My blog software has been complaining that my page of Friday messages had been going on too long.

I know how it feels.

Here’s a new page for 2024.

Friday 12 January 2024

Dear All,

Thank you for coming back this year and thank you for all your work this week.

If you missed the LTW all-staff meeting in December, please take a moment to do Katie’s follow-up survey Staff Engagement Survey Follow Up Survey

The winter closure period seems to have passed without any major technical incidents, but I’ve probably jinxed that now.

Thank you to all who cleared desks to make space for a USD team on Tuesday, clearly they did not get the memo, but I hope we will see them in next week.

In amongst the desk reshuffle some of you may have noticed that Kevin Brogan , our Head of LTW Operations has not returned after Christmas, and sadly I expect he will be  off sick for  quite a while. There are two ‘Get Well Soon’ cards circulating around our wing, both have pictures of the Castle view, and one also features the red arrows. If you would like to sign one of the cards for Kevin, please do.   He’d love to hear from you. A reminder of the day the Red Arrows came to Kevin at Argyle House here: ArgyleHouseRedArrowsJul23 – Media Hopper Create

Speaking of flying, congratulations to Geoff, Calum and Juan, who all passed their drone exams and are now CAA accredited drone pilots. If you would like to do drone training too, let your line manager know at your annual review this year.

I am sure your January diaries are filling up fast. Don’t miss  DST and LST in the University Trail today and Thursday Get to know your University trail | The University of Edinburgh

…… or Shivani speaking about online safety at the Apps Lunchtime seminar on 23rd   https://www.events.ed.ac.uk/index.cfm?event=book&scheduleID=68660 

…….or Ellie’s Burns Night inspired Wikipedia editathon on the 25thhttps://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/women-in-red-a-burns-night-inspired-wikipedia-editathon-tickets-793378274777    If you are cooking a haggis or wearing a tartan ( is your tartan even on Wikipedia?), why not take a picture to upload to Wikimedia commons?  If you have a favourite poem or are preparing your immortal memory quips about what the poet himself might have thought of Traitors on the telly  (‘ a parcel of rogues’) or the post office  horizon scandal  (“that cursed Tax of Postage”), please do share your resources.

If you are quick, you can book to see the most ‘Brigadoon’ of the University museums in January. The anatomy museum opens for only a moment, once in a blue moon, and then closes again without trace  Anatomical Museum Open Days 2024 | The University of Edinburgh

If you need a University of Edinburgh polar fleece to protect you against the northern winds, ask your manager how to get a voucher.

Have a good weekend.

-Melissa

Friday 19th January

Dear All,

Thank you for all your work again this week.

Welcome to our new colleague, Mahima Aggarwal, who joins us to help with recruitment, LinkedIn and training and events.

Thank you to everyone involved in organising our 10 years of 100 MOOCs event at the Playfair Library last night. It was lovely to see the combined video trailers and to hear the stories from the academic teams who have such a positive experience of working with you. Dave Reay pre-recorded his talk for us, so do take 5 minutes out of your day to watch his short talk here.

I am aware there is major rail engineering work coming for some of you https://www.scotrail.co.uk/plan-your-journey/service-alterations/major-engineering-work-in-edinburgh-park-area-monday-29 Talk to your manager if it is likely to impact your ability to get to the office.

I am pleased to see the relaunch of our ‘23 Things for Digital Knowledge’ course https://www.23things.ed.ac.uk/ which  Paula and Charlie have been developing. If you would like to take the course or find out more about it just follow the link.

Looking forward to next week, please join Ellie and Ewan at their Burns Themed Wikipedia editathon. If you are new to LTW and have not learned how to edit Wikipedia yet, ask your manager if you can join. “Women in Red” – a Burns Night inspired Wikipedia editathon Tickets, Thu 25 Jan 2024 at 14:00 | Eventbrite

For those of you who have been here a few years you will know that it will soon be time to chose our 2024 LTW mascot animal at Edinburgh Zoo. Edinburgh Zoo Adoptions Mark suggested that we might find a Short Courses Plat-form-a-pus, but I’m not sure our Zoo has one.   If you have other suggestions, let me know.

Have a good weekend,

-Melissa

Friday 26th January

Dear All,

Thank you for your work this week. 

Congratulations to all who participated and made it home in the University Winter Run last weekend. 

If you are up for more cross-cultural active-activities, I do recommend the Chinese New Year Ceilidh at St Cecilia’s, it’s a lot of fun  Edinburgh’s Chinese New Year Bilingual Ceilidh 2024 – Forever Edinburgh

Congratulations too to our Ada Lovelace Day organising team, who are shortlisted for a UCISA award. UCISA 2024 Awards – UCISA  we seem to be up against an AI bot in the inclusion category, which may be a sign of things to come.  No change in UCISA having an all-male line up for their CIO of the Year though.

Most exciting congratulations to Andres in EDE, for being named in the Guardian’s list of novelists to watch in 2024!  Meet the 10 best new novelists for 2024 | Fiction | The Guardian Andres is off to the states for his book launching there. It launches in the UK in July and can be pre-ordered by everyone in LTW as gifts for family and friends here:  https://saraband.net/contributor/andres-n-ordorica

Thank you all for your suggestions for LTW’s 2024 spirit animal. Candidates are being considered.

