FIU Online’s Incredible Interns: “Pantherns”

Nathalie, Lester, and Jayram at the FIU Online office

Each year, FIU participates in a community-wide Summer Youth Internship Program (SYIP). This program runs in partnership with Miami-Dade County Public Schools. SYIP connects high school students with paid part-time internship opportunities across the university. This exposes them to the world of higher education administration. Additionally, it helps them gain invaluable skills that can be applied to future careers. This summer, FIU Online welcomed three remarkable interns to the Learning Design Innovation (LDI) team. 

The LDI team had the privilege of working with Nathalie, Lester, and Jayram over the course of five weeks. The interns, who came from Southwest Miami Senior High School and Miami Arts Studio, were affectionately nicknamed “pantherns,” a play on the words “intern” and “panther” (our school mascot). 

Panthern Schedule 

Week 1: Down to Basics 

During their first week, our pantherns learned about several FIU Online Initiatives and attended two seminars. In “Visual Design Bootcamp,” our Visual Design Manager Mia Almaguer taught them graphic design principles. Throughout the internship, the interns frequently relied on what they learned during this workshop when they prepared presentations. Our Associate Director of Learning Technology Maikel Right led a “Design Thinking” workshop, coaching the interns to define problems and seek innovative solutions.  

The interns with the LDI team

Week 2: H5P 

During their second week, the pantherns took a deep dive into H5P. H5P a remarkable and robust educational technology tool that we love at FIU Online. The interns received training on multiple H5P artifacts and designed their own activities. Before doing so, they went through accessibility training so they could learn best practices and be ready to design their H5P artifacts with accessibility in mind. Lester designed a branching scenario about the Cold War. His artifact will be used as a learning activity in one of our Fall 2022 course offerings. Jayram designed a faculty guide for our Online Departmental courses and Nathalie translated an accessibility training module into an interactive book. 

Week 3: JAWS 

In their third week, the pantherns familiarized themselves with JAWS, a screen reader software used by students with visual impediments. The interns used JAWS to navigate webpages, PDF documents, and Canvas courses and examine if there were any accessibility issues. They provided valuable feedback about the accessibility of some of our documents. In doing so, they showed us how even some of the files that we thought were accessible still had significant issues.  

Maikel Right speaks to the interns and members of the LDI team

Week 4: Office 365 

As we were preparing for the university-wide migration from Google to Microsoft 365, the pantherns took some time to explore Office applications. They presented their favorite tools, including Stream, To Do, and Sway. They provided us with information on how to leverage Microsoft services. Their research and presentations allowed the Instructional Design team to become better equipped to offer professors alternatives to the Google apps they were using in their courses.  

Week 5: Final Presentations 

On their final week with us, we asked the pantherns to prepare a presentation on their favorite tools and innovative content that they encountered during their time at FIU Online. Lester presented on JAWS, Jayram on H5P, and Nathalie on Office applications. They showed us everything they had mastered and demonstrated how their presentation skills had improved over the course of the internship. 

the interns collaborating

Closing Thoughts on our Pantherns

The entire Instructional Design team enjoyed getting to know our interns. We wish them the best and hope to see them return to campus as FIU students. We are thankful to Lester, Jayram, and Nathalie for their hard work during the internship and the valuable feedback and insight they provided.  

Read about last year’s interns

Amanda González Izquierdo is an Instructional Design Specialist at FIU Online. She helps faculty maintain the engaging, dynamic, and accessible qualities of their course content. Outside of her professional appointment as an Instructional Designer, she researches and publishes on Caribbean literary and theoretical production. She is most passionate about providing great educational experiences and access to learning to underserved communities.

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