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Michael Forker  Placement Report 2008

Page history last edited by mtforker@... 15 years, 10 months ago

Michael Forker Placement Report 2008





Institute for lifelong learning






Placement report 2008


Michael Forker


Student number






“Approaching the alter”





















I would like to Thank the team at Campus One for the opportunity to learn from them.  Everything that I’d imagined the web – design world to be I experienced at Campus One, I found the people highly professional & talented and they were a pleasure to work with & learn from, the only thing I didn’t imagine was how tough it could be sometimes with deadlines & ‘ pressures ’.  I have deep appreciation & an honest respect for the people who work at Campus One. I would recommend Campus One to anyone who is looking to gain experience in the web – design world as the people there are very cool. I must also Thank the Interactive Multimedia Design teaching team at The University of Ulster at Jordanstown, as it is without doubt an outstanding teaching team in the multimedia world and the interaction within this type of experience is one that will stay with a person for a lifetime, & finally all the students who I interact with who have helped me to make some progress in the web design area of my life, who have been very kind and patient when I have asked them for help when struggling with the computer mouse, who without I would not have learnt as much as I have or be where I am in my placement position and approaching the 4th year of the Interactive Multimedia Design degree course. Much appreciation and gratitude is acknowledged here.







Thank you.



Michael Forker






1.  Introduction 

This is my placement report which will discuss my placement year working as a web – developer for The Institute of Lifelong Learning as part of my course of study on the BSc Hons Interactive Multimedia Design. This report is about my third year industrial placement position from the Interactive Multimedia Design course into Campus One (one section of the Institute of Lifelong Learning) & it will report the training & work experience I have gained from working as a web – developer at the Institute of Lifelong Learning. The web development work I am involved in at Campus One consists of developing web pages as virtual content for their online study school. [ 1 ]




1.2  History and Development of the Company 

Campus One

“In October 2001 the Institute of Lifelong Learning launched Campus One. Campus One is a virtual campus offering flexible online learning opportunities. Courses range from full postgraduate programmes, professional development and continuing development courses, through to short business focused courses.”



The history & evolution of Campus One can be viewed in detail at this web – site,



which describes it’s inception until present day, Campus One, as the business itself states;


“Campus One is the University of Ulster's virtual campus, and we currently provide distance learning programmes for more than 10,000 students, including over 1,500 fully online postgraduate level students.” [ 2 ]






Organisational Chart








1.3  The Function of the Host Department 

The Institute of Lifelong Learning is an organisation that provides online study facilities; it describes itself on its web site as “The Institute is a strategic unit within the University of Ulster. It has a university wide remit to promote and develop opportunities for lifelong learning. A key focus of the Institute is the exploitation of advances in information and communications technologies to deliver more flexible learning opportunities and improve opportunities for access to lifelong learning.



The institute of Lifelong Learning is exploiting recent advances in ICT, and in particular the Internet, to provide greater access to its programmes and courses. The use of the Internet is beginning to allow us to deliver learning in a more flexible manner. This has been found to be particularly important for students with family or social commitments. In some cases it has been the only way for some students to return to education.” [ 1 ]




1.4  Company Management and Department Structures 

The Campus One team work to negotiate deals for the online study school both internally & externally for business. Internally the E – Learning Technologists (the people who get the business & delegate the work) communicate with faculties & schools for business and externally there is an extensive marketing program to attain business.






2.  My Role & Job Description within the Company 

As described on the Opus System at the University of Ulster my job description was; these two posts will be located in the E - Learning Group of the Institute of Lifelong Learning and will be based on the Jordanstown Campus.




The E – Learning Course Developers will support Institute of Lifelong Learning instructional, graphic and course design staff to develop high quality on-line content, support material and tools and multimedia resources. 


This work will include:


• The development of a range of on-line course templates


• The development of visual support material (video, animation, simulations), in particular for use in high profile on – line Masters Courses


• The development of student (and staff) support tools to provide “just in time” training & assistance


The placement students will be responsible for defined elements within each of the above.  A key role will be the testing of new media & tools using a range of platforms and browsers to ensure maximum accessibility to off-campus users. 






Essential: Studying towards a degree


Desirable: IT & / or design related background







• IT literate – ability to use internet, email, word processing and spreadsheet software


• Development of interactive web pages


• Use of an HTML editor (Dreamweaver, Frontpage, Composer etc.)




