The key to email accessibility

We Digital Interns have lived and breathed accessibility for the last couple of months. If you were to ask any one of us for advice on how to make a document accessible, we could give you a bucket load of tips. It has now become second nature for us to use refinements to make our reports and presentations 100% accessible. 

However, most of us continue to bash out an email on the keyboard without considering our dyslexic friend, or how it will translate to audio for the partially sighted students in our cohort.  

a key inserted into a lock

The fact is, it’s easy to make a couple of quick enhancements to the email template to ensure that all emails follow basic accessibility principles. Giving equal thought to formatting an email as you would to a Word document is crucial. For example, using heading structures and detailed alternative text when adding an image helps the partially sighted person understand the context of the document. 

Outlook offers the same accessibility features as other Microsoft products; a few seconds spent checking will ensure your important content is actioned by readers. There is nothing worse for a dyslexic than being faced with lines and lines of text.  They seem to mingle into one and become over facing, so keep emails succinct and to the point. Less is more.  

mobile phone screen showing inbox

Here are some helpful tips to remember when composing an email: 

  • Use clear fonts 
  • Use a larger font size (12+) 
  • Use 1.5 line spacing  
  • Format your email consistently 
  • Add alt text to your images 
  • Avoid image only emails 
  • Make sure it is consistent, defined and easily digestible 
  • Check the colour contrast using WebAim 
  • Use the accessibility checker before sending 

Take a look below at some further ways in which you too can now ensure that your emails are fully accessible, taking into consideration important aspects such as colour contrast levels, using a digital signature and adding alt text to images/screenshots.

Poor Contrast Levels

A common mistake is using poor colour contrast. If you need to use colours within the email then you check out the contrast on WebAim, ensuring that it is fully accessible.  

examples of good and bad contrast
Examples of Good and Poor Contrast 

Built-in Signature

Finally, using the built-in signature feature to add a few refinements can help spread the message throughout the Edge Hill community.  Why not add a line on the importance of accessibility to your email signature?

How about adding a link to this easy to follow “how to” document, so others can join the accessibility club?

For more information about accessibility staff can visit the following wiki pages – https://go.edgehill.ac.uk/display/ls/Accessibility

Students can also visit our Build Accessible webpages to learn more about accessibility – https://www.edgehill.ac.uk/ls/onlinelearning/build-accessible/

By Paula Garlick (Student Intern)

Photograph of Paula

Wellbeing tips from Edge Hill’s Digital Student Interns…

Wellbeing: The state of being comfortable, happy, or healthy.

Happiness, comfort, and good health is a goal which stands at the heart of success; the Digital Student Interns have shared some of the ways in which they achieve good emotional and physical wellbeing…

First up is having time to relax– sometimes this falls into each day or week, and other times this means scheduling ‘down-time’ into your to-do list or timetable! It is easy to focus on productivity and being busy, but rest is imperative for the body to rebuild and regrow. Within this, comes sleep! It is without question that maintaining a regular sleep schedule (where possible) and getting between 7 and 10 hours of sleep per night, helps us to feel energised and positive each day. Additionally, some interns have suggested that listening to podcasts, audio-books, or using the Headspace mobile app have helped them to be mindful, and focus on relaxation. Getting outside and breathing in some fresh air, feeling the sun on your skin, and perhaps going for a short (or long) walk can provide an unrivalled boost to the system too.

Walking boots image.

Staying hydrated by drinking water, as well as maintaining a healthy and balanced diet full of fruits and vegetables is another popular way to stay happy and healthy. Not only is water the elixir of life and is imperative for surviving, keeping fluids up is the key to thriving each day too- flushing out the toxins, battling those nasty headaches and supporting the basic needs of the body. The vitamins and minerals packed into fruits and vegetables too provide nurture to our bodies- whether it’s a smoothie every morning, some dried mango as an easy snack for on-the-go or a plate full of salad-goodness for your evening meal! Also, ‘laughter is the best medicine– a shared belief within the Intern group which never fails to lift spirits and boost emotional wellbeing.

Image of a smoothie on a table.

Having a giggle with friends or family out in town, or even just over a coffee in the garden is a perfect mood-enhancer, but there can also be a chuckle found in feel-good films and TV series. Why not check out ‘Box of Broadcasts’ with your Edge Hill student login and watch your favourite shows for free online, there is something on there for everyone. The top picks for the interns are Gavin and Stacey, Disney Films, Marvel, and Brooklyn99! TV not your thing? Immersing yourself in a good book might feed your happiness- Catalyst at the heart of Edge Hill campus has a wide range of fictional and non-academic based books and magazines which may spark your interest. In fact, there is a brand new ‘fiction for fun’ section coming to the bottom floor of Catalyst where you can browse your favourite books. Personally, I love a fiction book, but some of the Interns suggested that books based on their hobbies and passions, such as Greek mythology, crafts or astronomy tickle their fancy.

