A distinguishing feature of the BA programme in Typography are the professional assignments we run with external clients – our Real Jobs scheme. These ‘in-house placements’ allow inexperienced students to deal with professional work in a staged and supervised way, as well as experienced students to take on larger, more complex projects than any placement would ever make possible. The clients for these projects may be internal to the University, local schools or charities, and companies in the region. Unsurprisingly, many of these projects have online elements, or are exclusively about online matter. Supervision and monitoring of these projects, which count towards a student’s degree, is paper-based. Feedback for online projects is by people side-by-side looking at a screen, or capturing screenshots.
The nearly-indecipherable plan above outlines our idea: a series of parallel blogs (or threads, or webpage strands, or …) that allow students to post progress updates online, and staff to post comments and annotations. There is a distinction between public and private pages, and control of what clients might be able to see. By default the plan calls for public pages for the project brief and the final presentation, and private ones for the staff-student exchanges. The system will allow much easier monitoring of progress, especially by part-time staff, and for online projects in particular.
Our trial system is based on extending a standard WordPress installation, which would make the system very easy for staff and students to use. Two very skilled students, Jake Giltsoff and Robbie Sterlini, are lending their coding skills to the project. We hope to have a workable prototype by 1 March.