Thank you for the input you give to help your managers prepare the notorious ‘blue tables’ for the University planning round. Our ‘wish list’ of LTW projects came in at a cool £15m. Lets see what the high heid’uns say to that.

Thank you also to those who joined us to edit Wikipedia for Burns Night. New pages created for Macsween haggis, the Burns Birthplace Museum, and Robert Burns’ skull.

Have a lovely weekend,

-Melissa

Friday 9th February

Dear All,

Thank you for your work this week.

Thank you to everyone who joined in figuring out how to open the pod bay doors on Monday.

Thank you to everyone who is helping to take care of our office plants. If you are unsure what your plant is saying to you: too dry, too wet, too hot , too cold etc, please do check out its photofit and instructions in the plant-care corner.  If you can’t identify the plant or understand what it needs, seek expert advice from Fiona Hendrie.

Welcome to Edward Enejoh, who joins us to work in DLAM, and Riccardo Battilani joining Digital Skills as the SharePoint and M365 Trainer, and to another group of excellent captioning interns: Callum Rodger, Leyla Kaban Bowers, Azalea Drace, Archie Holmes and Euan Burton.

Great to see the relaunch of the newly updated Data Ethics, AI and Responsible Innovation MOOC EdinburghX: Data Ethics, AI and Responsible Innovation | edX  Check it out.

You may have seen a message about a network outage on Tuesday  20th February. The general message is quite vague but we think they are effectively saying that the outage will span across our floor pretty much the whole day (although different bits at different times) and might be hard to manage if you are on the floor. So you may want to think about that day and work from home or somewhere else in Argyle House or Main Library. SUMMARY: Network (wifi and plug-in) won’t be available in H East on the 20th of February due to upgrade work. It will likely impact doors, phones, desktops that people remotely connect to and even fire alarms. So I’d stay safely elsewhere if you can.

This weekend, if you hear fireworks it might be Chinese New Year or the rugby, either way, have a lovely weekend,

-Melissa

Friday 16th February

Dear All,

Thank you for your work this week. 

Congratulations to Cari Romans  who started her new Learning Technology Advisor role last week working on the Learning Analytics project for VLE Excellence. It’s always nice to see internal moves and new opportunities. 

You will have seen emails about contribution awards, these awards are money ( increments and lumpsums) which the University uses to recognise the exceptional efforts made by staff in ISG so please do make sure you read that message. Managers can nominate individual staff or whole teams and individual staff can nominate themselves, as can whole teams, and I am in no doubt that there has been a lot of exceptional work going on. Last year 63 colleagues  in LTW were recognised with Contribution Reward Increments, Lump Sum Payments or Reward Vouchers . That’s basically nearly half the department, so don’t be shy about talking to your manager about this.

You may have spotted that the students at Kings Buildings now have a new robot snack delivery service. The robots delivering takeaways to Edinburgh students – BBC News  Your suggestions as to what robots could deliver in Argyle House are welcome.  If you are having a snack, why not craft a paper flower at the same time?

If you’ve been watching the online telly, you may have spotted Old College looking like a party venue in the new Netflix drama One Day. If you haven’t been to visit Old College recently please do take a walk and check out the art collections in the Talbot Rice What’s on | Talbot Rice Gallery (ed.ac.uk)

You may also have noticed that the University has a new Rector. The Rector is an elected post and sits as Chair of Court. If you are interested in knowing who has been Rector in the past there’s a handy list on Wikipedia:  Rector of the University of Edinburgh – Wikipedia Scroll down to 1988 to find the first woman.

Speaking of women, we will be celebrating International Women’s Day by naming rooms again. We have a full day programme of events and you are welcome at any or all parts.

We will start with the opening of the Bessie Watson Lecture Theatre in the Cowgate, featuring a lovely ribbon, some huge scissors, and  several walls of original artwork by Gillian Kidd. Then on to edit Wikipedia in the afternoon Imagine a gender equal world – help write women onto Wikipedia! #IWD2024 Tickets, Fri 8 Mar 2024 at 13:00 | Eventbrite  and hear from Amina Shah in the evening  The University of Edinburgh International Women’s Day Lecture 2024 Tickets, Fri 8 Mar 2024 at 17:45 | Eventbrite

Thank you to everyone working on starting our sister projects, LOUISA and FLORA  for our focus on how our systems are used to support assessment. If you would like to know more about some inspirational women Louisa Stevenson – Wikipedia and Flora Stevenson – Wikipedia

Thank you to the Decorations Styling Team and the #ISGBakers for making the place look lovely and welcoming on a very rainy week. If you have more ideas for spending the 2024 decorations budget let me know.

Have a good weekend,

-Melissa

Friday 23rd February

Dear All,

Thank you for your work again this week.

Warm welcome to Tallulah Thompson our new Media and Podcasting Intern in DLAM.

Goodbye and thank you to Jon Taylor, who returns to his home department after a year working with us in DST on Learn Ultra roll-out training.

Thank you to all you line managers who finished your Uniforum data reporting on deadline. That’s that done for another year.

