Friday, 30 June 2017

Graduate Intern Blog - Stuart Crowley

As our graduate intern over the last six months, Stuart Crowley has worked on improving our provision for our iLab facility. On his last day in the department, he has written the following blog about his work here.

After my graduation in English Language and Linguistics and an arduous stint of unemployment, I successfully applied to become a graduate intern for The Information School. For the past six months, I was tasked with evaluating and improving the state of the iLab facilities, a research facility with the purpose of observing and analysing human interaction with and without electronic devices. Thus, the iLab can be used to test website design and accessibility as well as analysing social interaction accompanied or unaccompanied by electronic devices – a potential goldmine for innovative and creative research projects.

Before I arrived, the iLab was not always reaching its full potential. To evaluate this, I researched the needs and wants of previous and potential users of the iLab through surveys and interviews. It became apparent that, for the iLab to reach its full potential to be taken advantage of by students and staff, the HCI module that previously used the iLab for teaching must be reinstated. Reinstating this module would also be extremely valuable for students of The Information School, as the methods taught are both compatible and fundamental to the ethos of the iSchool organisation.

Following this, I created a website and user guide for the iLab to ensure a greater understanding and organisation of the facilities as well as in the hopes of increasing the potential usage of the iLab. In fact, in the coming months, three dissertation projects will be conducted in the iLab; one of which will analyse the human use of a computer game.

In the near future, we aim to increase the profile, knowledge, presence and visibility of the iLab online as well as within The Information School, across campus, and further afield. With this intention, I hope that the iLab will reach its full potential to achieve our university’s goal of being a leader in both research and teaching – an intention that should always be at the heart of any university – for the benefit of students and communities, local, national, and global.

While in any programme or scheme that are areas for improvement, this internship has provided me with more skills and varied opportunities than I expected. I would certainly recommend this scheme to future graduates, as you will be provided with development opportunities rarely found in other organisations and schemes.

I would like to thank everyone in The Information School for being extremely welcoming, and particularly those within the Professional Services office in which I have spent a large chunk of my time – I now realise and appreciate to a greater degree how vital their role is in keeping the university running smoothly and effectively to achieve our goal of producing valuable research and teaching.

Stuart Crowley

No comments: