Day one of 12 weeks has begun. I woke up at 8am ready and raring to go (the first wake up is always the easiest). I did the usual, brush my teeth, wash my face and then a quick shower. The time is now 8:20am and I find myself stood in the mirror pondering over “what on Earth do I wear when working from home?” Anyone else have serious issues with this? I wanted a nice top so that I looked presentable on Teams but then I also felt strange getting all dressed up to literally sit in my bedroom. Not to mention the fact that it was boiling outside so this just confused the situation more. Anyway, after the first unnecessary drama of the day, I sat down at my desk, opened my laptop and mentally prepared for what was about to begin. Forty unfamiliar faces on my screen staring right back at me, it was safe to say I was thrown right into the deep end. Ignoring the nerves, I switched my webcam on and became a part of the team.
Fast forward a few hours and I am so completely content that I have made the right decision for my career and my summer. I had so many doubts about not being capable enough for the job and worries about missing out on things over the summer due to working full time. However, a few sessions in and I already felt confident that I was being trained by the most equipped and experienced members of staff and surrounded by passionate and supportive work colleagues.
After a long day of ice breakers and training sessions, I logged off ready for the next day.
Today we dived right in with all things accessibility. I found out that my role throughout this internship is going to be very focused on ensuring all University documents are as accessible as they can be, for example, they include alt-text on images, headings and subheadings and are a readable font etc.
After this we met with the LTD team (which really put me at ease knowing that I will be working with such an approachable and intelligent team) and then began to discuss and work using Blackboard Ally. Having self-directed time today allowed us to actively practice using Blackboard Ally therefore giving me more confidence for the weeks ahead.
Today we learnt about Panopto which was a strange experience for me. Panopto is a platform that allows lecturers to upload their lecture slides and add a voice over to them in order to create a lecture. Panopto also incorporates captions throughout the videos to ensure that the lectures become accessible for students. In order to practice we had to create our own videos and have a look at the captions that Panopto automatically creates. I really had to wrap my head around talking into a laptop and then listening to my voice back but as soon as I got comfortable with the software, I felt a lot better about the whole thing.
We also had a session today about learning moving online/blended learning. This session provided the opportunity to learn more about the transition to online learning. It was also an opportunity for the rest of the cohort to share their experiences. I found myself getting emotional during this session due to discussing the past year and how isolated it has made students feel and all the things we missed out on. But it was good to hear from others too, highlighting our shared experiences and determination to adapt to a tough year.
I woke up fresh and in a good mood today. We jumped into the day talking about social media and blogs which of course sparked my interest massively due to it already being something I partake in and it being something I want to engage with for the rest of my career.
The next massive highlight of the day was finally meeting my departmental contacts. This at first was nerve-wracking as it was a new person I had to familiarise myself with, but it all so quickly became such a relaxed and positive experience due to my department head being so welcoming, compassionate and just a pleasure to talk to. The meeting felt relaxed which put me at ease about the thought of the next 11 weeks.
When the day ended it was time for me to travel back to my hometown (with Mum and Dad where the food is free). The full week took its toll on me as I travelled back on the train and as soon as I arrived home I unpacked and went straight to sleep.
The final day of week one, I cannot believe how fast it has gone! Waking up this morning alarmed me how READY I was for the weekend. Although I was tired, I was equally excited to finish the week in what I knew was going to be an interactive day.
We started the day by going into groups and creating our ‘perfect VLE’. This was such an exciting experience as I got to speak to people that I had not previously spoken too and really got the chance to be creative and confident within a group.
A lot of the day was then spent practicing and reminding ourselves of all the things we had learnt in the past week in order to be completely ready for the weeks ahead and to enhance our confidence in the skills.
We ended the day by completing a reflection task in order to make ourselves aware of how much we had already learnt. This was such a rewarding task as it allowed me to acknowledge how much my confidence had grown in just a week which just made it seem like anything is possible over the space of this internship.
After logging off, in true Friday night style, I got myself ready and headed out with my friends. It felt so good to let my hair down after a long week and to celebrate absolutely smashing my first week!
Cheers to 11 more weeks of challenges, fun and learning experiences!
By Rachel Roche (Student Intern)