How Industry Projects Help ICT Students Soar

Griffith University’s work-integrated learning (WIL) program provides an opportunity for third year students to put their skills and knowledge into practice through a workplace project or industry placement.

With various industry connections, the School of ICT has opened the door for many students to work with a range of organisations including Gold Coast Health, Surfing Australia, CSIRO and the City of Gold Coast.

Sharnee Fry, a Bachelor of Information Technology student, majoring in network security, is creating a web application tool to assist businesses through her WIL project. To help other Griffith ICT students prepare for their final projects, Sharnee shares her experience so far, as well as key advice.

What does your WIL project involve?

“The project I am working on is a web application that allows businesses to undertake their own market research.”

“The application will use a specially designed survey to evaluate the businesses level of loyalty among its existing customer base and then send targeted marketing solutions to these businesses,” she says.

“Within this project, I have the role of Project Manager. The jobs involved in this role include:

  • Tracking the status of the project;
  • Reporting and tracking team members contributions;
  • Delegating tasks and responsibilities;
  • Liaising directly with the client and assessor;
  • Final drafting of all submitted documents;
  • Transcribing all meetings and workshops;
  • Resolving conflicts between team members; and
  • Contributing all documentation related to project status and resource usage,” she says.
How have you been completing your project from home?

“The project transitioned to a completely virtual work environment early in the trimester. This change has been managed through the use of university-provided software including Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Flow, Jira and Blackboard Collaborate Ultra.

We have been using Jira predominately for three purposes.

The first is the management and breakdown of tasks.

The second is the delegation of these tasks and tracking the completion and progress of the project.

Lastly, it is used to generate graphs and reports based on the data within Jira.

Microsoft Teams is used as the primary point of contact. A main channel is used where I have programmed a Microsoft Flow to deliver reminders to the team.

Blackboard Collaborate Ultra is used for virtual meetings.The assessor and team attend meetings generally on a weekly basis. These sessions are used to discuss more detailed progress and plans that can be difficult to dictate in messages.

Without the support of Griffith and the WIL project teachers and staff, the transition to an online environment would have been much more chaotic and unsuccessful. The [email protected] course page is updated regularly, and this content has been invaluable for understanding the expectations for our project deliverables.

Our course convenor also provided additional content to assist when students were unsure of their roles within the team and to consistently remind students of upcoming due dates for our assessment items,” she says.

“Having access to the university-provided software and resources has also allowed our team to utilise real-world applications. This provides us with incredible hands-on experience for software that is widely used within the information technology industry”

“Our assessor and convenor have been available and helpful throughout the project. They have ensured that we have dedicated channel of communication on Microsoft Teams and [email protected] They have also mediated the weekly team meetings and provided invaluable insight and advise at all stages of development,” she says.

What skills have you gained from your WIL project so far?

“The main skills I’ve developed so far as a result of this project would be an increase in my communication and organisation. An increase in organisation was necessary for the project to be able to adapt to an online working environment and as result, I believe my own organisation skills have improved.

I have learnt to utilise the resources available from Griffith University and to integrate them effectively within the new workflow of an online environment. My confidence in virtual communication and correspondence has improved considerably. I am more confident during virtual meeting and video calls. I am not afraid to speak up during meetings and to voice concerns I may be having.

I have also learnt a lot about managing people more effectively within remote environments. I have come to understand that everyone’s online presence and contribution is different and to cater my respective approaches to the individual’s needs. These needs can include aspects such as the preferred time of day to work, the number of tasks they are able to complete within a given period and the amount of oversight and direction needed,” she says.

What advice would you give for students with WIL placements coming up?

“From my external internships, I have recognised that work integrated learning is a great insight into the operations of your respective industries.

“Plan, organise, and most
importantly, communicate.”

The skills and knowledge gained in this course will be sought-after by potential employers and will differentiate you from other applicants. By developing effective project management skills, you will be building strong, transferable skills that can be utilised in any future employment,” she says.

Find out more about the work integrated learning programs available at Griffith University here.

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