May 8

Students’ Union website features

I meant to do a Students’ Union website review for years. There is so much information on the website that it would take ages to write this post, so I’m just going to write about some of the features you can interact with. The only features I won’t talk about in depth are the administrative side of societies (as I am not an elected member, so I don’t have permissions) and events/calendar (as they seem to be mostly used by societies).

A fellow student mentioned frustrations at the site a couple of years ago. I felt the same at the time, though after spending a few hours navigating the website this week I actually think it’s really well put together. And it gets better year after year. I think there are some features that are incomplete, but I think it’s more to do with lack of usage by members rather than poor design.

I’d like to see more social areas. But I also understand there may not be a need for it. After all, the SU have a presence on most of the large social media platforms and the university’s digital tool kit is full of items that could be used for this purpose. I’d like to see areas where previous minutes of union council meetings are published, alongside a forum. I’d especially like to see a blog hub with competitions/incentives. I know I’m probably one of very few who would like to see this.

The website is powered by MSL, who work with loads of other SUs too. You can see the similarities if you look at the site maps of various SUs (eg. Brighton, Sussex, Chichester, Essex, Kent…). I recommend using the site maps as I find them easier to navigate then the numerous tabs and drop-downs.

Profile

When you edit your profile and you see the dozen options available you’ll probably think this website will be great for networking. Half of these features appear to be inactive, or unutilised.

  • Show full profile to friends working
  • Show full profile to public not working
  • List age in years working
  • Display birthday (will show year if age listed) working
  • Show course of study / Allow friends to find by course working / unsure if this is working, I need someone to tell me, there could potentially be a problem with this as I’m the only person doing my course
  • Show list of friends not working, but maybe I just don’t have friends(?)
  • List latest blog posts I don’t have blog permissions
  • List latest forum posts the forum has been deactivated, when it was active my posts weren’t shown
  • Show upcoming (public) calendar entries  unsure, though I haven’t added/joined entries
  • Show list of memberships / Allow friend to find by memberships working / unsure if this is working, I need someone to tell me
  • Show list of interests not working, there doesn’t seem to be anywhere I can add interests
  • Show photo galleries working
  • Show events I plan to attend not working, though there doesn’t seem to be an option to join events
  • Show events I attended not working, though there doesn’t seem to be an option to join events

Commenting on news stories and blogs

This is something I do often on the site, I’m not sure if anyone gets a notification when I do as the only person who ever responded was Shile. I also haven’t seen many people comment on news stories or blogs. The one person I remember is Parker in March. The news articles and blogs are archived quickly, so there may be people in the past who’ve commented more often – I have no way to see.

The news stories are available at brightonsu.com/news/ and all blogs are listed at brightonsu.com/blogs/blog/

Change It

This is another thing I do often on the site, and it’s frequently the reason I visit the site. Change It are the ideas students submit that get discussed in union council. You can vote up or down to give ideas priority in the union council meetings. If you look at the current ideas you can see that they are between four-five months old. I know some of the previous union councils have been below quorum so that might explain the age of the ideas. You can submit an idea through a handy Google form at brightonsu.com/changethings/changeitform/

Friends

I’ve sent 29 friends requests over the past year or so. They are still showing as pending. I am not sure people get notifications if they receive a request. Also, if anyone has ever added me I do not remember receiving a notification and my friends page has never changed. There are four friend finding options – the only one that works for me in typing in the name. I am able to find people on my course, but I’m the only one so I’m unsure if this feature works. If I try to search by any other course, nobody ever shows up.

Message Centre

The Message Centre is where you can email members in bulk, however you cannot seem to filter by individual societies (but I believe you can if you go in via the admin page). There is a list of individual recipients, I am unsure whether they are just society members, users with active accounts on the website or all students? The numbers are unclear so I wouldn’t be able to hazard a guest. You can also change your contact settings so all notifications from societies go to certain email addresses.

Societies

I love this part of the website. The society tab is full of information. You can search and join by looking at the A-Z. Once you join you go to your basket and complete the transaction (it’s free, but set up like an online store). You can see your memberships at brightonsu.com/memberships/ and your transaction history at brightonsu.com/shop/transaction/.

