Students have settled into their dorms, now the nights grow long,
Prepare thine selves as assessment season dawns.
Overindulgence crept up on the first years,
Overestimating the time they had before essays were due.
Karaoke cats got thine tongues?
They didn’t realise being a student meant hard work,
October brings chilling realisations.
Books upon books soon cover their rooms,
Emergency study sessions are being scheduled.
Remember thy words: university doesn’t have to be that scary, you know.
Yes, a poem because sometimes you have to let your creativity loose and in my opinion, spooky season is a great time to do so.
What on Earth does the poem mean?
Basically, what I’m trying to say is, try to manage and organise your time, so you don’t find yourself overwhelmed. And, as it is Spooktober, remember to treat yourself when you’ve done enough studying. Go for a walk down Cottingham Road and the Avenues, it’s wonderful this time of year as the leaves begin to fall.
Arrange study sessions with coursemates and friends, you can book rooms in the library for a nice, quiet place to meet. Use the Booking Service to book seats, rooms with or without computers. We now have a lovely Family Room too so parents can have a quiet place to study whilst keeping an eye on their little ones.
Then you can treat yourself to a nice warm drink in the café on the ground floor, you might even want a cake!
Another way to help you manage your time is by contacting your lecturers and personal supervisors for advice on assignments and how to arrange your time best. Remember, they are there to help.
Most of all remember that university doesn’t have to be full of tricks, schedule in your day some nice treats too!
It is strange to think that I’m already halfway through my internship, it has been about 6 weeks since I joined the Library Skills Team. As you may remember from my first blog post when I first started, I was a mixture of nerves and excitement wandering where my internship journey would take me. It is always natural to be nervous I think when starting a job. Though it’s safe to say those nerves didn’t last that long working with such a friendly and welcoming team.
What have I been up to?
In the first week of my internship, we just had our basic training going through fire safety and things like that. We also met all the staff and I got to meet the other Interns. At first, there was not a whole lot to do but Lee my supervisor gave me an opportunity to write a few small sections for the staff Digital Skills course. I got to write about Fake News and how to avoid online scams like phishing. In addition to this Lee also recommended to me and my fellow interns some MOOCs (Massive open online courses). These courses are very useful and when I had any downtime while working, I took a look at them and enrolled in a couple of courses.
Digital Skills Course
So, that was pretty much my first couple of weeks, but things didn’t really get going till it came to adapting the study skills course for students. For this, I first looked through everything that was written for the staff digital skills course and considered what could be useful for students. Some aspects I could use and just change slightly for a student audience, and I found ways to adapt some of the material aimed at teachers to work for students. I also came up with my own ideas and what digital skills I felt were relevant to students.
Later I discussed with Lee how we were going to deliver the content for students. We both felt that students would probably not engage as much with the course the way it was presented on Canvas so, we had to go in a different direction. As I have experience blogging and Lee wanted to get more content published on the library blog, I suggested writing the course as a series of blog posts. Lee seemed very interested in the idea and we came up with the plan for a post each week throughout the year. This way it feels less like a course, and it makes it easier to digest all the content over a full year than over a few weeks. We decided to call it #TechItUpTuesday if you want to see the latest post, please check it out and feel free to give me any feedback you have.
I am very much enjoying the experience so far; I’ve got to meet some very nice and friendly people. As I am working remotely it has also been most helpful to have a half-hour call almost every day just to talk about things other than work. I have also got the chance to stretch my writing muscles particularly with all the posts I have queued up to write for the digital skills course. I am now anxiously looking forward to what the rest of my internship has in store.
I can’t believe it’s already October. It’s autumn which is my favourite time of year, Halloween is upon us, but more importantly, I’m halfway through my internship with the Skills Team.
I am creating a brand- new, Public Communications skills guide. One section is all about blogging (ironic isn’t it), because Public Communications are pieces of writing, or visuals like posters and infographics that are created for the public sphere. This guide will go into detail about everything students need to know for such assessments.
What I’ve learnt in the last 6 weeks
By researching what it means to write for the public and the different formats used, I’ve developed new writing techniques and learnt the many factors of what goes into these formats. I’ve realised that the language I use, and my vocabulary has broadened, because writing is a craft. The more you practice, the more skilled you become.
