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.

Thursday, 31 January 2013

Featured in the Oxford Mail newspaper

Students4webES project is featured in today's Oxford Mail newspaper on page 12!

If you don't mange to get hold of a copy of today's edition, check out the link below to read the article in full. 
Link to article on the Oxford Mail website

Two more webinars booked in!

We are very pleased to announce that we have two more employer webinars booked in for February 2013. Both webinars will take the same format as our first one and will be based around the theme of employability skills.
The first will be with Waitrose Abingdon, on the 11th February. In the second one, Dave Rolls, manager of The White Horse Leisure and Tennis Centre, will be talking to students on February 18th.

As we book more employers in we will post details here on the blog, so watch this space!

Update: Please click on the following links to watch these webinars

Waitrose webinar

Active Nation webinar (The White Horse Leisure and Tennis Centre)

Webinar clip for BETT presentation

PhotoPeach Storyboard

Students4webES project photos on PhotoPeach

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Oxford Mail photo shoot

Earlier today the Oxford Mail visited the Abingdon campus of Abingdon & Witney College to take some photos after a Press Release was sent out about our JISC Advance funded Students4webES project.

Project leader, Ellen Lessner, was on hand to capture a photo of core members of the student group with Kelly Boast, Head of Staff Services, who starred in our first webinar.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Student posts - Why I joined the Students4webES Project

The reason why I got involved in the project Students4webES was because I wanted to find out more information about webinars. I found that using a webinar is cheaper and in some ways better to do meetings instead of travelling. I want to go into business in the future and this is very important for me, as it plays a critical role. The webinar project is really fun and once you get hold of the software that you will be using it becomes easy as well.

Post by Mamps Makuku
(Students4webES student)

I joined the project because I was intrigued with what a webinar was and how it could play apart in the world of work. Since I joined I have found out that as technology advances it is a lot cheaper to run webinars than it is to send people across the world for business meetings. Also it has helped me on a personal level because I now know how to make my CV and application forms stand out to an employer and how it can help me gain employability skills. These skills are now helping me in my application for apprenticeships. I would recommend the project to other students.

Post by Aaron Scott
(Students4webES student)

Background Information - The Professional Futures Programme

About the Professional Futures Programme at Abingdon and Witney College

The Professional Futures Programme is a unique and innovative ‘Vocational Baccalaureate’ spanning all levels of the full-time curriculum at Abingdon and Witney College.
The programme is designed to foster entrepreneurialism, enterprise and work-ready skills, knowledge and understanding in learners through ‘live’ assignments and cross-curricular collaboration which reflects real-world, employer-driven demands.
‘Futures’ graduates will have more highly developed team working skills, be better prepared for their chosen careers and more employable than those students who have just completed an off-the-shelf vocational qualification.
The ‘added value’ of the futures programme will create ‘graduate attributes’ that are in line with key Government agendas to widen access to HE and to support economic growth through skills and training across industry sectors.
Fiona Morey, Assistant Principal (Curriculum) says: "We know that in these competitive times young people need to stand out from the rest when applying for jobs or university, and our innovative Professional Futures Programme is designed to ensure that they do just that."
The Programme has been very successfully piloted on our Abingdon Campus this year, and is being rolled out to all students based on the Witney Campus for the 2012/13 academic year.
As part of the Programme students will have the opportunity to gain hands-on work experience, learn to run their own business, get involved in community initiatives and build impressive curriculum vitae.
Skills Minister, John Hayes says: "By equipping young people with practical skills and workplace knowledge, Abingdon & Witney College are helping them on the path to rewarding careers in their chosen field."

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Presenting at BETT - hope to see you there!

We have been invited to present our Students4webES project, being run here at Abingdon & Witney College, at BETT 2013 by Nigel Ecclesfield, Programme Manager, JISC Advance. Ellen Lessner (Project Leader) will be presenting our project on Friday 1st February in the Learn Live Theatre E at 10:15 in the workshop session Who are digital practitioners? Ellen will be presenting along side three other JISC Advance projects being run at Kendal College, South Tyneside College and the Inclusion Consortium. Please do come along if you are at BETT on Friday!

