We have just managed to have our FIRST meeting with the current 2nd Year Entrants to discuss what we can do in the future to improve induction into the School of Media at BCU. After asking some initial questions there were soon lots of ideas flowing around most of which provide very achievable goals for next year. It was suggested that when students first joined the University tutor attitudes were a little disheartening towards them – perhaps because they had no knowledge of the skills students had having not taught them the previous year. It was suggested a bridge be built between the colleges and the University to ensure students had the appropriate support and encouragement as soon there modules started. Another area of communication that needs to be improved particularly concerns the Professional Studies element of the course. Things such as the amount of hours of work experience to complete whilst on the HND did not reflect the requirement at the School of Media. Issues were also raised between the difference in marking criteria. Students identified that although they had been doing really well on the HND were not achieving similar grades at University and could not understand why. To counter this it may be important to have a session where expectations are laid out, and the marking criteria is explained (section by section). Referencing and writing style was also another area of concern for students as again what was expected on the HND was different to what was expected at University. We feel a series of workshops would be beneficial in which students could opt to come along and learn skills that may be different now they are at University (this could also include technical skills such as using the Avid Suite, how to book a photography studio etc) Aside from the academic issues, students were concerned with the social element of University life. Students liked the idea of a Facebook page as a forum for discussion – that could be utilised both before students arrive and during term time. A social occasion was also discussed – that would be held on the pretence that it is a ‘Media Social’ so that everyone can get involved. Students felt this would give them a chance to lighten up, relax and maybe meet a few of their fellow 2nd years. Students were also very keen on going back to visit colleges themselves and perhaps given small talks on their own experiences. They said they would have found this very useful and it would have helped them be a little more confident. It was encouraging to hear the students display interest in becoming ‘buddies’ for future 2nd year entrants – just so there is a familiar face around campus and a point of call when they are unsure of something. Now that there are more and more 2nd year entrants joining BCU we think it may be beneficial to consider having a 2nd year entrant representative on the Student Council. Overall the outcome of the meeting was very successful and we have lots of ideas to work with! We are going to now liaise with Matt Grimes who is building the bridge between the School of Media and the colleges in a hope to formulate a more comprehensive plan of action for the coming year.

I haven’t forgotten about you guys… promise.

I have just been really busy on The Cultural Bible (which you probably should check out)

In regards to the 2nd Year Entrants project I am working on we have managed to set up a Facebook page so that 2nd year entrants can join, chat and discuss things…

We are hoping to meet with our current 2nd year entrants at BCU next week.. and hopefully we can get their feedback.

So everything is starting to move quite quickly now.

Oh.. and I am finally using posterous.. woohoo.

 

Speak soon

You may remember my post just before christmas where I spoke about developing ideas for The Cultural Bible.

I thought, since we are now about to start semester 2 , all my other modules are finished it was time for me to address each of the issues raised.

So below you will find the points my peers highlighted in connection with my project and my response.

A website about Birmingham, for the students of Birmingham, reviewing and suggesting various places of interest.

-       Application of research and editorial skills

  1. Survey BCU, Aston and Brum University students for interests – brilliant idea! will be great for research seen as they are our target audience.
  2. Research/ Co-operation with Town Hall and NUS for local student based events – also another great idea. there is so much to think about in this project it has been easy to over look some – so this is another fab idea for further research.
  3. Advertising on website, student deals etc. – this is a good idea, although when discussed will require a lot of maintenance on our behalf – both in terms of organising with sponsors to get the deals and keeping the webpage up to date. This is hopefully something we aim to do in the future.

-       Management of the process

  1. Time Keeping – both Emma and I have great organisation skills so time management and setting and meeting deadlines should not be a major issue.
  2. Setting and Meeting Deadlines
  3. Dealing with outside sources – Dealing with outside sources is a complicated issue within our project. As we have decided to take on the mystery shopper approach we will have to make little contact with places we discuss. However we will still need to keep a professional tone so as not to get into any trouble.

-       Understanding with professional context

  1. If similar sites exist, what areas are they not addressing? – Similar sites exist, however they are purely review sites or professional sites that almost advertise the places. We aim to build something that meets these two areas in the middle.
  2. How will you create awareness of the site? -We aim to create awareness of our site by using other social media tools such as twitter, facebook, flickr etc as well as word of mouth and print campaigns.
  3. Will you have to pay people to create content for the site? - We will not have to pay people to create content for the site as that is the job of Emma and I. We are looking to invite guest journalists to post about places they have visited but not as a paid job.

