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 2022.

Friday 7th January 2022!

Me protesting outside the Supreme Court of the United States. I’m the one in a mask.

Dear All,

Happy New Year and welcome back. Even a short week can be tiring after a holiday.

I hope that those of you whose festive plans were stymied by omicron still managed to find comfort in hearth and home.

The new year has already brought us two new staff, Ellen Groen and Joe Tomaney, who both bring many years of excellent project management and organisational skills to work on the Online Course Production Service and related projects. Ellen has a background in managing digital applications and communications projects and Joe has been working on major construction projects, most recently with the University’s Estates department.

I know that many of you will have made your new year’s resolution to make the internet less sexist and racist. Please join in our many activities to improve Wikipedia. Ewan has just won a student experience grant for three students to  spend 1 day a week for 12 weeks improving Wikipedia’s coverage of LGBT History, Black History and Gender History. If you would like to be involved in suggesting/sourcing content for that,  or guiding the students, please let me know.

At a city level, Edinburgh.gov are doing a consultation on renaming buildings, streets and statues in response to the history of slavery and colonialism.  They’d be happy to have your opinion on whether this is a good idea. You may have other things ( or people or potential statues) you’d like to suggest.  https://consultationhub.edinburgh.gov.uk/sfc/edinburgh-slavery-and-colonialism-legacy-review-on/

Speaking of colonial legacy, the Queen is giving us an additional bank holiday on June 3 2022. Pop it in your diaries now. Additional leave entitlement for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee | The University of Edinburgh

You will remember that last year, for our LTW lockdown Burns Night celebrations, we named the LTW Scottish Wildcat ( Lady Lawson) and Paul won a free ticket to go and stroke her.  The Zoo have been in touch to find out whether we want to continue with this cat or whether we would like to adopt a different animal mascot this year. If you have suggestions of which animal would best embody LTW in tooth and claw in 2022, let me know.

-Melissa

Director, LTW

Friday  14th January

Lady Lawson the Wildcat

Dear All,

Well done for another week.

Congratulations to the 23 Things team who have begun dry January by winning a  Merlot design classic award.

And to Digital skills Team for making the top ten most read posts of 2021: https://www.teaching-matters-blog.ed.ac.uk/top-ten-teaching-matters-posts-of-2021/

People are keen to hear your thoughts. ALT would like to hear about how your roles have changed and what your needs in relation to professional development and recognition are. Complete this year’s survey, https://go.alt.ac.uk/ALTsurvey21. Don’t be shy.

It’s not long until we start the annual process of development review, so if you are interested in developing new skills or taking a free online course, please do discuss with your manager soon, you don’t have to wait for your ADR to get started.  There are also a range of  ‘community’ skills to think about  such as being a first aider or fire warden if you would like to add those to your repertoire.

Since the implementation of the University’s Digital Strategy will impact all of us, please familiarise yourself with the Digital Strategy Discussion Document, then use the survey available to give your feedback on the Digital Strategy Digital Strategy (SharePoint)

The team who run Ucreate MakerSpace have been inspired by Repair Shop on the telly and would like to know if you can mend things. In my experience we have a number of people in LTW who  are pretty handy when a thing falls over so please do take a look: https://forms.office.com/r/yzDSecUMSE

If you are missing Argyle House you can see it on the telly if you have BritBox: https://www.britbox.co.uk/programme/Irvine_Welshs_Crime_59933

Sympathies to James Slack who is once again all over the media. Never let it be said that in LTW we don’t know the difference between a work meeting and a party.

Best wishes,

-Melissa

Director, LTW

Friday 21st January

The award Stuart won for Academic Development good practice.
The award Stuart won for Academic Development good practice.

Dear All,

Well done and thank you for another week.

In these dark days of January, I am seeing you planning and looking ahead to the summer by submitting half a dozen proposals to Learning and Teaching Conference and  40 adverts for summer interns to join us in LTW.  If you are currently an intern, please tell all your friends to ready their CVs for the best place to work in digital*.

Monday this week was Martin Luther King Day. Many people do not know that MLK applied to Edinburgh in 1950 to do his doctorate here in the school of divinity ‘For sometime now I have had a great deal of interest in Edinburgh, and would like very much to study there’. We did offer him a place but he chose Boston University instead*.

In other #BLM news the fight between the ‘Big Sirs’, Geoff Palmer and Tam Devine continues in the media. The pugilists have taken to their corners and reminders about the University’s Dignity and Respect Policy have been sent*.

It sounds like national advice regarding hybrid working may be set to change again, so we should return to our discussions about how to make AH an easy place to work hybridly.  As we all now know, working in the office can now include parties, drinks trolleys and suitcases of wine, so I’m checking out our new robot colleagues Starship

It’s going to be time to plan for International Women’s Day soon #BreakTheBias International Women’s Day 2022 (internationalwomensday.com)  Please let me know of any role-modelling or mentoring type activities  we can celebrate.

