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#LboroGrad2017 - my graduation story

#LboroGrad2017 - my graduation story

August 16, 2017 Jacky Man

Hi guys! Hope you have made use of the rare sunshine and taken time to chill with families and friends. Results days is approaching soon. I am sure you must be nervous yet excited about it. I wish the best of luck for you guys. Bear in mind if you’ve got any questions, issues or enquiries pop up, Loughborough Student Support and relevant department contacts are more than welcome to answer your enquiries.

With you guys excited to step away from teenage years, I am also stepping into the proper adulthood after my graduation in July. In this blog, I am going to share my graduation day experience.

From Hong Kong to the UK

Continue reading

Do I have to be sporty to go to Loughborough?

Do I have to be sporty to go to Loughborough?

August 15, 2017 Imogen Newey

Simply: No, but I URGE you to get involved as joining AU Athletics, learning to Salsa dance with Salsa society, and meeting even more friends at classes, brought me some of my best experiences at university. Continue reading

Time flies... IAAF Championship and graduation

Time flies... IAAF Championship and graduation

August 15, 2017 David Odetade

Time flies when you’re having fun, so the saying goes, but it’s also true for when you get caught up in a lot of things, you fail to notice as the hours and days zip past. It’s become a relentless journey in trying to keep abreast and on top of situations.

That has been the story of the past few weeks. You only have to look at how far we’ve come this year to realise the concept of time – We’re already 8 months into the year. Christmas is around the corner, and 2018 is just about 4-plus months away. January 2017 felt like some weeks ago!

World Athletics Championship London 2017 – Volunteering, Lboro/Lboro-based athletes

One of the things that has made these past few days and weeks enjoyable (in the sense of taking a break from work) is the World Championships in Athletics that took place in London. Loughborough University, as is the norm in all these events around the world, have some students or Loughborough University-based athletes competing in these events. The world championship was no exception. It was very nice to see these athletes excel in the games and bring joy to millions around the world.

I will always remember the opportunity (which unfortunately I had to turn down due to my research work ☹) to be at these games as a volunteer. This opportunity came due to the university having another campus close to the event. We had the chance to participate in the organisation of the event, and who knows, maybe meet athletes such as Mo Farah, Usain Bolt, Morgan Lake and others. I hope there will be other opportunities before I graduate.

Heading to London for the IAAF World Champs this weekend? Swing by our stand in the Hero Village and meet our students & staff!

Posted by Loughborough University on Friday, 11 August 2017

Graduation ceremonies – #LboroGrad2017

One of the perks of being around on campus during summer break is the summer graduation ceremonies. It’s such a wonderful experience, especially for the graduands and their families to share the special day. I celebrated with some of my research colleagues that graduated by joining them for organised lunch and dinner on campus and in restaurants in the centre of Loughborough town. The joy of putting in all the efforts had been rewarded, and they had their families and friends to share such a moment with. I also envisaged how mine will be and the kind of party/celebration I would organise once I get my certificate.

Over the 4 days of graduation ceremonies, I also did a paid volunteering job for these occasions by helping the celebrants and their families pose for pictures with wonderfully crafted signs to celebrate the occasion. They were encouraged to put it on social media, and it was so much fun seeing proud mums and dads posing with specific placards to show their support and express their joys.

It also highlights the various cultures of the world, as friends and families come from all parts of the world to share the joy. It throws up wonderful attires people adorn, and their cultures and traditions, such that it becomes a wonderful learning experience.

Mixed summer (weather)

As is the norm here in the U.K., the weather acts funny, even though we are supposed to be enjoying summer, there are times when it gets confusing. One of such scenarios played out during the graduation ceremony. One of the days was almost a complete washout, but such can never dampen the joy of graduation. Families braved the weather to ensure they have their pictures taken, and generally enjoy their day. To be fair though, it’s been an amazing summer so far in terms of weather.

Exam Results

I would like to wish all the students the very best with their exam results. I know the anticipation that comes with waiting to know if the hard work put into preparations for exams has paid off. It’s always a rollercoaster of emotions for some, and a mighty relief for others, but in all, I’m sure all will be well.

Till next time….

David

My Experience as a Recipient of the Loughborough Employability Award

My Experience as a Recipient of the Loughborough Employability Award

August 15, 2017 Chidinma Okorie

The Loughborough Employability Award will help you to stand out from the crowd. It provides you with a framework through which you can record your co-curricular activities and reflect on the employability skills you have developed (LEA, 2017).

Continue reading

Summertime madness

Summertime madness

August 14, 2017 Symrun Samria

It is crazy to me that the academic year is over. Exams are finished, lectures are done and FND’s are now no more until October – I’ll miss you so very much Cogs. Continue reading

Summer update: Funding a PhD

Summer update: Funding a PhD

August 14, 2017 Jessica Rutherford

Over the past couple of months, I have been up and down to Newcastle interviewing for jobs so that I can return to full-time employment. Continue reading

Australia study-exchange

Australia study-exchange

August 14, 2017 Jameel Shariff

And just like that, the six greatest months of my life are over, my study-exchange in Sydney has come to an end. Continue reading

Dear future Loughborough students - a current student’s top tips

Dear future Loughborough students - a current student’s top tips

August 14, 2017 Lauren Jefferis

I really quite like my University, and being someone who doesn’t like change I would quite like to keep it that way! So here are a few top tips for you, future Loughborough students who hold the fate of our beloved Loughborough in your youthful, lucky, (I’m not bitter) hands. Continue reading

A-Level results day and clearing - the highs and lows

A-Level results day and clearing - the highs and lows

August 14, 2017 Hannah Timson

If you’re anything like me, the topic of A-Level Results Day is one that was strictly off limits to everyone from the middle of June up until the actual day. Continue reading

The jump from A-Levels to University

The jump from A-Levels to University

August 14, 2017 Niamh O’Connor

I can remember one of my A-Level teachers saying to me ‘You need to find out for yourself. You won’t get spoon fed at University.’ And at the time I thought ‘Yeah whatever…’ but looking back now, she was so so right! Continue reading

Key changes to GCE and A Levels

August 11, 2017 Matt Hope

The following post is by Dr Glynis Perkin.

Fundamental changes to the content and structure are taking place in the GCE A Level curriculum. There are 14 subjects with the new curriculum that have been examined for the first time in summer 2017 and many students entering university in the 2017/18 academic year will have taken these examinations. The 14 subjects are:

  • Art and Design
  • Biology
  • Business
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Economics
  • English Language
  • English Language and Literature
  • English Literature A
  • English Literature B
  • History
  • Physics
  • Psychology
  • Sociology

The key changes to these A Levels are that they are now non-modular with most subjects being assessed mainly by examination at the end of the course. AS Level is a stand-alone qualification and no longer counts towards a GCE A Level. Furthermore, content has been reviewed and updated with input from university staff.