• use of graphical design package such as Paintshop Pro, Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash, Fireworks or Director. 





• Work on their own initiative


• Effective time management


• Good teamworking skills


• Liaise effectively with UU staff & students


• Good written and oral communication skills


• Well motivated and enthusiastic







A photograph of me working hard taken by one of the Campus One team






2.1  The Technical Skills Required for the Job of a Web Developer  

The skills required to do the job of an E – Leaning Course Developer is the ability to develop web pages using a combination of different media platforms for web page development which include a HTML editor, computer graphic editing software and computer animation software.  These are the main abilities required to do the job of a web developer.



The teaching on the Interactive Multimedia Design course taught all the fundamental skills required for the development of E – Learning content for Campus One.  The first 2 years of this course had modules in, Multimedia Software, Introduction to Multimedia, Introduction to Communication Design, 2D Multimedia Authoring, Interactive Programming, Imaging, Interactive Database Programming, Professional Issues, Information Design, 3D Multimedia Authoring, Web Programming, Design Application & also had a module in Industrial Placement Preparation.  These subjects taught all the fundamentals of web – design and prepared the way for the application of these skills for the job at Campus One. (http://imdweb.infj.ulst.ac.uk/)



The web – design skills required to do the job of a E – Learning content developer are all the basic teachings of a web – designer which include the fundamentals of html as well as other computer languages, though html is the most important, plus experience with graphics & animation for web development also are essential.  The html, graphical & animation skills required are to quite a high level, which was initially taught through the BSc Hons Interactive Multimedia Design course and was heightened dramatically in ways from the practical experience of doing the actual job at Campus One. 



As stated the main skills required for the development of e – learning content filled web – pages is knowledge & ability in html, graphics & animation. 




2.2  The Technical Skills Taught in the Job as a Web Developer  

The training from the BSc Hons Interactive Multimedia Design course was without doubt an invaluable foundation prior to the job at Campus One, without the training in all the basic lessons in computing, the practical application of the theory & experience from the I.M.D. course would not have been possible.  The experience shared from the team at Campus One in the sense that things were taught that were of expertise quality for web development which will be a big help for my fourth year on the I.M.D. course and for future job employment.  The way HTML & other languages are written and the way graphics and animations are created by the team at Campus One are of a very high standard and the experience of being shown this by the team as well as the opportunity of doing some of the work for the Institute for Lifelong learning will be very positive also for me for future computing application indeed.  The personal development gained while working in this type of team has been invaluable.



I was initially shown the house style at Campus One when we first started in the job which was a subtle combination of yellow & blue colour for themes, and different fonts for different tasks and I was also taught the reason for the use of different fonts for example if I was creating a graphic or animation for something official or academic I would be instructed to use a font like Times New Roman as it has an official & authoritative look about it, as it is a serrifed typeface.  I am using Times New Roman for this report also, so you can see for yourself that it does indeed have an official look about it, I was also guided to use a sans serif font like Myriad which is a humanist sans - serif typeface this is a calligraphic sans serif typeface,


Mediavilla describes Calligraphy as;






"The art of giving form to signs in an expressive, harmonious and skillful manner" (Mediavilla 1996: 18). [ 3 ]






Myriad has a rounded, stylish & confident look about it and I used it for the graphical work I was doing, both for the headlines and the body text of the graphics.  There was so much taught in the job at Campus One & talking about seriffed or a sans serif font can be confusing for someone who hasn’t much knowledge about them, the serrifed fonts are the ones with strokes at the ends of some of its letters & the sans serif fonts don’t.  The Myriad font suited the graphical work as it was stylish and suited the feel of the style of graphic that was being created at Campus One as the template there for graphical work had a yellow background and a blue typeface colour which the typeface was used in for graphic creation.  As I say I think this typeface went very well for this type of work as it was rounded, stylish and very confident in its appearance.



Leading & kerning was also reinforced which is the space between the letters of a word and the space between the lines of rows of words,  Leading being the vertical space between the lines of words and kerning being the space between the letters & words.  Kerning can be applied to the horizontal space in either direction between the letters of words so that the letters can appear close together or further apart; if the letters are kerned further apart it makes the words easier on the eye to read and can also be applied to draw the eye to text, its usually used at the beginning of a paragraph to draw the eye of the reader to that part of the page either in print or on the web.  In a well kerned font all the letters have the same proportional spacing.  This may not sound that important but when one is reading, if the letter spacing is not the same it can be very annoying to the reader.



