Creating Campus Clients to "Make It Real"

Submitted by James Heinrich on
What is the Purpose of the Assessment?

Occupational Ed students needed practice finding and fulfilling relationships with real-world clients.

Describe the necessity for this assessment

Too often, my students fail to see the connection between course content and its real-world application, as evidenced by their frequent "Why are we learning this?" questions.

Describe how the practice will be implemented

A client-company relationship was developed between the faculty/staff Mariposa Literary Review committee and my Adobe InDesign students. Through that relationship, students and the client reviewed my students' proposals for an easier-to-read, industry-compliant 64-page booklet that honored students' writings and art and provided the campus and community with a quality printed product.

Interpret, compare, and describe the results

Two years ago with a different client, the student benefits were minimal for one simple reason: I didn't have the clients visit the classroom to review the students' proposals. Instead I had one student take them to the client. Turns out he didn't. The client wasn't pleased with much of the work. This time, because of the face-to-face communications between students and client, the results fulfilled everyone's expectations academically and product-wise.

After analyzing, and reflecting on the outcome, what are the next steps?

I will definitely keep doing it the same way with a few refinements:

  • My students will work with the client earlier in the semester. This semester, the booklet wasn't printed until the week after the semester ended, so students couldn't see the end result, although they did see the PDF file of the client-approved final product.
  • I will request that the students who submit proposals proof their work better!

Applying course content to real world experience so students understand why they are learning an applicable skill. Although using desktop publishing programs such as Adobe InDesign is a critical skill expected in many graphic design occupations, few students understand what desktop publishing is or how important it is. I wanted my EMCC students to experience the "scratch and sniff" effects of producing and publishing print products. So, when I first taught Adobe InDesign in Fall 2016, I arranged for my students to create print products for the Career and Transfer Center. It was a hit and miss experience because I didn't act strongly enough in the "publisher" role. I didn't create frequent, direct communication with the client, which negatively affected the quality of final products.

In Fall 2017, I saw a Mariposa Literary Review. The print and the art were tiny. I asked Dr. Freeman if he and the review committee might enjoy seeing some proposals from my students. They did! Moreover, they agreed to work with my students all semester. 

My students have learned much from this.

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