The UCISA awards are open https://www.ucisa.ac.uk/News-and-Blogs/News/2021/December/Awards

You’ll be getting ready to trap and roast a haggis for Burns Night. Last year I noticed that the pictures of haggis on Wikipedia were a bit less than appetising, so if you have more to add, or pictures of your piping in, please do. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burns_supper  If you find yourself really feeling the Burns you can join in writing in Scots:  https://sco.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page

Have a lovely weekend,

Melissa
Director, LTW*

*fact

 

Friday  4th February

cat
Water Tiger ( Life in the Brogan House)

Dear All,

Well done for another week.

Happy lunar new year. Happy year of the Water Tiger. According to the water tiger we will have a year of prosperity if we exercise strength, exorcise evil and show our bravery.  Standard fare for LTW.

You might think that in the year of the tiger I would adopt for us another large cat. But no, I have adopted for LTW as our spirit animal this year a Pancake Tortoise.  A pancake tortoise has an articulated shell and is more flexible and agile than your average tortoise  Pancake tortoise | Edinburgh Zoo which makes it an excellent match for us.

Its name is Watty. If you would like to see Watty Tortoise ( say it fast) you can win a free ticket to the Zoo in our next LTW baking competition: for Pancake Day (1st March)  the  judges would like you to make a pancake tortoise. It should be brown and yellow and able to camouflage itself when it goes on foraging missions.  Get your best flour and eggs lined up. Delia, James, Geoff and Stratos I’m looking to you for leadership here.

Before we even get to March, February is the month of celebrations and we will be advertising various history and inclusion activities.

Congratulations to Tracy for attracting huge numbers of staff and students to her data programme again, and to the whole team who have a semester 2 programme packed with returning favourites such as basic data visualisations, introduction to reference managers and subtitling for media creators, new courses such as a range of Office 365 essentials courses (available for staff and students both on campus and via webinar), digital research toolkit (webinar), photoshop introduction (on campus), open educational resources: diversifying the curriculum with open education (webinar), and a variety of new Library Bitesize webinars for students.

There will soon be a raft of training for web editors and Bruce has blogged about Our new Web Publishing Platform – what this means for EdWeb editors – Website and Communications Blog

Thank you to everyone helping with finding  a SCORM compliant course authoring tool for People and Money. It’s essential that we are able to recommend a good solution.

Thank you as ever to all of you who spend time helping to recruit new colleagues to the many jobs which need to be filled. I realise it is additional workload, but our people are our best asset and as you know, ed and web technologists are highly sought after due to their unusual appearance and behaviour.

Best wishes, stay safe,

-Melissa

Director, LTW

Friday 11th February

hymn
A hymn for those whose VR headsets run low on power.

Dear All,

Well done for another week. Well done to Geoff for securing a new role as Media Studio Manager and to Caitlin and Kathleen for being promoted to Learn Ultra Administrative Assistants.   Sadly we wave goodbye to Milo, but happily welcome Chris who joins us as our new Scrum Master. #AsOne

I trust you all remained safe on Safer Internet Day. The Digital Skills Team created a playlist for you specially https://www.linkedin.com/learning-login/continue?account=50251009

Our Summer Intern Unitemps recruitment has begun in earnest, please use all your finest networks and social media channels to attract the best and brightest of our students to start their career in digital https://www.unitemps.com/branches/university-of-edinburgh/

Take a moment to respond to the ISG Staff Motivation Survey Question I am sure you have some creative responses.

Well done for responding to so many help desk calls. Numbers of calls received are ~25% lower than last year – they have been consistently lower since September – however, volumes remain higher when compared to pre-pandemic years (74% for January 2020 and 18% for January 2019). We’ve seen 42 calls in January to our AV Helpline about Lecture Recording, these calls are all user awareness around ‘how do I ad-hoc record’ or ‘failed to use microphone’, so clearly there are many colleagues who have forgotten.

Thank you for the work you are doing to migrate Teaching Matters blog into blogs.ed to give it more resilience, and thank you for the work you do to write articles for Teaching Matters and the many other blogs and newsletters which swirl around us.

Some very interesting things happening in the hybrid classrooms in Moray House. https://blogs.ed.ac.uk/hybrid_pioneers/wp-content/uploads/sites/5067/2022/01/Hybrid-Pioneers-Interim-Report.pdf

You will remember that there were 3 senior academic posts being recruited. We now know that Kim Graham (Provost) will come from Cardiff and Sarah Prescott (VP CAHSS) will come from University College Dublin. It’s always worth taking a look to see what learning technology is going on in those places so that we can help them to understand how what we provide is similar or different. Iain Gordon will be VP CSE, I think we know what technology he is used to.

Best wishes, stay safe,

-Melissa
Director, LTW

Friday 18th February

Picture taken by me at the water’s edge. No rights reserved by me.