This is just some detailed explanation of some of the deeper teaching that was taught by Campus One about web design and its elements.  Other aspects of web design were taught also like the arrangement of elements within a piece of graphical work as the alignment of elements within either a web page itself or a piece of graphical work is important, simple things were again reinforced like the centring of elements with the graphic work and the spacing of elements.  Some of the templates used for graphic work at Campus One had containers within them for the images to fit into so after masking and editing the images to fit into the containers I had to align them to fit the containers and align the containers also so that the images fitted into the containers without overlap and also arrange the containers to each other, so that they looked flush with each other, this type of arrangement of elements gives a professional and harmonious look to the work that is created by Campus One.



I was shown how to improve my work with HTML, image editing and animation work at Campus One by the use of certain rules & techniques that are used there by the team for online web material delivery which can be viewed in detail in the appendices section of this document.



2.3  Social Aspects in the Job with Web Developers & Computer People 

The social interaction at Campus One is plentiful in the sense that the team here at Campus One like to enjoy themselves, and rightly so as it’s tough work in a highly competitive atmosphere, at first when we arrived (the other placement students and myself) we went out for dinner & drinks, which went well, we also went out for Christmas together, which was a highly enjoyable experience, where we went for food, then some drinks, this was an opportunity for us to interact in a less stressful atmosphere which helped in getting to know one another.  We have also gone out a few times for lunch which is a nice experience as the food is always good and the company also.   The Campus One team make a point to go for coffee on regular occasions which is very positive as its team building more or less on a daily basis and a chance to get away from work for awhile which sometimes can be very desirable especially when the workload is very tough.  The social interaction at Campus One is very pleasant and the people are nice.






3.  Previous Experience Prior to the Job 

The experience I had prior to starting the Job in Campus One that was relevant to the position was gained from courses at college ranging from computer courses in word processing & text processing and a key information technology skills course as well as my preceding university course which was in computing & business, part of the computing aspect of this access course was in web design itself which also included elements of e – commerce which was exciting & interesting, plus the first two years of the BSc Hons Interactive Multimedia Design course, the study courses have all been of benefit to me in the job as they have all taught something that has added to my ability to do what I have done in the Job at Campus One, even the business aspect of the access course as it had elements of Mathematics & English which are of value to me with the work I have to do.  I was also working on a web site for a client prior to my starting the position which served as valuable experience also. This was the main relevant experience I had prior to the job, which helped me whilst there.



Applying this experience from the previous experiences to the job in Campus One was quite easy as I said it was all relevant, so the teaching that I had with text & word processing, web site creation and all the modules in the first two years of the BSc Hons Interactive Multimedia Design course which were in web design, which primarily is the creation of web sites & its elements all were transferable into Campus One for the creation of web pages, including their elements, for the online study school there.



The teaching from professionals who do the job of a web designer for a living & from the people who make up a web design team in action can be on a very high level at times.  I was shown how to write computer code, edit & manipulate images and create animation to a very high standard because of the professional quality of work that is desired from a professional web design business.  This teaching by professionals will help me immensely for my final year of study, the teaching about web design creation itself and its techniques & the discipline, fortitude & stamina required to be able to handle the pressure of working in this type of competitive environment.  This will be of benefit to me in the final year of my study course, because final year of a degree course is meant to be very challenging, as it has toughened, strengthened & enlightened me as a person as well as increased my sense of humour.  My team working ability has also improved with the job experience at Campus One which will also be of benefit to me in final year as I am sure there will be a team event during the year.  This experience will be of invaluable measure for me for any further web development creation.  The personal development I have experienced at Campus One has been a lot as I said both in the sense of my web design skills and the personal growth area of my life.






4.  Transferring the Experience into a Future Job 

The Institute of Lifelong Learning is one of the leading online educational schools in today’s virtual learning world.  My industrial placement position with the Institute of Lifelong Learning as a web developer has resulted in a noticeable increase in the skills required for the quality visual web development that is sought for in such an organisation.  The experience of working in such an organisation as the Institute of Lifelong Learning in the University of Ulster at Jorandanstown, Northern Ireland (http://www.ulster.ac.uk/lll/) will undoubtedly add tremendously to my future job prospects in similar organisations or other businesses that require these types of skills and experience. 