Finally, there was a strong consensus among the Digital Interns that getting our bodies moving was the key to physical and emotional wellbeing. Some of us love going to the gym, some favoured swimming, a few were partial to dancing like no-one is watching, yoga, gym classes, and others loved a quick 10-minute workout from Youtube. The subsidised gym membership provided at Edge Hill Sport Centre also gives a chance for students and staff members to feed their wellbeing 7 days a week with a whole range of different activities!

Image of a woman doing yoga.

So there stands just a few ways that the Digital Student Interns have found to boost their physical and emotional wellbeing. Everybody is different, so why not try your hand at a few of the above suggestions for health, comfort, and happiness?

Here is the link to Edge Hill Box of Broadcasts where you can browse your favourite shows or discover something new!

Box of Broadcasts – Edge Hill University

And… why not browse the Library Catalogue and find a good book to tuck into: Library and Learning Services – Learning Services (edgehill.ac.uk)

If you fancy popping into the Edge Hill University Arts Centre (Ormskirk Campus) to watch a film or browse What’s On, click here! The Arts Centre – The Arts Centre (edgehill.ac.uk)

By Eleanor Rowell (Student Intern)

Photograph of Eleanor.

The Benefits of LinkedIn Learning.

LinkedIn Learning graphic

With increased focus on digital learning, a self-guided approach to professional development has never been more important. Thankfully, Edge Hill’s Library and Learning Services have recently partnered with LinkedIn Learning, giving students free, unlimited access to thousands of high-quality courses developed by industry experts. Courses range from software guidance to advice on maintaining your wellbeing, and can be anywhere from short, 10-minute tutorials, to extensive, 4-hour upskilling courses.

Many LinkedIn Learning courses include exercise files that enable you to work alongside the course leader’s instructions. Upon finishing a course, you will be provided with a Certificate of Completion, which you can add to your LinkedIn profile and download for use elsewhere. The skills you have gained on the course will be added to the ‘Skills & Endorsements’ section of your LinkedIn profile, increasing your chances of appearing in relative search results. LinkedIn Learning also tailors your course suggestions based on your history. So, if you complete a course on Google Analytics, similar courses on Marketing will appear in your feed. It’s a great way to keep track of your progress and to stay on top of industry developments. Plus, by taking a self-directed approach to learning, you are demonstrating your commitment to professional development, enhancing your appeal to prospective employers.

My Top 5 LinkedIn Learning Courses.

Graphic of student working on ipad.

Digital Accessibility for the Modern Workplace, with Hector Minto.

As a Digital Intern, I have focused heavily on ensuring content is accessible to all students. Therefore, an understanding of disability requirements is imperative. Not all disabilities are visible, and some may even hide their disabilities for fear of discrimination. Therefore, it is important that we uncover gaps in our thinking to ensure working environments are as safe and inclusive as possible. This course covers vision, hearing, motor/dexterity, cognition/learning, mental health, and speech disabilities. It also includes guidance on increasing the accessibility of social media, meetings, emails, and presentations.

Google Universal Analytics (2020), with Corey Koberg.

As anyone with an interest in marketing will know, SEO is key to understanding customers. This course gives beginners a firm foundation for exploring Google Analytics, breaking down navigation basics, essential reports, metrics and dimensions, and user engagement. It certainly takes some practice, but once you have set up a Google Analytics account and you have added the tracking tag to your chosen sites, you get start getting to grips with the basics.

Marketing on Twitter, with Megan Adams.

I was recently appointed as a casual Communications Officer for a project I am passionate about, and my main responsibility is managing the social media. Therefore, maximising user engagement and building contacts through Twitter is crucial. This course covers branding, building a Twitter audience, and leveraging the power of your tweets. Here are some top tips I have taken away:

  • Include a call to action at the end of the tweet, e.g. ‘visit our website for more information’.
  • Add 2 keywords from any linked content to the body of your tweet.
  • Include images where possible, as tweets with visual elements drive more engagement.
  • Create Twitter lists to organise and prioritise tweets. This is useful if you don’t want to miss any content from specific users.
  • Use TweetDeck to schedule your Tweets. This helps to ensure a steady flow of content.

Learning to Write Marketing Copy, with Ian Lurie.

Many English graduates will know that copywriting positions are very competitive. Employers often ask for previous experience in a similar role; therefore, being able to provide evidence of adaptive writing skills is essential. This course takes you through the fundamentals of collateral, medium and style, how to construct an audience specification and how to clarify your copy. It also covers handy A/B and multivariate testing tools such as Optimizely and Unbounce for measuring Conversation Rate Optimization, so you can actually analyse the effectiveness of your copy.

Learning Excel 2019, with David Rivers.

I have always found Microsoft Excel intimidating. I struggle with numerical data, so the sight of formulas, graphs and grids can send me into panic mode. However, once I learned about formatting, formulas, and inserting charts, I realised that the basics of Excel are pretty straightforward. In fact, the programme’s auto functions make it a dream for those who have difficulty quantifying data, as Excel does all the hard work for you.

Graphic of person surrounded by data images, paper, graphs, phone etc.