Dear All,

Well done for another windy week. Placards were fair flying off the picket line. For some reason strikes do often co-incide with bad weather and school holidays.

Just a short note to note we now have an LTW short URL https://edin.ac/ltw

Thank you to Nick, Christopher, Christopher, Suzanne and Alistair who brought the General Council back to campus after 2 years online.

I hope you remembered to #lovedata and celebrate the patron saints of metadata on Valentine’s Day. St Cyril and St Methodius will be glad of your support. https://thinking.is.ed.ac.uk/melissa/tag/valentines/

If you like to celebrate,  the Catalyst Awards are now open again: https://www.anthology.com/catalyst-awards as are the  nominations for Scotland Digital Tech 2022. https://www.scotlandis.com/digitaltech/

A bad week for our colleagues in Art Collections, the family want the semi-naked Sean Connery painting ( currently on display in the Principal’s house) back https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-10507793/Bitter-row-breaks-painting-young-Sean-Connery-swimming-trunks.html and for colleagues in Medical School comms who illustrated their #LGBTHM22 tweets about James Barry with a picture of Joseph Barry –  an entirely different person! https://twitter.com/EdinUniMedicine/status/1493958726453186571

Interesting piece in WonkHE highlighting the fact that very few academic staff have ever had any teacher training https://wonkhe.com/blogs/teaching-in-higher-education-should-be-professionalised/  important, because any of you who are trained teachers should not be shy about having that expertise.

We have a new site for ISG Managers featuring a range of information and resources relating to recruiting and managing students https://uoe.sharepoint.com/sites/ISGCorporatePeople/SitePages/Student-Recruitment.aspx

Despite the strikes the university seems to be nearly back up to full speed and the sports activities are open to you and your families ( see below).  If you stay home, be careful not to move fast and break things: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2022/feb/12/rising-popularity-of-vr-headsets-sparks-31-rise-in-insurance-claims

Stay safe,

-Melissa

Director, LTW

Friday 25th February

Dear All,

Well done for another week.

It was lovely to see many of you together in Argyle House for a big collaborative session to plan for our roll out of the upgraded VLE. It was great to see the levels of energy in the room as we tried to predict what could possibly go wrong.

Another big turn-out was seen at the Web Editors community, indicating that the messages about the need to ready yourselves for migration are getting through.  ISG and LTW will be part of this migration, so start now getting rid of old content on unloved web pages.

Speaking of messaging, we have adverts out for a new comms officer,  new AV technicians, project administrators, training consultants and student interns.  Please  share these adverts on your social networks to help us attract the best people to these roles.

Please make sure that everyone in your team knows why putting a hyperlink on the word ‘here’ is not acceptable practice.

Despite the challenges of P&M, we have been lucky to recruit to some key roles recently, and we welcome Fiona Buckland as our new manager in EDE .

We also wave goodbye to Duncan McGruer. Duncan has been here 17 years, man and boy, but his skills are now needed elsewhere.  ScotGov’s gain is a huge loss for us.

It has been a tough week in pay and pensions. It is very common for many of us to pay very little attention to the pension we think will be there when we finish a career working in education, but it is always worth checking.   The university deducts vast amounts of money from pay packets during a strike and when strikes are unsuccessful campaigns colleagues feel understandably bruised and disinclined to take part in university wide change projects.

On top of this, it is hard not to be deeply moved by the news coming out of Ukraine. The university is such an international community we always know that someone amongst us will have friends and family affected by conflicts and crises around the world whether covered in the news or not.

Stay safe,

Melissa
-Director, LTW

Friday 4th March

chuffed to be on the same page as the First Minister
chuffed to be on the same page as the First Minister

Out this weekDear All,

Thank you and well done for another week.  I realise that there is a certain level of anxiety around regarding the imminent big P&M switcheroo. Please make sure you have completed or extended any live job adverts and recruitment processes and cross your fingers that payroll completes.

The ISG directors discussed hybrid working plans again this week and I am told that more colleagues will be visible in Argyle House soon. The university seems to be moving towards a vague position of having ‘most staff back most of the time’. Make sure you book the rooms you need for meetings. Remember, if you are working on campus with windows open you can request a winter-warming-hybrid-working-hoodie voucher from me.

If you have new recruits who have not yet had their tour of Argyle House nor an explanation of the not random images which are stuck on the windows of the meeting rooms, now’s the time.

It’s timely too because  it’s International Women’s Day next week and one of the meeting rooms has a female nude. People sometimes query if that work is work appropriate.

When we first moved to Argyle House one of my hopes was that we would take the opportunity afforded by the move to Argyle House to display more artwork created by women artists.  We do have a substantial university art collection and we commission new works. If you have used the meeting rooms you will have been immersed in an installation by Fabienne Hess.  The images on the glass walls of our meeting suite is a whole work by Hess, she was commissioned as part of the refurbishment the office spaces to create a work featuring images of existing objects of University collections. The process of digitizing, which started in the summer of 2012, has involved photographing diverse items, from ancient manuscripts to musical instruments, anatomical drawings to historic maps. Throughout the process Fabienne  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, to create a set of ‘new’ collections. One of these new collections is the installation you are in.  Take a moment to look next time you are in.