4.1  Communication Skills 

The opportunity to work with the type of professionals that work in the Institute of Lifelong Learning has given me the experience of being able to communicate with people who have worked in the web design world for over 20 years in such fields as graphical design, this experience has been very beneficial as the things that I have been shown by these people has been of a very high standard as they are the type of people who not only have a passion for what they do but also take pride in the work they create.  The type of working environment in such an organisation as this is very competitive and demands a lot of the time things getting done to tight deadlines, this has taught me communication skills in such a way that if I cannot do something on my own or instead of remaining stuck for too long trying to solve a task when time is an issue, to ask for help from someone who is more efficient in that area than I so that the job gets done to meet the target deadline.  My communication skills have definitely improved in general also from my experience of working in this type of team as the daily interaction with the web design team is very positive & dynamic which has taught me a way to communicate so that I can get things done effectively both personally and collectively. 




4.2  Working as Part of the Team 

The cogs and oil of the team’s workings at Campus One are very much in motion.  At first when arriving here it appeared very positive and dynamic which it is but could also be described as intimidating because of the level of efficiency in task execution & completion.  The teaching from experienced individuals who have worked in this type of industry for a long time made it a lot easier to learn the things required to participate in such a team, as I was taught the important things that would be asked of me in such a way that I could perform the tasks asked effectively because I was shown techniques that made the development of the content for the educational web pages I was working with a lot easier.  As well as this the team at Campus One are pleasant, positive & highly professional people who know what they are doing when it comes to web design and their teaching & expectations has resulted with my ability being improved to work as a team member albeit with some grunting & groaning at times.




4.3  Time Management & Working to Deadlines 

The Institute of Lifelong Learning is a highly professional organisation.  Since my placement positions’ inception I have been taught effective time management because effective time management is a big part of being a person who adds to the team in a positive way, things get done at Campus One and it was taught to me from the beginning of my industrial placement position here that positive time management was essential and with only being of 1 day this year due to an injury the teaching has worked.  Working to deadlines at Campus One is part of daily life because the educational institute is situated within a university and the environment is similar to that of a students deadlines in the sense that we have to get the material ready for certain parts of the academic year, so we have deadlines that arise & change depending on what decisions are made regarding what is required for the proceeding academic year.  I have gained the ability to handle the pressure that is a reality whilst working in this type of environment when deadlines are asked for & are expected to be met.  This has come through the experience of working in this type of environment.




4.4  Dealing with Customers & Other Departments within the Organisation 

I have not personally had any interaction with the customers of Campus One as my role in the company is the development of web page content for the customers, though I have participated in meetings that have discussed the evolution of the company and its possible marketing strategies which are customer orientated.  The team in general have taught me an attitude relating to customer interaction that is friendly, efficient and professional from my experience of being around them on a daily basis.  The interaction with other departments within the University of Ulster where Campus One is located is helpful and dynamic because our marketing includes other departments within the university as well as outside the university.




4.5  Increased Self Confidence, Better Self Management, Increased Self Awareness as a Result of my Industrial Placement Position 

My self confidence has definitely increased from my experience of working at Campus One because my abilities have improved in the web design skills area of my life, my increased ability to deliver high quality web content for such a highly regarded educational institution could have resulted in nothing else but in an increase in my confidence, my confidence level is realistic because I am around people who tell me the truth when I am doing work for a particular task and when I do it well I am told and if not I am told also, so I have realistic confidence which has come from significant progress in my web design abilities. 



My self management abilities have also improved greatly because working as part of the team at Campus One has been very demanding & very competitive.  This has made me become more efficient in a lot of areas of my life because to keep pace with such a team demands this level of discipline.  At this stage, nearing the end of my placement a quote comes to mind from a talk I attended that would describe what I mean in regard to my attempts to communicate my progress in self management for this section, the talk was on at the Art College in Belfast, which is a part of the University of Ulster, in 2007 in the 2nd year of my BSc Hons Interactive Multimedia Design course where Erik Spiekermann was giving a talk on Typography when he said;





"You don’t do design, you live design."





