Posted Friday, April 20, 2018 under professional 1 minute read

Dynamic Student Skills Portfolio Contract

This was a three month part-time contract for Newcastle University to create a Jekyll static-site theme in Ruby, Liquid & Bootstrap to interpret data from students’ projects and chart it against their learning objectives, in essence providing them with a living portfolio of visible skill progression as they complete their degree.

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I spent some time wireframing and understanding the criteria course leaders set forth in order to produce something that would become essential for students and teachers alike. We created a vocabulary – “competencies” were the skills being assessed during projects, “projects” were pre-prepared by course leaders but could be added to by students and “vignettes” were incremental explorations of their work attached to each project. The intention was to make it as minimal-effort to use as possible, and allow teachers to automate collecting data from their students; I made it so all they had to do was fork the example site, and replace the information in Markdown with their own. I also added a rudimentary API endpoint, extensive documentation and cross-linking, and the ability to embed Jupyter documents – necessary for their domain. When a student submitted a project, everybody could see which competencies they had demonstrated against which they were supposed to. The client was happy with the end-result – simple and effective.

I gained experience:

  • Using static-site generators and writing custom themes
  • Packaging Ruby “gems”
  • Delivering open-source contracted work with the intention of having it be modified by others
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Edited Tuesday, November 26, 2019.