Best wishes, stay safe,

-Melissa

Director, LTW

Friday 11th March

an LTW hoodie in the wild
an LTW hoodie in the wild

Dear All,

Well done and thank you for another week.  Thank you to those of you working behind the scenes to save data from Ukraine.

Can you believe it is two years now since we left Argyle House and began to build our home office chairs?

Another change in restrictions is imminent. Hundreds of lectures are being livestreamed across the campus each week. When there is no longer any limit on how closely packed students can be in lecture theatres it will be interesting to see how many do.

With restrictions easing and the university calling people back (again), please make sure you have a hybrid working experiment arrangement in place if you want to keep working sometimes from home.

Thank you to those of you who participated in Open Education Week and International Women’s Day. It was lovely to see new Wikipedia pages being added,( Dagny Holm – Wikipedia), witches being pardoned and Digital Skills teaching restarting in our inspirationally-named AH classrooms.  If you are new to LTW, ask a colleague to explain about Eleanor Ormerod, Brenda Moon, Grace Hopper, Xia Pesu, Annie Numbers, Mary Somerville, Marjorie Rackstraw and Irene Young.   Any LTW veterans who do not know the answers should see me immediately.

For those of you who watch social media you may have seen the gender pay gap bot actively shaming organisations who do not see the connection between celebrating women and paying them fairly Twitter gender pay gap bot calls out companies on International Women’s Day – The Washington Post

Thank you as ever to those of you who craft papers and contribute to the many consultations, strategy groups and committees.
Thank you as ever to those of you on the front line dealing with enquiries and grumbles.
Thank you to all of you who have nominated each other for recognition and  rewards.
Thank you in advance to all who join in on recruiting and supporting our summer intern cohort.
It is important work.

Have a lovely weekend,

Melissa

Dir, LTW

Friday 18th March

Dr Madden presenting and representing.
Dr Madden presenting and representing.

Dear All,

Thank you for another week. As the crisis in Ukraine continues the government is trying to decide if online distance learning counts as exports to Russia and our partner platforms are opening up their content to learners from Ukraine.

I am just back from my first face to face conference in 2 years and realising that I have lost the essential skills and muscle memory for balancing a lunch plate, cutlery, drink and laptop while standing in heels, reading a tiny name badge and making polite conversation.

The conference had live signing and captions but it was still a shock to remember how hard it is to read text on slides from the back of a room.  BSL training if you are interested: https://www.ed.ac.uk/about/british-sign-language-plan/bsl-awareness-training

EDE will be hosting a visitor from Helsinki next week, so it feels like university exchange life is starting to return again.

Satu is recruiting again for contributors for this year’s Digital Skills Festival, this year’s Festival will be delivered in a hybrid format, with a programme of online and in-person events running throughout the week. If you have a thing you think staff or students should know how to do, please sign up by Friday25th March: https://forms.office.com/r/9RQiK5Nxeq

Please do a last push to get the message out to students who could begin their careers in digital through an internship with us.

The Students Association have had their annual round of elections, see if you can spot any names you recognise or would like to invite to your project steering groups. The new roles start in June. https://www.eusa.ed.ac.uk/yourvoice/elections/results

If you like air and space and planes, you are invited by the University Protocol office attend the Mountbatten Lecture – The Royal Air Force in 2022; at the Leading Edge Tickets, Thu 14 Apr 2022 at 17:15 | Eventbrite

Sadly our pensions and pay continue to be eroded, so no change there. Strikes again next week.

Have a good weekend and please take a moment to rebook your summer travels avoiding P&O.

Stay safe,

-Melissa

Dir, LTW

Friday 25th March

an LTW hoodie in the wild
an LTW hoodie in the wild

Dear All

Thank you for another week of work.  Well done for successfully increasing the number of Liams in DLAM. All welcome.

It was lovely to see so many of you at the watch party in AH for the ISG all-staff meeting.  Piles of snacks and LFTs were on offer and quickly taken.

You will have seen in Gavin’s slides that the hybrid working experiments are back on again for all Directorates, so please make your sure your manager knows when you will be coming in.  All Directors have been asked to report on when staff will be back. Most staff said they wanted some elements of hybrid working in the future, so I am pleased that we are nearly there. Once you are all equally feeding your experiences into our data I will be in a good position to establish working patterns in our services for the medium and longer term.

Our next door neighbours have suffered a cyber-attack Heriot Watt Cyber Attack so please check your doors and windows.

In the warm weather the campus has been lively again. There is a spring sale on at the hoodie shop so if you haven’t used your vouchers yet, now is the time. Sale (ed.ac.uk)

The Library and study spaces are busy and the food trucks are up at KB. Some huge new buildings have been added and the hedgehogs who had the campus to themselves during lockdown are not amused.

