After debating what to write about for a week, I came to the conclusion that I should write about how a Heinz MISM student is navigating her way through an internship that Meghan accurately described as not “your normal, run of the mill summer job.” I totally agree! It first started with me being a Technical Floater located in Pittsburgh with the main responsibilities of supporting the team in different aspects. Today, I am the CAT technical lead and I couldn’t be busier. I spent the last couple of weeks researching existing tools, content creation and best design practices. I practically spent my days “googling” the expressions: content authoring, e-learning platforms, ESL teaching tools… anything that could lead me to an existing project or prospective idea is a great addition to my reading material and our final report literature review. Now that I remember, I should not forget to finish the CAT background section!
AT this point, I am working on a requirement and specifications document to outline the CAT in a concrete way. The word “concrete” is a key word. However, time is slipping away and we are already halfway through the internship period! Because of that, I am also working on designing the CAT. Ask any software engineer and he/she will tell you that design can only come after agreeing on the specifications. In our case as it is case in many projects where time is a big constraint, we are taking the iterative way where many steps are going to be done in parallel for the rest of the internship. My main goal now is to design, eventually develop, a platform that will allow teachers to create content to be used by our OCT and MPT tools. The platform being the Content Authoring Tool will have to be attractive, rich and built upon the results of the needs assessment and research phases. One of the considerations is feedback on the question types that are to be supported by the tool.
Another side of the journey is that I am getting to discover CMU’s campus. I have been here for one year but I can confess that I discovered more things in this internship period than I did during the academic year. Last week, we went to the unveiling of the moon Lander! Now I know how they look! I was very impressed with the commitment of the students to the projects, as I always am with CMU students. Being in an environment where people shoot for the moon, literally, gave me even more motivation to work hard and shoot for the moon myself, in my own way!