As well as my writing, my proofreading and editing techniques have also developed. These are crucial to me as an aspiring author/poet, but also a blogger. Even though I’ve now completed my masters in English and Creative Writing, I will always be striving to develop my writing and editing techniques and this internship is providing me with this experience.
Something I haven’t had experience in before was copywriting, but it is a career I have been contemplating. I’m thankful for having the opportunity to learn how to copywrite and develop this skill further. The research for the copy was extensive; going down numerous rabbit holes, but if my studies taught me anything, it’s that sometimes these rabbit holes can be fruitful. It just so happens this was the case as I’ve now completed the copy for the guide.
The best is yet to come
With the copy completed, it’s time to build the skills guide. Helping with its construction and design were optional to me, but I want to make the most of the time I have working here. Learning how to design a website and how to use HTML coding is an area I’ve been wanting to get into. After completing my internship, I am looking at working in marketing and/or social media and having some web design expertise will make my applications stand out.
To sum it all up
In the last 6 weeks, I have become more confident in myself and my capabilities whilst gaining expertise in areas that will help me in my future career. A lot can happen in 6 weeks, so who knows what I’ll write about in my final update come November.
Here’s another autumnal image, because it’s pretty. There’s really no other reason for it being here.
The Journey so far – this is the sixth week and halfway through my journey as Visual Design Intern. The experience has been enlightening, eye-opening and fun to experience the work environment. I have not just sat at my home computer; I have also experienced the office life twice. This is very new but familiar as I was also a student that visited the library. As an Intern, I have seen different aspects of the library such as where the staff work.
These two work styles are very different from my experience with working from home I gain access to my software and a familiar atmosphere. The downside to this is face to face contact which is now slowly getting back to some normality. The one thing that I have found helpful is the daily meetings. These help me start and motivate my day and helps me practice using a camera and teams.
Within this time, I have gained a clear understanding of my role which is to help the other Interns design images and videos. This is for the Skills Guide and Digi skills. Creating images, I used PowerPoint and their icons. To create these icons I changed their size, colour and merged them together to create simple images. For the videos, these are instructive videos on how to create blogs, magazine articles, letters, opinion pieces and wikis.
In conclusion to my journey so far, I would say I have gained valuable experience and knowledge to move forward and carry on with my journey.
Hi again, it’s me, Codey, and I’m back with an update on the progress of my internship. Last time I mentioned that I’m the Customer Engagement and Communication intern, and I talked a little bit about what customer engagement broadly means. Now that it’s been a few weeks I’ve had a chance to dig into the role and figure out exactly what customer engagement is, why it’s so important, and how I can take that information away and produce something insightful and interesting by the end of my internship. I’m going to share some of what I’ve been up to with you all, and my thoughts throughout the process.
What is customer engagement?
One of my first tasks was to do some research into the ways that other academic institutions consider how best to engage with their customers. They do this by creating a Customer Engagement Strategy (CES), a plan of action regarding how they can ensure their service understands and meets the needs of their customers. Customer engagement is also about communication, because how else can they know exactly what the customer wants?
Why is it important?
There are many more aspects that make up customer engagement – inclusivity and accessibility, marketing, feedback and setting expectations – but suffice to say, it encompasses so much and that’s part of why it’s so important. Having excellent engagement with our customers means that they’re getting the most out of all that the library has to offer and increases their trust that the library will continue in providing excellent resources.
What have I been doing to try to improve the library’s customer engagement?
After doing some research into other institutions’ customer engagement strategies and plans, I delivered that information in a meeting to the library’s CES team, highlighting similarities and differences between theirs and ours. I identified a lot of common themes and some interesting stuff that was missing, and I think that information will really help shape the library’s strategy for the better. Part of the reason for my specific internship existing is that as a previous student at the University of Hull, I was a customer of the library, and potentially have some fresh insights into what it means to engage with a customer.
As a result of that feedback, you can now find the library’s Customer Engagement and Communication Strategy online on our website and see for yourself the commitment the library has made to provide excellent support to students, staff, and the general public.
