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Future Fest - Thursday

10am - Taking the fear out of speaking in front of people

Some people love it, some people hate it and some people do whatever they can to avoid it!
But at some point you're probably going to have to stand in front of people and speak to them.
The sad thing, though, is that if you don't do it well, aside from all of the stress and anxiety it may cause, you'll probably end up making a bad impression and that bad impression can be as bad for your prospects as the stress could be for your health.

Points of interest from the lecture (Grocott, 2017)
I got so much out of this session, there were some excellent top tips for speaking in front of people. The tips can be broken up into the word SPEAKER, each letter of word is anther word meaning something to do when speaking in front of people.

S – Smile. If you smile people around you smile its infectious, so if you smile at the audience they smile back and you feel happy and positive.

P – Posture. Posture is very important, having your head high shoulders in line and feet shoulders width apart, hands by your side. Posture helps you breath properly as a by product of this.

E – Eye Contact. Keep eye contact with the audience but don’t look at one person for too long its uncomfortable for the other person and everyone else feels you aren’t talking to them.

A – Audible. Being audible is important you need to project your voice so people at the back of the room can hear you.

K – Know. Know what you are talking about, if you don’t know what you are talking about you wont be confident.

E – Express Yourself. Prepare and practice and most of all be yourself not someone else as people will know its not really you and they will loose respect for you.

R – Recipients. Remember your recipients and thank them.

Throughout each of the above points we had small tasks that help us understand each point and how to achieve it. More information can be found at http://www.intercog.co.uk/

Grocott, M. (2017) Taking the fear out of speaking in front of people [Lecture to future fest week] Staffordshire University 16th November.

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Future Fest - Wednesday

1:30pm - DPD Design Sprint

The design sprint was an idea that Staffordshire university and the managing director of DPD came up with, they were looking for solutions for their problems. They brought a list of problems that the company currently has and also some problems that will affect business in the future and wanted our input on how to solve the problems.

1.30pm - 2pm Welcome and Introduction to the event (Room S530, Mellor Building)
2pm - 5pm Creative Session - student teams work on design ideas and proof of concept (Rooms S500/S520, Mellor Building)
5pm - 6pm Presentations - teams pitch ideas to DPD/University staff judging panel (Collision Space, Mellor Building)
6.30pm - 7pm Closing presentation where the winners of the event will be announced (Collision Space, Mellor Building)

This was a brief introduction to the staff from DPD and what a little history about their company and what we had to do.
Who are DPD?
Extract from DPD website DPD (UK) – About DPD (2017).
DPD is one of the UK's leading time-critical carriers and can satisfy all your distribution needs, whether your consignments are for the UK or elsewhere in the world.
Integrating our own extensive UK network with our unrivalled ground-based service to Europe and Air Express service to the rest of the world, we are well placed to satisfy all your distribution and logistics needs.
In addition, our team of people has the technology and information systems to provide a seamless service for you and your customers.
We have a total support network that will act - if you want it to - as an extension of your own business.

We had three hours to come up with ideas from a list of problems, we were to pick one and produce a presentation to present our solutions and improvements for the problem chosen. We decided to pick how we can improve the mobile app they already have. After a lot of thinking and planning we came up with the following improvements:

• Away switch – If you are nipping out to a friends for example you could toggle a button on the app that will let the know you are out and to leave the parcel with neighbours or a safe place.
• Alternative location – This links into the above feature, if you are around the corner for example at a friends house you could say delivery to your friends house instead, this would work in a pre-defined radius. When the driver turns up he would san a QR code on the recipients mobile device as a security feature that the parcel is going to the correct person.
• Home automation – Further app enhancements come via intelligent home speakers e.g. Amazon Echo and Google home to name a few. You would simple ask were your parcel is and the speak will respond and present options. This could connect with DPD’s existing chat bot they already use on the web site.
• Speech recognition – This feature is almost the same as the above but it would be based within the app, the user would press a button and then ask questions like above. This is very useful for people with sight problems that cant see a lot of text on their mobile device.
• Accessibility – The last ideas was a setting in the option menu to change colours and text sizes within the app, so that people visually impaired could see that information better.

Present Ideas
Every group presented from 5pm, we were first up. The presentation went very well and we manage to present all our ideas within the five-minuet window specified. We answered a few questions at the end, the feedback was very positive and they liked all our ideas.

DPD (UK) – About DPD (2017) Available at: http://www.dpd.co.uk/content/about_dpd/index.jsp (Accessed: 28 November 2017).

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Future Fest - Tuesday

10am - FAIR: Business, Computing and Engineering Fair

First thing Tuesday morning at 10am I turned up at the Business, Computing and Engineering Fair very excited and well prepared to meeting with potential employers. I came with business cards, CV’s and looking smart, as I was slightly nervous I decided to speak to some smaller names to build my confidence. Soon enough I was relaxed and ready to speak to the names what I wanted to about possible placement opportunities.