Thank you to everyone who has written job descriptions and blurbs for our 2024 summer intern recruitment round. The jobs are now live on Unitemps: University of Edinburgh Jobs – Unitemps   Once we have recruited to these summer posts we will have hit our target of having 60 students working in LTW this year. This is a huge contribution you make to ensuring that students at Edinburgh can access high quality paid work in digital roles while they study and a great benefit to us in ensuring that our systems and services are designed with insights from our users in mind.

Most exciting news is that the Argyle House Floor E Meeting Rooms and Reception are back! Any of you who started your role since June last year, may not have seen these spaces before. We have a suite of 15 meeting rooms and training rooms to use now , so no need to scrabble around to find spaces in ECA and CSH.  Please do go down to say hello to the receptionists, and while you are down there, please do admire the trophy cabinet of shiny glass things- many of which belong to LTW- I am very pleased to see they have survived.

When you are in meeting rooms you will be immersed in an art  installation by Fabienne Hess. This installation of images on the glass walls of our meeting rooms in Argyle House is a whole work by Hess, she was commissioned as part of the refurbishment the office spaces in 2017 to create a work featuring images of existing objects of University collections. She photographed and digitized almost 25,000 diverse items, from ancient manuscripts to musical instruments, anatomical drawings to historic maps. Throughout the process Fabienne also created a series of ‘sub-collections’- these groupings, put together in arbitrary themes such as those images containing a red dot, those featuring a person raising an arm, a triangular shape, a certain shade of blue, black and white stripes, etc. She created a fascinating set of ‘new’ collections. One of these new collections is the installation you are in.  Did you notice?

If it is cold in the office today, please do take advantage of your winter-warming hoodie. If you have not yet had vouchers to get your hoodie, ask your line manager what to do.

Have  a good weekend,

-Melissa

Friday 1st March

Dear All,

Thank you for your work this week.

I am pleased to be able to share positive news about our colleague Kevin Brogan, who has been in hospital since the new year. He is recovering well from surgery and hopes to be able to get home in a few weeks.

We wave goodbye this week to Arthur Wilson as he is retiring with long service. Arthur joined the University in 1977. The year in which we celebrated the Queen’s silver jubilee, the Sex Pistols in the charts, and a New Hope for Star Wars.  Long before many of you current LTW staff were even born. Arthur has worked in several teams, and had roles as service operator, technical author and senior web developer. He has mentored many of our current staff, alongside playing a core role in 12 years of the Napier University Student Placement scheme. His last day was the 28th of February 2024 after 47 years. He has a band, his music is published on Spotify, he is a blue tick verified artist, and passionate Hearts FC supporter. If you missed the chance to say goodbye and ask him about any of the things he has done, there is a proper party planned for 22nd March 3-6pm at St. Cecilia’s Hall, for everyone who wishes to attend, contact Stratos for info on cards and collection.

We also wave goodbye to Sishir Bhimavarapu  who is leaving DST to concentrate on studies, and say thank you to Amanda Ferguson, who will no longer be wrangling my diary, as she has got a promoted post in ISG corporate team.

Next week marks the start of ‘Spring’. I look forward to seeing you all at the ISG All-staff meeting/lunch  on Tuesday and at the opening of the Bessie Watson Lecture Room on Friday.

Have a good weekend,

-Melissa

Friday 8th March

Dear All,

Thank you for all your work this week and your contributions to celebrating International Women’s Day and Open Education Week.

The Bessie Watson Lecture Room looks gorgeous and it was lovely to see so many of you there for breakfast snacks. Our guests were very interested to know how rooms are named and how such lovely artwork is produced. I think there will be more room naming opportunities coming our way.  

Thank you to Mahima and  everyone involved in creating content for our ‘Women in ISG’ series on Linkedin. Please like them and share them. University of Edinburgh Information Services Group: Company Page Admin | LinkedIn

I am pleased to see that our Edinburgh Women in STEM trail, originally created as part of the Ada Lovelace Day in October, has found a new permanent home on the Curious Edinburgh website

Now that the meeting rooms are open we are able to have some more of our workshops face to face, so I hope you will join for a discussion of ‘Imposter syndrome’ on Thursday 28th March 12-1pm

I hope some of you will think about joining Jonathan Mori’s cohort of learning technologists working towards your CMALT accreditation. CMALT Programme 2024 | The University of Edinburgh

For those of you who are lucky enough to have tickets to Hamilton, I hope you will give a cheer for Thomas Jefferson, who visited University of Edinburgh when he was considering designing universities for a new republic and said “So far as science is concerned, no place in the world can pretend to competition with Edinburgh.”

Have a lovely weekend,

-Melissa

Friday 15th March

Dear All,

Thank you for your work this week.

Thank you to everyone who came along to our EDWEB2 focus day. I  have all the flip charts and post-it notes, and Stratos and I will be following up with each of you to ensure we all stick to the actions arising to ensure good decisions can be made. It was a long day, and I appreciate the insights which were shared.  Welcome to Colin Liu who joined the Web Development Team this week and got thrown in rather at the deep-end.

Welcome to Sarah Bruce who has joined us as Learning Technology Advisor for the Online Course Production Service in EDE.  Sarah has been working for the past 7 years at MacMillan Cancer Support, most recently as a Digital Learning Officer, and welcome too to Mhairi McEwan who has bravely taken on the job of wrangling my diary. You’ll see she is already putting in dates for our next LTW All-staff meeting in July.