The key changes for each subject have been collated with links to more detailed information also provided; the slides are available on the CAP website at: http://www.lboro.ac.uk/media/wwwlboroacuk/external/content/services/cap/downloads/documents/Changes%20to%20GCE%20A%20Level%20content%20and%20structure%20for%201718.pdf 

Public vs private art collections: who controls our cultural heritage?

Public vs private art collections: who controls our cultural heritage?

August 11, 2017 Loughborough University

The BMW Art Guide 2016 lists 256 private collections worldwide that are currently open to the public. But this figure omits the swiftly increasing number of multi-million dollar, independently operated gallery spaces that are stimulating audiences’ enthusiasm for art. Privately owned museums are on the rise and they’re dramatically changing the cultural landscape.

Eli and Edythe Broad’s eponymous museum in Los Angeles, the Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris, Budi Tek’s Yuz Museum in Shanghai, and Venetian palaces operated by François Pinault, Miuccia Prada and, most recently, Russian petrochemical billionaire Leonid Mikhelson, are just a few of the institutions that rival, and often outstrip, public museums in their buying power, influence, and blockbuster exhibitions.

In 2015 fashion designer Miuccia Prada opened a gallery complex in Milan dedicated to contemporary art and culture. Shutterstock

Private patronage of the arts is nothing new – Solomon R. Guggenheim established a foundation for his art collection in 1937 and opened a museum two years later. Many good things flow from this kind of philanthropic investment. Developing and housing an art collection can involve the regeneration of urban environments and the commissioning of innovative new architecture. The proposed transformation of Paris’s former Commodities Exchange by Japanese architect Tadao Ando into an exhibition space for the personal collection of luxury brand billionaire François Pinault is a case in point.

Employment opportunities and initiatives for artists will undoubtedly follow. Previously inaccessible works will be made available to the public – a socially oriented step that a private collector is not under any obligation to take. In the absence of adequate state funding for the arts, the generosity of individuals can fill a significant gap in the cultural life of a city. So is there anything to worry about?

Privatising public heritage

Museum culture’s “drift” into private ownership seems part of a familiar pattern. The state rolls back provision and individuals pick up the slack. The question is, who then calls the shots? In the case of the arts, collectors’ personal tastes are increasingly influencing the kind of art that is commissioned, exhibited and ultimately written into history. We now need to ask who collects what and for whom?

We think of museums as trustees of a nation’s cultural capital. Curators choose and preserve artefacts for the benefit of future generations. They shape lasting impressions of communities and their aesthetic values and creativity.

These are weighty responsibilities – and public museums have often been judged harshly for the selective legacies crafted by their key decision-makers. Since the mid-1980s, the feminist activist Guerilla Girls have brought into focus significant gender and ethnic biases in museums around the world through a series of high-profile interventions, poster campaigns and exhibitions.

Feminist art activists the Guerilla Girls draw attention to discrimininatory practices on the part of museums. Ryohei Noda/Flickr, CC BY-SA

The stakes are higher when the burden of public accountability is removed. Free from the demands of representing a wider community, private collectors are able to pursue and exhibit works that reflect their own interests. What art histories will they forge? Will newly self-fashioned museums track the changing patterns of the market, display the idiosyncrasies of the individual, or give voice to the unfamiliar, the politically challenging, the historically neglected?

The new now

These questions attach not just to the acquisition, but also to the sale of art. Publicly funded museums adhere to rules about selling works in their collection (“deaccessioning”). Such regulation is important for artists whose reputations may depend on the grant of museum endorsement. In contrast to public institutions, private collectors enjoy the prerogative of selling works when it suits them.

Consider the evolution of Charles Saatchi’s collection. Saatchi forged the Young British Art brand in the 1990s, making Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, Marc Quinn and others familiar to audiences around the world.

The Saatchi Gallery in London’s Chelsea is devoted to new works and popular culture.
Shutterstock

While works by that group were once a cornerstone of Saatchi’s Gallery, they no longer figure significantly in his collection. The gallery, housed at the Duke of York’s HQ in Chelsea, is dedicated to the “new” and understands that mission as requiring regular disposal of the past whether by way of gift or sale.

This is not unprecedented in the case of museums that provide snapshots of the “contemporary”. But it does raise questions about the ways in which we expect art institutions to meet the needs of audiences through time.

Museums are lasting repositories of collective memory, spaces that debate the past and contest urgent issues in the present. That means we need to keep a watchful eye on the ambitions and policies of institutions that shape our cultural landscape and consider how they impact on the public interest both now and in the future.

One thing that history has shown us is that the art world benefits from a diverse range of voices and perspectives. Models of public-private partnership that foster knowledge-sharing need to emerge, enabling new and established museums to learn from each other and from the past.

At the very least, art audiences need to be aware of shifts in the direction of collective heritage and not stand by as economic influence becomes a source of cultural domination. It is only by enhancing exchange between artists, institutions and their publics that we have a chance to secure a dynamic art “ecosystem” for the 21st century and beyond.

Kathryn Brown, Lecturer in Art History, Loughborough University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

An open letter to my 18-year-old self

An open letter to my 18-year-old self

August 9, 2017 Hannah Timson

The summer that you’re currently going through has to be the worst I’ve known. A level results are at the forefront of your mind and you know you can’t start preparing for the next stage until you know if you’ve gotten your place. Continue reading

Results, reality, responsibility!

Results, reality, responsibility!

August 9, 2017 Gemma Wilkie

So we’ve reached the end of the academic year and I expect a lot of you are thinking about the year ahead. For some, that is the stress of final year and for others, it’s just starting out.  Continue reading

Graduates

Graduates

August 9, 2017 Luke Starr

When I left school at 18, I wasn’t ever sure that I would find a suitable replacement for the home I had belonged to for seven happy years of my childhood. In my recent graduation ceremony, Lord Seb Coe addressed this issue to myself, my fellow classmates and hundreds of other friends and family members.  Continue reading

Nightlife and part-time work

Nightlife and part-time work

August 8, 2017 Tara Janes

Hey everyone, in this blog I’m going to be telling you a little bit about part time work and nightlife at Loughborough, as well as how you can manage your time to fit both in alongside your studies.

Continue reading

£8 Million allocation for up to 40 new collaborative technology projects

August 7, 2017 Peter Strutton

Do you have an idea that might improve a process, a technology or a supply chain in the aerospace sector?

Last year the School became a member of the Midlands Aerospace Alliance – not least so we could access their R&D grant funding programme called:

 

NATIONAL AEROSPACE TECHNOLOGY EXPLOITATION PROGRAMME (NATEP)

Projects are expected to be about 18 months duration and £200,000 to £300,000 total project costs with 50% grant funded (in-kind match contributions from companies eligible). Examples of the projects funded in previous rounds can be found here. Projects must be industrially led. If you have recently completed any relevant research projects that have produced a solution at Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 3-4 then this funding is designed to propel it through into higher TRLs on its journey to impact.

