Bitjam Represent Destiny at Staffordshire University Learning & Teaching Conference

30 Jun, 2017

The annual Staffordshire University Learning and Teaching Conference saw Carl take to the stage as the UK partner representative for Destiny last week.

The event is an opportunity for the University to show ways in which it’s moving forward to embrace digital technology and other ways of innovative learning. The Erasmus+ Destiny MOOC project is the latest digital technology project that the institution has become involved in so it was exciting for us to share this with the attendees.

Can Moocs combined with study clubs help bridge the transferrable skills gap reported by employers?

Carl presented the aim of the research to education staff and students at the event, introducing the project to those who will benefit most from its resources.

The talk discussed the challenges of the project – for example can open source MOOC’s provide solutions for the health and social care sector? Research findings from the project so far, such as the design success of the first mobile e-learning platform that was actually tested on nursing and midwifery students at the University, were also shared with the audience.

Carl pointed out that the future of the project would be a focus on improved virtual interaction for the mobile user. Mobile e-learning has been the focal point for Bitjam and Staffs University, as the main users are students with common access to mobile technology. A demand for fast communication and the ability to learn on the go are pivotal to the development of a student’s education in 2017.

Bitjam’s agile development and co-production working techniques fit perfectly with the requirements of this project as we were able to work efficiently and to a timescale that was in line with the international partners. If you would like to learn more about our innovative ways of working and how they might suit your own project, you can contact Carl here.

Digital Skills

Full Stack Development at bitjam

12 Jun, 2017

This blog will make clear the benefits of having full stack development skills when creating your software product. Software products depends on a “stack” of technologies to create a completed, useable product that consists of both client side and server layers. FSD is the method we use to complete a web build or mobile application effectively from beginning to end.

A Full-Stack Web Developer is someone who can create a software product from the back end (database) right through to the front end (interface). At bitjam, we develop software and applications using full stack development meaning we are competent handling all aspects of a software project.

As a software development company we focus on the full cycle, from design, prototype, full system development and deployment.  Having full stack developers means we are able to work quickly and efficiently.

Three Key Roles

Apart from the project manager, there are three crucial roles required to complete a software product. The web developer, the front end developer and the back end developer.

  • The web developer creates custom graphics, and designs the structure and format of a site
  • The front end developer controls everything graphical that runs on a client’s site, and controls how the design is implemented on the site using programming tools and coding languages such as HTML and Javascript
  • The back end developer is the work going on the “behind-the-scenes”, database, such as the internal machinery running on the server which relays data to the front end display

Skills at bitjam

So what are the skills required to become a full stack developer?

  • Agility
  • Reactivity
  • Lucidity
  • Reliability

Our developers at bitjam are able to work quickly, be alert and reactive to changes required or issues that arise in either the front end of back end systems, and can reliably work to project deadlines because they have all of the necessary FSD skills meaning they don’t have to rely on other contributors to complete.

At bitjam we also adopt test driven development to continuously monitor our progress and allow for build repairs as we work. This is the process of writing functional code that is built in tests that runs to check that the code is working. As more code is written, we run these tests to ensure that we haven’t broken anything that was previously built. This allows us to remain, agile, reactive, lucid and reliable throughout the projects, and maintaining the workflow.

Software release cycle

We work to a software release life cycle in order to meticulously plan the project and keep to deadlines. The software release life cycle is the stages of development and maturity of a piece of software which requires both alpha and beta testing phases.

Alpha phase: this is the phase that launches software testing. The first phase of the release cycle in which methods and features are tried and tested. The alpha phase may look very different to the finished product but it allows for co-production techniques to be applied to the creative process, ensuring an efficient workflow and establishing the end result to be achieved to the deadline.

Beta phase: this is the second phase of the release life cycle. It’s usually the first time the software is available outside of bitjam, and may still contain some issues but it serves as a demonstration to clients to establish that the project is on the right track.

Full stack development allows the software release life cycle to remain on track, efficient and reliable, consistently delivering projects to deadline. If you would like to discuss a software product with us, and learn more about how our FSD approach can support your project, contact Carl Plant here.

Carl did a workshop at Staffs Uni with student nurses - carl to send photos. Introducing destiny and mobile moocs to new students. Asked students what they thought of mobile learning - live video, instant chat, should there be more video less text inside the mobile app, the optimum level of push notifications - trying to create the right amount so it’s not annoying. This is for the next phase of destiny which will be to develop the app.
Digital Skills

Destiny 2.0 In Development

17 May, 2017

As work begins on developing the next phase of the Destiny project, Carl returned to the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Staffordshire University to introduce students to the Destiny MOOCs app and mobile e-learning.

The students were asked to share their feedback and what they thought of mobile learning. This included features such as live video, instant chat, the optimum level of push notifications, and even aesthetic detail such as the ratio of video to text within the app. This feedback is valuable to the next phase of the Destiny project which will be to develop the app into something with a positive UX, with bitjam adopting agile methodology and co-production techniques to ensure frequent testing and improvement.

Working closely with the partners at Staffordshire University and students at the School of Nursing and Midwifery is an important part of the development process, encouraging active participation and keeping the project timeline on track. We recently visited the school to get feedback on the project so far, allowing the students a first glimpse at Destiny as a mobile e-learning app. Find out more here.