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Page history last edited by Joanne 15 years, 7 months ago



Section 1  


1. Introduction

Joanne currently employed by the ICS Subject Centre, she began placement on the 13th August 2007. Her role is a Web Developer, and her duties include updating the Content Management System, carrying out book reviews, updating databases, maintaining the ICS website, and producing publicity flyers for events and conferences.

The Higher Education Academy’s Subject Centre for Information and Computer Sciences (ICS) is one of 24 Subject centres based in the UK. Their aim is to provide subject specific support both for departments and for individual teaching and learning practitioners and to facilitate the sharing of good practice and innovation.


1.1  History and Development of the ICS subject centre

The Higher Education Academy is a UK based organisation in which its purpose is to support quality enhancement both in teaching and student through higher education. Their aim is to provide and promote good practice within in learning and teaching for higher education. The Higher Education Academy formed 24 different subject centres in which the Informatics Computer Sciences (ICS) subject centre is a part of. The 24 subject centres formed in 2004 from a merger of the Institute for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (ILTHE), the Learning and Teaching Support Network (LTSN), and the TQEF National Co-ordination Team (NCT).

The ICS subject centre is based in the University of Ulster at Jordanstown.


1.2 Organisational chart of ICS subject centre

The organisational chart for the ICS subject centre is not very big. It consists of a Centre director, Centre manager, Academic Co-ordinators, Administrator, Development officer, Development researcher, and Secretary and placement students. You can see below the organisational chart of ICS subject centre, which indicates how many staff, is currently within the ICS department.


1.3  The function of the ICS subject centre

The purpose of the ICS subject centre is to provide subject specific support both for departments and for individual teaching and learning practitioners and to facilitate the sharing of good practice and innovation. In other words the ICS subject centre helps to organise events throughout the UK. They produce delegate packs for these events which contain information about the events, presentations, and events in the future. Staff within the ICS subject centre help with registration during these events and organising the events. The ICS subject centre also helps with funding certain projects such as the General Funding project which is funded in regular basis. Flyers and posters are produced in a regular basis for events, student competitions etc. The ICS website is updated in a regular basis for events, newsletters, competitions, book reviews etc.


1.4 Explaining ICS company management and departments

The ICS subject centre is one of the 24 subject centre, who responsible towards the Higher Education Academy. The Higher Education Academy provides help for teaching and student experience in higher education throughout the UK. Their aim is to provide the best learning experiences for students. There are many other subject centres which specialise in other subjects such as English. The ICS subject centre report to the Higher Education Academy in a regular basis to inform them how the centre is performing, if it is meeting it objectivities etc. The ICS subject centre produce an annual report every year around September to explain  all their contacts they have made with intuitions, events took place, budgets of finance  and if they have met their objectivities. A business plan is drawn up every year during January to explain the plans for the future of ICS subject centre. The business plan is forwarded onto the Higher Education Academy to look at. Joanne is now going to explain some of the roles that are involved within the ICS subject centre below.


  • Centre Director (Gerry Mc Allister): Gerry has overall responsibility for all the operational aspects of the ICS subject centre he is 25% involved.
  • Centre Manager (Stephen Hagan): Stephen is the Centre Manager for the ICS subject centre he is 100% involved in the centre. Stephen manages the day-to-day operation of ICS through the Operational plan and budgets.
  • Academic Co-ordinators (Hazel White & Karen Fraser): Hazel is responsible for sorting out funding for projects such as Development Funds and organising student competitions for ICS. The purpose of these projects is to develop good practice in teaching methods. Karen specialises in organising events and workshops. These events facilitate the presentations of current work throughout the UK.
  • Administrator (Barbara Hunter): is responsible for the day-to-day basis of the all activities within the subject centre. Barbara has to make sure the centre is running smoothly, assists with the development of the Operational/ Business plan, monitors and reports the achievements of the ICS subject centre.
  • Development Officer (David Milligan): David is responsible for maintaining the ICS website in a regular basis. For example David would update events and current news. He would also update the database for Publications and External Examiners.
  • Research Officer (Giuseppe Trombino): provides support for Stephen and Gerry in the development of the centre’s profile. Some of Giuseppe roles would entail finding appropriate funding, promoting competitions for students, development of on-line Question Bank, development of e-learning material such as RLOs and working with other subject centres to provide funding.
  • Secretary (Lesley-Anne Fitzgerald): provides clerical support to other staff within ICS. Lesley-Anne would organise travel and accommodation for staff and speakers, making arrangements for workshops e.g. delegate packs. Analyse feedback forms and support financial procedures on a daily basis.
  • Web Developer (Joanne Briggs): Joanne is one of the placement students who are responsible for maintaining the ICS website, providing posters and flyers for events and also dealing with book reviews on a daily basis.
  • Multimedia Developer (Danny Turley): Danny is another placement student who produces newsletters, posters and flyers for publicity events. He also helps to maintain the ICS website.