Congratulations to Lesley, Alistair, Jordan and Susanne who have all been confirmed in their new roles following a period of secondments.

This week marks the fourth anniversary of our massive flip to online teaching. Quite a large proportion of staff in LTW have been with us for 3 years or less, so you were not here with us when we did that, but it was very scary and very large and I am still in awe of how well all of the service teams coped at that time and delivered for the university continuity of service in learning and teaching. We couldn’t have done it without you.

Well done to Emma for presenting at UCISA leadership conference on Pi Day. Our Ada Lovelace celebrations were shortlisted finalists for an award at this conference but we were pipped at the post by a ChatBot. This is how it starts.

In advance of Annual Review season, please do make use of the digital skills training programme. Search the catalogue and ask your manger. If you would like to ensure that your Photoshop skills are better than Princess Kate’s please do sign up to Christina Hussell’s excellent training session.

If you are organising events check out the new partnership with Eventbrite. Eventbrite partnership brings fantastic new opportunities for the Events Management Community. | The University of Edinburgh

It’s a good place to discover open events ( in nice venues) you can join such as

The University of Edinburgh’s ties to Slavery and Colonialism Tickets, Mon, Mar 25, 2024 at 4:00 PM | Eventbrite

Technomoral Conversations: Who is Responsible for Responsible AI? Tickets, Wed 27 Mar 2024 at 18:00 | Eventbrite

Inaugural Lecture by Professor John Brennan: Sustaining Rural Architecture Tickets, Wed 20 Mar 2024 at 17:15 | Eventbrite

Please remember not to organise meetings on Fridays. Fridays in LTW are designated ‘Writing Fridays’ for concentration without interruptions to get that plan, that code, that bid, that blog post, that report, that case for promotion, written. 

If you are new and did not realise you can have your own blog, get yours here: blogs.ed – Staff and student blogs for our connected learning community

Best wishes to anyone fasting for Ramadan in the face of the LTW baked goods. These are the tests.

Have  a lovely weekend, 

-Melissa

Friday 22nd March

Dear All,

Thank you for your work this week. I hope to see you this afternoon at Arthur’s retirement party. 3-6pm St Cecelia’s.

Welcome to our new joiners this week, Katie Spearman and Ellen Desmond are our 2 new Web Content Design Assistants in our excellent UX team.

Thank you to everyone in the EDE bake-off league who provided tasty cakes this week and thank you in advance for those providing more for our Spring Wing celebration on Thursday.

The Spring Wing celebration follows the lunchtime session on tackling imposter syndrome which features lunch, it’s booking up fast, so book your place now.

Speaking of cakes and lunch, it is looking good for the re-opening of the Argyle House kitchen and lunch space from 1st April. The furniture is back in and it’s being cleaned. Watch this space for more announcements.

Well done to Ewan McAndrew for achieving his Edinburgh Teaching Award route to Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy. That gives him some new post-nominal letters. If you would like to gain post-nominal letters too, please contact Jonathan Mori to see what’s on offer.

Thank you to everyone who is already involved in interviewing and recruiting our summer interns. I am sure we will attract and choose an excellent bunch, as always.  If you would like to be on the panel for selecting the ‘Green Web’ intern, let me know asap.  The purpose of the role will be to research the metrics of our digital/web estate environmental impact, so if you like data and you want to save the planet, help me find a good candidate.

Thank you to everyone working on our highest priority projects, EFI and Edweb2, and those setting up our next round of high profile learning and teaching projects: FLORA and LOUISA. I am please to say we have senior sponsors Profs Tim Stratford and Colm Harmon championing those.

Have a lovely weekend, remember to water your desk plants, and if you see Facebook and Instagram accounts promoting a free laptop with UOE online learning, I’m sorry to say, it’s just a scam.

-Melissa

Friday 29th March

Dear All,

Thank you for your work again this week.

Welcome to our new colleague, Nelly Iacobescu who has joined the Media Team as our Media and AI Service Manager and will be managing our captioning service, and welcome back to Keith Matheson who has returned to our Tech Enhanced Learning Team (after a few years away) as a Service Manager. Thank you to everyone who helps with recruitments and ‘on-boarding’.

Thank you to everyone who wrote reward and recognition recommendations. I enjoyed reading all the cases and hearing the detail of the excellent work you do. The cases now go forward to a panel who take some time to deliberate and decide. Watch this space.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to our many training sessions and workshops this week, I know there is always a crazy rush at this time of year.

Thank you to everyone who has been out and about dressed as Badgers.

Well done to anyone who managed to catch a glimpse of famous movie starts filming at Old College in the rain this week.

Well done to all the students who presented their work in their Edinburgh Award final showcase this week.

Well done to everyone involved in migrating schools’ websites over the line. This week we celebrated Schools of Chemistry, Informatics and Divinity.

Well done to everyone who works towards extending our online global reach. Despite the fact that I generally claim we have 5 million learners online already,  this week was the week that we officially achieved 5,002,590 MOOC learners.

Good to see our services getting mentioned in various online articles this week.

