About our project

In January 2014, we received the good news that we had been successful in our bid for an extension of our original project via the Jisc FE and Skills Development and Resources Programme – Embedding Activity. We will continue to use this blog to record our activities, outputs and achievements over the next months.

The aims of our Embedding project are:

- to build on the positive outcomes and outputs of our original webinar project
- highlight the key employability skills identified in webinars by the employers who took part in our original project
- produce a well structured and resourced blended learning course to teach students the skills of setting up and running a webinar as a 21st century employability skill
- continue to disseminate our project findings and offer support through Jisc Regional Support Centres to help embed webinar training for students as part of a tutorial or curriculum programme using a blended learning course.

Monday, 31 December 2012

Happy New Year - 1 month of blogging

Having started the project blog at the end of November, now seems like the the ideal time to write a quick update about the blog, with the New Year only hours away.
To date we have had over 300 views with visitors from around the world following our progress.
Currently our most popular post is 'Infographic of baseline data on webinars' which has some great stats about students use of and access to technology and their knowledge (or lack of) about webinars, if you haven't seen it why not check it out!

Post by Emma Procter-Legg
Students4WebES Project Manager

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

First batch of letters are in the post!

As part of the Students4webES project, the core group of students have been compiling a list of employers that they would like to run webinars with. As the project is about employability skills, we tasked them with drafting a letter, initially written by one student and then reviewed by the rest of the core group. After a few tweaks here and there by the Project Manager and Project Lead, the first batch of letters were dropped in the post today.
The bulk of the letters will be sent out in early January, followed by phone calls to arrange dates for the webinars which will take place during January and February. We will keep you posted on our progress!

Post by Emma Procter-Legg
Students4WebES Project Manager

Monday, 17 December 2012

Reflection in Action

Often during the course of a project, many issues can arise which require ‘thinking on your feet’ or to give it its proper name  ‘reflection in action’ (Schon, 1983). This project is no different, we have had to consider the situation and then make a decision based on what feels right at the time. Even if we have had a couple of days to think about the issue and decide on the best way forward, it is still decision making ‘in action’; there is no going back and starting again!

As we rapidly head towards the mid point of the project we have already made a number of these types of decisions – the best way to communicate, which software to use, how to form a ‘performing team’ from two groups of students…
An example of a decision that we have made during the project that might have been different with the benefit of hindsight, was the cohort of students the core group is made up from. The initial plan was to look for a group of 25 volunteer students from the second year level 3 students on the Futures Programme, run the initial training with the whole cohort and the advanced training with a volunteer core group. However this didn’t go according to plan. Having delivered a 15 minute session about the project to the initial cohort and asked for volunteers, we only received a handful of responses. We decided to open the project up to the first year students on the Futures Programme and the A level students too, to help us reach our 25 student target.

This decision did help us to recruit further students, some of whom are highly motivated, but  it also created a whole extra level of complexity to the project.
From this, timetabling constraints developed as the first years and second years have different days off college; one being a study day and the other a work day. The A level students have totally different timetables so it hasn’t been possible to have all the students meet face to face on the same day.

We now have two groups; one that meets on a Monday and the other on a Tuesday. So the question arises,  “How do you get the two groups to perform as a team when they don’t meet face to face?”  We are working on this at the moment, and using a Moodle course that they can use to contact each other and see what work has been completed. We have tried to facilitate virtual meetings, testing out different potential webinar platforms but this has been difficult to arrange and achieve due to the differing deadlines on each of the courses that the students are on. We will continue to try and pre-empt potential issues but I am sure there will be more ‘thinking on our feet’ to come before the end of this project!

SCH├ľN D A (1983) The Reflective Practitioner: how professionals think in action London: Temple Smith

Post by Emma Procter-Legg
Students4WebES Project Manager

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Introduction to Webinar sessions

There are many challenges to running a JISC project in a FE college. For one thing, it's difficult to find a common time for people to meet. Unlike a university, where many/most students can get transport back to their halls or flats fairly easily, our students are dependent on parents, friends, buses to get home and often work as well as study.

We are using Moodle, SMS and email to communicate and we have weekly meetings during a 45 minute lunch break.

The good news is that we have had 3 weeks of an Introduction to Webinars for L3 students in the second year of the Professional Futures programme. The presenter, Owen Hanmer from the JISC RSC SE, along with an 'employer', Phil Robinson, also from the RSC, were in Kent, presenting to 3 groups in 3 different rooms while I did the introduction and summary in a 4th room, using Blackboard Collaborate. This gave the students a demonstration of a webinar platform, its use as a skill that might increase employability and useful information on what an employer looks for when hiring new staff. That reduces the number of students who didn't know what a webinar was!

Post by Ellen Lessner
Students4WebES Project Lead 

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Consent forms and photographs

The first major task for the core group of students involved in the project was to research and produce a consent form for participants in our up and coming webinars. The consent form covers a number of areas, including the recording of webinars for future use and photographs taken during the project.
Students hard at work researching potential employers
Having had signed consent forms back from a number of students, I can post our first photo of students on this blog.

Post by Emma Procter-Legg
Students4WebES Project Manager