BCcampus has hired quite a few co-op students over the years. When they end their stay with us, we ask for their thoughts on their time working for BCcampus. Gilbert Fung is a student in the Interactive Arts program at Simon Fraser University; his term ended in December 2013.
What were your general impressions of your work term?
Although it was a brief 4-month work term, my stay at BCcampus has been very enjoyable. The office was nice and welcoming, and I could see that the team that I worked with was engrossed in what they do. This was the perfect environment for my first professional work experience, to take advantage and step out of my comfort zone.
What project were you hired to work on?
My work term in September began with quality assurance testing on ApplyBC, with its launch closing in. I had the chance to do break testing and verification testing during the few several weeks leading up to the launch of its redesign. With a fresh eye and thorough study, I spotted several new issues that could be fixed in time for launch. On launch day, I also did verification tests, making sure the system was performing correctly. It was exciting to be a part of a launch of this scale, because I was able to help reduce the load off someone else’s back that would otherwise taken more time to do – especially since launch day is an important milestone.
How did your work with ApplyBC compare with similar coursework you had done at SFU?
For the majority of the rest of my term, I worked on a usability report for the freshly redesigned ApplyBC with Merry, a fellow co-op student, and Dave Dumaresq, our supervisor. We created the test plan based on previous methodology so that it could be compared. We recruited participants for our usability test sessions and conducted the tests.
It was an interesting experience, being able to notice and apply what I learned in school (i.e. psychology and human-computer interaction courses). Being able to identify them during the usability study with real participants was something else. I found myself to be much more aware of any nuances the participants made, verbally or non-verbally, as well as our own influences as facilitators that might have affected the participants’ performance during the session. It was also nice to do it in a professional environment, without the rushed testing that occurred in school projects.
Recording qualitative data in a manageable form was a challenge but I learned how to organize it so that we could categorize and report them. Lastly we wrote up the report, and I created the top issues videos for it, which was a good opportunity for me to flex my editing skills.
What were the most important things you learned while working for BCcampus?
The things I learned at BCcampus will be very important as I continue my education, and as I pursue my career goals. Because its my first experience in a workplace environment, I learned a lot about what day to day work is like, which to me is very important. Communicating with others, whether it is casual or when discussing things in meetings, was new to me. The technologies that people use and how they use, to communicate and collaborate, when and what to let people know about something; all these little details mattered because I tended to be quiet. Because the people around me were so friendly, I was able to step out of my comfort zone and try new things.
What are your impressions of the work we’re doing for higher education in B.C.?
BCcampus has brought attention to education and its transformation through technology. I felt the team’s desire to make education in B.C. as accessible as possible, and provide easy-to-use tools for students and schools. It has incited me into thinking about what would make our educational infrastructure even better. To end, I would like to thank everyone at BCcampus for being very supportive to co-op students like me, and Dave Dumaresq for being patient with my quiet disposition!