Over the summer, we have been in the fortunate position to be able to employ a number of students on Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme placements. You may have seen a number of posts from Rachel Glover, who has been working directly with Nadja Guggi on the employability aspects of the Digitally Ready project.
In the School of Systems Engineering (SSE), Professor Rachel McCrindle made a significiant contribution to the Digitally Ready project by committing both funds and her own time to running a total of 5 UROP placements. We had students designing serious games for mobile devices, and implementing them, building their skills as they did so, and providing us with a richer knowledge of the issues and opportunities involved.
We also had two social media projects, one looking at promoting a charity, and one which is still in progress, looking at ways of using social media to promote SSE. These give the student the opportunity to work with a range of people with differing levels of technical ability, as well as research and develop ways of interacting with Web2 tools.
The final project was a review of the accessibility (and usefulness) of the Digitally Ready outputs, undertaken by Chelsea Zahra. Thanks to her Accessibility report, we have been given an entirely appropriate kick-in-the-pants to transfer content from the old This Is Me site to a new one (This Is Me), as part of the Digitally Ready project. She also advises that the materials should be more widely promoted, and included within the currciulum.
Additionally, in response to her observations, work is under way to both break down the content in to more re-usable chunks, and also re-frame them as resources for students at particular phases of their education. Also on the to-do list are the accessibility recommendations (e.g. removing the table formats!).
For me, although the recommendations are extremely useful (and more work for me :-s) there are two other ‘wins’ from Chelsea’s work. Her review (in the attached document) is her reflections on how she learned new technologies, and about accessibility issues.
“After a lot of thinking and more research I came to the conclusion that I can consider myself to be fairly digitally literate as even though I don’t know how to use a lot of software brilliantly I do know how to effectively browse the internet to find out how to do things.”
The second ‘win’ is that Chelsea is considering doing a PGCE when she graduates, and is going to be helping out in our Business Programming lab sessions to gain some teaching experience. While she does it, she will be creating a portfolio of her experiences, which we can use for Digitally Ready, and she can use to support her future employability.