For more top course recommendations compiled by digital interns, visit Getting Started with LinkedIn Learning.

EHU students can access further guidance on LinkedIn Learning through the Library and Learning Services.

By Laura Glancy (Student Intern)

Photograph of Laura Glancy

Turning your Mobile Phone into a Tool for Success – 6 ways to Optimise your Potential.

On average, Brits spend 3 hours and 23 minutes staring at their mobile phone each day. To put this into context, that’s 49 days of the whole year, can you imagine spending a month and a half sat looking at your phone the entire day? – tiring right? Yet we still do it. The most popular app in 2020 was TikTok – a highly addictive short video sharing platform. Imagine if we utilised the hours we look at our phone and turn it into a more productive tool to boost ourselves and maximise potential. Here’s 6 ways we can do that:

1. Podcasts

Podcasts have started to gain popularity over the past few years, but some people still don’t utilise them to their full potential. Podcasts are great. Stick them on whilst doing the cleaning, doing your makeup before a night out or in the morning to get you started for the day. Not only are podcasts a great substitute to pointless videos, they also limit the time actually spent viewing your phone in turn making you less exposed to blue light – win win! It’s a great way to find new hobbies and interests and learn new things! Spotify shows top podcasts by category, meaning you can explore podcasts to do with music, science, sports, true crime and much more! Some of my favourite podcasts include:

Times News Briefing

A short 2-3-minute podcast every day discussing the latest headlines aired 3 times a day! A great way to start your morning informed.

JaackMaates Happy Hour

A podcast hosted by Youtuber JaackMaate and his friend Stevie White who provide a comedic style podcast every Monday and Thursday. They often invite celebrity guests and YouTube stars to sit and discuss different topics. The podcast is famously known for asking each guest what their favourite meal deal is!

The Yes Theory Podcast

Another youtuber hosted podcast which explores how discomfort may hold the key to meaning and happiness. Alongside their YouTube channel, Thomas, Matt and Ammar break the boundaries with their ‘Yes’ theory – the theory of saying yes to everything. Their podcasts and YouTube videos are inspiring and perfect for self-growth and reflection.

Podcasts - Times New Briefing, JaackMaates Happy Hour, The Yes Theory Podcast.

2.    Regular Screen Time Checks

Many phones have an in-built app displaying screen time. It shows exactly how much time you spend on your phone and what on. Almost most of us are aware of this, how many of us actually use it to our potential? Knowing how much time you spend on your phone and setting limits is crucial. Could you be using your phone more wisely? Do you really need to spend 3 hours a day on TikTok? When you begin to cut back and substitute that time with more productive apps, you begin to use your phone as a tool for success. Being aware of limits and setting goals whilst requires self-strength, will allow you to optimise your phones potential.

3.    Productivity apps

If you struggle setting boundaries yourself and are easily tempted to scroll on your phone – I know how you feel we’ve all been in an endless tiktok hole, then use apps that help you stay on track. Forest is a mobile productivity application that enables users to focus on their work by planting trees. You can set timers to distance yourself away from your phone, and whilst time ticks on the app, a tree is planted creating a virtual garden (whilst also giving you the option to plant a real-life tree – how great!) If you use your phone, the tree dies! Applications like this are a fun way to stay focused and productive. How about you start a league with your friends, who can track the most hours focused on the app? Everyone loves a bit of friendly competition.

To find more apps view the top 35 productivity apps for iPhone here: 35 Top Productivity Apps for iPhone (2021 Updated) (lifehack.org)

Or for android these 25 apps may be useful: Top 25 Must-Have Productivity Apps For Your Android 2019 (techviral.net)

Productivity apps

4.    Remove unnecessary apps and replace with educational platforms

As much as playing Subway Surfers passes the time in a long car journey, replacing them hours with fun learning is way more beneficial. How about learning a new language with Duolingo whilst on the way to your staycation? The platform offers 30+ languages for on the go language learning! Fancy some meditation? Download Headspace a mindfulness app to help manage a happy and relaxed lifestyle, or a chef in the kitchen? BBC Good Food gives users an extensive recipe data base to help you keep inspired in the kitchen. How about inspire others by posting your meals on Pinterest or Instagram?

5. Turning off notifications

A simple yet effective hack. Resisting the temptation can be difficult, by removing your notifications you are less likely to check social media as often. This gives you more time doing productive things you enjoy. So, go on, turn them off right now!

6.    Following people who make you feel good

This post isn’t suggesting stop using social media completely, social media is great when used in the correct way. Following people who inspire positivity and productivity can benefit your day massively. The links between negative body image and the use of social media is frightening but reclaiming apps like Instagram and creating a positive space is super easy! Although the gummy hair sweets look delicious or the cuticle cream is a must have… influencers who promote a positive lifestyle are the way to go! My favourite positively inspired wellbeing influencers include:

@mikzaaon on Instagram who promotes body positivity.

@justalittlebitofpositivity on Instagram who shares inspiring quotes and reminders.

