For the past week or so, I’ve been over in Cambridge doing a some programming work for Aptivate (a not-for-profit IT development company). It’s been good to get back into doing some programming work after quite a long break – over the past couple of years I’d only really worked on a few personal projects. Quite surprised how much I’d forgotten, but more surprised how much I’d actually managed to remember.
At the moment I’ve been working on a survey application for health centres in Rwanda, to collect baseline information about the facilities and services they’re able to provide, with a view to better target resources and measure any improvements made.
What I have found interesting has been Aptivate’s use of peer programming and agile development methods. Rather than programming alone, pairs code together. At first you may think of this as being quite an inefficient way of working, especially given a limited number of programmers and many projects to work on. But actually, I’d argue the opposite is true. Whilst working alongside someone, there is far less temptation to get distracted by checking email or wandering off onto the internet.
Earlier this week I spent a few days working Cambridge doing some volunteer web development work for Aptivate. They are in the process of developing a new low bandwidth site for CDAC (Communicating with Disaster Affected Communities), this particular site is aimed at the victims of the Haiti earthquake and is to help ensure that aid and relief agencies are able to communicate well with local communities as they rebuild their lives. The site isn’t yet finalised, so can’t put the url up yet, but will do so once it’s ready.
As an aside, OpenLearn now has a course on “Using Voluntary work to get ahead in the job market“.
Much of the past couple of weeks have been spent making sure I’m ready to head off again to Ethiopia to work on the Digital Campus project. En route, I’m going to the eLearning Africa conference in Zambia, where I’m giving a presentation next Friday. Looking forward to getting back to Mekelle to see how everything it going there, seems like quite a lot of progress is still being made. My plan whilst I’m there is to help support the phd students and the ICT team, but also planning how the project can progress into the next academic year.
Hopefully I’ll be back blogging a bit more regularly over the coming few weeks!