The current (7th) call is just about to hit the deadline for expression of interest (11th August 2017) but the next call opens on the 6th January 2018 with an expression of interest deadline of 13th February 2018… now that seems like a long way off but we will need a strong industrial partnership so don’t forget about it! If you have an idea for a project flag it up to me (p.strutton@lboro.ac.uk) and I can help you develop the partnership proposal.

Please feel free to share this with colleagues.

Criteria for eligible projects are quite wide:

  • Technology must have an application or potential application within civil aerospace.
  • Projects comprise a supply chain technology partnership of at least 2 entities and preferably 3 or more.
  • Partnerships must be industrially led.
  • Projects must show clear benefit technically and in creating or safeguarding jobs.
  • Technology must have a clear path to exploitation .
  • Projects must have the objective to pull through new technology or process for use in current or future product or manufacturing process.
  • Development of technologies should be in line with Aerospace Technology Institute Technology Strategy or an explanation provided of why if not.
  • Preferred wider exploitation possibilities to enhance capabilities within the broader aerospace industry, as well as within other sectors including advanced manufacturing.
  • Preferred in kind support expected from larger companies.
  • Companies outside the UK can be involved, particularly as end users but cannot receive funding.

It is recommended that before you start your application you discuss it with an advisor – for the Midlands it’s:

Michael Cunliffe, Technology Manager (Midlands)

Email: michael.cunliffe@natep.org.uk

Tel: 02476 430250

Mobile: 07974 343403

Here’s the NATEP website

 

The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about

August 7, 2017 Peter Strutton

If you are a scientist or engineer:

  • with little or no media experience,

  • working in a field which can provoke media controversy,

  • interested in how the media works – and how to help journalists report your subject better

Then this could be right up your street.

There will be a free training event on

Wednesday 25th October 2017:

An Introduction to the News Media

Delivered by the Science Media Centre. The Science Media Centre is an independent press office – established in 2002, it was originally based in the Royal Institution of Great Britain and is now a separate charity in its own right – helps to ensure that the public have access to the best scientific evidence and expertise through the news media when science hits the headlines.

It will be hugely informative, entertaining and popular afternoon.  And it’s FREE.

 

Senior scientists are especially welcome!  And they are really looking for scientists at least part way into their careers – so it’s not really aimed at students. For more information about the event follow this link to the SMC website.

To reserve your place please send your full name, job title, institution, institutional e-mail address and phone number to introduction@sciencemediacentre.org.  But places are limited and it’s anticipated that the demand for places will be higher than can be accommodated.

 

 

EAT - it's good for you!

August 7, 2017 Matt Hope

Loughborough University and the Higher Education Academy Community of Practice: on Assessment and Feedback are pleased to offer a one-day event focusing on developing and implementing a self-regulatory approach to assessment. The event is taking place on Wednesday 20th September 2017 in the Stuart Mason Building and is being facilitated by the Centre for Academic Practice.

The day will be split into two parts:

Developing a Self-Regulatory Approach to Assessment: The EAT Framework (10.30 – 12.30, SMB 0.14)
Professor Carol Evans, University of Southampton

Assessment practice is a key driver in promoting high impact pedagogies and student engagement in learning. A step change is needed to advance how higher education institutions implement assessment practice to enhance student engagement and to maximise student learning outcomes. The session will describe how the EAT self-regulatory framework, a holistic inclusive assessment feedback framework, has evolved and how it can be used to support student and staff development of assessment literacy, feedback and design in partnership with each other as part of sustainable assessment feedback practice. Core to the development of this approach is an understanding of cognitive, metacognitive, and emotional regulation of learning informed by the Personal Learning Styles Pedagogy Framework (Waring & Evans, 2015).

Lunch will be provided from 12.30 – 1.30

Implementing EAT: Key lessons in scaling-up (1.30 – 3.30, SMB 0.02)
Professor Carol Evans, University of Southampton

This session is designed for Associate Deans and all those responsible for leading assessment and feedback practice. In the session, key considerations in scaling-up assessment and feedback practices mindful of institutional and faculty priorities and specific disciplinary needs will be explored with the intention of identifying strategies to support key priorities as an integral part of ‘ the fabric of things’ within the university. The potential of being a core member of the HEA Assessment and Feedback online Community of Practice will also be highlighted.

You can book onto this event on My.HR by following this link: https://myhr.lboro.ac.uk/tlive_ess/ess/index.html#/summary/careerdev/scheduledlearningactivity/474418AXK5

Loughborough Town Hall Summer Open Exhibition

August 7, 2017 Steven Lake

Loughborough Town Hall has just begun its annual Open Exhibition in its Sock Gallery Exhibition space this week.

The Open Exhibition offers the opportunity for local artists both professional and amateur to apply and exhibit two-dimensional work ranging from paintings, photographs, drawings, original prints and mixed media work in a professional gallery.

The exhibition is running from the 5th August to 9th September. The Sock Gallery is free to enter and is open Monday – Saturday from 9am – 5.00pm and when the venue is open for shows.

VR in STEM teaching - innovations from Science

August 3, 2017 Deena Ingham

The team
Our ‘Virtual Reality in STEM teaching’ team is from the School of Science and CAP. We are a mixture of academics, technicians, E-learning support and most importantly a student developer; Dr Sandie Dann, Dr Firat Batmaz, Rod Dring, Sean Slingsby, Samantha Davis, Lee Barnett and Nikolaos Demosthenous. This grouping of both staff and students has so far been a successful blend of knowledge, kickstarting our Teaching Innovation Award project with real energy.

Aims
• Encourage deep learning within lab based teaching
• Allow more focused time for exploration of the experiments without being at risk to themselves or others
• Increase students awareness of the equipment available to them in the labs

Objectives
• Create an interactive resource that allows for practice, familiarisation and visualisation before students enter a lab session.
• Increase student engagement in the module by encouraging them to see beyond the procedural aspects of an experiment.
• Evaluate the tool’s impact on student learning and ability to be transferable.

Progress so far
So far so good as they say… or are these famous last words?
We have met as a group a number of times now to discuss the way we would like our final application to work and which Chemistry experiment in particular to concentrate on developing the virtual reality (VR) for. The real crux of this project is to not get carried away with wanting to try too much. Instead we are concentrating on 1 or 2 activities within the VR as our aim for this project is to prove the concept, rather than becoming carried away with new toys. Following this we would look to expand the offering of different experiments and activities within the application through further projects.
Part of our discussions also included a trip to STEMLab whilst taking a look at what our talented student developer Nik has been testing to date.