Section 2

2.1 Web Developer role within ICS

Joanne is currently one of the placement students currently working for the ICS subject centre as the position of Web Developer. Joanne role involves maintaining the ICS subject centre website on a daily basis, updating the database for book reviews, producing publicity flyers and posters for events. Joanne is expected to work along in a team to complete various tasks for the centre and to make sure that the appropriate material for academics is available on the ICS website such as the up to date events, publications and other areas that academics may be interested in.


2.2 Technical skills required for the Web Developer

Some of the skills that Joanne is required for the job are as follows:


  • To have experience  in developing web pages in HTML and JavaScript
  • To have some knowledge of using PHP, ASP etc
  • To be able to use Microsoft Office at a high level
  • To be use software such as Dreamweaver, Photoshop etc.
  • To have the ability to work in a team
  • To have good oral and written communication skills


2.3 Skills Joanne has developed

Joanne has developed many application skills throughout her placement and hopes to use these skills for final year.  They are as follows:


  • Indesign: Joanne designed a flyer for ‘Supporting Learning and Teaching in Higher Education’. The aim of this flyer is to let others know about the subject centre and to give them an insight into what it does. Joanne decided to use Indesign CS to develop the flyer in. Joanne picked this application as she wanted to gain new application skills for final year and for future use. She learned how to set pages up correctly, place images in from Photoshop, edit the images from Indesign CS, use swatches to set her own background colours,  change fonts of text, add new layers for new images , text etc. She also learned that if she created an image in Photoshop and if the image wasn’t the correct size she could proportionally fit the image to the correct size. Joanne has learned from using Indesign CS that it is important to plan out the flyer i.e. check measurements of the page.
  • Team meetings / presentations: Team meetings have helped Joanne to improve her communication skills, work in a team, and she has been able to receive feedback on the progress of her she has completed.
  • PHP/ HTML/ CSS: Joanne has developed her programming languages throughout her placement by using Dreamweaver to help assist her to create online booking forms for events, creating register forms for Italics and creating new dynamic pages for the 9th Annual conference to inform Academics about these events. Dreamweaver is used to upload content to the ICS website to update events, registration forms, current news and events.  At present Joanne is working on a mobile website for the ICS website so that academics can book events easily on the go. Joanne is using CSS style sheets for the design of the web pages and using XHTML MP For the coding section. Joanne is also testing the ICS mobile website in different phone simulations.
  • Content Management system: The ICS website had to move over to the CMS system, therefore Joanne had the experience of updating the content from the current ICS website to the CMS. Joanne created web pages, coded web pages and uploaded pages.
  • Database: ICS uses databases very regular to add events, book reviews, update status and news to the ICS website. Joanne has experience of using the database quite regular to update this information.
  • Photoshop: Joanne uses Photoshop in a regular basis to create publicity flyers for events, posters for Computing, competitions and logos. Joanne has learned to use new tools and to develop the skills of other tools such as the path tool, select tool, gradient tool and the pen tool. She also has learned a new flare of design for print and web for professional and subtle styles. She has learned how to expert with brushes in Photoshop to enhance her designs. Joanne has also developed her print skills and converted images to 300DPI and CMYK for print and web production.
  • Illustrator: Joanne is currently in the progress of developing her skills through the use of Illustrator. She has been practising tutorials on logos, shapes, vector images and tracing images. She is really keen to develop this application and would like to use Illustrator in the future through her placement and final year.


2.4 Social aspects of ICS subject centre

At Christmas time there was a Christmas dinner provided in the University of Ulster. In regular bases we celebrate staff’s birthdays and occasions by going to Pizza hut and bringing in cake. The team regular goes to tea breaks together.


