Projects are the bulk of an OpenClassrooms learning experience. This is where the students prove that they've learned the necessary skills, which allows students to earn our degrees.
How does the assessment process work?
Projects might take several sessions to finish and it's up to you to track their progress. You will stay up to date on their skills and progress, making sure to leave notes in their profile. These notes will also help you decide an appropriate time to schedule the presentation, which needs to be planned in advance.
When the student starts nearing the end of the project (approx. 2-3 weeks before the end), sign up the student for a project presentation by creating a card on the "Project Presentation Candidates" Trello board. A second mentor will take over for one session in order to perform this project presentation. Before the student presents, try going through a mock presentation to make sure the student is ready and comfortable.
Once the presentation has been assessed you then get back in touch with the student to move onto the next project.
Your student is almost ready to present
Great! Let's get the ball rolling. Remember, you will need to request a project presentation 2-3 weeks before the target date. To do this you need to create a card in the Trello Board "Project Presentation", as in the example below. Please fill out all missing fields and a mentor will then be assigned for this validation session by the OC staff.
It is imperative that you prepare your student for the presentation by explaining how this is done, both in substance and in form.
Using the mentor guide
Sometimes reading a project brief may not be enough to clarify what is expected of the student.
One of the main ideas behind project-based learning is to immerse students in realistic professional settings. With realism sometimes comes ambiguity. While this ambiguity is often a desirable difficulty in order to build skills, it can create undesirable frictions in the mentoring experience.
Therefore the mentor guide is for mentor’s eyes only.
There are Assessment Rubrics for each project, which present each skill, it’s associated deliverable and what this deliverable should look like.
Some projects also include Mentoring support notes, where we’ve added :
ideas of extra resources, external to OC, which are needed to complete the projects,
common pitfalls which students may face in completing the project
information help you correct one or more of the deliverables.
These documents aim to align and facilitate communication between mentors and the OpenClassrooms teaching team, in order to provide the best possible learning experience for students.
You will find a collection of tips and good practices to help you support students, as well as a clarification of the expectations regarding skills to validate based on the deliverables presented.
For assessors (validators) only
On the defined date, the student will present their project to you, the assessor. Their goal is to show that they have understood the project by presenting it in detail. He or she will have to answer your questions as if you were the client.
The project presentation is a very important moment, so make sure you prepare your student for it and to send a reminder of when it's coming up. You're going to be the one recording a project presentation, remember that it should be recorded in optimal conditions (sound quality, image quality, no pixelation or connection problems) because it'll be watched by a jury once the student completes the path.
Setting up the appointment
As an assessor/validator, you can choose the type of session you need to schedule.
In the case of a presentation session, you will have to "Plan a session" in the OC platform.
Choose the student that will be presenting (by selecting his name in the defined list)
Then enter the date and time of the session. Voilà, you can validate!
In your dashboard of the sessions, the forthcoming presentation will appear in the "Scheduled" tab like the other sessions, with the mention "Defense":
Project presentation format
The project presentation will be filmed and given to the jury members at the end of the student's path. It will have the following format:
20 minutes of the student presenting their work (this might be in the form of a role-play)
10 minutes of Q&A about the student's work
10-20 minutes of follow-up if you want to student to rework part of the project
Why is it crucial to respect this order and to film both parts?
Professional skills: respecting presentation time is a necessary professional skill. Customer or team appointments are often limited in time, so knowing how to respect peoples' time is important. Being able to discuss and advocate for your choices (technical or other) is a critical skill.
Jury organization: the members of the jury have many files to study and must be able to analyze projects easily and efficiently. Your questions should therefore be essentially at the end of the presentation during the Q&A section. These questions could be about technical choices, budgets, deliverables, etc. or feedback about the presentation itself (quality of the student's performance, attitude, quality of the deliverables, etc.). Ask your questions at the end, even if the presentation involves role play.
What to do (and what not to do) during presentations
Let's go over what to do or not to do in a project presentation.
To do: dress well (both you and the student) and be in well-lit conditions with a good webcam.
Not to do: participating in the presentation in pajamas, in a badly lit room, eating chips. Same for the student.
To do: ask open-ended questions that encourage the student to respond in detail with something other than "yes / no". Example: "Can you explain how you built the project schedule?"
Not to do: ask easy questions to which the student would only have to answer yes or no. Example: "So you made a schedule adapted to the constraints of the project?" "Yes."
To do: make a few comments at the end of the presentation on the student's file to summarize your thoughts and thus help the jury get to know the student. Try creating a Summary, Things to work on, and an Overall impression.
John did a fine job on his presentation. Overall he was able to complete the project as required and the site looked great. We did have a few issues with deliverables and execution and I have provided him with the following notes:
Things to work on:
Pay attention to the deliverables - try creating a check list to make sure you have completed all requirements
Detail your process and let us know why you have made certain choices. The jury will not be able to ask these questions after the fact
Don't hesistate to add some creativity to the project by adding in more variety to page designs and product descpriptions. This will really give the site the finishing touches and will look very professional
One last point, if you haven't already done this course I highly recommend completing "Build your site with HTML5 and CSS3"
Good work! Your enthusiasm for web development is clear and am sure you will make for a fantastic developer one day!
Not to do: leave no comment on the presentation or writing a very short comment that doesn't give any detail.
Example: "Good job".
Completing a presentation
If all goes well, the validating mentor will be able to validate the student's project directly on OpenClassrooms.
You can then display the dashboard of the student on your browser and select the project to validate:
From the student's dashboard on OpenClassrooms, select the project to be evaluated.
Next, on the project page, you can fill out all the necessary fields to validate the project (do this immediately after the project presentation in order not to forget).
The project presentation must be recorded. In order to do this, create a private, direct YouTube link with the student. This will create a private, unlisted YouTube video.
The second mentor must clearly indicate the URLs of the presentation video and project files.
Moreover, in order to better manage the presentation files, you should name the presentation video file with the:
Example: Frontend_Presentation_Jane_Doe_Analyze client needs (Project 3)
At the end of the process, a validation will show up on the student's project page that will contain the mentor notes.
If the second mentor thinks that the project presented by the student isn't quite satisfactory, they will indicate that the project is "to be reworked". In this case, comments become even more necessary. The Validating Mentor indicates what is to be redone and will set up a new presentation as soon as possible.
Your last action as a validating mentor is to complete the session in your dashboard in order to finalize it.
In your history, your sessions will appear like this:
Taking things back over (original mentor)
Once the presentation is validated, you (the original mentor) will get back in touch with the student. If all goes well, you'll only have been briefly out of touch; just the amount of time for them to do the project presentation. ;)
It's up to you when to continue! You can proceed to the next course or directly to the next project if the student is ready.