Neil Mosely (external) wrote on LinkedIn about Hit or miss? Online student number targets — Neil Mosley Consulting

Allison Cullinane wrote on Teaching Matters about using PebblePad Embedding a reflective portfolio for student development in science courses: Challenges, suggestions, and solutions – Teaching Matters blog

And Gavin McLachlan wrote an article in Technology Foundations for Twenty-First Century Higher Education – HEPI ‘Technology foundations: the building blocks for excellence in modern universities’. Not sure who he is calling ‘modern’!

Have a lovely Easter weekend.

-Melissa

Friday 5th April

Dear All,

Thank you for your work again this week.

Thank you to all who brave the April showers to come into the office and those who are already enjoying lunching in the new/renewed comfy chairs.

Thank you to everyone who has been interviewing interns.

I am delighted to see we now have more than 5,000 followers on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/company/10497937. Please do list us as your employer if you are updating your profile.

Thank you to those who have been out and about. Cari has blogged about the HELF event on learning analytics: https://blogs.ed.ac.uk/ede/2024/04/02/first-learning-analytics-working-group-session/. Katie has blogged about the Advance HE conference on EDI Advance HE EDI Conference 2024 (sharepoint.com)

The Digital Skills Team have been looking at their demographics. It turns out that you are most likely to attend digital skills training if you are an international woman over the age of 26.

Speaking of the Digital Skills Team, this week we wave goodbye to Jenni Houston. After 18 years with the University, Jenni is leaving on 6th April and will be taking time out to travel and pursue some personal interests in the coming months.

If you are thinking of travel and things to do this summer, don’t forget you can book cabins, yurts and family holidays at Firbush Firbush Outdoor Centre | The University of Edinburgh and you get discount on theatre tickets Staff discounts on Edinburgh International Festival tickets | The University of Edinburgh

The Changemaker Awards are open for this year Changemaker Award (open) | The University of Edinburgh LTW teams have won these in the past, so please do take a look.

Have a good weekend.

-Melissa

Friday 12th April

Dear All,

Thank you for your work this week.

Best wishes to all celebrating Eid and Vaisakhi.

It’s that time of year again, if you would like to volunteer with ‘The Big Sort ‘ Edinburgh University Students’ Association Every June, thousands of students leave University of Edinburgh accommodation. They leave tons of items behind — weird and wonderful treasures, from clothing to crockery and more. The Big Sort has students and staff volunteering to keep as much out of landfill as possible. Help direct goods to Welcome Week’s FreeShop event, local charities and community groups.

This week we welcome John Wilson and Mel Batcharj to the Web Content Design team.  Thus doubling the number of John Wilsons in WAC and the number of Melissas in LTW.

You will have seen an email about colleagues standing in the University Court elections. I hope we can rally LTW staff support for Lauren Johnson-Smith as our professional service representative. Watch your email for when voting goes live.

Also in your email you may have seen a call out for committee members for a big learning technology conference in Manchester in September. If you would like to join the organising committee, ask your manager. ALTC returns in September: Join the Committee now! | Association for Learning Technology

Also in your email you may have seen the sad news that Peter Higgs has died. If you would like to watch some videos about the work he did, you can find them on Media Hopper Create: The Discovery of the Higgs Boson – Media Hopper Create

You can also use Media Hopper Create if you want to make a podcast series, Media Hopper Create and Edinburgh Diamond if you want to publish a book About Edinburgh Diamond | The University of Edinburgh

Also in your email you may have seen an announcement about a full list of university policies Policy Directory | The University of Edinburgh  There’s some crackers in there, worth a look.

Soon in your email you will see a message from Satu about the plans for our Mandatory Training Day (MTD) on May 17th. It’s a long email, but don’t be scared. On the day we will all work through our online mandatory training together, and it may take all day. There will be snacks.  If  you want to get a head-start, or you are particularly speedy, there will be instructions on how to get yourself on to the LTW MTD leader-board.

If you feel like you need a confidence boost or want to read some lovely messages, I notice that there is an Affirmation Jar on the windowsill in the kitchen area of our wing, next to the tampons. Colleagues have written affirmations and positive messages for you.  Please take what you need , when you need it.

Have a good weekend,

-Melissa

Friday 26th April

Faroes flag flying over the city in Passover week.
Faroes flag flying over the city in Passover week.

Dear All,

Thank you for your work this week.

I see from social media that a fine time was had at the Durham Blackboard conference.

Best wishes to everyone celebrating Passover and looking forward to Star Wars Day and Orthodox Easter.

Well done to everyone who managed to avoid falling into a massive sink hole in West Lothian. Busy railway line used by West Lothian commuters closed due to massive sinkhole – Daily Record

Welcome to Luke Howard, Digital Engagement Officer and Cassie Lefebvre, Project Administrator in the EDE team.

Welcome  to Martin Wilson in the LST service team. Martin has a lot of AV experience, especially from his previous role at Audio Light Systems where he worked on installing and repairing AV systems in our teaching spaces at the University. So he’s seeing us from both sides.

For those in the know, if you ask nicely, our AV teams may be able to tell you what is going on up on K Floor.

Great to see massive demand for Edweb 2 training, not only for those involved in the migration project, that training is now open for anyone who wants it.