Another interesting thing I’ve been working on is user testing of the library’s website. It’s increasingly important to have a robust online presence currently, and ensuring that the library’s online content is useful, easy to use and not hidden away is vital. We recently hosted a user testing session where a first-year student helped us to see exactly how a user interacts with our website, and because of that amazing feedback we’re already planning to improve parts of the site. It’s important to the library that we’re able to see our content through the eyes of a customer, to make sure what is being produced is effective.
What am I doing next?
So far, I’ve got more user testing sessions planned, which should hopefully give us a nice range of feedback from which to improve the library website. I’m also beginning the process of delivering some information directly to customers in the form of a skills-guide or blog post.
That’s all for now – hopefully that’s been interesting and I’m looking forward to my next internship blog post where I’ll be reflecting on the internship and will have some more stuff that I’ve delivered to present to you all. See you next time!
JISC is a tool you can use to discover the range of your digital capabilities. These capabilities as JISC describes are the skills and attitudes that individuals and organisations need if they are to thrive in today’s world.
There are six key elements to consider when building your digital capabilities.
ICT Proficiency (functional skills)
Information, data and media literacies (critical use)
Digital creation, problem solving and innovation (creative production)
Digital communication, collaboration and partnership (participation)
Digital learning and development (development)
Digital identity and wellbeing (self-actualising)
Why are digital capabilities important?
Digital capabilities are important for students as they help you learn how to think critically, creatively solve problems, and express your ideas in interesting ways. Having a good level of digital proficiency will also help many of you in your future careers. Since Covid-19 these skills have become increasingly important as several businesses are moving to digital alternatives compared to in-person activities. This means that more employers will expect all staff not just those specialised in IT to be well versed in their digital capabilities. A company can have the best digital tools in the world but still be inefficient if the employees fail to utilise them proficiently.
As this video explains your level of digital capability depends on several factors: the requirements of your role at work or as a student, your subject specialism, career choice, personal, and other contextual factors. So for some of you, you may only need to be well versed in a few of these skills whilst others may need to know much more.
How to use JISC?
It takes approximately 20 minutes to create your report using JISC. First, use this link or click on the button under the image at the start of this article. Press login then select your organisation which in our case is Hull University and log in with your email and network password to initially set up your profile. Then press explore your digital capabilities, where you can then being to create your report. Once you have completed the report don’t forget to either take a screenshot or record your results down somewhere, otherwise if you want to view your results at a later date you will have to go through the whole process again.
As I previously said don’t worry if you aren’t knowledgeable in all areas you don’t need to be proficient at everything, it’s a personal reflection, so consider what skills are most important to you.
This article is written by Conor Start, Skills Intern. In his debut article for the University Library Blog, he reflects on his recent experience presenting at the Academic Libraries North (ALN) Conference 2021.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with PASS (Peer-Assisted Study Sessions), it is an internationally recognised peer learning scheme that was created by Deanna Martin at the University of Missouri-Kansas, in the 1970s. PASS is student lead and focused on collaborative learning through students facilitating learning for other students. Students definitely do not teach.
The main initial role of my internship was to conduct research into how universities around the UK have implemented PASS and recognise how we could learn from and adapt their approach to PASS. We created a survey and conducted interviews with other institutions to gain an understanding of how successful PASS schemes had been established. The data we collected was due to the engagement and willingness of other universities to share their experiences of PASS and is a testament to the spirit and generosity of the peer learning community. The qualitative and quantitative data collected from the survey and interviews became the foundation of a report that we produced and sent back to the peer learning community. Chris (University Librarian) suggested the report could be adapted into a presentation that could be used as a potential resource that outlined our findings.
When I received the initial email from the ALN Conference 2021: Call for papers, I thought to myself that it would be a good opportunity as a developmental experience for me to present our PASS research. Throughout my internship, I have always applied myself and signed up for new opportunities, to learn and expand my skills. The Skills Team were thinking amongst themselves about the conference and what topic they could focus a presentation around. Then Sara from the team raised the possibility of me and Chris presenting our findings at the conference and I agreed. During that same day, Chris and I had a meeting and discussed presenting our findings at the conference as a 25-minute short paper and asked if I would be willing to present alongside him? Without hesitation, I said,
‘I would be happy to present.’
