to the instructor for grading. Every student was expected to have been primarily responsible for one section of the entire project, so that the instructor could grade those segments of code individually.
  • Students were also invited to share online with the other students in the course.
  • Finally, students submitted a partner assessment that allowed them to give positive and constructive feedback about the other studnets in their group.

Comments from the Instructor:

Students are more engaged when they can pursue a topic that interests them, rather than one that's assigned. It's important to know that in the IT world, it's impossible to know everything, so the capability to learn quickly using effective research techniques is critical. The ultimate test of learning a topic is the ability to present and teach that topic. This activity combines all of these areas to make an interesting and compelling project for students that reflects real-world demands.

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