This quote best describes how I feel about my increased ability in better self management from my experience with working in the web design world, now near at the end of my placement year.  It has also come to mind a lot this year.



I have a healthy self awareness at this stage of my industrial placement position in the sense that I know where I have gained in my abilities and where I have to improve, this has come from being around people who communicate with the type of honesty that is required to gain this realistic self awareness picture that is crucial for continued personal growth with my web design skills. 




4.6  Decision Making Skills 

If I am creating something for myself, the design stage of web design is where I start. The design part of web design has been reinforced greatly as part of the teaching I have received at Campus One, the decisions that result from the design process are of great benefit to a web developer because when the ideas are put down on paper initially regarding a project, the process itself will lead to the decision part of that process and there the decisions can be made for what is going to happen or not for that particular project.  The main decisions I make are in this stage of my web design plan.



When working with a client, the decision is the clients though influence can be given on such things as colour themes, page layout, font selection and design ideas for the page, for example, is the page going to be divided up by columns and if so how many, is the top part of the page going to be separate in its layout to the other parts of the page as well as where the buttons & links for the web page could be.



In general also, I feel that my personal decision process has improved in regard of my ability to make better decisions about my web page creation including its elements from the guidance I have received from the professionals that I have worked with for the last year at Campus One. 




4.7  Linking my Job & Study Experience to Future Job Prospects 

The work I have done for the Institute of Lifelong Learning which has been principally to develop content for their educational web pages as well as the web pages themselves has been a great experience for me in regard of gaining the experience of working in a professional web design business.  The type of content that is delivered from this educational academy is of a very high standard as you would imagine as it is within a university and its origins are academic in nature as well as its product.  I have been trained by this educational academy to develop a high standard of web content deliverables and I now feel competent to do the job being asked of me.  I am grateful to have had this opportunity.



The BSc Hons Interactive Multimedia Design course is one of the cutting edge web design courses that are available today.  In my first two years of study on the BSc Hons Interactive Multimedia Design course at the University of Ulster at Jordanstown, I studied modules in, Multimedia Software, Introduction to Multimedia, Introduction to Communication Design, 2D Multimedia Authoring, Interactive Programming, Imaging, Interactive Database Programming, Professional Issues, Information Design, 3D Multimedia Authoring, Web Programming, Design Application & also had a module in Industrial Placement Preparation.  These subjects are all elements of web design.



The academic study and practical training laid the foundation for some of the more advanced teaching that I was given while in the job professionally as a web developer.  Scoring an overall average at the end of my 2nd year of study on this course of web design of 60% combined with the experience of working in such a highly regarded & talented web design educational school, I feel I am in a very good position to achieve positive employment in this industry. 



I am looking forward to furthering my skills in the final year of my study course and I am aiming to attain the result that I have been working very hard for.  This type of result from my study course along with my experience at the Institute of Lifelong Learning will certainly put me in a very advantageous position when looking for a full time position in this field. 

























[ 1 ]  http://www.ulster.ac.uk/lll/


[ 2 ]  http://campusone.ulster.ac.uk/aboutus/

[3]  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calligraphic


































Research links















































Some, examples of the work I was involved in at Campus One.





Example 1.  A web page that I created at Campus One.










 Example 2 of a web page developed.









Example 3 of a web page created.








Example 4 of a web page created. 









 Example of HTML code written, using special entities.













Example 1 of a graphic I created using adobe Illustrator.









Example 2 of graphic work.









Example 3 of graphic created.








Example 4 of graphic created.










Example 5 of graphic created.












Example 6 of graphic created.










Example 7 of graphic created.










Example 8 of graphic created.











Example 9 of graphic created.














Example 10 of graphic created.











Example 11 of graphic created.











Example 12 of graphic created.












Example 13 of graphic created.











Example 14 of graphic created.












Example 15 of graphic created.














Example 16 of graphic created.












Example 17 of graphic created.












Example 18 of graphic created.













Example 19 of graphic created.














Example 20 of graphic created.








Example 21 of graphic created.








 Human Therapeutic Cloning.swf




Some Flash work


Comments (2)

Barry FLood said

at 1:09 pm on Apr 8, 2008

page cannot be found mike!

Joanne said

at 2:43 pm on Apr 29, 2008

Your Report is really good.

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