Next stages
The next step in our project is to decide on the exact final product we would like to create and for our student developer Nik to begin paid work in September. We will also be visiting STEMLab again to take the 360° images that we hope to include in the virtual reality environment. After Christmas we will be recruiting student testers in order to carry out evaluation of the effect that virtual reality has on their learning.

Tara: our experience of clearing as a family

Tara: our experience of clearing as a family

August 2, 2017 Loughborough University

Tara studies Industrial Design and Technology at Loughborough – we caught up with her about the advice and tips she has for students preparing for A-Level results and starting university. We also chatted to her mum Nicola and got her side of the story, too. Continue reading

Jessica Ennis-Hill and the Next Generation - In the Library!

July 31, 2017 Steven Lake

A couple of weeks ago we were honoured with a visit by Olympic heroines Jessica Ennis-Hill and Sophie Hitchon, along with a BBC camera crew, to shoot footage for a documentary feature about the next generation of British athletes. This programme was broadcast on BBC 2 on Saturday and is currently available to view on the BBC iPlayer for the next 30 days. Watch it again here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b08zn83w/jessica-ennishill-and-the-next-generation

A minimum income standard has been defended by the highest court in the land

July 27, 2017 Donald Hirsch

The Supreme Court’s landmark judgement abolishing fees for employment tribunals has been rightly hailed for its championing of access to justice for workers, in the context of labour laws having tilted the scales increasingly against them in recent years. It also has much wider implications, including the linking in the judgement of powerless at work and low living standards. In this respect it has parallels with the living wage, which seeks to address the consequences of an imbalance of power between workers on low incomes and their employers.

The Court’s ruling made direct reference to our Minimum Income Standard (MIS) research, using it to consider whether people on modest incomes could afford the tribunal fees and still have a reasonable living standard. It used MIS to demonstrate that people whose incomes were above the low cut-off level making them eligible for assistance for the fees could still struggle to pay the fees. As a result, the court ruled that people in this situation were unjustifiably being forced to choose between a reasonable standard of living and access to justice.

In arguing against this position, the government through the Lord Chancellor did not challenge the concept of a reasonable living standard, but argued that such a standard could still be maintained while temporarily suspending some MIS purchases (such as clothing) that do not have to be bought every week. The court rejected this argument, pointing out that having to go for a period without buying clothes could deny people the ability to live in dignity if, for example, a child’s clothes needed replacing during this period. The court concluded more broadly that “sacrificing ordinary and reasonable expenditure for substantial periods of time” should not be a prerequisite for access to justice.

The court could also have pointed out that two of the categories that the government said you could temporarily forego – personal goods and services and social participation – largely concern aspects of everyday life, not just sporadic bills that can be postponed. To ask your daughter to forego her netball club or not to attend a birthday party because there is no money at present to pay the club fees or buy a present (social participation) may be considered cruel. To stop brushing your teeth because there’s no budget to buy toothpaste (personal goods and services) may not exactly conform to government public health objectives.

The important thing here, though, is not the precise detail of these arguments, but the fact that they are being conducted at all in determining public policy. Both the court and the Lord Chancellor implicitly accepted the validity of MIS representing a reasonable living standard; the latter by suggesting how the standard could be maintained by temporarily suspending some of the expenditures in the MIS budget while maintaining  others.

The terms of this debate contrast with some previous arguments about the very minimal levels of income that families need for basic subsistence, to avoid serious material hardship or destitution. In 2014, for example, the High Court ordered the Home Office to reconsider the level of asylum-seeker benefits, which it had not shown to be adequate for basic survival.  In that case, the Home Office fought a rearguard action and justified maintaining benefits at exactly the same level by drawing on tenuous evidence that you could live on this level without starving. In contrast, the government has accepted the Supreme Court’s judgement about tribunal fees.

Perhaps the messages about just-about managing families and the need to have a decent concept of living standards is finally starting to permeate not just our political language but also our judicial and administrative decision-making.

Pilkington Library Reaccredited with the Customer Service Excellence Award

July 27, 2017 Steven Lake

We are very happy to announce that the Library has been successfully re-accredited with the coveted Customer Service Excellence (CSE) Award.

CSE was developed by the UK Government ‘to offer services a practical tool for driving customer-focused change within their organisation’.

In order to achieve the award, organisations are assessed against 57 separate criteria under five main strands: Customer Insight, The Culture of the Organisation, Information and Access, Delivery and Timeliness and Quality of Service.

In 2017, the Library achieved full compliance against all 57 criteria and had six areas considered to be ‘compliance plus’, which is market leading.

The report stated:

“The Library continues to demonstrate a strong commitment to customer service excellence and this is driven from the top… customer service remains at the heart of service delivery.

“Staff are polite and friendly to customers and many internal customers described ‘great service with a smile’.”

Students described library staff as “really trying to understand us” and were particularly impressed with the time taken to deal with their query, commenting that “it was much quicker than I expected”.

Matt Cunningham, User Services Manager at the Library, who oversaw the accreditation visit said:

“The Library spends a lot of time and effort in training library staff to make sure they help University staff and students in a helpful and informed way.

“Having this confirmed through the CSE award is great because it shows we are getting it right.”

Alternative Out Of Hours Study Facilities for Postgrads & Researchers

July 26, 2017 Steven Lake

Because the opening hours of the Library are reduced during University Vacations we often receive queries from postgraduate and research students asking where else they can study on campus when the Library is closed. There are at present three other possible locations that can be used:

  • Graduate House, the University’s purpose built social space and workspace for postgraduate taught and research students, which is open week days between 8am to 12am, and at weekends between 8am-5pm.
  • The Stewart Mason Building, where there are two open access computer labs for postgraduate and research students. The labs have a total of 79 workstations and are located in SMB.1.08 and SMB.1.09. The labs can be accessed 24 hours a day via swipe card (your University ID card).
  • The Haslegrave Building, offering a multi-boot computer labs in N004 / N005 with 80 or 40+40 seats offering Mac OSX / Windows / Linux, plus six open access computers in the Haslegrave Foyer area on the ground floor. Haslegrave is accessible 24 hours a day via swipe card.

Change of Scenery on Level 3

July 26, 2017 Steven Lake

The building work on Level 3 has now been completed and we are now the proud possessors of a brand new collection of very comfortable little study booths out on Level 3, in the area where the printers used to be.

The printers themselves have been moved into the area opposite staircase B and the PC Clinic:

We hope you like it as much as we do!

