A reflection by Conor O’Connor, Reading graduate
The Construction Chat summer school here at Reading is the first project of its kind. Set up by myself and Ashley Davidson, our goal at Construction Chat is to inspire more school children and college students to enter the construction industry at a number of different levels.
As students we set up and designed the Construction Chat website to guide students through their degrees at education institutions across the country and abroad especially in the field of construction.
I have used Digitally Ready funds to experiment with capturing lecture audio (https://blogs.reading.ac.uk/digitallyready/2013/06/11/2685/).
I also commissioned a report into Digital Paedagogy in Classics. It seems to me that we expect fairly high levels of digital literacy without systematically equipping our first year students with the tools to use – as well as saying ‘don’t use Wikipedia’ I’d like to start pointing them towards reliable online resources and, more importantly, developing a sense of critical engagement with digital content similar to that which we teach them bring to print material. This report is a useful step towards doing that, in several ways.
Regular readers of this blog may remember previous posts on my Digitally Ready funded project that looked into the use of e-books by Pharmacy students. This project has now been completed. Faiza AbRahman, a PhD student from the Education department who I was able to appoint thanks to the project funding, and I conducted a survey, analysed usage statistics of the e-books collection and organised a focus group. The findings will be used to inform the promotion of e-books to students, the content of information skills sessions that Library staff deliver, and the management of the Library collections. Our project uncovered a number of core issues that have a bearing on each of these aspects.
The theme of this year’s conference was Powerful partnerships: defining the learning experience, with three strands: students as partners; employers as partners; and organisations as partners. The conference was packed with very interesting sessions – so much is going on with student engagements across the HE sector!
I was involved in a discussion session, delivered with two other JISC projects FASTECH (Universities of Bath Spa and Winchester) and E-AFFECT (Queen’s University Belfast) – where I had the opportunity to showcase the work that Digitally Ready carried out with students. Continue reading
Interactive sensory objects made for and by people with learning disabilities, www.sensoryobjects.com is a three year AHRC funded research project which explores the potential of newly developed easy-to-use electronics in making the experience of members of the user-group more vital and meaningful when accessing heritage sites.
Liverpool Echo feature Sensory Objects
The Digitally Ready grant gave us the opportunity to experiment and share our research from the Sensory Objects research project with students from the art dept, giving them an introduction to interactive and digitally enhanced sculpture/installation. Technology plays a major role in many contemporary installations, but art students may not have easy access to the kinds of technologies that can add a sensory dimension to their work and learning curves can be steep. Continue reading
At 10am on Monday the JISC funded Digitally Ready project group, which broadcasts its progress via a blog and Twitter, met for an evaluation of project progress.
A new emphasis for future JISC funding is likely to be student engagement however there is no open call at present. A move towards micro funding perhaps of £5-10k may be the future approach. Sustainability is seen as essential to all future funding. The JISC website has a sustainability toolkit available to help with this. Continue reading
One of the challenges with undergraduate projects is to give the student experience of publishing their work. Sometimes a project fits part of a larger research area and the student gets co authorship of a paper. Three years ago one of my tutees gained from this by working with Liam McGuffin on the modelling of protein folding patterns and became co author on three papers (Roche et al 2010; Roche et al. 2011a; Roche et al. 2011b). However this is unusual and the student often has only a limited role in the writing of the paper but gains experience of teamwork in research. Continue reading