First off I spoke to NHS, unfortunately that don’t offer placement opportunities only paid employment after graduation. They describe what they do anyway and offered me a tour of their I.T. centre in Stok. After a long conversation of what I have done so far and the experience I have they were keen to get me through the door. They said that bank work is available and would be very ad-hoc, I was very interested in this and gave them my card and CV, they are going to contact me soon as work is available for me to do along side my studies.
My second big name was Amazon, I was very interested in working for this company as I love the products they produce e.g. Amazon Echo, Fire Tablets and Firesticks, I have all these products at home. I know that their main reason for them being at the fair was to look for networking students, this is something I have very little experience in. I asked if they had other roles available, one of the roles I was interested in they have is software engineering. I told they my history of software and programming languages that I know and how I am currently learning to code for the amazons own products the echo particular. They seemed very positive about all my experience and said I would have a good chance of interview and should apply. Unfortunately they couldn’t give me anymore information as they are network engineers.

The last big name that I spoke to was Barclays bank, Barclays offer a lot of placements and have all different areas that I could potentially go into. They handed me a booklet and a lot of information for me to look through and how to apply, they don’t take paper CVs so I would need to apply online through their own application system. Additional to this they offer all sorts of careers coaching and CV building services not just for apply to their own company. Once signed up you can have free careers advice and guidance for life, this is a real plus for the company.

I spoke to approximately 90% of the companies at the fair, 50% of those at the fair don’t take placement students including a forensics company due to security reasons. I found the whole experience very good, it was great to spend time networking with these companies I have introduced myself to them all and have contact details for the ones I want to stay in touch with.
The day after the fair I gathered all the information and sorted through and emailed, added people on LinkedIn that I met at the fair thanking them for the chance to meet and to stay in touch.

Global Entrepreneurship Week – Purpose - Points of interest from the lecture (Hyner, 2017)

Purpose and how having a purpose can help.
David speaks of how some speakers appear timid, shaking and terrified whist waiting in the wings but the moment they step out and begin, they become confident, composed. He says the reason for this is simple, they are speaking about their subject, their passion, their obsession and all their fears dissipate as they command the stage with conviction via their purpose. All their misgivings are pushed a side as their subject becomes stronger and more important to them than their fears.

To achieve confidence to speak to an audience you need PURPOSE.
Everyone has a dream of thing they want to achieve or do with their life, but sometimes we are not brave enough to follow the dream. Having a purpose is basically a dream or a massive goal, with this insight you will feel:

• Passionate
• Engages you
• Tell people about it
• Teach people about it
• Sets heart racing

This is what makes the goal achievable, this is what gives you the courage to say “Is that all you have got?” to setbacks. Many people use family, money, security, fame etc as their purpose and that’s what gives them the confidence and push to achieve their goals.

Hyner, D. (2017) Purpose [Lecture to futre fest week] Staffordshire University 13th November.

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Future Fest - Monday

10am - Using social media for employability

Digital footprints

“A definition of digital footprints can be found online (Digital Footprint Definition, 2014).
A digital footprint is a trail of data you create while using the Internet. In includes the websites you visit, emails you send, and information you submit to online services.

A "passive digital footprint" is a data trail you unintentionally leave online. For example, when you visit a website, the web server may log your IP address, which identifies your Internet service provider and your approximate location. While your IP address may change and does not include any personal information, it is still considered part of your digital footprint.
A more personal aspect of your passive digital footprint is your search history, which is saved by some search engines while you are logged in.

An "active digital footprint" includes data that you intentionally submit online. Sending an email contributes to your active digital footprint, since you expect the data be seen and/or saved by another person. The more email you send, the more your digital footprint grows. Since most people save their email online, the messages you send can easily remain online for several years or more.
Publishing a blog and posting social media updates are another popular ways to expand your digital footprint. Every tweet you post on Twitter, every status update you publish on Facebook, and every photo you share on Instagram contributes to your digital footprint. The more you spend time on social networking websites, the larger your digital footprint will be. Even "liking" a page or a Facebook post adds to your digital footprint, since the data is saved on Facebook's servers.

Everyone who uses the Internet has a digital footprint, so it is not something to be worried about. However, it is wise to consider what trail of data you are leaving behind. For example, remembering your digital footprint may prevent your from sending a scathing email, since the message might remain online forever. It may also lead you to be more discerning in what you publish on social media websites. While you can often delete content from social media sites, once digital data has been shared online, there is no guarantee you will ever be able to remove it from the Internet.”

Positive footprints - Points of interest from the lecture (Bayles, 2017)
A positive digital footprint is when you posts things online about being happy, funny or showing experience or knowledge.
Keeping positive digital footprints is extremely important, these days potential employees use the internet to search for an applicants online history they check sources such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn just to name a few. Its also not uncommon for them to do a straight forward google search on you.