@selfcarevisuals on Instagram who are a self-care and positivity page sharing tips and tricks to lead a healthier, happier life.

For more inspirational Instagram accounts visit: 25 Most Inspirational Instagram Accounts to Follow—Inspiring Instagram Accounts (parade.com) which runs through the 25 most inspirational accounts to follow!

Good Vibes Only

And there we have it! 6 tips to optimise your mobile phone potential. I hope these tips have been useful and begin to be incorporated into your daily life. Remember you have the power to change your phone into a tool for success, let’s get started!

By Jenna Wade – Student Intern

Jenna Wade

A Magical Experience: A Harry Potter Blog

Hello, I am Reece, and I am Student Intern at Edge Hill University. I hope by now you have come across at least one of my blogs because if not, you will find this one very strange. So, before I get into it, I will give you a bit of background on how this will go; I will discuss the previous week of the internship and focus on what I completed and how I maintained a positive attitude. However, the biggest plot twist in history is that I will write it as if I am at Hogwarts, so you Harry Potter fans better enjoy this! Ok, I have chatted too much about the irrelevant bits so let me just get on that nine and three-quarters platform and pop on the Hogwarts Express.

Hogwarts Express

Dear Muggles,

What a week it has been. Hogwarts has been fascinating, and since I started as a wizard (Student Intern) in week 1, I have learnt so much, and my magical skills have improved tremendously.

Let’s start off with the beginning of the week. Our headmaster, Dumbledore (Sarah), returned after their lovely break and caught up with all the wizards in Gryffindor (Faculty of Education). We all had an engaging catch-up, completed a few spells and even had a Butterbeer to celebrate Dumbledore returning. No, I am only joking; Butterbeer is after work hours only, or we would be banished to Azkaban for the remainder of our lives. I made some new potions (Posters) this week for the Mental Health task, and I do have to say I am pretty proud of them. I have learnt so much more about positive wellbeing, and I am confident the posters will benefit other wizards. Ok, that is enough about the start of the week because who is really interested in that? Let’s open a whole new door and see what I can share about Wednesday…

Opening a new door

Alohomora …

I created Meet the Team posters with my fellow wizard friend, Sharnie, to share some facts about the professors. This will benefit the new wizards arriving at Hogwarts in September because they will know what the professor specialises in. For example, potions, spells, muggle studies or charms. It has taken us nearly 7 weeks to complete this task, and it has been mentally draining at times to keep up with the workload and emails from over 70 professors, so what have I done to remain positive and not stress? There were only so many Bertie Bott’s jelly sweets I could eat, so I asked my fellow wizard, Amy, if they wanted to play Quidditch (UNO) during our lunch. We had a few games until we got angry because we kept losing and decided to fly off on our brooms to enjoy the rest of our lunch.

So, we are coming to the last two days of my Week 8 Hogwarts experience, and I can say I was mentally prepared for some new tasks. At that moment, Dumbledore set a new task to create a branded design for Gryffindor (Faculty of Education). All the wizards decided to cast their own spells and share their own ideas. This was great as it improved our creativity and team working skills. Nevertheless, we have still not decided on the perfect design, but we have all promised to include most or all our spells, so we all have an input in the design. Also, during that day, we had a meeting with the Ministry of Magic, but don’t worry everyone, the Ministry of Magic is no longer corrupt as it once was when Harry Potter attended Hogwarts. The lovely Laura and Leah are the Heads of the Ministry of Magic, so everything runs very smoothly. Unfortunately, Leah was out observing muggles, but Laura was there so we could share how Hogwarts has been, and she asked us for some content to have for the event in week 12 at the Ministry of Magic (The last week of the internship).

Hogwarts Castle

Finally, the day every wizard and muggle wait for… Friday! I had an important evening in Diagon Alley, but back to work talk. I created some more potions (posters) and completed my weekly reflection for the Ministry of Magic. I also made sure I helped another wizard with some content that will be shared on The Daily Prophet showing the LTD staff.

I had a busy week, I guess, but I didn’t run into any Death Eaters or get tangled in the Whomping Willow. Week 8 has been enjoyable, and I got a lot of work done which makes me feel positive about my contribution to Hogwarts, and more specifically, Gryffindor. I hope you have all enjoyed reading my week at Hogwarts, but now I am going to steal the Weasley’s family car, Flying Ford Anglia. See you all very soon.

 

Weasley’s family car, Flying Ford Anglia.

By Reece Thomas – Student Intern

A Week in the Life of a Student Intern

Monday:

Today was completely different to my usual Mondays as I was not working, instead I was GRADUATING! Honestly, I am still in disbelief at the whole day, I can’t believe that I have done it! The stress I felt the morning of was off the charts, even the slightest of traffic jams made me panic. I ended up having to get dressed in the car which as you can imagine was rather comical; “don’t drive past any lorries or buses for the next five minutes please Dad”.