If you would like to contribute stories or features to the ISG EDI collection, please let me know. ISG Equality, Diversity and Inclusion – Home (sharepoint.com)

Well done to everyone involved in delivering the soft launch of our new learning platform. Learner enrolments have started and 18 courses ( with 250 learners) are open for business. Thank you to all involved in SCP Early Adopter Training, helping university staff get started on this new platform. 

You will remember that our new platform is inspired by Edinburgh alumna, Jennie Lee who invented ‘the University of the Air’. If you would like to learn more about Jennie Lee  there’s an upcoming cultural opportunity in Fife Jennie Lee play – KNIGHTS THEATRE

If you like a bit of culture there is also an opportunity to catch Andres  at the upcoming University of Edinburgh creative writing conference. Creative Writing Conference 2024 | The University of Edinburgh

 Have a lovely weekend.

-Melissa

Friday 3rd May

Dear All,

Flowave
Flowave

Thank you for your work this week.

Exams started in earnest on Monday. Thank you to all who support online and digital exams in virtual and physical spaces.

Although campus is typically quieter at this time of year because of exams, it is upsetting to see reports of so many violent clashes of protestors on university campuses, particularly in the US and worrying that it may happen here too. Students occupy UK university campuses in protest over Gaza – BBC News. Any queries you get from the public, media, staff  students (or anyone) about Palestine, Gaza, Israel, the protests, or how we procure our technology should be escalated to Gavin in the first instance.

Well done to the Digital Skills Team for their incredibly successful inaugural ‘AI training week’.

Last week we waved goodbye to Socrates Davidopoulos in WAC and Ellen Groen has ‘crossed the floor’ to lead the Edweb migration project.

Please welcome Viki Varga, our new  LTSO in EDE.

Lizzy has written another article for the THE  Crafting an inclusive curriculum: how to write programme learning outcomes | THE Campus Learn, Share, Connect (timeshighereducation.com) If you would like to write articles like this, let me know.

Katie has written about ‘digital shock’ Digital Shock and the International Student Experience (sharepoint.com) and has sourced some ‘First in Family’ badges First In Family Badges (sharepoint.com). If you are the first in your family to attend university, or to work at a university, please feel free to wear one with pride.

The QAA have published their view on what quality looks like Evaluating Excellence: TEF 2023 Submission and Panel Statement Analysis (qaa.ac.uk)

Voting has opened for court membership. Please do use your vote, everybody gets one.  It’s great to see LTW’s  Lauren Johnson-Smith’s name in the list of candidates, I’m sure she’d appreciate your support. Voting now open: election of professional services staff member to Court check your email for something from ‘Civica Election Services‘  that’s your personal link to vote. Voting closes on 8Th May.

If you have recovered from your mid-week Beltane celebrations, you’ll be looking forward to orthodox Easter Sunday and a bank holiday on Monday, traditional for green men, morris dancers and trade unionists.

May is also traditional as the time for the Art College Degree show, just across the road. Get tickets for your visit now: ECA Graduate Show 2024 Tickets, Fri, May 31, 2024 at 1:00 PM | Eventbrite

May is also time for national ‘learning at work week’ Home (learningatworkweek.com)  and as is now traditional in LTW, we will be holding our  Mandatory Training Day celebrations on Friday 17th May. Please ensure that your diaries are clear. The ONLY thing you have to do on that day is complete your mandatory training. You get a special day designated to do it all. You can do it from home or from the office. You can do it while chatting in groups or on your own. Choose how you prefer to learn. Complete it all by the end of the day. If you come into the office there will be snacks, lunch and crisps for learners.

Speaking of snacks, planning has started for our LTW bake sale. We will be raising money for a chosen charity and the ISG bakers will be flexing their baking muscles. If you would like to be part of the baking/bake-off team, please contact  LTW’s  award-winning baker, James Slack.  The bake sale will include fabulous prizes.   Get your creative thinking aprons on.

Have a good weekend and maybe Edinburgh will get some of the nice weather the rest of Scotland seems to be having.

-Melissa

Friday 10th May

ECA Costume Show
ECA Costume Show

 Dear All,

Thank you for your work again this week.

Please welcome Ricarda Fillhardt who has joined the Digital Skills Team as our Training and Events Co-ordinator, covering for Laura while she is on maternity leave.

It was lovely to see so many students gaining their Edinburgh Awards for championing digital skills and editing Wikipedia. You can read more about the Wikipedia projects on Ellie’s blog Edinburgh Award 2023/24 Success! – Wikimedian in Residence

If you like a celebration, watch out for the Learn Ultra Party. I think it is important to celebrate the successes of our big projects and draw a line with pizza, as each project ends and another begins.

You may remember that last November we ran a digital collection day for Their Finest Hour, war memories project. Many of you contributed your own family memories. Since then Eden has been working hard to collate and upload 50+ stories and thousands of photographs to the University of Oxford archive.  Lorna’s team also shared some of these remarkable stories with the School of History here at the University and developed an open educational resource about social history for schools, based on the event. After all the digital collection days around the country  Their Finest Hour public archive will be launching on Thursday 6th June ( D-Day, 80 years). There will be an online launch event which you are welcome to attend  Welcome | Their Finest Hour (ox.ac.uk)

Our social and civic activities continue. I5 of you from the Online Course Production Service attended Carbon Literacy Training.  A great way to spend a morning as a team and you have some homework to do on what individual and work-based changes you will make in order to get certified by the Carbon Literacy Project, the certification body. Lauren also spotted that our OERs and  MOOCs are included on this ‘UOE Zero by 2040’ promotional  video https://www.ed.ac.uk/sustainability/programmes-and-projects/climate-strategy/zero-by-2040 . Carbon Literacy action may even earn you a badge.