Section 3

3.1 The training Joanne was provided by the ICS Subject Centre

  The training Joanne was given throughout her placement year is as follows:

  • Photoshop:  Joanne has been using Photoshop quite a lot throughout her placement. She has been using Photoshop to develop publicity flyers, events posters; PDF’s and also has been using Photoshop for the ICS website and the ICS database for book reviews.  Throughout Joanne’s placement she has learned how to produce posters and flyers correctly for print production and also has learned how to use the correct resolutions for images. Joanne has progressed her experience in Photoshop through using tools such as the Gradient tool, pen tool, select tool and blending options. David as shown Joanne some new features in Photoshop which has enhanced her experience with Photoshop which could possibly help her with her final year projects.
  • Dreamweaver: Joanne has used Dreamweaver MX 2004 quite a lot through her placement to maintain the ICS website for Events, News, the 9th Annual conference, Development funding etc. David taught Joanne how to upload information and data to the remote server for ICS. Joanne has also been shown some PHP and CSS which has helped her to develop her skills in using forms, changing new news to old news and being able to solve problems when issues arise with certain aspects of the coding.
  • PHPMyAdmin: Joanne was shown by David how PHPMy Admin can be used to connect to the ICS database to add new information to book reviews etc. This again as made Joanne progress her skills for next year.
  • Word press: Joanne was shown by David how to set up word press in the ICS server, add new pages, write comments, change themes etc. Again this may be very useful for next year when Joanne’s creating her blog for the modules.
  • Databases: Joanne uses databases in regular bases to update book reviews and events to the ICS website. Joanne as seen from using databases it helps to upload information quickly and efficiently to the ICS website.
  • Content Management system: Joanne had to use a content management system for the ICS website as all the other 23 subject centre’s had to move to this portal for the Higher Education Academy. David showed me how to add new components, pages and how to use the HTML editor to set the layout of each page consistent and correctly. Joanne thinks a content management system may be useful for next year.


3.2 The experience and skills Joanne has gained throughout her placement

When Joanne started the IMD course she developed many applications skills such as HTML, Flash, Dreamweaver, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, my SQL, Photoshop, Director and 3D studio max. These application skills have assisted Joanne with her placement. Joanne has found her placement with ICS very useful for final year and hopes to use the new skills and techniques she has learned for final year. The application skills are as follows:


  • Dreamweaver: Joanne has made a great deal of progress with Dreamweaver through use of using it in regular bases to obtain the ICS website. Joanne has learned how to connect to the remote server to update information  in a regular bases, how to use PHP for making forms, sorting information as current news and old news and also has had the experience of problem solving issues with web pages not working correctly to display certain information correctly due to errors in the code. From Joanne solving these problems she has learned how these could be possibly solved in the future to save time to fix the problem.
  • Databases: Joanne has learned how useful databases can be for when you want to add data quickly to the ICS website i.e. for book reviews. This could be very effective when Joanne wants to update her own website efficiently and fast or perhaps she wants to retrieve data quickly. Joanne has been taught how PHP admin could be very useful when creating databases.
  • Illustrator: Joanne decided to teach herself Illustrator as she wanted to be to draw her own drawings and live trace them on to Illustrator for her to use in Flash for her final year project. From Joanne using Illustrator she has found she could do a lot with this application for final year.
  • Word press: Joanne is currently learning how to use Word press, David showed Joanne this application as this is going to be used for a current project called ‘y do it?’. Joanne is able to add pages, add comments, change themes and is hoping to progress further with this open source application, as she would like to use it for her final year project for blogging. The purpose of this would enable students and lecturers to read through her blog and leave a comment. This would be good for Joanne, as she could see how she is progressing and how she could possibly improve her work in final year to achieve the grade Joanne is aiming for.
  • Photoshop: This application is used on a daily bases to design publicity flyers and to update posters that need sent out in regular bases. Joanne has learned many techniques this year from using Photoshop. She has learned how to produce for print production, how to use tools within Photoshop in more depth such as using the select tool.
  • CSS: Joanne has developed her skills in using CSS to style web pages for print, mobile phone and in different browsers such as Firefox and Internet explorer. Therefore, she has developed CSS to better standard than last year, which will be very useful when she creating her portfolio website and other websites for other modules. This could perhaps improve the designs of Joanne’s website and also could improve Joanne’s validation when she is checking with W3C standards.
  • Indesign: Joanne decided to teach herself Indesign as she wanted to expand her application skills for final year.  Joanne has had good practice of using Indesign in her placement, as she was given the experience to create a flyer for the ICS subject centre to inform Higher education intuitions and academics about what the ICS subject centre does. Joanne has learned how to set pages up correctly, edit information from Indesign to Photoshop fit the content portionally and set it up for print production correctly. Joanne found from using this application she has learned how to produce high quality flyers for professional academics and Higher education institutions. This will help Joanne in the near future when she creating publicity flyers.
  • Mobile web development: Joanne is currently working on developing the ICS subject centre website on the mobile web. The purpose of this mobile website will enable academics and Higher education institutions to browser on the go to check events, book events, view top news etc. However, when developing this mobile application I need be careful that I don’t have too many pictures as this maybe costly for the visitors when they are viewing the particular page. This Mobile web development will improve Joanne’s programming skills in CSS and XHTML. This could also improve her skills for next year when she creating her final year project.


