Work experience versus academia

I’ve recently had the opportunity to return to full-time study. It’s been such a rewarding experience. Don’t get me wrong, choosing to return to education as a ‘mature student’ wasn’t an easy decision. Weeks before the semester started I was having sleepless nights as well as all kinds of self-doubts. In fact walking through the college doors has been one of the bravest things I have done for quite a long time.

So qualification received, what have I achieved?

I recently received my results in the post and was very proud to see in, black and white, that I’d successfully completed my HND and achieved an A in my Graded unit. No easy task. But what have I really learned and what added value is there to gaining a new qualification?

My academic year was choca-block with assignments, assessments, online exams and reports to hand in. So I learned how to organise my time better. Work continued as did all the other commitments I already had so out of class time involved late nights, lost weekends and snatched lunch-breaks. It would all be worth it, I knew I’d ‘get there’ but where is ‘there’?

On completion of the course I have secured a place at uni and I’m really looking forward to continuing my journey of self-development. But what can I do with what I have already learned? Honestly? . . . not a lot! I feel the time at college gave me snapshots of areas I might like to work in but I am no where even near the finished article. With this in mind, and my place at uni looming I decided to do what I did when I was 17 and look for some work experience. Since volunteering my time at one of the UK’s top web development companies I have learned so much more about what is actually involved in this industry I’m hoping to spend the next chapter of my life working in. The skills I started to develop at college have given me a knowledge and understanding of the digital world but in a short time working within a productive environment I have really had my eyes opened. I have gained an invaluable insight into how it is in the real world. The technology, the software, the workflows the trends all of which I never got to learn about in college. So, work experience versus academia discuss! Both have been a great experience and I definitely couldn’t have had work experience without the college experience, but I feel that modifying the college course to involve students in a real world environment should be a priority. Ease up on the reports and continuous documentation. Expose them to something more exciting outside of the class room and direct them to where their ‘there’ can be.


Going the extra mile


Who doesn’t like to be told they’re appreciated or have done a good job! Compliments make a difference to how you feel about the performance you’ve delivered or the job you’ve just completed.

Each time I deliver a training course, I request my delegates to complete a feedback sheet. This is to gauge how the training has gone and if their objectives have been met. It’s a request, not a mandatory requirement so I’m always glad when I’ve received notification that they have been submitted.

The form is mainly a box ticking exercise, a standard feedback form. At the end of each form there is the option to leave feedback and comments. This is the destination I quickly scroll to. In this box I get the true measure of what the experience has been for the individual and it’s these comments that I take onboard the most. Sometimes the box has been left blank, often there will be a generic comment albeit complimentary, but occasionally there will a comment that makes my heart smile. I got one such comment today and it’s truly made my day.

” . . . she went the extra mile”. Truth be told I go the extra mile every time I deliver training, but seeing it written down and knowing someone noticed makes it all the better.

Alma Strutt


Give them more than just a “PDF for the Website”

So the job has gone to print and the client is happy with the terrific layout and design you have produced for their latest brochure, annual report, leaflet, whatever it might be. The next request is “Can I have a pdf for the website please?” and you are happy to oblige by supplying a lo-res pdf suitable to view on screen or print out from their website. Everyone happy! But what if, without a lot of work or effort, you could give them more? Something very exciting that allows their job not just to be downloaded to view but to publish it and make it available to view on a tablet or smartphone? Welcome to InDesign CC 2015‘s feature – Publish Online

This amazing feature allows the HTML version of your document to be viewed on all modern desktop, tablet, and mobile browsers. It automatically adds on features like zooming, navigating from page to page and viewing thumbnails of your document. Once you’re happy with the published document, share the URL with anyone using a hyperlink in email, or post it to Facebook and Twitter; or embed it in a website.

But here’s where it can get really powerful. You can spend some time adding interactivity to your document, ensuring a truly engaging experience. Animation, video, audio, slideshows, hyperlinks are all supported features. No coding required just a knowledge of InDesign‘s many interactive features.

You can view, manage and delete your published documents in the Web Dashboard within InDesign. The Web Dashboard is where you go to track views, unique visitors, and average time spent by visitors. Over 1000 publications can be uploaded and existing documents can be updated and re published.

So surprise your clients with a new service and publish InDesign documents online!

Publish Online is a Technology Preview.

Not to be confused with “betas” (features or new products that are complete but not fully tested), Technology Previews are intentionally “unfinished.” In other words, the features are fully tested and supported, but we’re still perfecting their capabilities; “previewing” the technology gives Creative Cloud members the opportunity to trial the functionality and give feedback to the product teams—who use the information to further shape the development of the features.