Teaching Students about Real Product Development
As part of our community outreach efforts, Syncroness engages with local universities in a variety of ways, one of which is guest lecturing. We’ve found that this is both a teaching experience, and a valuable learning experience. To help explain why you might want to try incorporating teaching into your own outreach projects, let’s look at one of my recent guest lecturing experiences.
What They Get Out of It
First off, a little context. My guest lecture was part of a graduate class on Advanced Engineering Design Methods taught by Jered Dean, Teaching Associate Professor at the Colorado School of Mines. The students in this class are the people that you might have hired out of undergrad if they hadn’t decided to go to graduate school. They’re now at one of the top-rated engineering schools in the country, and will soon be designing and building prototypes for industry sponsored real-world design problems.
I’ve found that there are three major things that students get out of an industry presence:
- A better understanding of the “real world” of engineering design
- A chance to compare and contrast different companies
- Exposure to industry-specific knowledge
One of the most important things you can provide to students is lessons learned from real-world experience. The tools and techniques used in industry are constantly changing and improving, and it takes time for these changes to reach academia. You can help bridge this gap by simply talking about the things you know and do every day. In the Advanced Engineering Design Methods class, the students were very interested in some of the tools that we use at Syncroness. They were particularly interested in how we use Trello to manage projects, and eager to understand how they could use it to help manage their own projects.