Digital Capability, Digital footprint, Group Work, online learning, partneriaeth myfyrwyr, Student engagement, Student partnership

My Summer Internship with the CESI | Fy Interniaeth Haf gyda CESI

by Tom Martin 

*Fersiwn Cymraeg isod | Welsh version below*


Hello/Shwmae!

My name is Tom, and I have recently undertaken an internship with the Centre for Education Support and Innovation at Cardiff University. I was one of two Student Engagement Interns employed for a six week period in the summer. I studied BA English Language and Literature at the University, graduating in 2018 during my placement. CESI took on a few internship students for the summer, but I worked closely with Alice Dent who filled the other Student Engagement Intern position.

Our project was to help research, design and set up two new student schemes for the 2018/19 academic year: Digital Champions and the Student Insight team. The CESI team gave us a lot of freedom towards how we approached this, starting us off with some useful contacts and these broad objectives:

  • Research good practice from other Higher Education Institution
  • Prepare a Marketing/Communications strategy
  • Organise interviews for students, and what the interviews will entail
  • Develop job descriptions for students (for both Student Insight and Digital Champions)
  • Plan training and development activities for students
  • Create an outline schedule of activities for students

Alice and I made research our initial priority, looking to set up meetings and telephone calls with departments within Cardiff University and reaching out to other universities with exemplary student schemes of their own. In meeting with internal contacts such as Student Mentor scheme representatives, the Student Voice department and Learning Technologists in our own team we learned a great deal about where the university could benefit from two new student groups. We spoke with universities such as University of Leeds by telephone, who kindly shared their experiences of running similar schemes and gave us advice of what to expect and problems to anticipate.

Ultimately, we decided that a student-led feedback mechanism wherein the teams would run focus groups with students all around the university could gather a wealth of useful feedback from students in a way that surveying might not manage. If the Digital Champions and Student Insight teams could work closely with CESI to discuss the feedback they receive and how to implement improvements, great steps could be made in making improvements to the student experience more quickly which would contribute to larger long-term change. The two schemes are to run parallel in some ways: they will have similar responsibilities, but the Digital Champions will work more specifically with student digital experiences whereas the Student Insight team will have a broader remit. We also decided that it would be best for the teams to self-manage as much as possible. Digital Champions and Student Insight teams have great potential for their members to gain a lot of skills, so we will be encouraging all team members to have a hand in refining the schemes and shaping their futures.

The Digital Champions and the Student Insight team are both to have eight members, and we put a lot of thought into how we could make each team as effective as possible. In the end, we decided that each team of eight would have at least two students from each academic college and crucially have at least two Welsh-speakers. Cardiff University is the only bilingual Russell Group university, and we believe it is very important to support provisions for Welsh-language students, so both our teams will have the capacity to run focus groups and feedback sessions in English and Welsh.

Towards the end of our projects, Alice and I created a report for each scheme detailing the research we had completed, the roles and responsibilities we envisioned for each position and our recommendations on how both Digital Champions and Student Insight teams should run. We also developed resources regarding the recruitment, interview and training processes that will ensure that the schemes can begin smoothly in the academic year. One of the last things we worked on, and a particular highlight for me, was a marketing and communications plan according to the SOSTAC marketing model. I felt I learned a lot about putting together an extensive marketing plan within a widely recognised model.

It is fair to say that we faced some challenges along the way. Initially, it was difficult to see how the schemes, especially the Student Insight team, would not overlap with systems already in place such as the Academic Rep system. However, we were able to set up meetings with contacts in those departments to establish boundaries and plan ways in which the schemes might be able to inform one another and create a bigger impact overall. There were also some instances in which different stakeholders for the schemes wanted quite different things from them, and it was an excellent learning experience working to compromise with different individuals and groups to ensure that the schemes would work effectively both for CESI, other internal partners and Cardiff University students themselves.

