I’m trying to find out if there would be any interest in a degree where you mainly ‘do the work’ and learn through discussion with fellow students and mentoring staff, who can guide you to what you need to know. There would be no exams on this degree and it would all be done via coursework as groups and individuals over a year. So read the following and put something in the comments please, or email me your comments if you prefer.
The basic idea
My idea is that the ‘clients’ would be local businesses, who might need some prototype work done to prove/disprove an idea, but also maybe a research group which works with local groups to explore issues and problems, or maybe charities too. Even more exciting would be if a student had an idea for a start up, which we could develop over the year. I know from other work done with the Aberdeen Software Factory that we can find lots of projects on which to work, so that’s not a problem. I think this idea would work, but I need to sanity check it with the public. So, I’m asking, does this sound like the sort of thing you’d be interested in?
As a student
Would an MSc where you only did group work with real clients for two terms appeal? You still do an individual project in the summer. The goal is for students to learn to successfully develop software solutions while helping to solve local and global problems so that they have a portfolio of external client examples by the end of the degree. Does this sound like it would appeal? What more would you want to know before you signed up for such a degree?
As an employer
Would you want to hire people who had a track record of workinig on four or five projects the previous year with a variety of clients be ideal? What would you want to know they’d done over the year, or just have them be able to point you to websites, or applications in which they’d made a contribution?
As a potential client
What would you want to get out of this sort of arrangement? Assume that all of the IP can be sorted, as I’m told it can be based on current types of projects underway at the university. What else would you want to know before you committed to such a collaboration?
Like I said, I think this is the way to go: learn by doing and then do it some more to develop good habits. This is also what is suggested as good practice by any number of reports on employability and learning and of course, the big universities do similar project based work too. Sheffield does its MSc work with Genesys at the MSc level, which is what inspired the Aberdeen Software Factory in the first place. We should aim to do what we can at our level and find our level and then get better.
Now that you’ve had a read email me something, or put something in the comments. Thanks.