Nathan Dawn - Placement Year Blog #2 turn off the lights.

Nathan Dawn - Placement Year Blog #2

So, I’ve reached the end of my placement and what an enjoyable and educational experience it’s been. I’ve been incredibly busy since my last blog post and have been involved in some massive projects that have allowed me to test the knowledge I’ve gained so far, as well as add more skills and experience to my placement year.

Filming for Anchor

During my time at Dynamic, I’ve had multiple opportunities to get involved in filming and audio recording. One of these opportunities led to me acting as a care assistant in a local care home. The module was based around the correct practice of manual handling for staff in the care home. To show the correct methods, there are multiple videos throughout the module in which I demonstrate how to manoeuvre furniture and a food trolley in the correct manner (thanks to guidance from a manual handling expert). This was a somewhat nerve-wracking day, as I’m quite awkward in general – let alone in front of a camera. However, the patience of our team meant I was very comfortable, even when I got the lines wrong. Also, I got the chance to work behind the camera and film some of the scenes that I wasn’t starring in, therefore, giving me some on-set filming experience, which was very enjoyable. I’m definitely looking forward to going to an on-location shoot again, although whether I’ll be jumping in front of a camera any time soon is up for debate!

anchorfilming
This is me acting as a care home assistant at an Anchor care home in Leeds.

Creative Development Work

I can easily say that I’ve learnt a massive amount during my time at Dynamic. From improving my skills with the Adobe suite to learning how to use Storyline on a daily basis after having zero knowledge of the software beforehand. There are a few projects that have really stood out for me and have tested my ability and work ethic – the main one being a project I developed for HCA Healthcare UK. This project had the biggest script I’d ever seen for a module as well as the tightest deadline I’d ever been given, having only two weeks to build something that was roughly four times bigger than the courses I was used to building. I knew this would be a big task – a mammoth as we nicknamed it. Having worked with this particular client before, I knew their brand guidelines quite well which was very useful when it came to designing the module. I looked forward to an opportunity to test my speed whilst still developing a module that needed to adhere to the high quality standard procedure of Dynamic.

HCA_Cycle
An example of an interaction that I built in Storyline 3 for the HCA module.

I first asked my line manager and the project managers what tips they had for starting on such a big task – this proved helpful as my line manager suggested that I read through the script and identify any pages that sounded like they’d be more difficult to build, allowing me to get them out of the way first. Once I’d done this, I started work on the module, bearing in mind the pace I would need to maintain to be able to deliver the project on time. In the end, I got the project back to the project manager three days before the deadline – the module had also gone through our quality assurance procedure to make sure that anything I’d missed had been corrected.

I would say that this was a very enjoyable experience for me and taught me how to manage under what could potentially be a stressful situation. Luckily for me, I knew that if I had any issues I could always ask my project manager to help me with some of the pages, however, I wanted to do my best to complete the project as the lead developer, and I am proud to be able to say that I did so. I definitely think that I’d be confident working on another time-dependent project, as I know that I’d have the necessary support to be able to deal with it and trust my ability to be able to get a project completed.

Team Presentation

A big moment for me was getting the opportunity to present in front of the team, allowing me to talk to everyone about who I am, what I do and how I’m finding the placement so far. This presentation took place in a team meeting at the end of November, so by this time, I knew pretty much everyone at Dynamic, however, due to how caught up in your work you do get on a daily basis, it was very likely that some people still didn’t know that much about me. In this presentation, I gave a brief background of myself, covering both where I came from before Leeds and what I do at university. I then discussed what I’d been doing within Dynamic and some things I’d like to achieve with the company in the future. This was a really enjoyable experience as it allowed people to learn things about me that they didn’t know and it led to some great conversations with people about similarities between ourselves.

Team_Presentation
This is a slide from my team presentation on which I noted a few things that I would like to get involved in over the remainder of my placement.

University Presentation

This wasn’t the only chance I’ve had to practice my public speaking skills; in February, I was asked to join Dan Blades in giving a presentation at my university. It was the same presentation which I was sat in exactly a year prior to when Dan and Louisa presented about project management and advertised the placement opportunity, which I was fortunate to take advantage of. Whilst I was very nervous to speak in a lecture, especially when most of the students in there will be in my class next year when I return to university, I was delivering content which was personal, and therefore I couldn’t get it wrong. Speaking about my experience as a placement student so far, and how much I’m enjoying working at Dynamic came easily to me, making the whole presenting experience much easier. Also, due to the fact that I was in the same place as these students a year ago, I knew what they were going through and could therefore offer some advice for the module they were undertaking and about getting a placement. It turned out to be a much more enjoyable experience than I had expected and I’d love to attend more events at the university again sometime soon.

unipresentation
Here I am presenting at the University of Leeds for their Working in Digital Media Teams module.

Social Media Team

One of the things which I mentioned in my presentation to my colleagues was that I wanted to get involved in the company’s Social Media Team. I was instantly accepted onto the team and encouraged to put forward any ideas I had. This was an opportunity I grabbed with both hands and made sure I got stuck in. Soon enough, I had made a couple of suggestions that improved the way in which we posted on our social media channels and became very comfortable in the team, putting ideas for content forward as well as bouncing off other people’s ideas. The weekly meeting that we have to discuss the upcoming posts is one of the highlights of my week and I love getting involved in taking photos or raising money for charity. I definitely look back at the choice to join the team as being one of the best choices I’ve made in my year placement and I genuinely look forward to continuing working on the team and pushing the social media page further than we have so far.

instapano
The three images above are a 360 panorama of our filming studio. I had the idea to slice it into three square images using Adobe Photoshop to make a swiping interaction on Instagram.

Job Offering

The day after acting and filming at Anchor, Dave – my line manager, asked me to go and meet with him to discuss my performance at the shoot. I nervously entered the room behind him and sat down. He asked me how I think it went and how I think I performed. At this point, I was dreading the conversation as I instantly assumed that I’d done something wrong, otherwise he wouldn’t have needed to meet 1 to 1. Only after I’d explained my feelings about the day and how I was nervous to be in front of camera, he revealed that I wasn’t there to talk about the shoot at Anchor at all, he was just pulling my leg. It was, in fact, to be offered a full-time contract at Dynamic after I finish my last year at university. To say I was over-the-moon is an understatement – of course, I called my Mum with the good news. I’m really looking forward to my future at Dynamic – it’s a great place to work and the people around me are the most supportive colleagues I could have asked for at this time in my career. My placement year has been the best it could have possibly been, and I’ll always be grateful for that. Here’s to many more years at this awesome company!

It's encouraging to see your progression and ambition for your remaining placement and future role at Dynamic. Knowing that you see a long-term future with the company, and you are starting to visualise your short- and long-term role here, is a positive reflection of your placement journey. Keep up the fantastic work and attitude!

David Pryde, Project Manager

Nathan is a great addition to the Dynamic team and appears to enjoy helping out where he can and getting involved.

Julia Gilbert, Project Manager

It's good to see Nathan’s enthusiasm for increasing his knowledge about elearning and the elearning industry and that he is embracing these opportunities as they arrive.

Ian Crossley, Media and Development Director

need a break?