These last few days have been crazy busy, after the Vex robotics competition on Saturday the next week started with one of our project leads going away on annual leave, leaving one of the assistants Lauren Heywood and I managing the project they were on. Open Badges is the project we’re currently working on in their absence, and we realise there is a large amount of just… stuff that needs organising in the very near future, some of which involving the Shakespeare Week project sub-section of the Open Badges initiative at the Lab.
This has meant I have been pushed slightly out of my comfort zone, as I have very little experience in project management, and I am having to take on some of those responsibilities. In the meantime I’ve also had to be compiling a stats report for the Lynda.com evaluation the Lab’s running, as we need to see what future the platform will have at the university, and at least some hard data will need to be gathered to back up any decision made. So all in all I have a decent amount on my plate but not so much that I can’t handle it, it’s a perfect balance of work I think. Another side thing I’ve been doing has been learning some graphic design principles on Lynda.com as a learner, and it’s been very useful so far! I thought that with the upcoming design of the Makewaves site on the horizon building up some design skills wouldn’t hurt, and it’s proving to be fun and interesting; so I’ll share some work on here when I can!
I’ve also been working on my touch-typing as and when I can, at the moment I’m typing this without looking at even my computer, and I’ve been using the website Typingclub.com, which has greatly improved my dexterity and efficiency, as well as heplpogn jsdkgn a wpfssmf.
I do feel as though I’m steadily gaining new skills, some consciously and some not, for example I feel like without realising it I’ve become better at organising myself, ensuring I can easily find any of my work on my laptop, keeping emails up-to-date and having a clear plan of what my jobs are for the next few days. Some of the more conscious skills are my talking to people and presenting and talking about the projects I’m on well, just today Jonathan Shaw, the Director of the DMLL, mentioned to me that he’d heard I’d done well at pitching and explaining badges to some of the EEC faculty staff last week. It’s hearing things like that that makes me realise — however slowly — that I am improving at just general professional skills.
Another week has passed this month, and as the Open Badges project moves forward, Lauren Heywood and I have been managing very well to keep everything running smoothly, we met with two Employability Unit staff members a couple of days ago and we’re refining some of the CV and Cover Letter badges to fall more in line with what the EPU staff require, which stalls some of the marketing work we were planning to do but it’s still going to work out in the long term.
We also had our visit from Dan Harding and two of his colleagues this Friday, who was someone I talked to at MozFest 2016, and it went extremely well. For some context after talking at MozFest, Dan was talking with Lauren Heywood and I about coming to the DMLL to talk about Coventry University’s Open Badges, and we ended up finalising it for Friday the 9th December. They ended up being very impressed by the Lab’s space in general and the work we do, which took up much of the conversation. We then talked about Open Badges at the Lab, as at Keele University they’re thinking of implementing the system. Out insight ended up being very useful to them, allowing them to see what challenges we had faced here and the pitfalls they may encounter.
One of the more important things we talked about was the core “ethos” behind our badging effort, and we distilled it into a few points:
- Badges shouldn’t credit something already credited by the institution
- Badges should ideally be available to any student, not limited to a course
- There shouldn’t be any overlap between badges, they should cover separate, well-defined areas
With these ideas and some other tips we gave them, we all came away feeling like the day had been useful, and we’re hoping to forge a link with our respective universities.