The summer’s nearly over, which is strange considering it feel like it only just begun not too long ago, but that also means that I’m able to share what I’ve been developing at my work – and I’m proud of it.
First up is the new OnlineTEFLCourses website. OnlineTEFLCourses allows people from all over the world to train to teach English as a Foreign Language. The brand launched in December 2012, but since then the website and brand had remained largely unchanged and was in need of a reboot and refocus.
My summer project was to build this site, from scratch. It was daunting to start with, but after taking a look at what went before, what existed on other similar websites, and what we wanted to do with the new site I managed to piece it together bit by bit.
Creating the actual style of the page, which is much cleaner and responsive than it was before, was only half the battle as I also had to manage wiring up the website to our e-commerce/payment systems, a virtual learning environment and our new customer relations management software (which I also helped set up).
It launched on the 13th of August and has already had some success in drawing in people to take the courses on offer. Seeing it up and running after working on it for about eight weeks on the development side was a great feeling, and I’m pretty happy with it. You can check it out by clicking on the image of the homepage here:
During my summer at work I also built English Teacher Finder, a service for those who have completed their TEFL training and want to advertise so that potential students or employers can contact them and arrange work. It is essentially the reverse function of the existing Job Centre, but I think it’s a great service and it was rather fun to whip up whilst working on the main projects. You can check out English Teacher Finder by heading through the image below:
What I’ve loved about working at TEFL over the last few years is the ability to make a real change, in different ways. First of all I’m given the opportunity to really play a big role in the progression of the company, and for someone at my age being given that responsibility is an honour as much as it is a challenge. But also, as the company’s courses offer people a chance to begin a completely new career and see the world at the same time it’s a nice thought that what I’ve done might just have helped someone towards that.
Whilst working I decided to go into a bit more depth on developing my own websites, which I’d only really set up to service this blog here. Part of that was ditching my old hosting provider GoDaddy and transferring to a new one; a challenge that was difficult and technically tricky but ultimately worth it. So now my main domain, stevenkellow.com, is a bit cleaner looking and has a few more bells and whistles to it than it did before. It’s also allowed me space to develop some other projects, which I’ll be keeping under wraps for now.
It has been steep learning curve getting to know a completely different side of the internet to what I’m used to, but I’ve found it really interesting and think that I’ve learned a lot that I can use going forward with developing my own and other websites.
Working on these projects over the summer gives me a much greater sense of accomplishment compared to what I achieve at uni. I’m sure (hopeful at least) that in the end my years at university will see me into a career where I’ll do great things and enjoy doing so – but as proud as I am of my essay scores and exam results, it doesn’t compare to knowing that thousands of people will be using what you have built and potentially using it to change their lives.
So while it’s almost time for me to head back to Aberdeen for the 3rd year of my degree, once again I’ve had a summer that I’ve greatly enjoyed and managed to create two websites that are performing well. If that’s not a success I don’t know what is, so I hope it carries on into my studying!