Change Agents Conference

Written by Diana Stone – Music Technology student

As a Digital Champion, I had the exciting opportunity to attend the Jisc Change Agents conference in Exeter with my course leader, John Crossley, to present the work we’ve done so far on the ADR Records website and talk more about the project.

I had never been to Exeter before, so to me it seemed interesting to visit a new city, and I really enjoyed it. In the past, I’ve always been afraid of presentations as I am a pretty terrible public speaker, so I saw this conference as a way of challenging myself.

We attended both days of the conference, so as we were presenting on the second day, we decided to attend some of the talks throughout day one. It was great to see how other universities collaborate with their students and the results of their work together. I particularly enjoyed a presentation on students working with Unicef and the volunteering opportunities they provide. I spoke to several people from other universities throughout the day, which was a great way to network and explore other perspectives. Sadly, there weren’t any other music students there.

Day two was presentation time, and the nerves were definitely kicking in! In the morning, I made sure to go over everything I wanted to say about my involvement with ADR Records, so that everything goes as smoothly as it possibly could. Our presentation was in the afternoon, and quite a few people attended. We presented a few slides of the proposed web design, talked about the purpose of this website, which is to provide a platform for musicians at the university to promote themselves, and also talked about some of the challenges of getting it off the ground. Despite being nervous, I think it went as well as it possibly could and the audience thoroughly enjoyed it – we even had a few questions from them.

Following our presentation, there was a student from the University of Exeter presenting his work on MOOCs designed to educate people on climate change, which was completely free of charge. This was by far my favourite presentation, both because it’s an issue that I feel very passionately about and it’s fantastic to see projects that are changing peoples’ perspectives. The guy also had great presentation skills, that I could learn a lot from.

To conclude the two-day conference, there was a well-needed barbecue organised, which, again, provided a chance to talk to the participants. I received a couple of compliments on the design of the ADR Records site, which, of course felt great and encouraging to persevere with our project.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the Jisc conference and witnessing the impact of student-university work relationships can have on projects of any kind. I think Digital Champions is definitely a fantastic idea and I hope it can benefit the learning and working experience of as many students as possible in the future.

Getting Student Feedback using Facebook and Google Forms

Introduction to the world of student feedback

by Eryk Gadomski

In September 2016 I got elected to be the University of Derby year 1 Biology representative. As I started the role I realised that a programme representative has an abundance of responsibilities, the main one being collecting feedback from students. In this short but sweet article I shall discuss my decision to choose certain programmes and social media sites, their strengths and weaknesses, and finally what the future holds in collecting feedback.  

Making the right choice

I am not going to be like Alexander Fleming, the Scottish biologist who took all the credit for the discovery of penicillin, instead I am going to be fair and give the credit to those that helped. It was not just me who set up the “UoD Biological and Forensic Science Feedback and Discussion” group page. Myself and Brook Smith – who is the year 1 forensic science programmer representative, both came up with the idea to create a multi-course platform for all the students in year 1. The Facebook group page would include all programme reps and students from Biology, Zoology, Human Biology, Biomedical Science, Forensic Science, and all the joint honour programmes. Thus on 25th of October 2016 the group page was created.   

The idea of the page was to create a site where all the programme reps could easily communicate with their students and vice versa. Firstly, we got all the registered representative on the group page, so that we could make them admins and thus enabling them to add content, ask questions, create polls etc. Once we got the programme representatives on the page I asked everyone to advertise it through their social media profiles and messenger group chats. As it stands today the group page has ten admins and 104 members from across five different courses in the first year. Once I had a communication platform sorted, the next challenge was to find a way of collecting feedback which I could present to the members of staff in the programme committee meetings. 

In the beginning, I tried to use a poll to see this method of gathering feedback worked for the students.

Although, some people did voted, there were 54 members that have seen it but did not press the button to vote. It is still a mystery to me as to why someone can see something online but not respond to it. I mean it’s just a click of a button! However, even with a couple of responses I took this information and went ahead with the use of the group page as a way of gathering feedback. Next I posted a question to find out what did people thought of the “Evolution of Life” coursework. The programme committee meeting was approaching and I needed some data. However, this sort of backfired.

 

The word trust has a lot of meaning. I understood why some people commented and wanted to know specifics of how I was going to anonymise their responses. The students were not satisfied with this method, so I took their advice and looked in to some free survey programmes. The two that came up were survey monkey as suggested and google forms. I choose google forms as I had previous experience with it during my A-levels. There were other reasons but, that’s in the later part of the article. That evening I created a short survey which would collect both qualitative and quantitative data. I sent it out and got some responses. I could then use this data in the programme committee meeting. I also emailed the results to both the module and programme leader for their own evaluation.  

