Student/Staff Collaboration in the Production of an official University App for Students
Sharon Flynn, Darren Kelly* & Fionn Delahunty* National University of Ireland, Galway
This was a fantastic talk about an ambitious student lead project at their university. The university grants small financial allowances to students to encourage them to develop promising, exciting and innovative ideas. The two students, Darren and Fionn, developed an app for both apple and android phones for their entire university campus. First using questionnaires they gathered information on what students wanted and identified areas they would focus on. With no previous programming experience and while doing their first year degrees they completed the app and released it to the university. Especially impressive I found was the map feature, allowing the students to search for any location on the campus using the maps feature, something that would be highly useful on any university campus. An excellent example of different areas of the university working together with students with a hugely valuable outcome.
Enhancing Graduate Employability: Developing Digital Resources Final Year Projects
Dave Lewis, Alexandra Byrne* & Daniel Davis* Leeds University (Students Not Attending)
This talk covers a topic that is always on the mind of students, and is becoming an ever more important issue, that of employability post university. As Dr Lewis discussed graduate employability is something very important to students, with less than 20% of biological sciences at Leeds going on to further scientific research, it is a universities duty to help these other students gain valuable life tools, not only the future researchers. While for those that want to go on to research a wet lab based research project is of great value, for those wanting to go into other fields projects that provide or demonstrate other wider skills that employers look for are of equal value. One option for these research projects is the development of digital learning objects for the new curriculum. This shows the huge value of student staff collaboration on these projects. The students gain important and desirable skills in digital design, but also in the management and conceptualising of a new project and carrying it through to completion, while the university gains a novel teaching resource that otherwise would not have been developed. This approach seems to be one that could be used in a wide variety of subject departments at other universities and I feel would be warmly welcomed by students as an alternative final year project.
Spinning Plates : Working with Students as Partners to Delivery Innovative Scholarship
Sam Nolan & Sarah Learmonth* Durham University
The creation of this virtual portal, with pre arrival material for students coupled with digital resources for demonstrating practical skills needed on certain courses, seems an excellent idea. The example shown was fantastic, starting simply with explaining the names of each of the pieces of equipment used in a science experiment, then letting the student find out their use using the virtual reality / digital model. This I believe would be very reassuring for a student, who at school may not have benefitted from much practical experimental experience, to get up to speed with those who have been more fortunate, something which would also be of great value from a widening participation and access to higher education point of view. The pre-arrival portal is also an excellent idea, which all universities should definitely be providing. Students hear very little from their universities in the run up to their starting in September / October, and providing these pre modules to ease students into university life are of great value, especially when designed with student involvement who will be aware of the issues and anxieties that are most relevant to future students.