We finally arrived and I waddled out of the car to registration in ridiculously impractical heels (rooky mistake). After putting my cap and gown on I went to meet my friends and their families before heading over to the ceremony. The ceremony was fantastic, and I cried at least 3 times (I am an emotional wreck). I think this past year has just become so surreal to me because it wasn’t the final year that I had envisioned, and we have all gone through so much, but everything happens for a reason and I could not be prouder of myself and all of my fellow classmates.

Photograph of Rachel at graduation.

After the ceremony I had my pictures taken and then picked up my complimentary picnic basket from the front lawn – this was amazing. It was in the most gorgeous big black box and inside contained: prosecco, a selection of sandwiches and cakes, crisp, a sausage roll and a quiche. Edge Hill really did go above and beyond to ensure this was a special day. I spent the rest of the afternoon with my friends and our families dipping into the picnic and celebrating the past three years. We finished the day off by walking round Edge Hill’s beautiful campus together one last time and recounting all the amazing memories we made here together.

Photograph of Rachel at graduation

Tuesday:

BACK TO WORK! It felt strange this morning going back to working for Edge Hill after spending the whole day on campus yesterday. I started the day by getting organised and speaking to colleagues to ensure that I hadn’t missed anything too important the day before. I then decided to complete a LinkedIn Learning course just to get me started and wake my brain up for the day. The weather was beautiful today, so I decided to put the parasol up and work in the back garden which really uplifted my mood – nothing better than a bit of sun to brighten your day!

For the rest of the day I dived right in with accessibility, I wanted to make sure that I caught myself up on the hours that I missed by not working on Monday and therefore really threw myself into it. This became quite a long day for me as the module I was working on consisted of a lot of similar PDFs. However, I broke the day up with LinkedIn Learning and still felt great about the progress that I made. On to the next day!

Wednesday:

Today I woke up determined to finish the module that I have been working on. It consisted of over 60 PDFs all containing multiple pages and I very much wanted to complete it and move on to something else. With this motivation in mind, I woke up and dived straight into accessibility. PDFs are such a peculiar document to work on as some of them are incredibly easy and quick fixes, whilst others take up half of the day and still don’t quite reach 100% accessibility. Most files that I had been working on today needed tagging from scratch and then little things such as adding a title and the language. Depending on the size and content of the document these tasks vary in completion time. However, I went into the day with a strong mindset and the results of this showed through the amount of work that I got done – another proud day at the office.

Thursday:

This morning I began by finishing the module I had been working on. After doing most of the hard work yesterday I only had to work on a few extra things before this was finished which was a great feeling. Later on in the morning I attended the FAS catch up meeting with a few of my colleagues and the leaders of the internship. I always enjoy theses meetings as it gives me an insight into what everyone else is doing and allows me to address any problems that I have faced. It’s also a lovely way to stay connected with others and not fall into the trap of isolating myself whilst working from home.

After the meeting I had half an hour till lunch, so I decided to start a LinkedIn Learning course and wait till after lunch to start a new module. After lunch I had a quick meeting with some other colleagues about blogs going forward and just discussed some new ideas as a group. I think it so much better sharing my ideas with others as it helps bring them to life and other people’s opinions really allows any ideas to reach their full and best potential.

For the rest of the day I started on a new module, again focusing primarily on making PDFs throughout the module 85% or more accessible.

Green plant beside white desk, with phrase on wall saying 'punch today in the face'.

Friday:

It’s Friday! Can’t believe we’ve made it through another week already, time is going so fast it’s crazy!

Today I continued to focus on accessibility, however, because I had so much to do, I decided to break up the day with LinkedIn Learning. I decided to follow the routine of an hour and a half accessibility and then 30 minutes of a LinkedIn Learning course. I did this for the whole day, and it turned out to be productive!

When it got to half an hour before finish, I completed my daily tasks such as my weekly reflection, daily reflection and time sheet. I am really looking forward to having these reflections to read over once I have finished the internship. At 5pm I closed my laptop and got myself ready for another exciting weekend – see you on Monday!

By Rachel Roche (Student Intern)

Photograph of Rachel Roche

Reflective Entry – Week 6

Introduction

I cannot believe that we are already halfway through this internship. Everyone has been so great and welcoming, in fact I felt settled within the first week. This job has been the ride of a lifetime and we’re not even over yet! 

As well as focusing on accessibility this week I will also complete a mid-way evaluation report, which is where Andrew (my colleague) and I wrote about how the internship is going in a mid-way evaluation report. This was an exciting start to the week, and I cannot wait to get started! 

Monday 

I always think it’s useful to have a morning routine to help start the day. Mine is a cup of coffee with whatever I fancy for breakfast. I usually have peanut butter on toast – they always make me feel energised. After I finished my toast, I logged onto my loan laptop to get started with the day. 

A cup of tea next to a laptop

The Learning Technology Development (LTD) Team provided every Student Intern with a timetable to help us all keep track of what sessions, training sessions and UniSkills webinars. The first session for today is “Whoa, we’re halfway there!” – Week 6 Catch Up Session”. This was an exciting opportunity as I got to catch up with everyone else on the internship and see how they are doing – everyone is doing fantastic and really enjoying the internship. By far my favourite part of it is interacting with the rest of the Student Interns and learning more technology skills along the way, especially with making Portable Document Format (PDFs) accessible. 