However, as soon as our meeting had finished I thought to myself:
‘you’re actually going to be presenting at a conference, you’ve never presented at a conference and the thought of public speaking has always filled you with dread!’
Chris and I had previously presented all the key findings of our report to the Skills Team a couple of months prior to the conference and we got some good feedback from the team. So we had the PowerPoint created, check. We had already presented our findings, so no need for a mock run through. Chris would open the presentation and discuss the reasoning behind our research whilst giving an explanation of PASS, I would then talk through our findings. Finally, Chris would comment on the development of PASS after we had completed the research and conclude. We submitted our application with a 200 word abstract alongside a biography for us both. Once our place at the conference was confirmed all that was left to do was make sure we could access our session on Microsoft Teams and wait for the day of the conference.
As the conference was over two days, Tuesday 8th & Wednesday 9th September, I was unable to attend the first day as I was graduating from the University of Hull as part of the class of 2020. For the second day, I was able to attend and I can happily say the conference was a joy. Presenting before us at 12:30 in the same parallel session was Sue Myer from Teesside University. Similar to us, Sue was presenting on peer support and had a section dedicated to PASS. During our interviews, we talked with Teesside University, so already has some insight into how they operated their peer learning schemes. I can’t lie, I was a little apprehensive about presenting my section. If you could not tell by now I believe that public speaking is not my forte, but once I started speaking following Chris’ introduction I got into the flow of presenting. One tip Chris gave me was: treat it as a prolonged conversation with friends rather than presenting to a large group of people. With this mindset, I was able to speak throughout my section without any stumbles or problems (not that I was aware of, anyhow). Once I had completed my section I handed back to Chris to conclude our presentation, at which point I was able to relax a little and prepare for any questions at the end. We did not, in the end, have any questions, which is a good or bad thing depending on how you want to frame it: good because we have explained everything perfectly, or bad because we were the last presentation and people wanted to get it over with. I prefer the former!
To say it was my first time attending a conference, let alone talking at a conference, I am grateful that I had the opportunity to do so. Thanks to Chris and everyone in the Library I have been exposed to a new experience I would never have had the chance to do previous to my internship.
Chris Awre, University Librarian Conor presented very well, making each of his points succinctly and clearly, and ensuring that he covered a lot of information within the timeframe perfectly.
Thank you Conor, it was good to work on this with you!
My adventure as an Intern first began with an e-mail from the Hull University Careers team. They were offering a whole range of interesting Internship opportunities for the university. After a difficult start to post-university life due to the COVID pandemic, when job opportunities were limited, I hoped to work in the media possibly as a writer or editor and so began writing my own blog about Music John’s Music Hub. I also worked a few part-time jobs such as writing for a music magazine MXDWN UK. This then led me to think, well I really enjoy writing and with my BA History degree I’ve also showcased my writing qualities. Therefore, I want to focus on an Internship that will give me knowledge in new areas, maybe learn some HTML, and also expand upon my writing abilities. That’s when I saw an internship with the Library Skills Team, where I would support the team in the writing and implementation of the Digital Skills course. Here was an opportunity to further showcase my writing ability and really get my career running and expand into new areas.
Then I got to work, updated my CV, and wrote my covering letter and I waited a few days, maybe a couple of weeks I don’t recall exactly, and I got an e-mail from Lee Fallin asking me for an interview. The interview with Lee was very pleasant and relaxed he gave me the chance to ask him a few questions whilst he told me all about the internship and ended with him confirming I had the job. Now I just had to wait with bated breath for my internship to begin.
You may wonder how other than my writing skills I can help people learn about digital skills, well let me tell you. As a blogger who runs their own website I have experience in how media is implemented in the digital world as well as how to keep my information safe online. I also learned many digital skills during my time as a university student where I improved my proficiency in Microsoft office and used many digital tools to aid in my study. As a former student, I also feel I would know how best to adapt the information we are delivering to a student audience. I’ve always had an interest in computers and everything digital and since I was about 4 years old, I was already able to use a computer (although mainly for games).