Google forms worked really well. I got 29 responses, both the programme and module leader were happy with the level of data which was received. Following the success I sat down with my programme leader to talk about my representative situation. He suggested to me that rather than having a survey for each module it would be better to have one feedback site for the students. I had a think about it and so I created “The Reps Letterbox”. The reps letterbox is an online feedback questionnaire powered by google forms, that all students on the group page have access to. Alongside this I created a reps only messenger group chat, because if an issue came up for a zoology representative I could simply put it on the chat for them to deal with. This method has a lot of trust involved between myself and the other programme representatives of the corresponding courses. 

 

 

 

 

 

Along the way I had to make some changed to accompany the seriousness of some issues. This year I have added an optional section called “Your Name/Contact Details (Optional)”. This came about as some feedback can be considered as a serious issue which would require a name or contact information, so that if the issue is taken further up the chain that person can be contacted to discuss their opinion or their own account of the events. Unfortunately, the reps letterbox isn’t as used as much as I would have hoped it would be. 

The Strengths & The Weaknesses

When me and brook made the Facebook group page it was quite easy to set up and now it is quite easy to maintain. One of the issues that we talked about was weather to have an open or closed group. Each has pros and cons. If we had an open group then none of us would have to accept each and every member that requested, we would sent out a link to everyone and boom people would have joined by simply pressing a button. However we would not have the control on who is adding themselves to the group. On the other hand, the closed group has that control, you have to accept each and every member but, this can be time consuming. We decided to go for a closed group as the control allowed us to see who wants to join and also it kept the group private.  

The Facebook group page has been quite successful in letting students and representatives share information for revision and coursework purposes. Last semester during exam season a couple of representatives were sharing useful videos which helped students who were struggling in their chemistry of life module. I shared some links to websites which helped students understand the SPSS programme. In general programme representatives posted deadlines, reminders and sometimes necessary emails from programme leaders to inform their students. We all united to help each other to understand the complicated and mysterious world of science. 

 

 

Our Facebook group page has a lot of positives and only minor negatives. Whereas, the google forms programme is much more varied in my opinion. I choose google forms as it was quick and easy to access on my computer as it links to my google account. The key word in the last sentence is computer because using google forms on my phone was quite tricky. On my computer I could easily see all the forms that I created in one section however, on my phone it jumbled up all my google docs, google sheets and google forms. It was very disorganised. Also a huge issue I had was sharing my content. When I created “The Reps Letterbox” I was the only one with control over it, the other programme reps had no control and had to put their trust in me that I would tell them what was written by the students. I have built a good relationship with all the representatives in the biological and forensic science this allowed me to gain their trust. However, if I was on the opposite side of the fence, then I would like to have that unlimited insight into the reps letterbox and not wait for someone to tell me when they have time.  

On the other hand, google forms offers a good set of qualitative and quantitative questions. You have a huge variety of open and closed questions which include short & long answer text boxes, multiple choice, drop box, check box, and linear scale. The customisation is a nice touch as it allows you to create a brand new survey from scratch and make it distinguishable from all the other surveys that you have made. I had a great time adding pictures, changing the colour of the background, and changing the order of the questions so that the survey has more flow to it. I am quite glad that once I made all the questions up I could change the order of them. For a person with low experience in creating questionnaires I found google forms accessible, quick, and simple to use and customise.       

Future of collecting feedback

I think that the Facebook group page worked well this year. Everyone has benefited from it in some shape or form, whether it was work alerts, useful revision tips or feedback from meetings. I think that It was a success and that all representatives from different collages should use it. In addition, the same applies to my google forms questionnaires, I think the questions were not ambiguous and the anonymity gave all students privacy and freedom to say whatever they want. So overall I cannot see why there is a low responses rate for the questionnaires or the Facebook group page. However, one possible answer could be student participation. It is difficult as a rep to get feedback, a rep can try and try again, by in the end of the day you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. I can write here and say I’m done, but that would mean giving up on the students and the future of the university. Soon I will create a small survey to see what people thought of their experience and what they want to change. Then I’ll go from there and see how I can improve this for next time, but also use it as experience to further develop myself.

REVIEW: Office Mix for PowerPoint

Supporting the teachers and students when it comes to interaction, Office Mix transforms Power Point presentations into online lessons.

The tool might be useful for someone who wants to deliver a lesson, or a training for example, but has no knowledge of video editing.

Office Mix offers a wide range of tools, created to help those who struggle making presentation and it even integrated a few new options, which PowerPoint does not have.

Apart from the fact that the presentation you will be creating can be available online, you can also screen record, digital ink, add audio and video, add quiz, play at a slower or a faster speed and many more other options.

For installing Office Mix, you need to have the PowerPoint version from 2013, or a newer one.

You can download Office Mix from here:  https://mix.office.com/

The setup is very simple to install and you can use it right away.

The tool opens with a few instructions for you to understand what is it about.