One thing I love about this internship is that supervisors aren’t the only ones that organise the sessions. 3 other Student Interns hosted a wellbeing session. Keeping your well-being in tip-top shape is mega important, if you don’t then you have the chance of feeling sad and no one wants that! We need to happy to be able to do our best, have confidence in ourselves and most important of all being happy. 

A PowerPoint slide showing different methods of how to keep your Emotional wellbeing healthy.

I learnt a lot of useful strategies to keep my mental health and wellbeing healthy, such has having hobbies. It’s important to find a hobby to help give yourself a break because then you have found something that makes you happy. One of mine is playing Mario Kart 8 deluxe on Nintendo Switch, I’m good at that game! In fact, it’s what I usually do in my spare time it always cheers me up! 

At the end of the day I logged off my PC and went straight on Mario Kart. I’m excited to what the rest of the week will bring. 

Tuesday 

After a great night sleep, I woke up and performed the usual morning routine, then I turned on my laptop and got to work on today’s tasks. Soon after Phase 2 began on the 14th of June 2021 I received templates for Microsoft PowerPoint, making our lives a lot easier when it comes to making the lectures and seminars accessible. Accessibility is important because it has become an extension to the equality act 2010. Therefore, any documents published after September 23rd of 2019 must be accessible. 

Today I came across a bit of a challenge: Ally was not agreeing with a PowerPoint title. The title on the slide was in black text, however, Ally showed it as white text, to fix this error I had to perform research. Researching and problem solving is one of the best elements of this internship because I can learn new skills without the need of a training session. As a result, the research helped me fix this error, it turned out that Ally was using what the colour settings were set as in PowerPoint, not the font colour. After I fixed the colour contrast error it was resolved. 

At the end of the day my technical skills have increased, and I feel good about that! You really do learn a lot in this internship and I’m loving it! 

Wednesday 

Every day working on this internship I learn a new skill and today was no different. There is one module that has a lot of PDFs in it to make accessible. The process of making PDFs accessible works a bit differently than making Microsoft documents accessible, every object like text and an image needs a tag, which is how PDFs identify the types of object in the document. This will take a lot of time to do manually, which is executed by using the reading order tool available in Adobe Acrobat Pro. However, Adobe Acrobat has an auto tag tool available which automatically tags the objects in the document, this will make my life a lot easier when making the PDFs accessible.

Overall, I have been extremely happy with today as I was able to make 10 PDFs accessible and learnt a new skill. I logged off and relaxed with a cup of tea ready for the rest of the day. 

Thursday 

This day was a fun day of the internship! 3 Student Interns created a Student Intern Quiz, which was in a pub quiz style. The quiz had 8 themes: General, Superhero, Film, Edge Hill history, Accessibility, Celebrities, and guess the music. 

The student intern quiz title slide
An image showing one of the questions during the student intern quiz. Which is When was Edge Hill Founded, the correct answer is 1885.

I thoroughly enjoyed the quiz; it was a nice break from improving the module areas. The very fact that other Student Interns made this quiz is astonishing, it makes it even more fun! My favourite theme was guess the music, I am a huge fan of music, it is my tool I use to improve my well-being. One of the songs in this theme is the most streamed song on the popular music platform Spotify, it is Shape of You by Ed Sheeran! I’m so happy that song came up because Ed Sheeran is one of my favourite singers. Overall, I placed 25th in the quiz which I am proud of, but I was there for the fun not to be competitive.  

I spent the rest of the day working on the mid-way point evaluation with Andrew, which is currently going well. 

Friday 

Friday, the final day of the week has arrived. I am a bit sad that the week has nearly come to an end, everyone on this internship is so great and working on the mid-way evaluation form is also fun to work on too. 

Speaking of which the mid-way evaluation form, it is an individual project evaluation for each small project within the large project and our professional development. My favourite part of the report is the individual project evaluation because we need to provide some data to show how hard we have worked. For the first project (accessibility) all but 1 module have been made 90% or more accessible, the other is 85% accessible. Andrew and I are both tremendously pleased with ourselves we have made such an impact on accessibility. 

You might remember from my last blog I completed a LinkedIn Learning course called Communicating with confidence. I did that course because I wanted to improve my confidence with communicating to others. However, I still wanted to expand my communication skills, so I completed another one on communication called Interpersonal Communication. This course increased my skills of how to communicate with my colleagues and supervisors, as well as communicating in tricky situations. I can already tell this LinkedIn Learning course will help me a lot as I continue throughout through the final 6 weeks of the internship. 

An image showing some of the Linked in course Interpersonal communication course. It says Effective communication is key to executive presence, meaning do you seem like a leader.

After I handed in my mid-way evaluation form and completed the LinkedIn Learning course, I logged off my laptop with a smile on my face, looking forward to next week’s work.