Students are occupying Gordon Aikman, and they are holding hostage one of the largest projection screens in Scotland and a state of the art sound system . One student who has spent every night inside Gordon Aikman this week said: “It’s been an amazing space with a great atmosphere.”  Inside Gordon Aikman,  so that’s a quote for the LST service web page.

Old College is also occupied today and students have chained the gates so colleagues in the Law Library will be heading back to the Main. The Main library used to be known as the Litill Library after Clement Litill who gave the first books in 1580, but people got confused by such a large building.

Computing magazine would like you to apply for one of their awards Computing Awards 2022 and if you identify as under 30 there are categories just for you:  Thirty under 30 – Learning Technologies 2022

I am sure you will have seen the sad news that the inventor of gifs has died and will respond accordingly.

‘He helped shape the modern world’: gif inventor Stephen Wilhite dies

Have a good weekend,

-Melissa

Director, LTW

Friday 1st April

Dear All,

Thank you for another week. Welcome to Miki who has joined us in DLAM this week and to Sian, Kirsty and Eleanor who are working with Ewan improve Black, Gender and LGBT herstory on Wikipedia.

The unions are balloting again for more strikes and no sooner had we reclaimed the Gordon Aikman Lecture Theatre (GALT), when we lost Evolution House. The flood damage in there is worse than first thought.

I am enjoying reading all the reward nominations. Thank you to those who did the work to write them for your colleagues.

Speaking of reading, the ISG Reading group have another intriguing topic for us all. On Wednesday 13th April 12.30-13.30 we will be discussing Scammers, Girlbosses and Entertainment looking at recent high profile scandals involving fraudsters such as Elizabeth Holmes and Anna Delvey. The resource list has now been updated and contains a number of articles of interest. Please feel free to engage with as many of these as you are interested in (and have time for). Join the meeting from the Teams channel or using the link: ISG Reading Group meeting For those of you in the office on Thursday April 14th  the ISG Reading Group will be having a social lunch. Let Lilinaz know if you would like to come along.

After 18th April face coverings will no longer be a legal requirement but the Scottish Government will continue to encourage use in public transport and communal areas.   Wearing face coverings will be a personal choice of students, colleagues and visitors. Some people will be happy with this change, others will be more anxious, please continue to treat each other with consideration, respect and compassion.

School exams are coming back, as are charges for single–use coffee cups and rising fuel prices. If warm offices and good coffee are attractive to you, make sure you engage with the various groups discussing the refit of Argyle House  for hybrid working.

You will remember that there is a bunch of mandatory training which we all have to do each year to reassure the University (and each other) that we know what we are doing.  Everyone in LTW gets time to do this training during work hours. We do  however, spend a bunch of extra time chasing you up to get it done. This year as an experiment, I am going to designate a Mandatory Training Day (MTD). It is the training which is mandatory rather than the day, but if we pick a specific day and put it in everybody’s diary, no-one will feel that they don’t have time.  To coincide with Learning at Work Week 2022, I am designatingFriday 20 May 2022 as LTW Mandatory Training Day (LTWMTD).  If you do not work Fridays, pick another day that week and tell your line manager which one you have chosen.  Kevin will send out a list of all the training which you have to do. It’s all online.   If you are in AH on Friday 20 May I will provide coffee and snacks. You are welcome to sit in groups and compare your answers. If you are at home, you are welcome to ask other member of your household for their thoughts on your answers.  By the end of the day (barring system collapse) we will all have completed all the training and we will all know what needs to be known about data security, EQIAs, bullying, bribery and corruption.

If you like a bit of new tech,  James Dyson has got us covered. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2022/mar/30/dyson-launches-zone-air-purifying-bluetooth-headphones-with-visor

Be sure to complete the commuter survey 2022 Commuter Travel Survey (onlinesurveys.ac.uk)it crashed yesterday due to excessive traffic but seems quicker this morning.

Best wishes for Ramadan and Autism Awareness Week.

-Melissa

Director, LTW

Friday 8th April

Dear All,

Thank you for another week.  Welcome to Richard who has joined LST, and get well soon to those of you currently managing covids, slipped discs, frozen shoulders, flu and other assorted ailments and pains. Thank you to everyone who pitched in to hold EdWeb together at the start of the week. April is the cruellest month and a return to cold weather probably isn’t helping.

Good to see our spring content has been thriving, the Interactive Content team have provided 200 copies of their latest University of Edinburgh colouring book to the Edinburgh Cares project.https://www.ed.ac.uk/studying/undergraduate/access-edinburgh/carers-care-experience and our open textbook has been downloaded a thousand times since it was published in October. Fundamentals of Music Theory | Edinburgh Diamond

You may be interested to read the Lothian Lockdown diaries Lothian Lockdown: The Lothian Diary Project – Investigating questions of public health, media and communication among residents of Edinburgh and the Lothians in relation to COVID-19  or the first few issues of ‘The Student’ “The Student, issues 1-12” (ed.ac.uk)

ALT are keen to get you involved in their annual conference committee Call for Conference Committee for #altc22 | Association for Learning Technology

It was lovely to see some of you in the alumni group of our ‘Renew You’ women’s development programme. If you are interested in women’s development programmes and would like me to restart these in Argyle House, please let me know.

