A Personal Review of my Year as a Digichamp

Tom and I working on the Digital Literacy Session
Tom and I working on the Digital Literacy Session

Post authored by Tom Davidson and originally published on the Digichamps blog

Summer is traditionally thought of as a time of reflection for students (whatever you might think, it is!) and that is exactly what I aim to do in this article. Specifically, I’m going to reflect on my role as a DigiChamp over the course of the past year. I have been looking forward to writing this article as, given the fast-pace of the work and the wealth of opportunities, I have not had a great deal of time to reflect on the role so far!

I became involved in DigiChamps in late October 2015, after seeing some of the team working at the Web Science Institute Distinguished Lecture with JP Rangaswami. I emailed Lisa on the off chance that she might be looking for some undergraduates with a small about of experience to get involved, and thankfully she was! From the first meeting onward, I was sucked into a whirlwind of opportunity!

I’ll tentatively suggest there are 4¬†main strands to my current work as a DigiChamp, but am cautious of this being too restrictive! I’ll progress with them for the moment for the sake of simplicity…

The first area is my involvement in the Students As Creators and Change Agents Project in Southampton Business School. This project is a massive project, and has been fantastic to be a part of. There are so many dimensions to it! Along with Tom Rowledge, I have edited the Business School Co-Creation blog, presented at the Chartered Association of Business Schools Conference in Birmingham, created interactive modlets for incoming students, written a paper for the EduLearn ’16 Conference, attended the Higher Education Conference in Amsterdam, helped integrate digital feedback services into MANG1017 and more. All of these opportunities have been fantastic, and I have learnt a huge amount. Attending conferences especially, gives you a sense of how hard academics are working to improve our learning and our learning experience. For more information about this project, please see the blog here, and a look forward to continue working with the Co-Creation group in the future.

Here is a video we produced for the EduLearn Conference in Barcelona, to give you a bit more background on the project:

The next area has been my involvement with the Southampton Citizen Science Project. Again with Tom Rowledge (you might say we’re somewhat of a pair!) I have been involved in this project from the early stages. What started off as administrating a Facebook Group for the Citizens involved to interact, evolved into delivering sessions using iPads and the creation of a “showcase” website for the display of the research outcomes. The site can been viewed here. I have also really enjoyed working as a part of this project, which has allowed me to really improve my technical skills, in a very practical way through the development of the WordPress site. It has also for me embodied what Web Science is all about, a wide variety of disciplines brought together to solve a problem, technology being the key to unlocking the problem and the result being a better place to live for us all. It has been fantastic to be a part of this.

Another area I have done work for the Business School, is in my delivering of a session around Digital Literacy to those on the MANG1022 module. This was a really well received session, and hopefully benefitted those who attended. I personally felt I benefitted in having written and presented it, as I improved my delivery skills, and also my own knowledge around the importance of Digital Literacy. You can view the slides for this session here, or below.

The final area of my role as a DigiChamp, is the live-tweeting of various events and occasions that I have been lucky enough to be involved in. These events include a guest lecture by Dr Ted Nelson, and the launch of the University’s MENUS research group. This has been great as I have been able to see events I never would otherwise have seen…I might now be able to get a question on University Challenge right thanks to my attendance at the MENUS launch! I have also seen just how powerful Social Media can be as a tool at a live event.

I’ve done my best to summarise my year as a DigiChamp but hopefully now you can appreciate why that is a difficult job! Reflecting, I think the most important thing for me as a DigiChamp, is that I’ve been able to start applying exactly what I’m learning in lectures to real-world projects, both inside the University and out. This naturally keeps my very enthusiastic to continue as a DigiChamp, but also gives me a new enthusiasm for learning, as I can see how useful what I’m learning is…already!

I very much hope next year is as busy for me as a DigiChamp…who knows what opportunities the future will bring?! One thing I’d just like to do before signing off is to thank Dr Lisa Harris for all of her help and support, and fantastic leadership of the DigiChamps – thanks Lisa!

Will hopefully be sharing some more exciting project updates with you all soon.

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