Other skills:

Joanne has developed other areas of skills rather than just her application skills. Joanne will explain these skills below:


  • Communication and presentation skills: Joanne has had the experience of being able to gain confidence and courage through participating in presentations to young school children for a website competition. This will be very useful for Joanne for her final year as she is required to produce a project proposal to her lecture and peers.
  • Team meetings: Joanne has had the experience of attending team meetings to discuss the centre’s activities and to also get feedback about previous work Joanne has completed. The feedback has helped Joanne to see how she could improve the areas of her work. This will be good practice for next year when she is completing projects.
  • Deadlines: Through working with the ICS Subject Centre there was plenty of opportunity to get projects completed on time. Joanne felt that deadlines helped her to complete work more efficiently and on time.
  • Working in a team: Joanne found working in a team is good practice for meeting deadlines and getting tasks completed in time. Joanne found if she was having problems she was able to get help from her team members if needed.


Section 4

Future job prospects

Joanne has found her placement really useful, she feels prepared for the real working environment and knows what to expect.  Joanne has learned how to address Academics professionally. Joanne will need to be prepared to address clients in a professional manner in the future place of work. Joanne has gained the experience of how to communicate to other subject centre’s departments through e-mail and the telephone, which has given her good practice in dealing with clients. Working in a team is really important to get targets and deadlines met to get the job done efficiently in time. This will be good practice in the future for Joanne when she is completing projects for clients and it could also help the team to spilt tasks up between them and possibly help to solve problems others may be having in the team.


Time management is another important aspect. If we didn’t have deadlines no one would have projects completed on time. Joanne feels that deadlines helped her to get work done quickly and helped her to plan well ahead. Meeting deadlines will be really important for Joanne in the future when dealing with clients or clients may go elsewhere to get their projects completed by our competitors.

ICS subject centre has also given me the opportunity to improve my presentation skills and confidence to produce talks and to communicate to my team members.  Increased confidence and better self management will make the job more successful to complete and enjoy. The presentation skills will help Joanne to produce her ideas to clients more successfully.


Decision making is another important skill that Joanne would use in a daily bases. For example she has to think about how she is going to design the publicity flyers and how she could set up the website or get the solution to the problem she might have. It will be important to have good decision making skills in the future when dealing with clients as they might ask questions and you may have to come up with the solution for them quickly.




In conclusion, Joanne felt that it was important to undertake the IMD course to learn these applications, to learn how to meet deadlines and fix problems throughout the course. The placement with ICS has helped Joanne to prepare for the real world of work and helped her to learn new applications skills and techniques which could be useful for her final year projects and possibly in her future place of work. Joanne has now the experience of dealing with different departments and clients in professional manner and being able to work in a team really well to get projects completed in time. Joanne hopes after her degree with IMD to undertake a masters possibly in Marketing and to become a Multimedia Developer designing adverts and working with animation.



















Comments (2)

Karen said

at 7:09 pm on Apr 6, 2008

This is a good start Joanne. just watch the use of capital letter Higher Education Academy should all start with capitals, otherwise well done. Karen

Joanne said

at 8:30 am on Apr 7, 2008

Thanx Karen for letting me know cheers.

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