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My Year with Information Services

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I never expected to have my last day of work within my flat, away from my colleagues, deprived of the nice views of Edinburgh Castle and so far from the celebratory the cake from Love Crumbs that I was planning on having as soon as it hit 5pm. The current circumstances have left me with a slightly weirder finish to my student internship. However, working from has given me a lot of time to reflect on the incredible experiences I have gained.

It seems like yesterday that I was awake bright and early picking out the best outfit, making the perfect breakfast before arriving a keen 15 minutes early to the first day of my new job as the Learn Virtual Learning Environments Intern. Now about 10 months later I am wrapping up my time as Academic Blogging Intern and reflecting on what working for ISG over these past few months has taught me.

When I first found out I got a summer internship with the Information Services Group at university I was so thrilled, but that excitement soon washed over me. While I used various online resources and services every day for my degree, I had no idea the intricacy or technological aspects of how they worked. How was I, a humanities student, supposed to work within the IT department at the university? Did they expect me code? Oh god, I hope not.

Thankfully, no coding needed. Instead my job as Learn Virtual Learning Environment Intern involved creating training and support materials on how students and staff can better use Learn. As someone who has previous experience creating support materials through my role as a Peer Student Leader, I realized I had a lot more experience and grasp on this job than previously thought. I spent my summer enhancing my written and verbal skills as I created paper materials and videos on how to navigate the Learn environment (something that has built quite the legacy as my friends to this day call me ‘the voice of Learn’ after realizing I had made the Getting Started video for students). Not only that but there was an incredible amount I gained. In terms of digital skills, I learned how to record and edit screencasts and helped redesign the Learn web support pages. If you had asked me ten months ago if I would be able to prototype and then create a draft of a new website structure through EdWeb, I firstly would have no idea what EdWeb even is, and then would have definitely said I don’t have the skills or ability to even attempt that. This past summer really taught me how to take initiative and branch out and most importantly gain much-needed confidence in my skills and ability to do things I never thought I could.

With this newfound confidence, when I found out there was another position opening within my team for the academic year I leaped at the role. I wasn’t ready for my time at Argyle House to end (I still am not ready for it to end not but unfortunately I have a dissertation to write). Since September, I have been working as the Academic Blogging Intern, a role that has definitely evolved to become a lot of different things but has mostly focused on creating training and support for using the university’s blogs.ed system. I created a training handbook and presentation for using WordPress, tested lots of different WordPress plugins, and have become a bit of an expert on making screencast training videos. Not only did this job give me the newfound expertise on navigating WordPress, but I further developed so many of the skills I had cultivated over the summer.

Overall, this past year working for Information Services has been invaluable. I can’t thank the amazing Karen and Denny enough for being such great managers and for all the staff members I worked with and student interns I met who really made this experience so enriched. While this is goodbye to my role as a student intern, thankfully I will be around next year to continue to better the university in whichever ways I can as VP Community, and I have my time at Information Services to thank for inspiring me to even take on this new role.

See you for now!


Note from Karen (Acting Head of Digital Learning Applications and Media(DLAM))

This blog post was written by Amanda on her last day with us but posted by me due to a lack of time.  We weirdly had to say thanks and good-bye to Amanda in a socially-distanced way without the usual cakes and gifts.  We are so pleased that Amanda is joining EUSA for two reasons:  1) we love working with EUSA, they are really helpful providing feedback about our services and now we already have a great working relationship with a new EUSA staff member who has worked with us and knows our services really well  2) and obviously – most importantly 🙂  – we have the chance to do the cake and gifts thing with Amanda, just at a later date – because she’ll still be in Edinburgh. Hooray!

I would like to say a few things about Amanda.   Amanda has been a fantastic person to work with, the perfect intern in reality.  Very self-motivated and dedicated, she worked really hard with no dramas and we were always so pleased with the quality of her work.  She always made sensible decisions and has just been an absolute joy.  She also has the most amazing voice for screencasts, you should check some of them out! A star in the making and truly the ‘Voice of Learn’!

Thanks Amanda, you’ve been ACE!  Everyone in DLAM wish you all the best, and look forward to working with you in your new EUSA role!

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