Thank you to all of you involved in recruiting and selecting our summer intern cohort class of’22, and to those of you who attended Learn Ultra Bootcamp and everyone involved in running our first community ‘Design-a-thon’ https://blogs.ed.ac.uk/website-communications/design-systems-inaugural-designathon/

Have a good weekend,

-Melissa

Director, LTW

Friday 15th April

Dear All,

Thank you for another week.

Karen has blogged https://blogs.ed.ac.uk/khowie/2022/04/11/how-work-etiquette-has-changed/ so has Tracey Learn Ultra Base Navigation: accessibility & inclusion – Educational Design and Engagement  and so have I The upgrade of Learn VLE to Learn Ultra at The University of Edinburgh  blog  and the total number of University of Edinburgh WordPress blogs has increased by 38% since March 2021.

Thank you for all your service and service reports.  We had 41 Lecture Recording related calls to our AV Helpline this month, these were all around user awareness, academic staff returning to campus and trying hybrid teaching.  1st line support volumes across LTW services are 27% lower than last year. Volumes have been consistently lower month on month compared to the 20-21 Academic Year, but are still 10% higher than the pre-pandemic year. Hybrid teaching in action at University of Edinburgh. March saw 5,532 lecture recordings on campus, of which 841 were live-streamed. This is the largest number of live streams from campus lecture theatres in any month.  2.14 million minutes of born-digital online learning content was viewed in March. Content views in LinkedIn Learning and our Digital Skills Programme are down, which may be attributed to factors such as industrial action, increased workloads or general digital fatigue. Use of TopHat for attendance is up compared to last year (+3025%) and is approaching the same level as in 2020. Our course design teams ran sessions for staff designing new Dissertation courses for the Usher Institute and 2 Accessibility/Universal Design for Learning training workshops this month. We used MyEd to notify staff and students of important service updates. The VPN password alert published w/c 21/03 had over 4,700 clicks from users. EdWeb was out for 17 minutes in March, but the team recovered it quickly, thank you.

The Principal promised us more money, which was nice, given what colleagues lose when they strike and the rising costs of living. I have heard from some of you that you find the Principal’s town hall meetings depressing, others enjoy seeing the range of robust voices.  Do take care of yourselves, join collective action to improve the place  and don’t let this stuff ruin your week.  If there are things we can do in LTW which help to make work enjoyable, please let me know.

Hot buns crossed for a quiet weekend. I hope your Easter eggs are rolling and your Passover Seder is in good order.

Best wishes,

-Melissa

Director, LTW

Friday 22nd April

Dear All,

Thank you for another week.  Welcome to Mark who has joined EDE, and thank you to all the managers bringing in new desks and new laptops for our incoming wave of student interns and summer contractors.

I hope you have been enjoying the activities of the Science Festival  Homepage – Edinburgh Science (sciencefestival.co.uk) Today is Earth Day 2022 ,  a good day to  embark on one of our many earth MOOCs https://media.ed.ac.uk/media/1_g41cxdfp

I sent around some ‘mood boosting’ activities from the sports and exercise centre if you would like to partake as an individual or as a team. If you prefer the arts I hope some of you will join me at the opening of the ‘Student of Light’ exhibit (see previous email). If you are in Glasgow, our consultant Sheila McNeill is having an exhibition of her work  at Nicolls Gallery (656 Dumbarton Road) opening tonight. Vote for Stewart’s Lego mouse party birthday cake here: LEGO IDEAS – Celebrating 90 years of play in LEGO House! – Celebrate: LEGO Mouse Party. Pop the dates of the ECA degree show in your diary ECA Graduate Show 2022 | Edinburgh College of Art

If the link works you can watch Emma Carroll’s TEDX talk about our wiki witches 2022 Conference: Riddle Me This | TEDxStAndrews  , or listen to Ewan’s podcast Podcast: Wikimedia and History (40 minutes) – Teaching Matters blog.

If you would like to help update the Jisc digital capability framework and the role profiles  JISC would love to have your feedback into their survey: https://jisc.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/jisc-role-profiles-review

Have a lovely weekend,

-Melissa

Director, LTW

Friday 29th April

Dear All,

Thank you for another week. Please take a moment to check in P&M that you got paid this month.

Congratulations to Tracy for being nominated for a EUSA Teaching Award. Congratulations to Satu for getting lovely feedback from her group on the leadership programme.

