Full-Stack Web Development pilots its first interdisciplinary collaboration

The new Full-Stack Web Development Diploma program (FSWD) presented its first showcase of interdisciplinary student projects (IDSP) on May 22. The project-based course saw students from the Digital Design and Development program (D3) of the School of Business and Media, and BCIT Computing and Academic Studies collaborate on four different projects during a four-month period. Projects included dating apps, games, note apps, and redesigning the advertisement website Craigslist.

“You deserve a superb break in the summer, massive respect, and a pat on the back,” says a delighted Sam Lee, Communication Department Instructor. “We’ve put you in an unusual environment: FSWD being a new program, working with both the Burnaby and the Downtown Campus, and on top of that, you’ve done an incredible amount of work in the midst of a virus outbreak. You need to say to yourself: ‘Well done, I’ve been a superb student’.”

“graduates are expected to work confidently on multidisciplinary projects and teams, and to immediately apply systemic thinking”

The collaboration between the two schools is the first part of the IDSP trilogy. The same students and instructors will meet again this Fall, and again in the Winter of 2021, for even more challenging projects.

It’s not a coincidence however, that this partnership exists; it’s part of a much bigger strategy.

When BCIT released its Educational Plan (EP) in 2019, Vice-President Academic Tom Roemer put a big emphasis on IDSP, “As the world becomes more complex, many new technologies and professions emerge—and some of the most transformative inventions occur—at the interface of traditional fields. Furthermore, graduates are expected to work confidently on multidisciplinary projects and teams, and to immediately apply systemic thinking.”

Back to the presentations on May 22.

Sam Lee’s heartfelt compliments come after a three-hour online presentation in which 18 student groups present a variety of creative apps. Games were especially popular, such as the Campus Journey – which playfully helps new students to get to know their way on campus, and Lost Dog – inspired on the famous games Zelda and Mario Bros, in which you need to help a dog finds its home again. In one case, an instructor even delays the resumption after one of the breaks because he can’t stop playing!

“All the students worked incredibly hard, and the results speak for themselves”

The dating apps such as Struck, Linkt, and Lovation also captivate those present. “And what if,” as Sam Lee wonders, “my hobby is fly fishing, and nobody else has that avocation in their profile?” Associate Dean of Computing Mike Starkey jokingly comments: “I didn’t know there was such a demand for dating apps, it’s probably a generational thing.”

Where Sam Lee is in charge of the non-technical skills during the project, Sam Meech-Ward is the FSWD specialist, and Wim Teuling guides the D3 students through the first 15 weeks of the design and prototyping phases. “All the students worked incredibly hard, and the results speak for themselves,” raves Wim Teuling.

Sam Meech-Ward agrees: “We’ve seen these students progressing right from the start, and it’s just amazing to see it all coming together. I’ve witnessed groups having setbacks in the past, and then it can be easy for students to fall back on the instructor. But these students always just kept going and delivering, despite the COVID-19 pandemic and some challenging technical difficulties.” With a laugh Sam concludes, “I definitely had it easy!”

If you’re interested in learning how the Communication Department can support cross-program collaboration and the creation of IDSP courses, please contact Communication Department Faculty member and Program Head of BCIT’s Sustainable Business Leadership Advanced Diploma Tessa Jordan (or “meet” her).

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