For a more detailed introduction to Office Mix, check out their tutorials right here: https://mix.office.com/watch/7o6kt118pguk .

(Welcome to Office Mix! In this quick tutorial you will learn how to install the Office Mix add-in, how to record audio and inking and lastly, you will learn how to securely upload and share your mix. Happy mixing!)

User guide

  • AUDIO

Go to Insert and click on Audio. You will find two options there. If you want to upload an audio file from you PC click on the first option, but if you want to record, click on Record Audio.

  • VIDEO

Go to Insert and click on Video. There will be two options. Either you upload a video from your PC, wither one from YouTube or any other site which provides you the embed code.

  • DIGITAL INK

Go to Draw for using the digital ink tool. You will find there quite a few options, from different types of Pens, Colours and Thickness, to Eraser or Lasso Select (which helps you move/delete everything you select at once). Click on Draw with Touch to start drawing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • QUIZ

Go to Mix and click on Quizzes Video App. You will be able to see a few quiz options. Choose one, trust it and you can now see how the quiz will look like. Fill the quiz questions and answers, adjust or move the quiz if you want to, but do not forget to preview it and make sure everything is in its place.

Here is a short tutorial, for a better understanding of this tool: https://mix.office.com/watch/xnj2969nukmb?lcid=1033 .

 

  • HOW TO SHARE

Go to Mix a click on Upload to Office Mix. The process is not too complicated, but check out this short tutorial that shows you what can you do after uploading the presentation online.

Here is the tutorial: https://mix.office.com/watch/s5fz3htbj72d?lcid=1033 .

What’s in your pocket?

What's in your pocket?

Have you ever left your phone at home and felt that you have had a limb taken away from you? 4 out of 5 UK adults apparently now have a Smartphone so the TEL team asked the Student Digital Champions to let us know what apps they use regularly on their Smartphones.

So…What’s in your pocket?

Hannah

SpotifyWhatsApp   

I use WhatsApp to message friends and family, as it is a good way to stay connected. Its multi-purpose aspects transform the traditional messaging app into phone calls, video messaging and as an image sender. This makes the app more useful and appealing to use. I use this app if I am abroad or if family go abroad to make phone calls and to stay in contact. I normally use the app every day to stay connected to friends.

Spotify

SpotifyI use Spotify to explore new music, listen to chart music and to keep me motivated when going to the gym with the playlists. I enjoy using Spotify for the simplicity of finding artists and music using the search engine, or by browsing the playlists. I use the app when I am at home, studying, chilling out or at the gym as a motivation

Santander appSantander

As a student, this app is very useful, it helps me to see how much money I have in my bank account; as well as to see the different transactions made. As a student, we tend to borrow money so it is very ideal and convenient to send people money in the comfort of your own home. I use this app a few times a week to check my balance, which in turn helps me monitor and manage my money at University better.

YouTube

YouTubeThis is by far my favorite app; I use the YouTube app for entertainment and educational purposes. I enjoy watching other YouTubers and finding viral videos. Additionally, I enjoy using YouTube as an educational platform. As a visual learner, I enjoy watching videos and find it easy to learn about new topics. I use the YouTube app every day to watch various genres of content.


VeronicaI love music, taking pictures, and making videos of things that catch my attention. The apps that I use the most will have to be my Music app, Snapchat, Notes, Calculator, Afterlight, Lloyds Bank, Twitter, Tumblr and the university’s mobile app.

These apps perform different functions for me with regards to how I feel or where I am.

Music app- This has a variety of songs from all genres so if I have heard a song I like, I can search the name and start to listen for however long.

Snapchat- This combines messaging, and the camera features with amazing filters. I have started a YouTube channel where I share things I am passionate about. The videos and pictures I take/save on this app, I combine to tell a story and publish. However, this app takes up a lot of space so I have to delete once in a while and focus on other things.

Notes- I am always thinking about something and I do not like to forget so I have sort of turned my notes app to my little creative corner. I write down ideas, to do’s, assignment titles or deadlines.

Calculator- Let’s just say my mental math needs a little bit of work lol. I reach out for this app when I am at the stores mostly to get those figures right before I get to the till to pay.

Afterlight- This is a photo editor app. It helps me to edit my pictures to my liking and share on my social media.

Lloyds Bank- This mobile app shows my bank statement and my current and savings balance so that I can budget properly.

Twitter- I use my twitter to interact with my followers, share my thoughts and gather opinions. Also, primary research for my dissertation; there is an option to create polls e.t.c so I plan to use that to gather information for my project.

Tumblr- Tumblr is sort of a digital journal for me. I share posts, music, projects I’ve worked on e.t.c I love to look back on my posts and appreciate growth.

University’s Mobile app- This app has saved me so many times. I get notifications as soon as they are published. I do not always carry my laptop around but I have my phone so I can quickly search course resources and find out what time my class is and what my tutor has asked us to prepare for the next class.


