Hitting Refresh at Dubstech
In Autumn 2015, Dubstech became a registered student organization at the University of Washington. It was founded by the humble team of Humad Shah, Arunabh Satpathy, and David Malnichuk with the aim of teaching university students how to code and design irrespective of their major.
Like Satya Nadella’s book, this a story of us hitting refresh while we still are hitting refresh here at Dubstech.
Version 1.0 / 2016
In our first iteration as a club, we solely focussed on conducting weekend lecture series where passionate tech students could learn about technologies which were not taught in the classroom. We conducted a three-weekend lecture series for the span of two quarters:
Our dedication and efforts were painstakingly high to seeing this project through. However, by the end of the academic year, we noticed two problems in our system:
- Students missed lectures due to studies and were unable to follow as the class continued which led to the class strength drastically dropping towards the end of the class
- Students were not satisfied with the classes we were offering and felt our initiatives required too much time commitment
At the end of the year, Humad left for Oregon State(he is now at University of Massachusetts), David graduated and Arunabh began concentrating on his UX career.
Version 2.0 / Hitting Refresh the first time round
Though our founders had left, they wanted Dubstech to continue and soon Zubair Amjad, the only surviving member took over as our President. With no team, we began by re-building our core team with Zoshua Colah and Sulekha Ali joining in. However, re-building Dubstech did not just end getting in new individuals.
It meant identifying where we could do better and re-defining what Dubstech was. We began by re-developing the club’s teaching methodology and set a new mission statement:
“To bring together people to learn and celebrate Tech”.
With Dubstech 2.0 we wanted to take a user-centered approach in deciding what we do. Though students wanted to learn and celebrate Tech they could not commit to attending for large periods of time. Empathizing with this problem we decided to organize short tech events such as tech-themed workshops, talks, and competitions which provided relevant learning experiences to both the classroom and world.
We started in Winter 2017 with an Adobe XD workshop which focussed on helping students in their UX projects for their classes such as INFO 200, INFO 330, INFO 360 and HCDE 210.
Though we had a modest attendance of approximately 30 people we were able to make a positive contribution and impact back to the community. Two teams which attended our workshop had won the INFO 200 showcase awards and spread the word to the faculty about our initiatives.
With this we were able to finally get a focus as to what we wanted our events to be:
We wanted our events to be learning experiences which produced positive outcomes for the tech community
With the start of Spring, we progressed to hosting 2 workshops, 2 talks and 2 competitions, all tech themed.
It was impossible for the 3 of us to do it alone, and we had Pooja Ghelani and Saksham Agarwal join in to help us with our marketing and outreach efforts.
Why Talks? What would make us different?
Let us be honest. There were a lot of tech talks happening on campus always. Especially since we’re in Seattle. So why did we want to try our hand at it?Though many company talks happened on campus, they lacked the passionate in-depth case studies company reps gave about their projects.
They were two tech individuals really passionate about sharing the story of their projects and this led to students really getting excited, with many even asking questions (a rare thing to see at a college event)!!!
- Listen to an Audio Podcast Sneak Peak of Pratik’s Talk
- Watch a Sneak Peak into Hamdan Azhar’s Talk
How did our UX workshops influence almost 75% of INFO 200 students to care more about UX Design?
When we had our first Adobe XD workshop in Winter we had a modest attendance of approximately 30 students. However, in Spring our attendance was almost 80 students. How? Word had spread to the faculty about the impact of our workshop on the student projects and we actually collaborated to create an even more robust workshop.
By the end of our workshop we had influenced and prepared over 80 students of INFO 200, an introductory information solutions class to build their first high fidelity prototype!!! Our workshop was so popular that we even had the Chair of the department, Scott Barker in attendance.
How can competitions be a true learning experiences?
When we ventured into the field of competitions, we wanted to create a more fun lighter version of what regular hackathons were like in Seattle for those students who were unable to enjoy and compete in them successfully due to their lack of experience.
For our first hackathon, we collaborated with Enactus and Microsoft and focussed on making it extremely beginner friendly and helping participants engineer their ideas without having to worry about experienced competition. The atmosphere was kept more calm and less competitive with Dubstech focussing on helping each team succeed in building their product.
The result which mattered to us on that day was that everyone left with a sense of accomplishment and achievement.
Being UX Students ourselves we knew the frustration UX students had not been able to attend hackathons since they didn’t know how to code. We decided to solve this problem in an innovative new manner with an event idea we had as a protothon.
Unlike a hackathon, a protothon would last only one evening, which would be an emulation of a real-world scenario of a designer having to push out designs with the span of a few hours for a client. In each of the two segments, they would be prototyping two mockup solutions (for A/B testing) which would then be presented to our judges. To learn more: https://goo.gl/fPWY9H
Read the case study prompts: https://goo.gl/ojP1UL
The main event day, exceeded our expectations with even post-graduate students showing up even though the Spring Concert was just 200m away!!!
Dubstech 2.0 was a huge boost for us as a club with many lessons along the way. We learned that:
- A UX approach can be successfully applied to a club’s approach and not just to mobile apps and websites.
- Conducting 6 events in a college quarter and can be done. It is no joke, especially when 5 events are within the span of 25 days.
- Perseverance pays. Our initial events had modest attendances but grew with each passing event.
- We must go online in a big way. Many students wanted our events to be streamed and recorded and though we did try, we know there is much more scope in what we can do at the club.
Version 3.0 / As we hit refresh again
Dubstech 2.0 witnessed a lot of organic unorganized growth which really helped both the club and our core team in preparing us for the future. It is now time for us to take the next step forward with Dubstech 3.0, an initiative to rebrand ourselves and give tech a new flavor at UW.
This year, as we hit refresh, we would like to announce that we at Dubstech are diversifying what we do in tech and not limiting our initiatives to just education. Our initiatives are:
- Education, an initiative to help students learn new and relevant technologies through workshops and programming sessions
- Showcase, an initiative to showcase and give exposure to the great projects and tech talent of UW
- Journalism, an initiative to discuss technology and utilize its power to write data-driven articles
- Mentorship, an initiative to help students build their tech career and skills as they aspire for new jobs
Our Long Term Goal
As Dubstech has grown, so has our ambitions and dreams. And we believe in making dreams possible. This is why we have set our long-term goal of providing tech consultancy services to non-profit clients by the start of the next year. We aim for our consultancy services to give students an opportunity to do tech projects so as to get a real-world simulation of what it feels like to do a tech project.
Thank you for reading. We hope our initiatives exceed your expectations.
Keep up with us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Dubstech/
To support and collaborate with us please contact us on email@example.com .
To join us please apply on: https://goo.gl/forms/NHtB2V7OzX1yIczF2
The Dubstech Team