Why the media is wrong about Brexit (it's not about 'hard' or 'soft')

July 25, 2017 Ondine Barry

Professor Alistair Milne at the SBE has just written a new blog post for The UK in a Changing Europe, published today, about why the CBI are right in calling for an extended negotiation with the EU over Britain’s exit. He writes:

“In a recent speech Carolyn Fairbairn and Rain Newton Smith of the Confederation of British Industry, have made the case for an extended period of transition, with the UK remaining part of the Single Market for some years after Brexit in March 2019

“The CBI argument has been met with scepticism by those who have argued for a strong or hard Brexit, e.g., the Daily Telegraph reports that the pressure group Change Britain responded by saying: ‘Committing to stay in the EU’s Single Market and Customs Union during a transition period would only serve to tie our hands during negotiations, and make it more likely that the EU gives us a bad deal.’

“Our work on the trade consequences of Brexit and a conference we ran in Dec last year, on behalf of the UK in a Changing Europe Initiative suggests that the CBI are absolutely right and Change Britain are wrong.”

Click here to go to the full post on The UK in a Changing Europe website. 

Mark Hepworth i3 Conference memorial award

July 25, 2017 Ondine Barry

 

The Mark Hepworth i3 Conference memorial award was ‘unveiled’ at the 2017 i3 Research Conference, Information: interactions and impact, Aberdeen Business School, Robert Gordon University (RGU) 27th June 2017.

Professor Peter Reid (right), Professor of Librarianship and Information Management at RGU, and Professor Graham Matthews (left), representing the Information Management Group at Loughborough University’s School of Business and Economics, presented the i3 Conference Mark Hepworth memorial award, for the Best Conference Paper, to Jess Elmore, a PhD student at the Information School, University of Sheffield, for her paper ‘Information sharing in the ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) classroom: a case study’.

Jess was also presented with a Quaich, the traditional Scottish sign of friendship, and a certificate.

Mark’s research in people’s information behaviour was very much in line with i3 conference themes and he was very involved in conference. He led the plenary sessions at the last i3 conference. It was good to see so many of Mark’s former students, colleagues and collaborators at the presentation, and that i3 conference is marking Mark’s achievements in such an appropriate manner.

[Mark Hepworth, Emeritus Professor Professor in People’s Information Behaviour at the SBE. See obituary in the Times Higher Education, 26th January 2017: https://www.timeshighereducation.com/people/obituary-mark-hepworth-1955-2016]

This Blog post was written by Professor Graham Matthews, a member of both the Centre for Information Management and the Information Management discipline group at the SBE. Graham can be reached on g.matthews@lboro.ac.uk

The origins of the floppy hat...

The origins of the floppy hat...

July 24, 2017 Dr Katryna Kalawsky

Last week (18th-21st July 2017) was a very special time for many – it was Loughborough University’s summer graduation period! Around 3,000 students received their degrees including many Doctorates! Huge congratulations to all!

On the Friday afternoon, I had a pleasure of being part of the procession as a Civic Marshal (I thoroughly enjoyed wearing my Doctoral robes again!) and whilst I was sat on the stage admiring everyone in their academic attire it dawned on me that although I was wearing the renowned floppy hat, I didn’t know anything about its origins…so, I did some investigating!

To start, I contacted Ede & Ravenscroft Ltd, London’s oldest tailor and robe maker who are Loughborough’s official supplier of academic dress. But, according to their Archivist and Records Collections Manager, Gemma Field, the history of academic caps is not clear-cut. Gemma shared a very interesting article with me written by Noel Cox and kindly directed me to the Burgon Society; a registered charity in England and Wales that was founded to promote the study of Academic Dress.

Shortly after contacting the Burgon Society, its Secretary Alex Kerr, sent me a fascinating reply that explained that:

“After the Reformation in the sixteenth century it appeared that Doctors in lay faculties (Law, Medicine and Music) brought items of professional, non-academic dress into Oxford and Cambridge and used them instead of the old clerical-style dress. The square cap, which had evolved from the medieval pileus, was perhaps viewed by them as tied to the ecclesiastical origins and discipline of the old institutions. Even seen by some as a reminder of the Roman Catholic past that was to be abandoned. They adopted the Tudor round bonnet with a brim and soft crown to it.  So, in general, bachelors, masters and Doctors of Divinity were required to wear the square cap, while doctors in lay faculties were prescribed the round bonnet instead.

Most of the universities in UK founded from the early nineteenth century onwards opted to put all doctors when wearing the full-dress robes in a round bonnet or some variant like a John Knox soft cap. The first PhD in the UK was introduced in 1917. Some universities distinguish PhDs and the newer professional doctors from higher doctors by putting them in a mortar-board or giving them a bonnet in cloth rather than velvet or in other ways.”

I also learnt that the doctoral bonnet is often trimmed between the brim and crown with gold cord and tassels. However, some universities, such as Loughborough, opt to trim their bonnets with coloured cord and tassels (we have maroon). In addition, at Loughborough, only postgraduates wear academic hats during the ceremony but should only do so once they have crossed the stage…I didn’t know that before my graduation…oops!…

 

 

Mark Hepworth, Emeritus Professor in People's Information Behaviour - i3 Conference memorial award

July 20, 2017 Graham Matthews

Mark Hepworth i3 Conference memorial award – presentation at i3 2017 Research Conference, Information: interactions and impact, Aberdeen Business School, Robert Gordon University (RGU) 27th June 2017.

Professor Peter Reid, Professor of Librarianship and Information Management at RGU and Professor Graham Matthews, representing the Information Management Group at Loughborough University, presented the i3 Conference Mark Hepworth memorial award, for the ‘best’ conference paper, to Jess Elmore, a PhD student at the Information School, University of Sheffield, for her paper ‘Information sharing in the ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) classroom: a case study’. Jess was presented with a Quaich, the traditional Scottish sign of friendship, and a certificate.

Mark’s research in people’s information behaviour was very much in line with i3 conference themes and he was very involved in the conference. He led the plenary sessions at the last i3 conference. It was good to see so many of Mark’s former students, colleagues and collaborators at the presentation, and that i3 conference is marking Mark’s achievements in such an appropriate manner.

[Mark Hepworth, Emeritus Professor Professor in People’s Information Behaviour

See obituary in Times Higher Education, 26th January 2017

https://www.timeshighereducation.com/people/obituary-mark-hepworth-1955-2016]

Giving Students, Parents and Employers Confidence: Geography’s Experiences of Accreditation

July 20, 2017 Matt Hope

Dr Richard Hodgkins, Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography, has recently received a Vice-Chancellor’s Award from Loughborough University for his contribution to Learning and Teaching. In this post, Dr Hodgkins details the recent experiences in gaining accreditation for some, rather different, programmes offered by the Department of Geography at Loughborough.

On the face of it, some academic disciplines, with more obvious career pathways, lend themselves naturally to accreditation, and others less so. However, all degree programmes benefit from being able to display some kind of quality stamp.