-       Flair and creativity

  1. If it’s for students will to be places of interests generally or best areas to go out, best or cheapest places to shop? – we aim to include all of these categories, as the website will separated into sections that students can directly find things they are most interested in.
  2. Will the site feature images and information? Or maybe video as well?  - the site will definitely feature image as well as information. After all a picture paints 1000 words. All of our photographs will be original and we do hope that on the occasion Emma and I visit a place together we can make a video!
  3. Maybe document it in the style of a countdown? Create a survey for comments.  - I am not entirely sure what is meant by a countdown. any ? However we will definitely have space for our readers to leave comments and even posts of their own!

 

Hopefully that answers some of the intial issues and attitudes about The Cultural Bible.

 

On another note, we now have a logo.. so  be prepared to see it EVERYWHERE.

We are coming up to semester two and my journey with SAP continues which is very exciting.

Kerry and I have arranged a meeting with the 2nd year entrants, to try and get their opinion on their induction and what they think could be done to improve it.

Due to the christmas holidays there is not much to report on but just wanted to just keep you updated.

More information to follow after the meeting of course!

 

In other news, The Cultural Bible is well underway, posts are being written and things are starting to happen so watch this space.

I thought writing the words “Last lecture before christmas” would be the most exciting event of the year.

With so much university work finally handed in I thought the upcoming weeks of christmas festivities would be a welcome break.

However, I was wrong.

The lecture last Wednesday allowed us to look at successful projects from previous years hopefully providing us with a grounding of what was to come.

There was, unfortunately, only one web based project out as an example. Slightly worrying as I want to be achieving top marks if possible.. and clearly every little web projects did. Either that or their just wasn’t many made…

Lets hope its the latter.

The web project I looked at was quite a lot different from my own project however it did quantify the sheer amount of work that has to be done!

There were similar aspects such as utilising social networking tools and it will be useful to draw on and expand the example I saw.

I am looking forward to really getting stuck into my project now, it just still all seems a bit distant.

Heres hoping that now all my work is handed in this dream will be ever so slightly more in reach.

Wish me luck.

OH… and remember to look out for the new Cultural Bible blog in January. :D

 

You may remember my recent post about developing research and ideas for mine and Emma’s project.

Well I have finally gotten round to typing up the whole cafuffle that is.. the ideas from my peers.

Which to be honest, is VERY useful – as they are my target audience.

So anyway, our project is split into four marking criteria which have been challenged with three ideas for each section. I am going to respond to these/ consider these each in turn and hopefully it will set down the groundwork for a highly successful project.

So this is how it looks:

A website about Birmingham, for the students of Birmingham, reviewing and suggesting various places of interest.

-       Application of research and editorial skills

  1. Survey BCU, Aston and Brum University students for interests
  2. Research/ Co-operation with Town Hall and NUS for local student based events
  3. Advertising on website, student deals etc.

-       Management of the process

  1. Time Keeping
  2. Setting and Meeting Deadlines
  3. Dealing with outside sources

-       Understanding with professional context

  1. If similar sites exist, what areas are they not addressing?
  2. How will you create awareness of the site?
  3. Will you have to pay people to create content for the site?

-       Flair and creativity

  1. If it’s for students will to be places of interests generally or best areas to go out, best or cheapest places to shop?
  2. Will the site feature images and information? Or maybe video as well?
  3. Maybe document it in the style of a countdown? Create a survey for comments.

 

The bold title at the top is the statement I wrote in order to give an insight into what the project was about. With a cap at writing only one sentance I found it difficult to summarise our project. I think logistically, I really need to think about and try and define what our porject wants to do.

The Bold headings are the individual marking criteria of the project and the bullet points underneath are the areas that my colleagues feel need to be addressed or are an important aspect of my project.

This was a really useful task as it allowed me to consider things that I perhaps hadn’t thought of before.

Next step: Come up with a distinct definition and explanation of aims.

Stage 2: Respond to peer critique

Stage 3: LOGO!

 

 

You may have recently read my posts on the SAP project I am taking part in.

I spoke to Trina Chavda, a 2nd year entrant to the BCU Media and Communications course and this is what she had to say about her induction week and first experiences.

