A photo of Eva

Eva Spanachi – The journey of being a Digital Learning Intern

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Programme of Study and Year: 4th Year Chemistry

Hobbies: Art, reading, yoga, baking

Intern Position: Digital learning Intern

Describe your role in 4 words: Write a blog guys!

“Known as” at the office: That annoying person who wouldn’t stop sending emails about the ISG Student Employee blog

The opportunity to be part of the ISG team

In mid-April, having the usual mid-semester crisis I started thinking of what I would be doing over the summer! So I started a search to find an internship and I came across the various roles offered by ISG on MyCareerHub and everything looked very interesting (and not chemistry related, which would allow my brain to have a break from all the science). Having my interview with some of the Digital Learning Applications and Media (DLAM) members, I immediately realized that I really wanted to become part of that lovely team and was therefore really happy to receive an offer for the digital learning role.

The internship so far…

Part of my internship consists of general testing, as well as accessibility testing on University platforms. After undergoing some training on accessibility, I was so surprised to realize how unfamiliar I was with the whole concept and I definitely learned a lot about how to make things more accessible by considering things like using a correct colour contrast, alternative text when using images, captions in videos and the general structure of a site to make it easy to navigate when someone is not using a mouse or using a speech navigator for example. The general lesson I learned however, was to actually keep in mind the various audiences and not just assume that we all use computers and technology in the same way, but we definitely all deserve to be able to access and navigate through all online environments.

Another part of my role has been to create screencasts using MediaHopper to provide instructions on how to navigate around some teaching and learning sites such as Learn. I now know the struggle of having to record your own voice, and the need to have approximately a hundred takes before you decide to give up and use whatever you have recorded by convincing yourself that it is good enough! The first video I had to script and record was 1.5 mins long and it took me a day to perfect, caption and finally post so I can only imagine how difficult it must be to record an hour long lecture!

I was also recently able to observe how the Unidesk side of the team works and see how they keep the Learning Technology of the University working, and ensure that any issue that occurs is resolved. So I had the opportunity to follow through the process of how an issue, that a staff member or student may be dealing with on different university platforms, such as Turnitin and Learn, is handled and eventually resolved. In the next few weeks I will also be able to go through a few issues and try to propose a way to resolve the problem, and become familiar with the different stages of coming up with a solution.


Getting familiar with Blogs.ed!

The general and accessibility testing I did was on Blogs.ed which was really useful because it helped me get familiar with the website as I had to use it daily as part of having the role of the student intern blog editor. My first task with this role was to come up with a template for the blog posts (a challenging task considering I had never written a single blog post or anything similar before). So I had to come up with a plan!

-> Plan A: Read all the previous blogs written by interns and get inspired. Well, I discovered that there were too many previous interns and hence too many previous blogs and too little time!                                                                                                               -> Plan B:  Read a few blogs from each past summer to get inspired and create a template. That actually worked and I managed to structure a template. Step 1 done!     Step 2- Get the template approved and come up with a strategy on how to approach the other interns. I knew immediately that I had to find a way to make my fellow interns want to write blog posts without being too annoying.                                       Step 3- After annoying the interns I then had to edit and proofread their blogs and finally post them on the Information Services Group: Student Employee Blog. It has been great to see that the plan actually worked and interns did offer to write a blog, and I definitely enjoyed reading them all!

A few weeks left…

Only a few weeks left for the end of my internship and I am thankful that I had the opportunity to be part of such a lovely team, where everyone was very welcoming and supportive throughout the internship. Also very grateful that Covid managed to calm down and allow us to go to the office now and then and enjoy each other’s company in person, and got to meet other interns during the great Unitemps social events!

I hope all the interns had a great time during their internships and enjoyed their summers as well! Hopefully the rest of the staff in ISG enjoyed having us around and I am sure all of us appreciate their work and effort a lot more now that we got to see what is happening behind ‘the scenes’.


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