These programmes are the MSci (Hons) Geography and BA (Hons) Geography, both also available as sandwich programmes, the latter leading to the additional qualification of Diploma in Professional Studies (DPS) for those undertaking an industrial placement, or Diploma in International Studies (DIntS), for those undertaking study abroad. The main goal of each is to offer the most appropriate curriculum and outcome for somewhat different communities of potential geography students. The MSci takes the route of specialisation, being a four-year integrated Masters’ programme with a strong focus on physical and environmental geography. The BA takes the route of generalisation, stemming from the nature of geography as a diverse discipline spanning the sciences and humanities, offering those favouring its social and cultural aspects the opportunity to graduate with a qualification which, more closely than the current BSc, reflects the content they have pursued.

What are the challengers ?

It’s difficult to persuade an accreditor to look favourably on your programmes if you don’t have a clear sense of their strengths, which can be articulated cogently. So for each programme, it’s been important to step back, and to see the wood for the trees. Why offer it? What are the real benefits for students: are they being offered a distinctive curriculum with a clear sense of purpose and outcome, rather than a mash-up of pre-existing modules? The MSci is therefore specified to provide a pathway to environmental employment through a focused, practically-orientated and progressive menu of physical geography modules, which engage extensively by design with both contemporary research and with environmental monitoring for the purpose of effective management. The BA, on the other hand, is specified to provide the widest coherent menu of options possible, given that a significant proportion of geography students (particular those aspiring to become teachers) prefer to study both human and physical aspects of the discipline. The latter is consistent with the unique nature of geography as the integrated study of landscapes, peoples, places and environments, and is a view of geography that is strongly favoured by the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers)(RGS-IBG), of which more below.

What are the benefits of offering a diverse range of programmes? 

From a departmental perspective, these recently-approved programmes have manageably diversified our offering, which contributes to admissions robustness. From a student perspective, enhanced satisfaction is the aim, through offering more tailored outcomes with specific awards. From the personal perspective of a departmental Director of Studies, there is a lot to be learned about matters that can get taken for granted, such as understanding how curricula should be consistently mapped to appropriate ILOs for different communities of students, and how Subject Benchmarking informs this process. I’m not under the illusion that ILO mapping is the stuff of dreams, but it’s vital that we retain the coherence of our programmes in the face of change and churn, so that students actually get what they believe they’ve signed up for, and so that accreditors can express their confidence in what they see.

We obtained accreditation for the MSci from the Institution of Environmental Sciences (Committee of Heads of Environmental Sciences, CHES) in May 2016. The key to the case was demonstrating, with evidence, how the modules aligned clearly with Subject Benchmarks, and with the specific expectations of the accrediting body; for instance, CHES places a particularly strong emphasis on environmental career development and links with professional practice, so it was important to establish in some depth that our modules did in fact do this in a substantive way that was both assessed and credited. In September 2016, we similarly obtained accreditation for the MSci and three other of our programmes – BA/BSc (Hons) Geography and BSc (Hons) Geography with Economics, including their DPS/DIntS versions – from the newly-established scheme of the Research and Higher Education Division of the RGS-IBG, now the key accreditor for the discipline. All four programmes were among the very first to be accredited: only 20 departments nationally achieved this distinction. In its evaluation, the RGS-IBG noted that the case contained “Clear and detailed description of aims achieved through core and optional modules… cross-referencing to the benchmark statement is evident”, underlining the value of all that ILO mapping, and that this is an ongoing process shared by all teaching staff. This is a significant accomplishment in a discipline a very wide range of alternative career pathways in which accreditation has not traditionally played an important role.

In our efforts to build our profile, Loughborough Geography can now justifiably claim a quality assurance “Kitemark” from the UK’s flagship accreditor. By the same token, our graduates – our ambassadors! – can be confident that their degrees are well-regarded when they pursue further study or enter the jobs market.

Cooking for myself – Life in a self-catered hall

Cooking for myself – Life in a self-catered hall

July 19, 2017 Chidinma Okorie

I did mention in my ‘Introductory Blog’ that one of my hobbies is cooking; I enjoy cooking a lot. In fact – I know this may sound funny, as some of my friends giggle when I say it, but – I find cooking to be therapeutic! Continue reading

Friends, Election, Summer and Big 6-0 for someone special.

Friends, Election, Summer and Big 6-0 for someone special.

July 18, 2017 David Odetade

While the opportunity to go for seminars and conferences around the world is exciting and highly enjoyable for research students, there is always that unbridled joy that comes when one of your close friends come all the way from a different part of the world to say hello. Continue reading

Hello everyone and hello summer!

Hello everyone and hello summer!

July 18, 2017 Sofia Aguiar

The time is soon approaching when you will be packing your life away and moving to university. As an international student, I know packing is the absolute worst. Continue reading

Don’t let your results define you

Don’t let your results define you

July 18, 2017 Jacky Man

Hi Guys! Hope all of you are enjoying the summertime after all the hard work put into your A-levels. Continue reading

Windows 10 In-Place Upgrade early adoption

July 17, 2017 Chris Carter

We are looking to begin the migration of staff users to Windows 10 later this calendar year. For existing Windows 7 Service PCs, we will be using an ‘In-Place Upgrade’ Task Sequence to upgrade the PC to Windows 10. Assuming the PC’s Windows 7 installation is in a healthy condition, this avoids the need to re-image and therefore having to backup and restore the user’s applications and files.

 We’d like to invite School IT, PC Tech Support and Service Desk staff to trial the latest Windows 10 build and upgrade process. This is still very much under development with new features being added all the time. As these features are added we will deploy them to any PCs that have already migrated, so you will not have to re-image your PC again later to get the final build.

 If you would like to try out the process and build, please submit a case to the EUC team with the same subject line as this e-mail and provide the PC name(s) you wish to migrate. These can be your main PC or a development/test PC, and it must be running the Windows 7 Staff service. Please do not provide PC names for machines used by non-IT staff end users.

Once we have the name of your PC we will check for any compatibility warnings returned by your PC(s) and advise you on any action required. We will also advertise the Task Sequence to you at that point.

The process can take up to a couple of hours during which you won’t be able to use the PC. For the full rollout we are therefore proposing that end users trigger the update at the end of the day and leave it running overnight. However, if you’d rather run it during the day (for example if you need to take your laptop home with you each night) then that is not a problem.  

If you have any questions regarding this or encounter any issues, please let us know via the Service Desk.

CIM PhD Researcher blogs about CPCI symposium for CILIP Information Literacy Group

July 17, 2017 Stefanie Hills

CIM PhD Researcher Sharon Wragg has written a brilliant blog post for the CILIP Information Literacy Group talking about her experience at the ‘Connecting People, Connecting Ideas (CPCI) symposium at Edinburgh Napier University last month. Check out her post here:

http://www.informationliteracy.org.uk/2017/07/connecting-people-connecting-ideas-research-symposium-cpcinapier/

Embedded Intelligence CDT & the Digital Economy's Summer School

Embedded Intelligence CDT & the Digital Economy's Summer School

July 12, 2017 Dr Katryna Kalawsky

Embedded Intelligence CDT & Digital Economy Summer School

Written by Chira Tochia.