Please keep an eye out for Rachel’s blog coming out very soon, you won’t want to miss it! 

By Simon Hackett-Evans (Student Intern) 

The Perfect Work from Home Recipes: 15 Minute Breakfast Ideas to Help You Through the Day!

Overnight Oats


Overnight Oats are fabulous. They barely even fall into the category of 15 minute meals as you make them the night before AND that alone takes 5 minutes! This no-cook breakfast option leaves you with a healthy grab-and-go meal to enjoy throughout the week. Plus – it’s endlessly customisable! The beauty of them is that you can make them as simple or as fancy as you prefer. They are perfect for Student Interns who might get up no long before they are due to sign onto Teams for the day!

For this overnight oat recipe, you will need 50g of rolled oats and 2 tablespoons and natural yogurt. This is the basic recipe. As extras, you could add some honey, 50g of mixed berries or some protein powder. The procedure is simple, in a mason jar, stir together the oats and yogurt. Leave the jar in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours. Add any other ingredients!

ProOat Pancakes


What is better than a heap of pancakes for breakfast? Healthy pancakes! Packed with protein and fibre, these are my personal go-to choice most days! By following this recipe, you can get your brain and body perfectly powered up to complete all the tasks at hand and smash your day.

Just read this recipe and tell me it doesn’t look amazing.

For the Pro Oat pancake recipe, use 50g of oats, 1 banana, half a teaspoon of baking powder, 1 scoop of protein powder and 70ml of any milk. To make this recipe, blend together all of the ingredients until the batter is smooth. Heat a non-stick pan for about 2 minutes. Add the batter to the pan in small circles and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side. Serve the pancakes with any toppings you wish!

Shakshuka


This Middle Eastern dish is perfect. Not only is it ridiculously delicious but it can also be made for breakfast, lunch or tea! It’s made from simple, healthy ingredients – Shakshuka literally means “a mixture” and the traditional version uses tomatoes, onions and spices as the base with eggs poached on top.

Here is a recipe for shakshuka. You will need a medium sized onion, 1 diced red pepper, 4 garlic cloves, 2 teaspoons of paprika, 1 teaspoon of cumin, a tin of chopped tomatoes and 3 eggs. To create this meal, heat some oil in a large pan on medium heat. Add the chopped pepper and onions and cook for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and spices to this pan, when adding the chopped tomatoes, break them up with a large spoon. After this, make wells in the mixture and crack the eggs into them. Cover the pan and cook for 5-6 minutes.

By Lydia Woods (Student Intern)

To Everyone That Has Made Me Smile

Hi, I’m Reece, and I am a student at Edge Hill University and a Student Intern within the Faculty of Education (FoE).

How is there only five weeks left to the internship? I’m not sure how it has gone so fast, but I definitely don’t want it to end.

This will be quite different from any other piece I have written as I will explain why working with a great team has made me more motivated, confident, and engaged in work.

Balloons

Let’s start with the FoE team…

The FoE team are brilliant, and I don’t think I have a bad thing to say about any of them. Every morning we have a team meeting to discuss our work and deadlines. However, we also end up chatting about the next Marvel film or how I don’t like chocolate but sometimes drink a Mocha. The endless conversations and the laughs we cherish are what makes the internship so much more fun.

Neon lights saying 'say cheese'

Ailsa, you are a dream to work with, and I can honestly say that the team would be lost without you. You make our meetings more engaging, and I’m sure I have been told a new story from your life every time we organise a Microsoft Teams meeting. Thank you for being the mum of the group.

Harry, I’m not sure where to start, but I do want to say sorry for always annoying you. However, you are very hard-working. You deserve a reward for all the tasks you have completed during the internship. Calm.

Amy, you are really kind-hearted, and I always appreciate it when we work together because not only are we a great team, but we are always laughing together. Although you were quiet at the beginning of the internship, we now can’t get you to be quiet. You bring positivity to the team, and I am grateful for that. Thank you.

Sharnie, you definitely bring creativity to the team. All your engaging tasks are very enjoyable, especially the Escape Room that I completed in only 6 minutes (hehe). You are always smiling, and like the rest of the team, your positivity radiates through our Teams meetings. When you return to Ormskirk, you are definitely coming for a drink.

Faye, every time you speak, I just visualise how happy you were on your 60 seconds with Faye video. Them jazz hands will definitely be one of the highlights of the internship. You are always smiling and are always there to help the rest of us when we are struggling.

And Emma, you are so hard-working, and I think the team would be lost without you. Thank you for completing that huge spreadsheet task with Amy, but make sure you don’t open Microsoft Excel for another few weeks, or you will go insane.

Well, that is the FoE Interns in a nutshell. We are all very different, but I think we work well as a team. I have made some really good friends, and even last weekend we had a fantastic day together. The FoE team has helped me improve my communication skills and become more confident and engaged in work. You are all fantastic people, so thank you.