Aside from thoroughly enjoying my time working with the CESI team, I gained a lot of skills to take away from the placement as well as improving on some I had already. I had some project management skills to bring to the table, but developing these schemes from a conceptual level to a point where the team are ready to recruit in September is certainly the biggest project I have had a hand in. The freedom that Alice and I were given to approach the project in our own way allowed us to play to our own strengths and find some new ones along the way whilst working simultaneously towards a range of objectives. Personally, I have taken on a lot of office-environment skills and an organisational capacity which will help me hit the ground running in almost any job I might take in the future.

Moving on from this placement (and my degree), I will be staying in Cardiff to look for graduate opportunities. For a long time my passion has been in the music industry for marketing, and whilst I wouldn’t say the internship has changed that, it has definitely opened my eyes to the possibilities of a career in higher education. Going forwards I will be looking to apply to both PR & Marketing positions and exciting opportunities in higher education – though I have a few applications in the pipeline I am still hopeful for – fingers crossed!

I would wholeheartedly recommend similar internships as I took to any student looking to gain employability skills whether they plan to work in higher education or otherwise, and I am grateful to the CESI team for their support through the placement and their enthusiasm for my career development.

 


 

Fy enw i yw Tom, ac yn ddiweddar rwyf wedi gwneud interniaeth gyda Chanolfan Arloesedd a Chefnogaeth Addysg Prifysgol Caerdydd. Roeddwn yn un o ddau intern ymgysylltu â myfyrwyr a gafodd eu cyflogi am gyfnod o chwe wythnos dros yr haf. Astudiais BA Saesneg Iaith a Llenyddiaeth yn y Brifysgol, a gwnes i raddio yn 2018 yn ystod fy lleoliad. Gwnaeth CESI gymryd ychydig o fyfyrwyr intern ar gyfer yr haf, ond bues i’n gweithio’n agos gydag Alice Dent, a oedd â’r swydd intern ymgysylltu â myfyrwyr arall.

Ein prosiect oedd helpu gwneud gwaith ymchwil, dylunio a sefydlu dau gynllun newydd i fyfyrwyr ar gyfer blwyddyn academaidd 2018/19: Hyrwyddwr Digidol a’r tîm Mewnwelediad Myfyrwyr. Cawsom lawer o ryddid gan dîm CESI o ran sut i fynd ati i wneud hyn, gan ddechrau gyda rhai cysylltiadau defnyddiol a’r amcanion cyffredinol hyn:

  • Gwneud gwaith ymchwil i arferion da o sefydliadau addysg uwch eraill
  • Paratoi strategaeth farchnata/gyfathrebu
  • Trefnu cyfweliadau ar gyfer myfyrwyr, a’r hyn y byddai’r cyfweliadau yn ei olygu
  • Datblygu disgrifiadau swydd ar gyfer myfyrwyr (ar gyfer Hyrwyddwyr Digidol a Mewnwelediad Myfyrwyr)
  • Cynllunio hyfforddiant a gweithgareddau datblygu ar gyfer myfyrwyr
  • Creu amserlen fras o weithgareddau ar gyfer myfyrwyr

Gwnaeth Alice a minnau waith ymchwil i’n blaenoriaeth gyntaf, gan edrych ar drefnu cyfarfodydd a galwadau ffôn gydag adrannau ym Mhrifysgol Caerdydd, ac estyn allan i brifysgolion eraill gydag enghreifftiau rhagorol o gynlluniau i fyfyrwyr eu hunain. Ar ôl cyfarfod â chysylltiadau mewnol, megis cynrychiolwyr o’r Cynllun Mentor Myfyrwyr, adran Llais y Myfyriwr a Thechnolegwyr Dysgu yn ein tîm ein hunain, gwnaethom ddysgu llawer iawn ynghylch lle y gallai’r Brifysgol elwa ar ddau grŵp newydd i fyfyrwyr. Gwnaethom siarad â phrifysgolion megis Prifysgol Leeds dros y ffôn, a wnaeth rhannu’n garedig ei phrofiadau o gynnal cynlluniau tebyg, a rhoi cyngor i ni o’r hyn i’w ddisgwyl a’r problemau i’w rhagweld.