The Digital Economy Network’s (DEN) 2017 Summer School was hosted by the Embedded Intelligence Centre of Doctoral Training (CDT) at Loughborough University’s London Campus; the trendy, forward thinking area of Here East.

The theme for this year’s Summer School was “Innovation insights for the digital workforce of tomorrow” and held over three days (4th-6th July) it focused on three stages:  1) Learn with seminars, 2) Do with workshops and 3) Practise with practicals. A breakdown and more details about the Summer School can be viewed here.

Around 75 students from a wide range of the DEN CDTs attended including: Embedded Intelligence, My Life in Data (Horizon), Cloud Computing, Digital Civics, Intelligent Games & Game Intelligence, Media and Arts Technology, Web Science and HighWire. There was also representation from Cyber Security at Royal Holloway. It was great to see everyone instantly getting along and really immersing themselves in their sessions.

There was such a variety of activity for the attendees – ranging from panels, speed networking, playing with Lego (we promise there were learning outcomes from this), producing films, pimping out social media presence, practising elevator pitches and creating posters. Everyone definitely left the Summer School with new knowledge and skills.

With the Olympic Park at our fingertips at the venue, some of the students and staff took advantage of the location and were brave enough to slide down the ArcelorMittal Orbit! I even heard of a few early morning swims in the Olympic pool too!  Evening events had great views of the London skyline ,inventions of new drinks (Glushies, appearing in a bar near you soon!), and great entertainment.

You can view the tweets from the Summer School using #SSEI17. Our friends at Tableu (who ran a workshop on “The beautiful science of data visualisation”) have prepared a data analysis on the event’s hashtag, which can be viewed here.

The DEN would like to thank: EPSRC, Professor Paul Conway, Dr Carmen Torres-Sánchez, the CDT-EI Manager Donna Palmer, DEN Manager Felicia Black, event support and organisers Siobhan Horan and Finn,  the speakers, panellists, attendees,  andLoughborough London (for letting us takeover their space plus all their lovely staff) for making it such a memorable and fun Summer School.

 

 

What digital technologies mean for India’s largest anti-poverty programme

July 12, 2017 Silvia Masiero

According to the UN’s New Sustainable Development Agenda, state-level anti-poverty programmes are a core building block of global strategies for poverty alleviation. The notion of anti-poverty programmes encompasses all the schemes protecting the poor and vulnerable from food insecurity, lack of sustainable livelihoods, and all the problems that income poverty entails. These programmes take different shapes according to their purpose and context of application, and recent World Bank data show that they can offer an effective response to poverty and exclusion on a global scale.

Picture 1 – MGNREGA fieldwork, Visakhapatnam district, August 2014, copyright Silvia Masiero

Over the last few years, anti-poverty programmes worldwide have become increasingly computerised, leveraging the advantages that digital technologies can bring in improving design and implementation. The bulk of existing studies focuses, however, on the technical parts of the process, looking at the sheer effects of digitalisation on the delivery of social safety nets. Against this backdrop, the political effects of computerisation have not yet been systematically examined, leaving an open question on how new digital artefacts affect existing anti-poverty policies. The widely recognised political nature of local and global anti-poverty systems makes this a question of paramount importance.

To fill the gap, Dr. Diego Maiorano (University of Nottingham) and I have conducted a study of the digitalisation of India’s largest workfare scheme, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA). Launched in 2006, the programme provides a legal guarantee of 100 days of employment in public works per year to rural households who demand it. In the wake of India’s move to a digital anti-poverty agenda, MGNREGA is being computerised at the state level, and our study focuses on one of the states (Andhra Pradesh) whose digitisation is most advanced.

The study                     

MGNREGA in Andhra Pradesh is based on an information system that enables web-based accessibility of all transactions in the programme. This means that the programme’s core phases – generation of public works, procurement of materials, measurement of works, processing of payments, and generation of public reports – are visible online, and available for public scrutiny. The technical purpose of the system is that of preventing the illegal diversion of resources, which is one of the main problems in India’s social safety nets. By building transparency into the system, the state government seeks to build citizens’ trust in the administration and delivery of resources.

Picture 2 – MGNREGA fieldwork, Visakhapatnam district, August 2014, copyright Silvia Masiero

However, the core finding of our study is that technology for MGNREGA is designed in a finalistic way, which concurs to facilitating centralised decision-making in the scheme. Field Assistants, who are appointed officials responsible for the village-level management of the programme, have direct control on the information inputted in the system, which contributes to crystallising their position of authority. Biometric authentication of beneficiaries is designed to prevent theft of wage payments, but does not involve a mechanism to ensure that payments will be timely and complete. For how the system is designed, public scrutiny of transactions does not result in the empowerment of wageseekers, which often turn to volunteer organisations to see their rights defended.

In sum, digitality has meant greater transparency of this important anti-poverty scheme, generating significant improvements in how resources are managed. But the technology design still constructs workers as passive beneficiaries of the programme, rather than as active participants to it. Rather than subverting existing power relations, the information system seems to embody a policy that crystallises them, which is reflected in the programme’s design and implementation.

The implications

Digitalisation is widely seen as desirable for anti-poverty schemes, as it uses technology to increase the effectiveness of programmes that feed the world’s poor. Our research concurs, however, to showing that the equation is less simple than that, and political agendas that come with technology have important implications for the entitlements of the poor. In Andhra Pradesh, the computerisation of a massive workfare scheme does not result in workers’ empowerment, and supplementary mechanisms, including social audits and volunteer action, are needed for their rights to be ensured. Digitalisation has improved anti-poverty resource management, but has not resulted in the shift in power balance that the dominant narrative advocates.

We expect the study to generate impact on India’s ongoing computerisation of anti-poverty programmes, conducted under the aegis of Aadhaar (the national biometric identification system, constituting the biggest biometric database worldwide) and the recently launched Digital India campaign. Along the many studies on the effects of computerised poverty alleviation, a political perspective looks at the effects on poor people’s experience of social safety schemes, and the way their entitlements and daily lives are affected. Studies on how technology affects existing power structures, very common in the organisation studies literature, should be extended to anti-poverty schemes, to ensure that technology results into effective change on the long term.

This study is part of a wider project on digitalisation of India’s anti-poverty programmes, presented at the UNESCO Chair in ICT4D in February 2017. Dr Silvia Masiero will present her latest data at the Development Studies Association Conference, University of Bradford, on 8 September 2017.

