Everything is awesome

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Quite a lot of my job these days involves doing things to enable other people – securing funding for things, socialising ideas, helping people talk to each other. Other people seem to do a lot more of the fun stuff and I spend a lot of time doing paperwork.

Some days though I have a few moments to look around and it’s quite humbling and pretty awesome.

Yesterday I went looking for a colleague and bumped into Karoline, who is working as a summer intern. Karoline is a Pyschology student and was part of the procurement team that helped choose our new lecture recording system. The experience of asking vendors to directly answer questions from a student requires it’s own seperate blog post, but suffice to say that Karoline so impressed us all with her commitment and enthusiasm that we offered her a summer internship to work with us on the rollout of lecture recording. It was inconceivable not to really – she is truly one of the team. One of the things she is working on is a series of videos offering different perspectives on recording lectures. The first is from her giving a student view.

The video was recorded by another talented colleague – Andy Todd – using some of the DIY Film School kit that we bought last year. Karoline told me yesterday how she’d now used the kit to film one of her lecturers and was now going to learn to edit video and make a similar piece from the academic perspective. I can see in our media repository that she’s done it already. And it’s good. Really good.

I also spent time yesterday down at Kings Buildings talking with colleagues about plans for Ada Lovelace Day 2017. Our School of Chemistry are very interested in taking a lead on the day, in no small part thanks to Dr Michael Seery (all round good egg whom we have infected with Wikipedia madness). Myself, Ewan and Stewart spent time with Michael and a group of really inspiring post-grad students discussing ideas for talks and activities for the day, and how we go about preparing for a Wikipedia edithathon. That was yesterday afternoon. Ewan has forwarded me on an email from one of them today brimming with ideas and enthusiasm and offering more than we could ask for.

Today I spent some rare and precious time doing fun stuff – a Wikidata workshop with Lea Lacroix that Ewan had organised. I got a chance to hang out for a short while with Lorna, Phil and Sara and talk about the potential for using Wikidata to explore a variety of digital literacy issues and concepts. I spent some more time learning to write SPARQL queries and visualise the data, and have made notes on how we might run our own Wikidata training sessions.

I could write more about how I was looking in our media repository and saw some of the work that another student intern has been doing to better curate the content in there (because in our first year our University community have uploaded over 16,000 videos!!!). Or I could talk about how I caught the tail end of one of my team giving a presentation at the end of a leadership course they did and their answers to the questions asked made me feel humble and privileged all over again to work with great people. But I think I’m gushing now, so I’ll stop.

(Don't forget to be awesome by Star Athena on Flickr CC-BY 2.0)

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