Success for MSc student

This post is from James Dunn who has just graduated from our MSc in User Experience Design. 

James Dunn

James Dunn, MSc User Experience Design

Shortly after completing my MSc in User Experience Design I was invited to submit my Major project for the Brighton University Environmental Award, for which I was delighted to receive a ‘highly commended’ recognition.

My project involved the creation of a prototype smartphone App called “Driven”.

It is designed to provide motorists with real-time vehicle telemetry geared around a variety of driving styles, including economic/sustainable motoring. Additionally, it automatically logs journeys, allowing users to build up a picture of their motoring habits over time.

It works by using a small hardware component connected to the car’s diagnostic port to read data from the vehicles systems, and transmit it to a smartphone. The App interprets this data and is presents it to the user via an appropriate interface, the design of which was the focus of the project.

The resulting information can be used to make informed decisions about driving styles, leading to more economical and sustainable behaviour. The project was conceived due to a lack of suitable existing products in the marketplace that offered comparable functionality. It feeds on the desires of users for increased information and data about the way they live their lives, extending from the number of paces they take each day, to the number of miles driven.

Motoring has for a long time been high on the agenda in sustainability conversations, with legislation being passed to encourage new vehicles to reduce their environmental impact. While it can’t force drivers to change their habits, it does provide factual data that can be acted on to reduce carbon emissions and encourage sustainable motoring.

The project was a lot of fun to work on, and concluded an excellent year at the University. Since graduation I have been working as a UX (user experience) Consultant, introducing a user-orientated design process to a software development company based in London.

You can follow me on Twitter @jdworksUX

Moodboard

Moodboard: developing the branding/look and feel for the App

User stories

User stories: capturing reqirements during a user workshop

 

testing

Testing: Usability testing of the prototype App

MSc student ‘Data Security and Brexit’ winner

Congratulations to MSc student Anna Hristova who was a winner in the BCS Women Lovelace Colloquium 2017 with a paper submitted as part of her Data Management module.  Anna’s module leader, Dr Sanaz Fallahkhair, encouraged her to enter and this year’s competition saw the highest number of entrants to date (116).  Anna will be going to Aberystwyth University when they host the prize winner’s event in April.  Read her abstract ‘Data Security and Brexit’ here.  Continue reading

A Project in the Life of a Visual Journalism Trainee

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A few months ago, I completed my first big project for the Visual Journalism team at BBC News. I worked alongside another developer to create the ‘Which World Leader are You?’ piece.

I was brought into the project as it looked like one which I could learn a lot from it, buddy up with an experienced developer and, given the scale of the project, it would probably benefit from an extra set of hands.

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Hungarian Adventure

We’ve broken up for summer, so what better time to do some travelling and combine that with skills I’ve gained from my course?

I came across this website called workaway where users can trade skills (physical labour, web development etc) in return for food and accommodation. This idea appealed to me quite a lot as a way of travelling on the cheap and getting to experience new cultures. After a couple of days of being on the site I was contacted asking if I would like to go out to Hungary to build a website for a dog and horse ranch. Yes Please! I’d been to Budapest a couple of time already  knew I loved the city so was excited at the prospect of visiting the more rural parts of Hungary.

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Robot Wars

Yesterday, as part of my work with the Widening Participation Team, I spent the day helping teach year 7s from Shoreham Academy how to build ant-weight robots as part of their Raising Aspirations Programme. The idea of this project is to start discussing the idea of university with children from a young age by getting them to participate in a variety of activities and talk about university in particular as one option for their future.

A group of year 7s came up to visit Falmer campus yesterday and took part in a sports science activity and an engineering activity (which is the one I was involved in). I worked alongside two STEM ambassadors who provided all the materials and then got stuck in with the kids to design, build and ultimately compete with their robots. The teams had to enter a race, a game of football and a fight to the death with their robots. It was fantastic!

It was a pretty full on day but we built some impressive robots with just cardboard, skewers and straws (as well as the remote control, wheels and receiver). It was also brilliant to see the kids getting so excited, especially as this is a project that 2nd year students actually do at university (though with ‘proper’ materials). We all learnt a fair bit about robotics and designs and how the same materials could be adapted to suit different challenges.

Steven steps up to success!

Steven Salama, who graduates this month with a BSc (Hons) Software Engineering, has won the National Student Employee Step Up to Leadership Award 2016.

Steven, who balances his studies with work for Brighton-based software company RDF Group, saw off stiff competition at university, regional and national levels.

Steven Salama

Steven Salama

Commenting on his achievement, Steven said: “I am very proud of this award because it came after a lot of determination and hard work. Working and studying in parallel is a challenge. But being able to balance both has taught me a lot of skills which are useful in everyday life. It is a privilege to be the first University of Brighton student to win the national Step Up to Leadership award and be named student employee of the year. I would like to thank my tutors at the University, RDF Group and especially my family for all of their support.”