Welcome Kendal, Scott, Darren and Alan who have joined our rapidly expanding EDE teams and thank you all for summer intern recruitment and selection.

Congratulations to the teams working on our “How to create an online course” course, it has attracted 5,345 enrolments which is pretty darn good and shows that there is continued opportunity for the University to position itself as a leader in the online learning practice.

When you come into AH remember to:

  • Clean your hands regularly
  • Respect each other’s personal space
  • Wear a face covering indoors
  • And stay home if you’re unwell

You can help raise awareness of University Covid guidance by promoting Play Your Part in your area. To support this, they have created a folder with assets, including text and graphics, that you can use. This also includes a link to the Scottish Government’s Covid Sense campaign:  Play Your Part and Covid Sense assets

 The University has been ranked 6th in the UK and 29th in the world for its positive impact on the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).https://www.ed.ac.uk/news/2022/university-ranks-sixth-in-uk-for-positive-impact

If you are coming in for Gavin’s Free Lunch on Monday,  I recommend bringing a handy Tupperware ™ box, just in case there are left-overs.

It looks like it is all kicking off on the Freedom of Speech blogs. Thank you again to those previously involved in developing the take-down policy. I am glad to have it now.

Remember to cast off the darkness and celebrate the light for Beltane and also to vote on 5th May.

Stay safe,

-Melissa

Director, LTW

Friday 13th May

flowers being fabulous.

Dear All,

Well done and thank you for another week.

Thank you for the blogs and articles you have been writing for Times Higher Digital, for Teaching Matters and in support of our service developments. These writing tasks are so important for making our work discoverable and helping people beyond LTW ( or in LTW) to know what you do and the impact your work has.

Speaking of impact, you’ll see the University is rightly chuffed with the results of the REF. Even if you don’t think your work is particularly related to the REF itself, I can assure you that the general level of happiness, funding, investment and support for colleagues seems to cheer up immensely when we do well. A good REF result also raises the ‘external view’ of our status as a university and perhaps as a place to work, so this all feeds into our interest in attracting and retaining staff.

Speaking of attracting staff we are recruiting an assistant web developer Assistant Web Developer – University of Edinburgh Jobs Careers (oraclecloud.com) please tell your friends.

I know you will all have next week’s mandatory training day in your diaries. As I’m sure you know,  the word ‘assessment’ derives from the Latin for  ‘to sit beside with snacks’ so if you would like to do the training with provisions, be sure to reply to Kevin’s email.  It will be a chance to reflect on your approach to learning. Are you the kind of person who goes straight to the assessment to test what you already know, or do you like to work through the content learning deeply?  Are you interested in intrinsic or extrinsic reward? Are you a speed learner online or mostly motivated by cake in the workplace? As you learn you might reflect on what elements of these online eLearning packages show good quality course learning design, and which do not?

Speaking of quality, if you have time when you are on campus, do stop in at the ‘Main’ Library and check out the Robert Blomfield photography exhibition, it’s fun to look at these pictures taken by a student in the 1960s to see how much ( or little ) has changed.

Best wishes,

-Melissa
Director, LTW

Friday 20th May

training with mandatory snacks.

Dear All,

Thank you for another week.  I won’t write a long message because I know you are all fully immersed in your mandatory training. Thank you for doing that.

Sadly we wave goodbye to Kelly this week after many years of being a delight around the office.

Enjoying the summer weather, Edina have invented a new app to tell you if the carparks are full before you head to the East Lothian beaches:

Experts support new tool promoting tourism | The University of Edinburgh

In other local news, after a 3 year gap the Canal festival is back. If you have a team and a raft: Edinburgh Canal Festval – Edinburgh Canal Festival

 In very local news, the Digital Skills festival is back: Home | Digital Skills Festival – The University of Edinburgh

And the book festival will be back at ECA imminently: Home | Edinburgh International Book Festival (edbookfest.co.uk)

Have a lovely weekend,

-Melissa

Director, LTW

Friday 27th May

it will rise with the moon

Dear All,

Well done for another week.

I notice that the exceptional salary payment has been perfectly timed to co-incide with the upgrade to Learn Ultra, so many good things on the same day! Remember next week has TWO Bank Holidays in it, if you like that kind of thing.

There has clearly been some conferencing going on. Good to see social media coverage when you are out and about.

The postgraduate online recruitment fayre in Events Air attracted the biggest numbers yet and the most popular session in the digital skills fest is Ari and Eboni doing Tik Tok and Instareels. Paul has been networking with the CEO of Anthology and we have several vendors visiting at start of June.

Those of you presenting at the University of Edinburgh Learning and Teaching Conference will have your slides ready, and anyone wanting to present at ALT-C or Open Apereo, check in with your manager.

Only a couple of days left to get your mandatory training completions in to win a fabulous team prize.

Have a lovely weekend.