Yn y pendraw, gwnaethom benderfynu y gallai mecanwaith adborth dan arweiniad myfyrwyr – lle byddai’r timau’n cynnal grwpiau ffocws gyda myfyrwyr ar draws y brifysgol – gasglu arlwy o adborth defnyddiol gan fyfyrwyr mewn ffordd na fyddai arolygu efallai yn gallu ei rheoli. Os gallai’r timau o Hyrwyddwyr Digidol a Mewnwelediad Myfyrwyr weithio’n agos gyda CESI i drafod yr adborth maen nhw’n ei dderbyn, a sut i wneud gwelliannau, gellid gwneud camau mawr tuag at wella profiad y myfyrwyr yn fwy cyflym, a fyddai’n cyfrannu at fwy o newid yn y tymor hir. Bydd y ddau gynllun yn rhedeg ochr yn ochr â’i gilydd mewn rhai ffyrdd: bydd ganddynt gyfrifoldebau tebyg, ond bydd yr Hyrwyddwyr Digidol yn gweithio’n fwy penodol ar brofiadau digidol myfyrwyr, tra bydd gan y tîm Mewnwelediad Myfyrwyr gylch gwaith mwy eang. Gwnaethom hefyd benderfynu y byddai’n well pe bai’r timau’n hunan-reoli cymaint ag y bo modd. Mae gan yr Hyrwyddwyr Digidol a’r tîm Mewnwelediad Myfyrwyr botensial mawr er mwyn i’w haelodau ennill llawer o sgiliau, felly byddwn yn annog pob aelod o’r tîm i gymryd rhan yn y gwaith o fireinio’r cynlluniau a llunio eu dyfodol.

Bydd angen wyth aelod ar y tîm Hyrwyddwyr Digidol a’r tîm Mewnwelediad Myfyrwyr, a gwnaethom ystyried yn ddwys sut y gallwn wneud pob tîm mor effeithiol â phosibl. Yn y diwedd, gwnaethom benderfynu y byddai o leiaf dau fyfyriwr o bob coleg academaidd yn rhan o bob tîm o wyth, ac yn hollbwysig, bod o leiaf dau siaradwr Cymraeg ynddynt hefyd. Prifysgol Caerdydd yw’r unig Brifysgol ddwyieithog yn Grŵp Russell, ac rydym o’r farn ei fod yn bwysig iawn i gefnogi’r hyn sy’n cael ei ddarparu ar gyfer myfyrwyr Cymraeg, felly bydd gan y ddau o’n timau y gallu i gynnal grwpiau ffocws a sesiynau adborth trwy gyfrwng y Gymraeg a’r Saesneg.

Wrth ddod i ddiwedd ein prosiectau, gwnaeth Alice a minnau greu adroddiad ar gyfer pob cynllun yn rhoi manylion am y gwaith ymchwil y gwnaethom ei gwblhau, y rolau a’r cyfrifoldebau y gwnaethom eu rhagweld ar gyfer pob swydd, a’n hargymhellion ynghylch sut y dylai’r tîm Hyrwyddwyr Digidol a’r tîm Mewnwelediad Myfyrwyr gael eu cynnal. Gwnaethom hefyd ddatblygu adnoddau o ran y broses recriwtio, cyfweld a hyfforddi a fydd yn sicrhau bod y cynlluniau’n gallu dechrau’n hwylus yn y flwyddyn academaidd. Un o’r pethau olaf y gwnaethom weithio arno, ac uchafbwynt penodol i mi, oedd cynllun marchnata a chyfathrebu yn unol â model marchnata SOSTAC. Teimlais fy mod i wedi dysgu llawer ynghylch rhoi cynllun marchnata eang ynghyd, o fewn model a gydnabyddir yn eang.