So now, the Vlog-Blog Squad Wellbeing team. After the initial meeting, Eleanor, Amber, and I joined forces and set up a meeting to discuss ideas. Now we produce so much content every week, and I have learnt so much from you. However, after a few meetings, we suddenly got a new member, Lydia, who has been so fun to work with (p.s. you still need to make a TikTok). Eleanor, you are so kind and considerate of everyone. Even the well-being session you created was so thoughtful. Amber, you are the most creative because Lydia “doesn’t have a creative bone in her body” (your words Lydia, not mine). Amber, thank you for helping me with my Vlog and just always being friendly and chatty. Finally, Lydia, thank you for being supportive. Although you joined late, you are definitely a great addition to the team.

Now, all the staff. Sarah, you are a bundle of joy, and you always light up our team meetings. Thank you for being so supportive and always making sure we are comfortable in the roles and tasks you assign. Thank you, Laura and Leah, for giving me this opportunity and providing a support system where I feel comfortable asking any question.

Thank you to everyone that has made me smile. 🙂 I am looking forward to meeting the rest of the interns when we go out in September.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this.

Photograph of people sitting around a campfire

By Reece Thomas (Student Intern)

Picture of Reece Thomas.

Week in the life of a Student Intern – Milena Bittmar.

Hi, my name is Milena, I am going into my third year studying English Literature and I am a Digital Student Intern at Edge Hill University. I am based in the Language Centre, which includes the Foreign Language side and also the English Language side. In this blog, I am going to show you what I get up to in a week, as a Digital Student Intern. This week I am also setting myself a goal to do something good for my physical and mental wellbeing every day, even if it is only something small.

Monday:

On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, I worked with James in the English Language side of the Language Centre department, 8:45 until 17:00, with an hour lunch break (which we can pick to have at any time). The first thing I did in the morning was open up Microsoft Teams on my laptop and make sure my status says available, so everyone knew that I could be contacted and that I am at work, and then the rest of the apps that I needed for the day. This included opening up Excel, where I log what I do throughout the day and also an changes that I make to the level of accessibility on the module that I work on in the day. This morning, James had uploaded some voiced-over PowerPoints, and I was in charge of making sure the captions all made sense, in terms of correct spelling and punctuation. This is one of my favourite things to do, despite being quite time consuming, as it is satisfying to see it all done at the end. I had five different videos to edit captions for, all between fifteen and twenty minutes, and therefore it took me the majority of the day! After my lunch break, I worked on making different documents (mostly PDFs) as accessible as possible through Adobe Acrobat DC, on a specific module.

My wellbeing task of the day – I started my week off by having a really healthy and filling breakfast of porridge with banana, blueberries and chia seeds, and did not forget my vitamins!

Black and red cherries on white bowl

Tuesday:

On Tuesday morning, I carried on making the module accessible. A lot of documents started at under 50% and ended up being 100% accessible!

It is important to take breaks and therefore my wellbeing task of the way was to spend as much time as I could outside, as well as doing my work. I made a set up outside in the 30 degree sunshine, although in the shade, got Weeks 5-10 completely accessible by the end of the day. In the evening, just before finishing work, I also filled in my daily timetable, where I write down the hours I worked.

Silhouette of mountains during sunset

Wednesday:

This morning, it was my last day working in the English Language sector with James, and so I wanted to finish making the module as accessible as possible (aiming for all of the documents to be 100% accessible by the end of the day). I spent the morning working on accessibility through Adobe Acrobat DC and then uploading them onto our University’s VLE system.

I completed all of the weeks, and the still had an hour to spare, so I thought I would get on with a LinkedIn Learning course on proofreading and editing, as I thought it would benefit my work now, and also in the future as I am planning to pursue a career in that sector once graduating and taking on a Masters in Publishing. That course took me to the end of the day, where I logged the hours I worked and signed out.

My wellbeing task for the day was to go for a walk, and because it was cooler than most days in the evening, I took my dog on a sunset walk in the park, and it was so lovely to get some fresh air, other than the garden – and movement is also so important for you mental and physical wellbeing.

People walking on green grass field near green trees under blue sky during daytime

Thursday:

On Thursday I worked with Lucy in the Foreign Language sector. I was making documents accessible, which included editing Italian PowerPoints, Word documents and PDFs.

I continued making documents accessible throughout the day, completed a LinkedIn Learning course and also wrote more of my blog when I had time. Then, as my wellbeing task, I read a book in the evening and made sure I got a really long, good night’s sleep – as that is what your brain needs the most after sunshine and working all day!

Person holding book sitting on brown surface

Friday:

Today, on the last day of the week, I worked with Lucy to make an additional module accessible, including a series of documents focused on the Mandarin language, which was exciting! I did that for majority of the day, and then had a meeting at 15:30 with the Language Centre to let them know what I have been working on all week and for them to let me know what I will be doing next week. I wrote up my weekly reflection and then finished off my blog, before going to enjoy the sunshine. My wellbeing task of the day was to get some sunshine, before it rains next week, and to socialise with a friend – which I did!

Trees during golden hour

By Milena Bittmar (Student Intern)