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Jessie Fan

she/ her
SFU Student Undergraduate
Communication, Art + Technology › Interactive Arts + Technology
Co-operative Education › Local Co-op

Organization
Position Title
I enjoyed my educational journey at SFU, where the knowledge acquired and experiences gained from group projects have thoroughly equipped me for my professional endeavors.
Experience Details
Semester
Fall
Year
2023
Skills
Application and Interview Tips

In preparation for Co-op positions, I emphasize strong attention to detail, starting with a thorough review of job descriptions and tailoring application materials to specific roles. Reflecting on past work and academic projects helps me highlight acquired skills and experiences, providing examples for interviews. I focus on precision and thoroughness, proofreading documents to align with each job. Additionally, I conducted mock interviews for constructive feedback. Understanding organizational culture and values is integral, ensuring alignment with the working environment. This comprehensive approach positions me to navigate the Co-op application process effectively.

Preparing for Co-op positions requires strong attention to detail. To start, I recommend thoroughly reviewing job descriptions and requirements for positions of interest. It's crucial to tailor application materials, like the resume and cover letter, to the specific role. Employers value precision and thoroughness, so I take the time to proofread my documents, ensuring they align with the job applied for.

Reflecting on past work and academic projects has been integral to my Co-op preparation. I consider the skills acquired and experiences gained in coursework and relevant extracurricular activities. This reflection helps me highlight accomplishments, teamwork experiences, and challenges overcome. These reflections provide valuable examples to share during interviews, showcasing my suitability for the position and the ability to apply knowledge to real-life scenarios.

Co-op interviews come in various formats, from behavioral interviews to technical assessments. Being prepared for these diverse formats involves researching common interview techniques. I develop a list of potential questions, practicing my responses and aligning them with my strengths and experiences. Conducting mock interviews with Co-op advisor provides constructive feedback and boosts my confidence. Additionally, understanding the organization's culture and values is crucial, as many interview questions may relate to how well I'll fit into their working environment.

During my Experience
Day to Day

In my daily role, I engage in diverse tasks, including the addition of content to the SkillPlan E-learning platform, the design of templates for interactive E-learning materials, and supporting other administrative aspects of the Learning Management System. What makes this experience particularly enjoyable is the flexibility I have in organizing my work based on clearly defined priorities. This flexibility extends to the option of working from home two days a week, contributing to a healthy work-life balance.

Moreover, the workplace amenities enhance my work experience. The availability of coffee breaks provides a refreshing pause during the workday, fostering moments of relaxation and informal interactions. The office's variety of snacks further adds to the positive atmosphere, creating a comfortable and enjoyable working environment.

Learning and Adaptation

I adapted to using industry-standard collaboration tools in my daily work, such as Teams for meeting setups and Planner for task progress communication. Assisted by my supervisor, I conducted a UX usability study to enhance novice learners’ experience with the E-learning website. Drawing on knowledge gained from academic projects, I established a structured framework for the UX study, aligning its design with the organization's needs.

Given that supporting the Learning Management System is a primary responsibility, I learned the way to update and maintain the course materials on the E-learning platform. With guidance from the E-learning team, I acquired essential skills for effective platform management. Additionally, through workshops led by specialists on the team, I learned to use Articulate, enabling me to create interactive templates for E-learning courses.

In my present position, I find purpose in applying my current skills while also having the opportunity for continuous growth and learning. This setting enables me to not only utilize my existing skill set effectively but also fosters an environment for ongoing development to meet the evolving demands of the role. Acknowledging the ever-changing nature of the professional landscape, I appreciate the importance of consistently acquiring new skills and knowledge as a crucial asset to remain pertinent and proficient in my role.

Accomplishments and Challenges

In the course of this experience, I've acquired invaluable skills in managing the E-learning system to support the development of learning materials by the E-learning team. Specifically, I gained proficiency in utilizing Articulate to construct interactive course content, elevating the quality and engagement of educational materials. Beyond the development of course content, I delved into the realm of usability studies. This involved crafting a study plan, defining clear UX study goals, and formulating an effective task list. Subsequently, I documented and executed a UX pilot study, refining tasks to optimize the organization's E-learning website. These achievements not only broadened my skill set but also contributed to enhancing the overall user experience.

