Instructure Blog


Voices of Instructure: Mentoring Future Software Engineers

Summer has begun, and we’re taking a look back at a project we recently worked on with high school students:
 

As software engineers, we’re passionate about getting students from all backgrounds involved in and excited about computer science at a younger age. By getting them interested in computer science earlier on, we can show them that they’re capable of doing this kind of work and encourage them to further their education in the field.

We decided to create two month-long projects in partnership with AP Computer Science students from Herriman High School. The first was based around web development, and had students rebuild the YouTube/Vimeo integration used by Canvas. The second project focused on building a small Android app that would make viewing and monitoring course grades easier. To kick everything off, participating students and their teachers came to our Salt Lake City headquarters, where we gave an introduction to the projects. Students also watched a few of our engineering presentations and took a tour of the office.
 
After the kickoff, we held two scheduled remote meetings with the teams every week. During the first meeting, students planned out their week, and the second meeting was a follow-up, with time for students to ask questions. We also set up a Slack channel for the students to interact with one another—and reach out to our team—as they worked on planning out the project, learning the technology involved, and committing code.
 

AP Computer Science Students
 

AP Computer Science Students


At the end of the month, we visited Herriman High School to watch the students present their projects. A few students also shared feedback on their experiences:
 
“I had a blast working in a team and developing a working application! It was super educational and really helped me understand how software development actually is.”
 
"Being able to do an internship with Instructure was definitely an eye opening experience. Being able to create something that can be potentially be used by millions of users is a great feeling."

 
AP Computer Science Students


AP Computer Science Students


The teachers and Herriman High School administration are also interested in continuing additional projects with Instructure. We also learned a lot from this experience, and look forward to helping more students get involved in computer science!
 
 
Steve Townsend, VP Engineering
Brent Burgoyne, Software Engineering Manager
Trevor Needham, Software Engineering Team Lead