There are 5 apps which I use most frequently: The Google App, Drive Mode, IFTTT, Unibus Finder and Wunderlist. While the Google App seems quite self-explanatory, there are some features which I find most useful. Firstly, the app updates in real time, providing me with information about my likely travel plans, such as estimated time of arrival and level of traffic. Secondly, the app collates various bits of information such as dates of renewal and estimated arrival times for various online orders. Finally, the app allows voice search and the ability to control my phone with my voice.   
Drive Mode
is an app which is native to AT&T phones. It automatically detects when the user is driving an prevents the phone from easily being used, while this is great, in terms of increasing aggregate driver safety, the main benefit for me is the lack of notifications and the automatic text responses which allow people trying to contact my that I am driving.

IFTTT is an interesting app. It stands for ‘If this, then, that’. It can be used to program automatic actions on your phone, online accounts and various other things such as digital lighting as an example. My main use for it is to automatically turn the sound off on my phone when I enter University and to turn it back on when I leave university.

Unibus Finder is quite a basic app which does what it says it does. I simply use it to try and best time catching Unibuses.

Wunderlist is a very useful app which is essentially a to-do list app. My main reason for using this above any other to-do list app is because Wunderlist has a Google Chrome extension, which replaces the new tab screen allowing me to see all my to-do lists.


I have the usual run of student apps on my phone: Derby uni app (naturally), two mail apps (servicing different accounts – googlemail gets my forwarded unimail and my hotmail account my personal stuff), some games, as well as a photo editor, FX. I use my phone quite a bit for photos but my shots always need tidying up.

Messenger is on there reluctantly as it drinks more power than I drink coffee on a Monday morning, and that is saying something.  It is there only while I work through a couple of projects and then it will be removed. It will not be missed. Likewise, facebook and other social media I only use via a browser because of their thirst for power, so that while I use them a lot, you’ll never guess from my home screen. Pocket is my fave pocket app. It allows me to send an article, video or image to a directory for later – just like grabbing a copy of something and putting it in my pocket for me to read over yet another cup of coffee. I have copies of this on my laptop and tablet so that they all synced and by tagging entries, I can keep my list of places to check out for vacations separate from essay research etc.


I have got the Microsoft and Google applications  on my phone which I mostly use for assignment checking and notes when I get a quick idea on the move. I mostly use OneNote to definitely note my little thoughts that can probably leave the moment my attention is drawn somewhere else. If I use PowerPoint and Word for anything special I can edit it on the go as well and not wait till I get on my laptop.

Google maps is like my escort when I go to a new place and I also use it to get the earliest bus to and from home so that I don’t keep bus times in my head and get home early still, since I have three buses I can use to get home.

I am not much of a social media person but to communicate with people I use WhatsApp and Messenger.

Instagram is like a news app for me, short and precise videos and thoughtful pictures without too much reading of it and if I need more then I go where I can have more of it and I post a  few pictures when I am in the mood for pictures and check up on some of my few friends around the world.

Bank apps are as good as walking around with my money but just in numbers and I can get to send and check payments anywhere I am, I use two banks Lloyds and Barclays Bank.

I figured that Netflix is big and I have an account but those two I have on my phone are lovely, you don’t get all the latest movies but definitely you get up to date series for free with Show Box and Cartoon HD and if I feel like watching these on a bigger screen I can use All Cast or Screen Mirroring for Samsung.

I am a guy of faith so I carry around a pocket bible as well for reading and reference to the bible whenever I have the feeling to.


Even if I have loads of apps on my phone, I can say that I am probably only using half of them. When I have free time, I always look on my phone to discover something new. I still have a lot to learn about it.

All my apps are organised by categories. The social apps that I am using daily are Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Yahoo Mail.

Facebook is usually used for chatting and posting photos or sharing articles, while Snapchat is often used for chatting as well, but also for creating stories with photos and videos. Instagram is my favourite app when it comes to posting photos and for checking my emails I use Yahoo Mail.

Even though the apps mentioned before are complex, I am also using Twitter, Skype and WhatsApp, even if it’s mostly the same thing, but on a different platform. This is because, as a becoming journalist, I like to have a wide knowledge when it comes to social apps, and I like to extend my profile as much as I can, so I can create contacts from different backgrounds.

YouTube is not missing from my list, but I am not using it that much on my phone.

Because photography is my passion, I downloaded couple of apps for editing photos, and some of them are even for sharing the photos and create an online portfolio, like Instagram is almost doing. For example, VSCO is becoming more and more popular lately, as well as Snapseed and Darkroom.

There are also apps like Pinterest, that I am using for inspiration; Bitmoji which creates you own avatar and works as an extension to Snapchat; DJI GO for filming with an Osmo camera or a drone; WhatsCall helps me place calls using the internet, even if I don’t have credit on my phone.