  • induction with students who were first year – 2nd years weren’t even there that week.
  • Completing unnecessary tasks with first years.
  • being split up from friends who were also second year entrants.
  • not really having an induction. Instead having a meeting with first years (being treated as first years for a week)
  • having to make friends myself and quickly adapting to University standards.
  • getting relevant information students, rather than being told initially.
  • expected to know certain things which were completely new to us.
  • hard to adapt, and thrown in the deep end like we were first years.
  • felt scared and unsure as to what to do. didn’t feel like we meant anything – just pushed to one side.

From talking to this one student alone, it is clear to see just how much this programme is needed across the course. Thinking even bigger than this, how many students feel like that across the country, let alone at BCU!

Next mission.. talk to this years 2nd year entrants and get more opinions across the board!

As I said previously it is important to have certain activities and events planned out to make the project successful. Below you can see the table I have produced, detailing proposed activities and dates. Obviously these can chance, a lot, if needs be. However it gives a sense of what I need to consider in the coming weeks.

Date Activity

 
August Inform Students of Social Networking Sites in Welcome Pack – encourage them to utilise them. (help sheet?)
September – Before Term Starts Encourage Students To Be Registered/Active on Sites (via letter?)

A Challenge?

September – Induction Week Meet and Greet for All 2nd Year Interns (afternoon tea – as part of a timetabled session)
September – Induction Week Social Event (to run throughout the year) all 2nd Year Media Students.

Voluntary, evening event. Bar 42?

September – Induction Week Series of themed workshops. Perhaps run by current third years, who were 2nd year entrants?

-       how to use moodle

-       library services

-       Q&A

September – Induction Week Introduction of Buddy Scheme

2nd Year volunteers as a contact point for 2nd year entrants. Maybe not one on one, but a forum/community?

October (Week 6) Review of First 6 Weeks at University. Feedback from 2nd Year Entrants
December Workshop – addressing concerns with University Examination Process
December Christmas Social Meet Up

 

 

 

April/May Ask 2nd Year Entrants to Speak/Become Buddies in next academic Year
April Easter Social Meet Up
June Focus Group/Surveys

Review of the programme and how 2nd year entrants found it.

 

Thats the topic of the week for my SAP project.

I have, yet again, put together a little brainstorm of all the ideas I have in order to make the student experience a little more bearable for second year entrants at BCU.

I’ve tried to incorporate a range of ideas, that would appeal to a variety of personalities. Whether it be an online community, a night at

bar 42 or a workshop session “how to” style for the more academically minded.

I myself found using sites such as Facebook very useful before joining University. It meant I recognised faces and a little bit of pressure was off to make that move to say Hi when I arrived. I think without these tools I wouldn’t have been able to smile/say hello to people in the corridor.. which ultimately has lead to some great friendships.

Hopefully a large majority of the ideas can be used throughout the year so that the student experience is continually being improved.

I also think it will be important for students to feed back at the end of the year, so that the following years can just get better and better.

The next step is to plan when each of the activities can be used to their maximum potential.

It would also be useful to get the opinions of past 2nd year entrants so that I can focus my research and plans to suit the people they will be serving.

(click the image for a large version of the brainstorm).

It’s Wednesday 24th November.

My third year production project has been in the pipeline for far too long.. and it hasn’t even begun.

But today, everything seemed to kick off and it’s exciting.

Alongside Emma Dando we are creating a website of sorts, entitled The Cultural Bible. We aim to reach out to the people of Birmingham, people visiting Birmingham or people interested in Birmingham

It’s an opinion based website, broken down into various categories (cuisine, nightlight, shopping, the arts etc), and aims to honestly review and critique the places rather than provide the promotional mumbo jumbo that other sites do.

We want to build a community where people can comment and interact with each other about the experiences they have had, as well as alert people to new and interesting places that they could perhaps visit.

It’s too easy to get stuck in the same ol’ routine of going to pizza express everytime you go for dinner, or not trying that new restuarant down the road.

We want you to be able venture out and explore the wonder that is Birmingham…

enjoy it :)

We want to utilize various social networking platforms to get as many people involved as possible.

After today’s lecture, where various people provided ideas on how to manage our project, research areas, and add creativity and flare I feel ready to tackle several of those issues.

The next step is getting ourselves organised, getting a logo and responding to those issues.

I will post our developments later..

 

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