Mae’n deg dweud y gwnaethom wynebu rhai heriau ar hyd y ffordd. I ddechrau, roedd yn anodd gweld sut y byddai’r cynlluniau, yn enwedig y tîm Mewnwelediad Myfyrwyr, yn gorgyffwrdd â systemau a oedd eisoes ar waith, megis y system Cynrychiolwyr Academaidd. Fodd bynnag, roedd modd i ni drefnu cyfarfodydd gyda chysylltiadau yn yr adrannau hynny er mwyn sefydlu ffiniau, a chynllunio ffyrdd y gallai’r cynllunio lywio ei gilydd a chael mwy o effaith yn gyffredinol. Roedd hefyd rhai achosion lle roedd rhanddeiliaid gwahanol ar gyfer y cynlluniau yn dymuno cael pethau cwbl wahanol oddi wrthynt – ac roedd yn brofiad dysgu rhagorol cytuno ar gyfaddawd gydag unigolion a grwpiau gwahanol er mwyn sicrhau y byddai’r cynlluniau’n gweithio’n effeithiol ar gyfer CESI, partneriaid mewnol eraill a myfyrwyr o Brifysgol Prifysgol eu hunain.

Ar wahân i fwynhau fy amser yn gweithio gyda thîm CESI, dysgais lawer o sgiliau ar y lleoliad, yn ogystal â gwella rhai sgiliau a oedd eisoes gennyf. Roedd gennyf rywfaint o sgiliau rheoli prosiect i’w cyfrannu, ond datblygu’r cynlluniau hyn o’r lefel gysyniadol hyd at fan lle mae’r tîm yn barod i recriwtio ym mis Medi, heb os nac oni bai yw’r prosiect mwyaf rwyf wedi bod â rhan ynddo. Gwnaeth y rhyddid a roddwyd i Alice a minnau o ran mynd ati gyda’r prosiect yn ein ffordd ein hunain ein galluogi i fanteisio ar ein cryfderau, a dod i hyd i rai newydd ar hyd y ffordd wrth weithio tuag at amrywiaeth o amcanion ar yr un pryd. Yn bersonol, rwyf wedi meithrin llawer o sgiliau i’w defnyddio mewn amgylchedd swyddfa, a gallu sefydliadol a fydd yn fy helpu i fwrw ati’n syth mewn unrhyw swydd y gallaf fod yn ei chymryd yn y dyfodol.

Wrth symud ymlaen o’r lleoliad hwn (a fy ngradd), byddaf yn aros yng Nghaerdydd er mwyn chwilio am gyfleoedd i raddedigion. Am gyfnod hir rwyf wedi teimlo angerdd tuag at y diwydiant cerddoriaeth, a marchnata, ac er na fyddwn yn dweud bod yr interniaeth wedi newid hynny, yn bendant mae wedi bod yn agoriad llygaid o ran y posibiliadau o gael gyrfa ym maes addysgu uwch. Wrth edrych i’r dyfodol, rwy’n bwriadu gwneud cais ar gyfer swyddi marchnata a chysylltiadau cyhoeddus, ac am gyfleoedd cyffrous ym maes addysgu uwch – er bod gennyf ychydig o geisiadau yn yr arfaeth rwyf dal yn obeithiol amdanynt – croesi bysedd!

Rwy’n llwyr argymell i unrhyw fyfyrwyr sy’n dymuno ennill sgiliau cyflogadwyedd wneud interniaethau tebyg i’r un a wnes i, boed eu bod yn bwriadu gweithio ym maes addysg uwch neu fel arall, ac rwy’n ddiolchgar i aelodau o’r tîm CESI am eu cymorth drwy gydol y lleoliad, a’u brwdfrydedd dros ddatblygiad fy ngyrfa.

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