App

I know there has been talk about an app for years. When I worked with the Springboard team I spoke with a student who was researching the need for a SU app a couple of years ago. I think this could be great, I liked community.brighton.ac.uk (you can see old versions on wayback machine https://web.archive.org/web/*/http://community.brighton.ac.uk/) and I miss having a place like this for communicating with the wider university. I think that we have so many different ways to communicate that it’s hard to pick one to focus on, and the changing nature of technology means we are often experimenting with newer ways. If there was to be a SU app I’d love it if it could embed all the features I’ve discussed above and use of the events calendar.

Webhelp

This is a newer part of the website and I only noticed it a month ago (I think) but it may be a revitalised old area. Webhelp is brilliant. It is a feature our website has been needing for years!

Category: Tech | LEAVE A COMMENT
May 7

My newest smartphone

I’m setting up my new (to me) android phone. It’s a Samsung J5. To technophiles, it’s an ancient model – after all it was released in 2016.

This will be my second android phone. Though, unlike my last one I will have to keep this. I briefly had an Orange Barcelona in 2011 between Blackberries. I used it for a couple of months and then went back to my trusty Blackberry Pearl. I was convinced to move away from Blackberry as they were losing favour but I liked them too much to stay away for long.

I did that thing of going to a shop to find out what models are available on my contract but then being pushed into something I’m not sure I wanted yet. I couldn’t understand why the cheapest contract was not appearing on their tablet when they were showing the deals, but now I remember they overestimated my usage to be safe. Although I was quite certain I would be using less than half their suggested amount. But, I’m saving money and now have a more future-proof smartphone so I’m in a better position than I was last week.

I feel a bit sad about parting ways with my Lumia. I’ve blogged about it briefly in my workspace Edublogs post. It’s not the best smartphone, but I’ve come to rely on it. It’s brilliant for work and study. And, unlike previous smartphones, I’ve used every feature and synced all possible things. I experimented with this phone, I had to learn more about OPSEC and that helped me with other digital things in my life.

I guess I can use this as a new learning opportunity.

May 6

Brambly Hedge

Last week I was talking to a relative about my godparents, as I recently became a godmother. My godparents had very little to do with my life. I think they were my Mum’s friends at some point – I guess they still are, but I don’t know. I was confused about what a godparent does, and the fact my godparents are near strangers didn’t help with my understanding.

I think I know who my godparents are and I remember one of them visiting my parents’ house regularly. But I rarely spoke more than ten words to them. They were visiting to spend time with my Mum.

The other one is more confusing. I remember getting my first job and walking past the store where they worked on my way to work. I knocked on the door because I was feeling like I wanted to tell someone how excited I was to be working! I figured, as godparents, they’d have an interest in this. I knocked on the door and the godfather opened up – he looked confused. I can’t remember if I said I’m your goddaughter or I’m related to… but he then asked me what I wanted. I felt like it was too inconvenient to say oh, it doesn’t matter. So I mentioned my new job and watched him roll his eyes and look at a colleague deep in the store with a look of exasperation.

I remember feeling annoyed. Just because I had realised my Mum had asked them to be godparents based on the fact they were affluent, rather than because they cared. Because maybe, when I was being christened, she thought that they were the type of people who should have an influence on my life.

What I remember most about them in the store where they worked. I remember looking at the homeware in their store as my Mum chatted to my godmother and shop assistant. I looked at crockery and decided whether I liked it, whether I thought it was value for money (almost always no) and useful (sometimes no). I felt that most of the china was too fancy to use. In fact, my grandma had a lot of plates attached to her living room wall. I thought the decoration would come off with regular use. I also remember being talked about in front of my godparents, and never having an opportunity to speak.

One of the cabinets I always looked at was Brambly Hedge. I may have even been given a few pieces as a child. The mice captured my imagination. Recently, I’ve been visiting antiques stores to look at pieces. The miniature tea set pieces seem just as enchanting as I remember. I did a bit of research and found out that there’s an exhibition of the Brambly Hedge artwork this month at the Illustration Cupboard.

I can’t help but feel strange that the most memorable interaction I had with my godparents is when I became interested in the fictional life of mice.

 

May 5

🍩 Krispy Kreme candles

I’m a fan of scented candles. And I like wandering through shops to smell the different products. I am particularly fond of candles that smell like sweets I remember from childhood – not for any nostalgic reason, just because I find it interesting when it is done well.