Speaking of badges,  to celebrate the success of our digital badging service, I was looking for a badger to adopt as our 2024 LTW spirit animal. Unfortunately Edinburgh Zoo do not (currently) host badgers, but I got us a wolverine, which is stoatally different but weasily recognisable.  Watch this space for a chance to win free tickets to visit her.

Have a lovely Eurovision weekend.

-Melissa

Friday 17th May

K-West.
K-West.

Dear All,

Thank you for your work this week.

I hope you  had a chance to  visit the exam stress alpacas and ponies at ECA this week.  I encourage you all to check out the new  ‘feels like I am underwater’ meeting pods and ‘Kinder surprise’ chairs up on Level K. Well done to the LST teams for wrangling the AV design and fit out. Please plan to spontaneously use that new space in creative ways and for short naps,  but remember to be kind to your local claustrophobes.

Thank you for doing your mandatory training. At 12.00 today the MTD leader-board (attached) has LST and DST storming ahead and WAC bringing up the rear! Lunch has been delivered and there’s still time!

If you would like to express your views on the effectiveness of other professional services at the University of Edinburgh, please take the opportunity to complete the UniForum Service Effectiveness survey which closes at the end of the day on Monday 20 May 2024.

If you like a bit of training, or are preparing for your annual review, please make use of LinkedIn Learning skill evaluations which enable you to complete short guided self-assessments to assess your confidence in various skills. After finishing the assessment, LinkedIn Learning will provide you with three personalised course recommendations on topics related to your chosen skill, tailored to your proficiency level. There are 42 Skill Evaluations available for in-demand skills such as web development, data analytics, WordPress, Microsoft Word, Microsoft PowerPoint, communication, time management, teamwork, problem-solving, and decision-making. Skill evaluations are designed to guide your learning, and as a result, your results will not be shared with anyone, including the University or your LinkedIn network, but it might give you something to discuss in your 1-1’s with your manager. Find out more about Skill Evaluations

Please also take a look at the 2024 Horizon report from EDUCAUSE 2024 EDUCAUSE Horizon Report | Teaching and Learning Edition | EDUCAUSE Library it is an easy guide to trends in higher education technology and very useful to quote in your slides, presentations, papers and business cases.

Our new cohort of summer intern colleagues will soon be joining us on H-East. I have ordered a set of Scottish-summer hoodie vouchers for them, if you are new and have not yet claimed yours, ask your manager what to do.

-Melissa

Friday 24th May

Dear All,

Thank you for your work this week.

I am pleased to say I have heard from the HR panel who consider our nominations for additional pay increments and lump sum payments. More than 25 LTW staff have been recognised through this process and letters will be coming out soon.

Thank you for your efforts last week on LTW Mandatory Training Day.  I know some of you who are contractors couldn’t log in to everything on the day. One week late and we are at:

Website and Communications

82.35%

Digital Learning Applications and Media

88.00%

Learning Spaces Technology

94.29%

Educational Design and Engagement

97.56%

Digital Skills and Training

100.00%

Director’s Office

100.00%

   

If a mass email comes out from someone else in ISG telling you to do some of this same mandatory training again, please feel free to ignore it.

For snacks next Friday Shivani is hosting a Digital Wellbeing Day, please do join her sessions at morning coffee, elevenses or lunch Event Booking (ed.ac.uk)

I see that Rishi Sunak  has announced his general election in the same week as our LTW All-staff meeting.  Book your annual leave now. if you are heading out of town for the school holidays make sure you book your one time postal vote online https://www.gov.uk/apply-postal-vote

Next week we welcome our first class of summer interns ’24. Please say hello and make them welcome.

Looks like Aberdeen may be on a shoogly peg. University of Aberdeen’s future was in ‘significant doubt’ – BBC News and if you packed away your wellies for summer , that may have been premature.

 -Melissa

Friday 31st May

Dear All

Thank you for your work this week.

We seem to have made it through exam time without major mishaps. Thank you to all who keep a close watching eye on these high-stakes experiences for students.

Thank you to all who prepared papers for the last rush on all the university committees this week. Take a breath, before we start preparing for the next rush in September.

Thank you to all who have been facilitating workshops, usergroups and digital skills sessions.

Welcome to our new EdWeb Interns who joined LTW this week: Anthony Skerik, Krithikha Sivaraj, Li Ren Chin, Margaryta Tsugorka (Margo), Namjote Singh Dulay, Rhea Bose, Samad Ali, Sean Craigmile, Shivangi Prashant Kamat and Yiping Gu (Star).  With so many new colleagues we will make light work of these migrations.  I am looking forward to meeting all our new summer interns at our welcome lunch on 10th June.