Post by Emma Procter-Legg
(Students4WebES Project Manager)

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Employability skills baseline data

When we conducted our baseline assessment on for this project, we asked the students to write down three employability skills - the sort of skills they would list on their CV. We are in the process of analysing this data, but have created a Wordle to represent the 256 student responses that we received. At the end of the project we plan to compare the student responses with the skills that the employers mention in the up and coming webinars.

With a Wordle, the larger the word is the more times it was mentioned in the text, in this case the baseline assessment responses, as you can see the most frequently mentioned skills were:
  • Hard working
  • Team work
  • Communication
  • Reliable
  • Punctual
  • Organised 
It will be interesting to see how these compare when we have the data from all the employer webinars!

Post by Emma Procter-Legg
Students4WebES Project Manager

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Steering Group Meeting - On and Offline

On Monday we had our Steering Group meeting and with lots of snow still on the ground we went with a mixture of plan A and B. Those of us that were local and able to get to college easily met in the small meeting room at Abingdon and Witney College and those that weren't able to travel joined us online via Blackboard Collaborate.

Those that made it to the meeting in person got to enjoy a lovely selection of cakes made by Ellen Lessner (Project Leader) - they were delicious! 

The meeting room was set up with a computer, conference speaker phone, webcam, projector and an iPad plus a couple of phones just in case. You can never have too much technology available!

With the webcam set up Artie, Eddie and Nigel were able to see everyone in the meeting including three students from the core group who attended the first half of the meeting.

We made use of some of the features of Blackboard Collaborate including using it to show the project website and blog and used the tick feature to confirm that everyone could see it.

Post by Emma Procter-Legg
Students4WebES Project Manager

Sunday, 20 January 2013

And the snow keeps falling!

Before the snow arrived on Friday morning we made a back up plan for our Project Steering Committee Meeting which is scheduled for tomorrow at Abingdon and Witney College. Our plan is that if people attending the meeting get snowed in, rather than letting our meeting be snowed off we will meet online instead in a webinar.

We have a Blackboard Collaborate session set up should we need to use it for some or all of the attendees - the agenda, project leader's report and project manager's report have all been sent out by email so we are fully ready for more snow! If we do have to go with plan B the only thing that will have to be put on ice is the cake - it might have to be a case of BYOC (Bring Your Own Cake) tomorrow!
View of my garden... and the snow keeps falling!

Post by Emma Procter-Legg
Students4WebES Project Manager

Thursday, 17 January 2013

First webinar completed!

On Monday we successfully ran our first webinar with an employer. Head of Staff Services at Abingdon and Witney College, Kelly Boast, gave a short presentation and took questions from students via Blackboard Collaborate.

The session was introduced and moderated by students from the core group and Kelly was supported in her office by another student from the core group. This was the first time that the students had put into practice their knowledge gained from the advanced webinar training session.

Below is a recording of the webinar, this is a screen capture recording of it as we had an issue with the Blackboard Collaborate recording not capturing the slide transitions. We only had a couple of minor technical issues during the recording, one when students posed questions via a speaker phone which caused an echo, however this was quickly resolved. The second issue was again with the sound, but this time a voice was slightly muffled towards the end of the recording, this was due to the microphone on a headset slipping.

We think our first employability webinar was a great success, we learnt a number of important lessons and feel confident that the following ones will be equally successful too!

Post by Emma Procter-Legg
Students4WebES Project Manager

Thursday, 10 January 2013

A few photos on PhotoPeach

Students4webES project photos on PhotoPeach

A few photos from the project meetings and advanced webinar training sessions. If your computer doesn't display the PhotoPeach please click here to see it.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Advanced webinar training

During the last two weeks of term, we ran two sessions on advanced training on Webinars for the core students involved in the Students4webES project. The first session was run live with the presenter, Owen Hanmer from the JISC RSC SE in Kent, presenting to the group using Blackboard Collaborate. The session covered how to run a webinar via Collaborate including moderator settings and the chance for students to moderate a practice webinar. The whole session was recorded and used during the second session to train the other half of the core group. 

Students participating in the advanced webinar training session

All the students who attended the three hour training session received a certificate of participation. We are now ready to put our new knowledge into action and get started with our first webinar with an employer.... watch this space!

Post by Emma Procter-Legg
Students4WebES Project Manager