52% of employers use social channels e.g. Facebook, Twitter to check up on an potential employee before or after interview. While 49% of employers just perform a straight forward google search with the potential employees name.

Negative footprints
A negative footprint is when you post online something that will embarrass you, such as talking to a person about a crime, cyberbullying, or inappropriate talking.

Top Tips
1. Use privacy settings where possible – Use these setting on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.
2. Keep a list of accounts – Delete the ones you no longer use.
3. Don’t overshare – Keep usernames, emails, password, full names, addresses private.
4. Use a password keeper – Use a different password for each site and store them in an encrypted software vault.
5. Google yourself – See what footprint you have already made, is it good?
6. Monitor linked accounts – When you link a site to your Facebook account, you are giving them all your data. Use a secondary email account instead.
7. Use a second email – When talking to someone for the first time or setting up a new social media platform its useful to use a different email address.
8. Sending is like publishing - Sending a message, post, or picture, you’re publishing it the same way BBC News does a news story, the internet never forgets.

LinkedIn Top Tips
• Summary bullet pointed list so it’s a quick read for someone.
• Appropriate photo, this should look professional for the type of sector you plan working in for example to wear jeans and t-shirt in your photo when you want a job in law isn’t correct it should be smart at least shirt, trousers and tie. Equally you wouldn’t wear smart attire if you wanted a job in video editing.
• Searchable skills, create and add to a list of your skills and get someone to endorse them.
• Every few weeks write a post and send out the link, careful not to do this too often as people don’t like being bombarded with links.

11am - Future Fest Opening

FutureFest Opening Ceremony
Prof Liz Barnes, Vice Chancellor of Staffordshire University, launches FutureFest 2017A welcome and introduction to the festival, this included how important employability is to the future of graduates and how many events are on this week.

FutureFest Opening Ceremony 2
Sam Pillow, Vice President, Staffordshire University Students' Union.
Sam gave his advice as an graduate and how important he thinks careers weeks is and how it has benefited him and the skills he now has. He spoke extensively about the students union and how they can help with employability and even offer jobs.

Bayles, S. (2017) Using social media for employability [Lecture to futre fest week] Staffordshire University 13th November.
Digital Footprint Definition (2014) Available at: https://techterms.com/definition/digital_footprint (Accessed: 26 November 2017).

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Microsoft London

Microsoft London Victoria Visit

As part of the Student Digital Champion job at Staffordshire University I have the exciting opportunity to visit Microsoft head office in London, Victoria. We travel down as a team after being given a brand new Surface Pro 4, which I get to keep. The journey down was fast and gave us all a chance to get to know one and another as we had not been altogether before and discuss what we were getting out of the day.

The plan was a guided tour of the building followed by Office 365 training, lunch and then Microsoft Academy training. The office tour was amazing, it was great to see how Microsoft employees work, the office décor was very modern and people seem to hot desk and work on their mobile devices in the café for example.

The training went very well and I learned so much about Office 365, something that was most interesting was using Office online it has newer features than the desktop version and saves on every keypress, so no more loosing documents when a crash or power outage occurs.

Overall I had a fantastic day and would love to go back sometime very soon, it was a real eye opener to see how people worked in such a large scale company. Everyone I met was friendly and polite, this would be an awesome work place.




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Exeter JISC Conference

Exeter JISC Conference: 20th-21st April 2017

This event was recommended to the Digital Champions to attend, I jump at the opportunity; the students union organised transport and accommodation for the event with a rep. The idea of going was the gather notes and best practice from universities all over the country on how technology can help student learning.

On arriving we were shown to the accommodation to leave our bags, after settling in we decided to explore the university. It had lovely grounds and buildings some very old but still functional, they seemed to have the latest tech. They had what looked like a mini shopping centre with shops, cafes, restaurants and banks.




On arriving at first day registration I studied the program and put my name down for the workshops and talks that I found would most benefit. The welcome talk was by Sarah from JISC (UK higher, further education and skills sectors’ not-for-profit organisation for digital services and solutions.) after this talk we broke up into the different sections of the program for talks / workshops.

On day 1 I attended the following:

  • Students on tech
  • From the group up, iChamps
  • Professional Development Partnership
  • Creating a global partnership with students through online learning
  • ADR Records

At the end of the working day the university but on a BBQ outside at lovely old manor house, this was a chance to talk to people from other universities and network with organisations that also hosted at the conference.


Day two and I was up bright an early down for breakfast and planning what workshops and talks I was going to attend that day. After the welcome back talk we broken up into our groups for the programs we signed up to.

On day 2 I attended the following:

  • Tracking the student digital experience
  • Birmingham Digital Students
  • Co-Creating serious games for education
  • Graphical Representation of the conference


Overall I had a very enjoyable visit and learnt a lot about best practice and made a lot of notes of what I wanted to implement on my return to Staffs Uni. If you would like to see my notes or would like to know more, please get in touch.


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