The first day finally arrived after signing all the necessary documents a few days before, as with most people on starting a new job I was a mixture of nerves and excitement. I was also joined by 3 other interns with various different responsibilities for the library or Skills Team, we then got to meet some of the staff including Lee my intern supervisor. The first week mainly consisted of basic training and meetings with all the other staff members as well as going through all the health and safety details.
I’m now into my second week and have already written a few small sections of the Digital Skills course as well as writing this, my first blog post for the University. This will be the first of several blog entries where I will write about various study skills mainly focused on digital skills.
Last year I graduated with a BA in Creative Writing and Film Studies, afterwards, I went straight on to a masters to study English and Creative Writing. I am currently working on my dissertation, a poetry portfolio. I’m a Poet, wouldn’t you know it… Yes, with a capital P as I’ve had a few poems published in online journals, however, this portfolio is going to be my first complete collection.
The main reasons I decided to do my degrees are the same for wanting to do this internship:
It’s a chance to let my creativity flow
To further pursue my passion for writing
To gain more experience as a writer
“But Jo,” I hear you say. “What will your internship include?”
Ok, ok I’ll tell you…
I’m working as part of the Skills Team, in the library to develop new Skills Guides for students. Living in the digital age the way we work, and how we’re assessed is ever-evolving. We need new guides to help students working on Public Communication assessments, such as academic blogs, magazine articles, letters to the editor, and author wikis. My job is to research such assessments, compile the information and transform it into accessible and readable advice for all.
“Didn’t you say you write poetry, how is that going to help you?”
Good question and I can see why you’d think a poet may not have the expertise to write these guides, but I don’t only write poetry. Throughout my four years of study, I’ve put my hand to a vast array of forms. Just because it says “Creative” in my degree title doesn’t mean I got away from academic writing. On the contrary. I’ve written many academic essays, critiques, reflective journals, and commentaries, as well as some reviews here and there. In the second year of my undergraduate degree, I wrote a 5000-word project, in film studies, discussing whether makeover television programmes create a false sense of beauty compared to that we see in beauty vlogs. And, no I didn’t include any poetry.
The academic side of my degrees provided me with researching and critical thinking techniques, whereas the creative side gave me the space to let my creativity shine and ideas flow. Both sides provided me with the techniques I need to develop content for the Skills Guides being created.
“That’s great! Last question; after these 12 weeks, what then?”
Once the project is complete, I will be able to state that I have expertise in areas such as copywriting and public communications. This will greatly increase my chances of completing my goals of working in social media and/or public relations.
“Thank you for answering these questions and good luck!”
Travelling through the up and downs of my journey as an intern
Where to begin …….
It all started last year at the end of my degree finishing Entertainment and Games Design in which I gained a 2:2. This is where I learnt my creative flare and learnt to level up my skills. Then my journey hit a roadblock where I could not expand my horizon and lost my motivation and due to the lockdown did not know which way to turn.
Looking beyond the horizon I looked at LinkedIn for connections and contacts regarding opportunities and Udemy to make sure my skills with other tools did not fade and learnt new skills. One day whilst looking through LinkedIn I saw an opportunity called Humberside Internship Programme (HIP). After a few weeks and many conversations, I received an email inviting me on an internship. I felt in disbelief and delighted to have been invited.
So that journey pressed forward…
So, first week arrives and I am introduced to the Skills Team and the project I would be working on. This was exciting but nervous. Throughout the talks I felt that my head was going to explode with the information, websites and steps to take forward. With the help of Lee and the other members of staff and interns it showed me a guiding light into the unknown and this has been a good learning curve for me.
In this internship my title is Visual Design Intern. My focus is to look at the skills guide and create a more welcoming and easier experience to this website for the user. This includes:
Opportunities to add rich media (animations, quizzes, videos and so on)
Supporting the others to enhance their work with media
At my journeys end…
I would have enhanced the skill guide with rich media and gained experience in the working environment and working within a team. This experience would give me confidence to move on to the next adventure and hopefully many more experiences to come.