In the workplace, my experience has been marked by robust support from both the SkillPlan Instructional Technology & E-learning team and the SFU SIAT co-op team, minimizing challenges from communication and collaboration. The few obstacles I encountered were primarily associated with the learning curve of new software. Specifically, when I was initially navigating Articulate as a beginner, I faced minor road bumps arising from a lack of awareness about certain hidden features. Consequently, I inadvertently constructed a complex and tedious layer system. However, the collaborative environment proved invaluable during these instances. With the guidance of an expert team member, I not only surmounted these challenges but also gained insights into more effective ways of achieving the same outcomes. This experience not only facilitated my technical proficiency but also underscored the significance of seeking guidance within a collaborative team setting, where collective knowledge serves as a powerful resource for overcoming hurdles.

Reflection & Tips
Reflection

Being in an environment that values individual opinions has proven to be a fulfilling experience for me. As a team member, my input is actively encouraged and genuinely considered for improving the E-learning System and Learning System Management. This collaborative atmosphere nurtures an open exchange of ideas, enabling team members to meaningfully contribute to the growth and enhancement of our systems. It transcends routine tasks; here, everyone's perspective holds value, fostering a genuine sense of shared responsibility for the continuous improvement of our work environment. This culture of care not only amplifies the effectiveness of our systems but also transforms the overall work experience into a joy, underscoring the significance of every team member's voice and contributions.

Most Valuable Aspects of This Experience

One of the most valuable aspects of this experience lies in the opportunities it affords me to contribute to the enhancement of learners' experiences. In close collaboration with instructional designers, I hold the responsibility of crafting engaging slide templates and designing interactive elements for various learning materials. What sets this experience apart is the encouragement from my supervisor to delve deeper into improving the learning experience. Specifically, I was given the chance to conduct a usability study, providing valuable insights into how learners interact with our materials. This not only enriches my skill set but also underscores the commitment of the team to constantly refine and elevate the quality of the educational content we provide. The combination of hands-on design work and the chance to actively contribute to usability research makes this experience not only professionally rewarding but also personally fulfilling.

Connection to Academic Studies or Career Goals

Joining SkillPlan has been a transformative experience, seamlessly connecting my academic interests with my career goals. Initially curious about E-learning, I faced uncertainty about where to start and which specific field to explore. The SkillPlan Instructional Technology & E-learning team not only provided a solid starting point but also enabled me to apply my graphic design, user experience, and user interface design skills directly in a real-world context. Beyond refining my design capabilities, this experience has been crucial in understanding the intricate needs of organizations in the E-learning domain.

Through reflection, I've identified areas for continuous improvement. While my current skill set is predominantly in the front end, I've recognized the necessity of expanding my expertise. To become a proficient E-learning supporter, acquiring backend knowledge is essential for effective collaboration with developers. Acknowledging this, I've embarked on a path of self-study to enhance my programming skills. Moreover, being part of the collaborative team at SkillPlan allows me to learn from experienced team members, fostering a dynamic environment for continuous learning and growth. This experience acts as a bridge between my academic pursuits and the practical skills required to achieve my career goals in the realm of E-learning.

Advice for Future Students

Embarking on a co-op work experience is undeniably rewarding and holds immense value for personal and professional growth. My strong recommendation for future students is to consider the SFU Co-op program as a pivotal starting point for their careers. It not only provides a tangible link between academic learning and real-world application but also offers invaluable insights into the dynamics of a professional work environment.

As a piece of advice, I encourage students to set clear academic and career goals once they've acclimated to the university study and living pace. Consistency is key; avoid frequently changing your goals when you encounter challenges, especially during the initial phases. The beginning is often the most challenging part of any journey, and perseverance during this period is crucial for long-term success. Establishing well-defined goals provides a roadmap for your academic and professional journey, guiding you through challenges and shaping a more purposeful and fulfilling trajectory.

Author

Jessie Fan

she/ her
SFU Student Undergraduate
Communication, Art + Technology › Interactive Arts + Technology
Co-operative Education › Local Co-op

I am studying Interactive Arts + Technology at Simon Fraser University where I gained a wealth of knowledge and expertise on how to design user-centric human experiences. Collaborating with teammates work on a variety of projects including visual design, user experience design, and web design helped me enhancing my communication skills, wireframing skils and digital illustration skills.

I am passionate about using my design skills to making your digital products bring postive impact on your audiences.

I love take photos while I am traveling. Also, I shoot pictures to record fun moments in my life.

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Jan 30, 2024