-Melissa

Director, LTW

Friday 3rd June

Dear All,

Well done for another week. Lovely to see Argyle House resplendent in Jubilee bunting and ‘The Shows’ back in the Meadows.  Welcome to a fabulous group of summer interns who join us to do good works and make the world a better place.  Welcome also to Fiona who will now lead our academic comms strategy.  Sadly we waved goodbye to Martin who interned with us for many years and has now gone off to embark on his new career.

Thank you to everyone who organises and delivers sessions in the Digital Skills Festival ( DSF) . Final numbers are still coming in, but it has been a huge success, building and growing from last year. 36 sessions (out of 60 total) were delivered by you from LTW. That is a huge contribution to  up-skilling our community. Thank you to all the trainers and managers who manage this on top of usual workloads.   It is great to see the spread of people signing up to learn core applications as well as new social media tools.   It is also great to see the range of experiments going on to reach new audiences.  For the Post Graduate Online Open Day  ( PGOOD ) the Student Recruitment and Admissions (SRA) team used Mary’s Short Message Service (SMS) to nudge the people who had signed up and we saw higher conversion rate (from sign up to attendee) this year compared to 2021, so it might be that SMS texts were the cause of this. Our  “Why choose the University of Edinburgh fireside chat session with Melissa and Lauren” was amongst the highest live attended sessions hosted, with 76 people joining us.  Lauren’s “How do you learn online and an intro to the VLE” did even better, attracting 87  attendees.  Which is nearly as many as Ari and Eboni got for “TikToks and Instagram Reels”.

The support for Learn Ultra early adopters is shaping up really well, hundreds of exams and assessments were delivered online and I can see a raft of new graduates coming through the “Developing Your Data Skills” programme.

This week is National Volunteers Week. Please do remember that you get a day off ( each year) as a gift from the University to do volunteering. It is a day for you to use for any kind of volunteering, it doesn’t have to be for a team volunteering activity. I used mine to attend an all-day training session for a charity board on which I sit. The training day was on a week day, so this extra day of special leave from the university made it possible for me to attend without using my annual leave.   If any of you are stuck for ideas about what kind of organisations would welcome you as a volunteer there is a very useful website home – Volunteer Edinburgh .

We (LTW) also have a longstanding relationship with Wikimedia UK through Ewan, our Wikimedian in Residence (WiR) and he’d be happy to show you how to volunteer your time into improving content online.  I have also contacted the Sustainability and Social Responsibility Team ( SRS) to see if they would like help planting trees or counting hedgehogs. Watch out for a rustle in your hedgerow.

When you are in the office wed-fri next week, book yourself a slot to visit the degree show for creative inspiration:

ECA Graduate Show 2022 | Edinburgh College of Art Graduate Show 2022

Have a lovely weekend,

-Melissa

Director, LTW

Friday 10th June

Dear All,

Thank you for all your work for another busy week.  It is lovely to see and welcome so many of our summer interns into LTW, thank you to all the teams and managers who make this valuable work experience possible, and thank you to all those who do these jobs. We are lucky to have you.

Thank you in advance to all of you presenting sessions or posters at the University of Edinburgh Learning and `Teaching Conference next week . Come along to see your teams ‘Live at McEwan Hall’. Make sure the AV teams have your chosen entrance music lined up for when you come on stage.

I am delighted to see that our ISG makerspace team are offering a drop in ‘making and repair’ session as part of the conference: https://universityofedinburgh.eventscase.com/EN/learningandteachingconference2022/Exhibitors-and-Posters a Repair Café – a space for staff, students and the wider community to come and learn how to fix their broken goods and breathe new life into items previously destined for landfill. Very cool.

If you are a maker yourself, you can also check out the University of Edinburgh craft community on Teams, https://teams.microsoft.com/l/channel/19%3ac9c510cb829a48ac9ddd030950538377%40thread.tacv2/General?groupId=763bc914-fbac-434f-9b4f-28c258550264&tenantId=2e9f06b0-1669-4589-8789-10a06934dc61  so many ideas for exchanging craft creations and kit.   If you would like to get started with digital making, our kit-loan service, maker spaces and virtual world holodecks are all open again in the Main (Littl) Library https://www.ed.ac.uk/information-services/help-consultancy/ucreate

If you are a creator of digital content for social media, let me know because it would be lovely to showcase this at LTW all staff meeting, which you will now have in your diaries in mid-July.  For those of you new to LTW, it is our mid-summer gathering to celebrate the longest days and the best achievements of the year.

If you are new to LTW and wish to catch up with my archive of Friday messages, make yourself a large cup of tea and read our story of lock down here: https://thinking.is.ed.ac.uk/melissa/messages-to-my-staff/  If that inspires you to start your own blog, you are very welcome to https://blogs.ed.ac.uk/  You are not alone.

Train strikes are imminent. ( or perhaps not  ScotRail agrees 5% pay deal with train drivers’ union – BBC News). Make sure you let your manager know if this is going to cause you disruption in getting to the office.

Best wishes,

-Melissa