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3D Animation and Modelling

So, the academic year is over and my class and I are on to either placement years or 3rd year come October. For now, it’s that dreaded time where results are coming through and there’s a lot of mixed feelings going around. Personally, I think I did okay – not necessarily as good as I would have liked but I’m still fairly happy with what I achieved.

It seems like now is a good time to reflect on what we have all achieved this year and I think one example of a very successful module for the second years of Computer Science Games, Digital Media and Digital Media Development was 3D Modelling and Animation, taught by Andrew Blake.

Below is a little compilation of some of the animations that were created for this module.

The video features work from Jaime Dare, Amy Duong, Anna Wilde, Shane Smith and myself.
Other students work was also great and I would love to have included it in this little compilation.

 

Student Employee of the Year

I work in a small team of students called the Student Learning Technology Ambassadors. We work alongside the Learning Technology Ambassadors supporting staff and students with technical aspects of projects. These range from supporting lecturers using new programs in their classes, such as Nearpod or supporting students using applications for their coursework, such as studentfolio.

It started as an experiment to hire a team of students to provide this service which seems to have been deemed successful. So much so, that next year they are not only continuing the project but expanding it across all campuses – yay!

Our lovely manager Katie decided to honour our hard work by nominating our little team for the ‘Student Employee of the Year‘ award. I’m proud to announce that we achieved ‘Highly Commended’ in this category!

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Digital Award – Update!

A little while ago, I blogged about a university competition I had entered, where I submitted a couple of ideas about how we could use technology in the uni to improve the student experience.

I submitted two ideas – google maps for uni campuses and personalised timetables. Unfortunately neither of these got voted for in the end but I did get some good feedback from the judges. The more detailed feedback I received was focused on the uni maps idea. In my submission I had highlighted a use case in particular for using an app to locate plug sockets nearby, which seemed to be very popualr amongst the judges.

The idea had strong support, and gathered positive comments which noted the fact it was solving a common problem for staff and students, and visitors (e.g. parents, alumni, business partners, etc) alike.
There is a technical challenge with this idea which is that google maps are not 3D and you would need to locate people in 3D to know which floor someone is on. I am sure it could be done using internal wifi. Jisc are looking at the smart campus – so another way to do this would be to have smart technology that told you where the plug sockets are located etc. This point was reiterated by a Learning technology Advisor who is currently investigating the use of ibeacons.
Comments highlighted that the idea had many useful themes, and indicated similar ideas being successfully delivered at institutions like Manchester Met, and indeed a Hogwarts style Marauders Map at Lincoln (Wes in the SU has experience of this and may be a good contact). As with many services collecting data sources and keeping them current may prove time consuming and problematic.
There was universal praise for the simple plug socket locator element, and information on whether study spaces are full.
Who else loves the idea of a marauders map?!
Anyway, its a shame not to have come in the top 4 but there is scope for me to develop these ideas further, which maybe I’ll do in the future.

University of Brighton Digital Award

The university is running a competition:

Do you have an idea using technology that could improve the experience for students or staff studying/working at the University of Brighton?

If so we’d like to hear from you.

The best four submissions will win £250 prize money. They will then be offered funding, up to £1000,  to help them develop their ideas as well as accessing a package of business support and advice from experts.

I decided it would be a good opportunity to submit a piece of coursework I developed last year – an app which is effectively google maps for the university campus it would help you find your way around uni, and allow searching for specific utilities, facilities and classrooms.

Imagine…
You’re working hard in a cafe and your laptop is about to die. You can’t see a plug socket anywhere. Instead of wandering around looking like a fool and wasting precious time you get out your phone, search plug sockets and order by distance. Phew! There’s one behind the couch your sitting on.  Your on a late night study session and need some caffeine to help you pull an all-nighter. All the cafes are closed, is there anywhere you can buy a coffee? You whip out your phone, check the app and find a coffee machine on the next floor. It’s your first week, you’re running late and you don’t know where your classroom is. You pull out your phone, open the app and type in the classroom name. Turn on GPS and you even get step by step instructions on how to get there. You need a computer with that pesky bit of software installed, but hardly any of them seem to have it. Open up the app, go to computers and filter by software – there’s a couple of rooms on the second floor with it installed. You click on C206 and see how busy it is – luckily there’s no class on and only a few people in there.

The app allows students to easily make the most of the variety of facilities the university has to offer which may other get overlooked. It would also be of particular use to freshers trying to find their way round.

For full details and to vote for my idea, please head to https://elevator.jisc.ac.uk/e/university-brighton-digital/idea/uni-maps