I teach a couple of project based courses (actually three now). Students who are working typically use projects from their work – which is encouraged as it gives them real-world applicability. However, students who are not in a position to use a work-related topic are forced to choose something that isn’t real world – something they make up based on other experiences – I usually encourage them to pick something that is hobby oriented.
I am wondering, however, if I should look to my network for ideas for potential projects. That is, I could ask people in my network if they had a project my students could work on. I’m sure I could find a few people willing to let an instructional designer take a stab at 3-weeks of online course content or a multimedia project. I could, but should I?
I’ve been debating this. It would give my students a chance to do something that is real-world, but would also possibly add a layer or coordination – and my courses are already considered a heavy workload. That being said, they could get valuable real-world experience and connect with people.
Then there is the whole work for free issue. This is something that is a special challenge. I don’t like the idea of taking away paid work because my students work for free – but also I don’t like that my students work for free either. I’d kind of like them to get a small stipend or something for their time. That being said, they need to build something – so they would be doing it anyways, and they would gain valuable work experience in the process.
What are your thoughts on bringing in real-world projects for students to work on as part of the course? I could do it, but should I?