There’s a company called Candle Traders who stock a collection of candles that smell of sweets. You can often see some of the things they stock in your local store that charges one pound for most things.

I really like their Original Fun Edition Soy Candle range, but I noticed Krispy Kreme as I was browsing yesterday. I love Krispy Kreme doughnuts (I’m a big doughnut fan anyway) so I decided to smell them.

Cinnamon Apple Filled

I love autumnal flavours and scents, so this candle caught my eye.

I found the initial scent quite powerful, but this candle doesn’t seem to have a long throw so it was not overwhelming.

If you are a University of Brighton staff member, you can claim this candle on Warp-It:
warp-it.co.uk/item/47999/candle
If you are a student and would like a free candle, leave a comment or get in contact; I’ll send you it if it’s still available.

Powered Blueberry

I originally picked up this candle because I liked the shade of blue.

I found the scent quite synthetically sweet, more like blueberry bubblegum than anything else. But I liked that!

If you are a University of Brighton staff member, you can claim this candle on Warp-It:
warp-it.co.uk/item/47999/candle
If you are a student and would like a free candle, leave a comment or get in contact; I’ll send you it if it’s still available.

May 3

Sew…

The EdublogsClub prompt this week is getting creative. I’ve just returned from an emotional week with family and I’m due to write a huge blog post but I just don’t have the words right now.

I’m planning to start experimenting with fabric collages. I’ve been researching them and I’m amazed by the work contemporary embroiderers have done, and are still doing. A fabric book will be my next project!

I had some small canvases around so I thought I’d make something for this blog.

April 27

Long weekend

Some positive things, and some reflections, and some acceptances.

I decided to not start my counselling course this term. I really want to do it, but I am struggling to get through the work day without too much discomfort so I don’t want to make my day any longer.

As I went into St Peter’s House Library, one of the resource assistants noticed the book I got out and we started chatting. It turns out she did the counselling course I am not starting today.

A couple of jobs have come up which I think I stand a good chance of getting. I know I’ve been saying that for half a year now and have had no luck, but I’m more hopeful than I’ve been for a month. I feel like I’m getting out of a low point I’ve been in for a few weeks now.

I’m going away for a long weekend to see family. It will be a lot of travelling and a lot of talking… I like to be alone and quiet so it’s going to be stressful. But cream teas will help ease the pain (the mental pain, not the physical pain – in fact, they will probably make it worse).

I’m really proud of the work I’ve done on the Summer Employment blog. And my colleague has told me that some of the Careers team like it too. I feel really happy about that. Sometimes I feel that staff in low paid jobs are often assumed to not have much talent outside their role – I don’t think this is ignorance or prejudice, I just think it’s a side effect of people becoming defined by the work they do. It’s great that people are giving me work that allows me to use other skills.

Someone in Scotland claimed my Minty shower gel. I know it’s probably because they were browsing the items in the national category but I’m going to pretend my readership has expanded and pat myself on the back about that.

The Brighton Students’ Union Awards ceremony is happening next month and I’m really excited that two people I have nominated have been shortlisted. I nominated Claire Kidd for her work with the Global Opportunities Scholarship fund and Niczar Amade the BME Student Officer.

I’m getting paid tomorrow so I no longer have to fret about the £8.12 to my name.

I am also very happy that I can get an early upgrade on my mobile phone from tomorrow. I love my Lumia, I really do, but so many apps do not work on it and I want to start experimenting/building those. I think I will wait a few months though and see if the Google Pixel becomes available on a cheap contract (you never know!).

Today was my last day working for Brighton Students’ Union. I felt it was unfair to continue as my other job was frequently clashing with my shifts, and I was in the office so infrequently and during such quiet times I did not think I had an opportunity to have much of an impact. I am sad to go.

A month ago I was looking through our marketing archives and found the Brighton Polytechnic Handbook 1976-77. I find Student Union history really interesting and scanned a page. I’m thinking of starting an online archive. Here’s a page from Brighton Polytechnic Handbook 1976-77:

My nephew is going to be one year old next week.

#11monthsold #11month #baby #happy #cutie #smile #life #growingup

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