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DACC students

By Glenn Battishill

Despite the stay-at-home order, students in the Digital Design program at the Delaware Area Career Center got real-world experience last week when they did mock interviews with professionals at McGraw-Hill.

One of the instructors in the Digital Design program, Josh Gallagan, said Wednesday the project came about as a way to keep students engaged during remote learning.

“We wanted to make sure that during this time of remote learning that students were not just doing busy work,” Gallagan said. “We strive to keep our students engaged when they learn in person, so we started thinking about ways to keep them engaged while learning from home.”

Gallagan said it was an easy partnership since the class uses the same communication system as McGraw-Hill Education. He added the interviews were set up through Delaware resident Jessi Walker, design lead at McGraw-Hill and a member of the Digital Design program’s advisory committee.

Gallagan said the interviews fit with a regular part of the course where students study common interview questions.

“We do this every Wednesday in class and have students brainstorm, write down, and role-play their answers,” Gallagan said. “It all leads up to

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the in-person, mock interview. In previous years, this has always been face to face, but under the current circumstances, we saw an opportunity to move this to an online format. Our principal, Mr. James Gaskill, gave us the green light and was very pleased with the project and the results.”

Gallagan said the interviews provided several advantages to students, not the least of which was gaining experience with online interviews.

“At first glance, many would look at us having to go to an online format instead of the face-toface interview as a disadvantage,” Gallagan said. “(It is) becoming more common for companies, on the first interview, to use an online format anyways. We thought this was a great advantage for our students to have this experience so they are not caught unprepared when they move into their career.”

Gallagan thanked the DACC’s IT staff, led by Rory Gaydos and Nate Bowers, for making the project possible for students and for helping out during remote learning. He also thanked Superintendent Mary Beth Freeman and Director of Secondary Education Tammy Hall for leading the school during remote learning.

Gallagan added he and his fellow Digital Design instructor, Wil Rowland, view remote learning as a chance for students to grow.

“In Digital Design, Mr. Rowland and I always look at challenges as an opportunity, and we try to challenge our students to do the same,” Gallagan said. “We are training students for positions that don’t exist yet, so we focus on creating a problemsolving mindset and process for our students and then putting them in situations where they have to use that skillset. This remote learning situation is exactly that, and our students are going to be better for this opportunity.”

Gallagan said Digital Design seniors will leave the class with a unique experience that will give them an advantage in the future. “We always say that ‘the process is the product,’” Gallagan said. “We also hear from industry professionals like those at McGraw-Hill Education, that while technical skills are important, problem-solving and communication skills along with empathy and gratitude, now are the attributes most desired by leadership in their organizations.”

Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @ BattishillDG.

Delaware Area Career Center Digital Design senior Sam Larson does a mock job interview with Rocio Grubelich, a design director at McGraw-Hill.

Courtesy photo | Delaware Area Career Center

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