If you would like to be part of the pilot group trialling the’ healthy aging at work app’, contact Katie Grieve. It’ll ask you to keep daily track of whether our workplace is wearing you down or invigorating you, or both. Should be interesting. The data gathered will give your employer some ideas for how to improve wellbeing. All ages welcome.

Have a good weekend,

-Melissa

Friday 14th June

Dear All,

Thank you for your work this week.

Thank you to colleagues from Digital Skill teams who spent their volunteering day helping with The Big Sort – Edinburgh Impact | The University of Edinburgh last week.

Welcome to our new summer Learn Foundations interns: Shruti Bose, Altu Bozyaka, Eugenia Paz Nunez, Katherine Scott, Isaac Lee, Lucy Walter, Milo Campbell, Ishrat Rahim, Eden Muller and Elise Fletcher .

Also welcome our Digital Skills AI intern: Chunxi Luo, and our new Green Web Estate and Design interns: Catalina Rincon, Oisin Doherty, and Christopher O’Neill.

Reuben Forman is our new summer intern in Learning Spaces Technology and Adrián Cordero Rodríguez and Connor MacDougall join us from Napier University for their ‘year in industry’ placements in our web team.  Thank you for choosing us, we feel lucky to have you.

In this week with so many international sporting events underway, congratulations to our WooClap service team who are finalists in the ‘Versatile Champion’ category  of the first  Interactive Learning Olympics . Medals will be awarded next Thur 20th June at 4:30pm.   If you would like to join the LTW Euros sweepstake contact Fiona Buckland.

Please take a moment today to complete the ISG Equality, Diversity and Inclusion survey.  This is your chance to tell us what kinds of events and initiatives  you would like to see in ISG to celebrate our workplace as inclusive and diverse. If you would like to see more alpacas to support mental health, more culturally themed festive snacks, or visiting speakers for diversity themes, let us know via the survey.  Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Survey 2024 (sharepoint.com)  Student interns are very welcome to do the survey, even if you are new.

Please also take a moment to consider nominating your colleagues for staff awards. ISG Staff Recognition Awards | The University of Edinburgh You can nominate as many people as you like, for as many categories as you like. There are around 800 staff on ISG and last year LTW had around 40 nominations, and it was lovely to see so many people writing supportive comments about what they appreciate about teams and colleagues.

You will have seen a ‘hold’ in your diaries for our annual Charity Bake Sale on 2nd and 3rd July. We will be raising money for Paths For All.  The Paths For All charity is close to our hearts in LTW as we remember Richard Lawson. Richard was an avid walker and saw the benefit  for supporting health and wellbeing. There will be cakes for all and fabulous prizes to win. Last year we raised £800 for Beatson Cancer Charity and I am sure we can do similar again. If you are interested in taking part (as a baker) contact James Slack or Eloise Jacob.

Have a lovely weekend,

-Melissa

Friday 21st June

Dear All,

Thank you for your work this week. It is great to hear how fast and well our summer interns are powering through their mountains of work.

Great news from the WooClap Olympics this week, Alan and Craig put on their best online lycra and WON a gold medals as ‘worldwide versatile champions’,  ‘Teamwork Titans’ and ‘Adoption Athletes’.

In total we won:

  • Global Gold: Versatile Champions
  • Global Bronze: Quick Adoption Athletes
  • UK Gold: Versatile Champions, Teamwork Titans, Quick Adoption Athletes, Asynchronous Leaders, Marathon Questioners, Rising Stars
  • UK Silver: Interactive Grand Masters, Question Creation Masters

Congratulations to all the WooClap service Team.  If anyone knows of any other edtech Olympics we can enter, let me know.

Congratulations also to Jasmine who has won a Changemaker award  ISG Intern Wins EDI Changemaker Award (sharepoint.com)

Thank you to all who take time to write your service reports. I read them and appreciate them and a lot of decisions are made based on them, so please do keep sharing them. The data we have about who uses our services, how much and how often is crucial when deciding how to allocate resources, staffing and investment.  I am particularly interested to know if some services are used more in some schools than in others and to track usage across the life-cycle of the academic year, so the more information you have, the better.

I hope you are all taking the time to check out the new EFI building , and the new EFI café. You may want to suggest to your manager that it would be a nice venue for a team meeting.

If you like music and beautiful venues, I hope you are joining Ewan and Ellie to edit Wikipedia for World Music Day at St Cecilia’s this afternoon. The Hidden Women of St Cecilia’s (sharepoint.com)

23rd June is Women in Engineering Day International Women in Engineering Day #INWED24  please enjoy some blogs from our colleagues Karen AI is exciting, the risks are boring… so why should we care? – The witterings and musings of a learning technologist (ed.ac.uk) and  Nenna Re-Imagining MyEd: My experience working as a User Research Intern – Website and Communications Blog

Also blogging about AI is Bartek First steps with AI – new guide to help you best use ELM, our internal AI tool. – Website and Communications Blog (ed.ac.uk)

I am looking forward to the LTW bake sale LTW’s Charity Bake Sale (sharepoint.com) and our LTW all-staff meeting on 2nd July. I have asked each of the LTW Heads to send me their list of team achievements, so if you think they might have missed any, now is the time to remind them.

Have a good weekend,

-Melissa