On the 8th of April, the very first 15 future junior IT systems specialists presented their internship projects performed within the framework of DIHUB. This time the internship at Tartu Vocational Education Centre was organized in a completely new way: it was carried out in teams composed of three members.

The internship in the form of innovative project learning was more vital than ever. In the cloud-based services elective studies, students were able to solve real customers’ real problems:

“We brought the students together with real companies that needed to switch to the cloud service, and the young people gained not only professional skills but also teamwork and customer experience. In cooperation with the client, they had to formulate the client’s problem, create a structure, but also to plan and implement a specific solution“ – explained Signe Vedler, Head of the ICT Department of Tartu VEC.

The projects were presented in Google Meet, where each team had 10 minutes to introduce their work to the internship committee. During the presentation, the students described the team and the division of roles, introduced their client and his problem, work process, and the solution they had developed. The challenges and problems that arose during the work and the goals set for oneself were also highlighted. The internship committee asked questions to the teams, evaluated the presentation, and provided feedback and recommendations to complete the work for their dissertation. Supervisors also gave feedback on the internship.

A total of 5 works were presented:

Digitization of dance school studies – introduction of an e-diary, e-courses, and of the necessary platform. Students developed a hybrid learning solution, where young dancers can both participate in classroom or private dancehalls at home. According to Timo Puistaja, the vocational teacher in Tartu VEC who supervised the students, it was a very big leap forward for the end client as the digital and hybrid learning capabilities created are extremely relevant in today’s conditions.

Development of construction company infrastructure services – introduction of Microsoft 365. Ensuring data integrity, availability, and security. Deploying, configuring, and deploying a private cloud solution. The team received excellent feedback from both their supervisor and the end client.

Upgrading the infrastructure of the architecture and design office and deploying cloud solutions using Microsoft products – Azure, Azure AD, Sharepoint, Teams, OneDrive. Besides, the private cloud NextCloud solution was updated and developed. Also, a security audit was performed for the company.

A freeware-based virtual server solution for securing training company data. At the client’s request, students had to come up with at least two different solutions with a thorough analysis of each solution; their functionalities, relocation options, and recovery plan for the original data.

Creation of a training company’s small-scale document management system via MS Sharepoint, Power Automate, or Power Apps to manage the company’s service by registering and processing holiday applications, and developed a modern contract management solution.

The students’ feedback on the new way of learning was extremely positive. According to the students, performing their internship in groups and dealing with real customers made learning many times more interesting and effective but also gave them a broader perspective. They considered the experience of customer communication very valuable and pointed out that defining the client’s problem and formulating it was one of the tasks that are hard to acquire in theory lessons. The young people expressed hope that team project training would also continue in the future.

These internships and projects were carried out as part of DIHUB (Digital Innovation Hub for cloud-based services) and are living proof of the success this project is having in teaching cloud-based services and the development of 21st-century skills.