This Blog post was written by Dr Silvia Masiero, Lecturer in Innovation and member of the Centre for Service Management. Silvia can be reached on s.masiero@lboro.ac.uk

 

Graduation memories and top tips for graduate life from our alumni

Graduation memories and top tips for graduate life from our alumni

July 12, 2017 Liam

Graduation is nearly here and a cohort of students are about to embark on new lives as graduates.

We know that beginning graduate life can be an overwhelming time so we’ve chatted with a few of our alumni who give their top tips and their favourite graduation memories. Continue reading

“Engaging Research: Developing productive partnerships with end-users”

July 12, 2017 Dr Katryna Kalawsky

Written by Amelia Bulcock – Department of Geography.

In March 2017 I had the opportunity to attend a Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) 5-day residential course focussed on engaging the public with research. I became aware of the course directly from NERC (they fund my PhD) and via fellow researchers in my office who had undertaken it in previous years. Not only did I find the videos that they created exceptionally interesting but I wanted to know more about ‘public engagement’ and ‘outreach’ (i.e. activities that increase public awareness and understanding of on-going research). Essentially, I wanted to know if ‘public engagement’ and ‘outreach’ was something I could undertake as a doctoral researcher and if so, would be worth my time?

 ‘Is it worth my time to try to engage with outreach activities during my PhD?’

Whilst academic outputs e.g. papers and conference talks are still a vital part of a PhD, there has been a push towards disseminating research to a wider audience. With many research projects being publically funded, it makes sense that the outputs of such projects should be available for everybody to interpret. Not only this, but many of the results of these projects could have a much greater impact on the ‘real’ world if more people were aware of what research is being done. So for anybody wondering ‘is it worth my time to try to engage with outreach activities during my PhD’, this blog will detail my experience (and opinion) of doing so. Although this blog will focus on environmental research I’m sure everybody’s PhD has a real world association and therefore should be transferable.

The course

The week had various different parts to it, and while it was extremely fun and enjoyable I also walked away with a whole new skill set and ability/knowledge to do things I had never done before. Some of the skills that I learnt will help in things I had never even thought about. For example when/if you are putting in a grant application in the future for many research councils there is now a part of the application in which you have to say how you will engage the public/wider audience with the outputs and progress of the project – something I would not have known nor have been able to have completed before. We were also filmed doing an interview and watch it back with 360º feedback, so we critique it first then it is open for the rest of the group to comment – this was pretty uncomfortable to start with, not only the playback of your own voice but the amount of time you say errrrrrm and play with your hands isn’t nice to watch, but was something I was able to work on over the course of the week (although you’ll see below I never really managed to drop the over dramatic hand motions).

The main part of the course focussed on creating a piece to camera (PTC) which is a ~2 minute video explaining the background to your research topic. Not only did we have to learn to do this in way that everyone could understand (we based it on a 14yr old audience) – so dropping technical, subject specific terms and using everyday language to explain it. We also learnt how to film somebody else’s PTC with cameras, microphones, lighting etc. So, whilst I might not be the next BBC’s hottest camera (wo)man, I do now have the ability to film using basic equipment going forward. The link to my PTC explaining about my research is below:

I now have a video at my disposal that easily explains my research for whenever I may need to use it.

The final part of the course was to get into groups and film a longer, 10 minute video linking all of our research together, albeit very loosely. This was probably the most fun part of the course as we got to write the script, film, do scenes together as a team which is something I really enjoy. At the end of the filming we also got the chance to learn how to edit videos, add music, effects etc. (this was not my strong point). The video can be seen by following the link below – it was all a bit of fun which I think comes across in the video!!!!

The course was overseen by Dr Richard Holliman and Dr Clare Warren from the Open University, and guided by Gerard Giorgi-Coll a BBC camera man, and Dr Janet Sumner an academic turned nature presenter. Working with experts gave us invaluable advice and guidance to help us improve and become much more confident (being in front of a camera was something that at first absolutely terrified me). If anyone is given the opportunity to do something similar I would highly recommend it.

How do I get involved?

Engaging the public and outreach doesn’t have to be as time consuming as creating short videos, it can be as simple as tweeting or writing blogs about your research, as long as these are written in user friendly language they are accessible to anybody you want. I’m sure everyone doing a PhD thinks that their research has a wider impact than writing papers to a specific audience. So why not express that to the people that may be the real beneficiaries of what you do, or people that are just genuinely interested?

Before the course I was sceptical as to whether outreach was worth it, but after I am much more open and willing to get involved in such things and have the skills to do so. I want the public to be interested and understand what I am spending 3 years of my life on, don’t you?

So if you’re thinking about getting involved in outreach…

Added Unknown Computers search to Troubleshooting Guide

July 11, 2017 Gary Hale

If you are unable to import a computer into Configuration Manager then an unknown computer object may already exist.

“\\ws2.lboro.ac.uk\DesktopResource\Windows\W7\common\Procedures\Configuration_Manager_Current_Branch\Configuration Manager Current Branch Troubleshooting Guide.docx”

For & Against: Campus Art Exhibition

July 8, 2017 Steven Lake

Loughborough University Arts is hosting a free exhibition in the Martin Hall Exhibition Space this summer.

For & Against: Art, Politics and the Pamphlet is a collaborative project between Radar and Loughborough University academics Dr Gillian Whiteley and Dr Jane Tormey, RadicalAesthetics-RadicalArt (RaRa).

This engaging programme responds to research into the political pamphlet and the relevance of the pamphlet for contemporary art practice. It has comprised a series of public workshops, a symposium, a Charnwood Museum exhibition and Pamphlet Day, a day-long public event in the town centre. Jane Tormey and Gillian Whiteley are working on a forthcoming edited book, ‘Art, Politics and the Pamphleteer’, to be published in the RaRa series by Bloomsbury.

This exhibition shares elements of this project, including new pamphlets by artists Patrick Goddard, Ferenc Gróf and Rory Pilgrim, commissioned by Radar; a selection of historical pamphlets from the Art of the Pamphlet exhibition; documentation of a series of pamphlet workshops led by artists Freee, Ruth Beale, Ciara Phillips and Little Riot Press and artworks inspired by For & Against workshops led by artists Chiara Dellerba and Sarah Green, and writer Alison Mott.

The exhibition runs until 1st September.

Roadwork Outside the Library

July 7, 2017 Steven Lake

On Monday 10th July work will commence on improving the traffic flow on the University Road outside the Library. Constructors will be making a new passing place for traffic as well as widening the existing bus stop.

The road will remain open while this work is carried out, but traffic management will be in use at times.

University Facilities Management apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

Social Science Research Conference 2017

Social Science Research Conference 2017

July 7, 2017 Dr Katryna Kalawsky

Written by Cuomu Zhaxi.

Image by Elizabeth Peel.

On 12 June 2017, the Department of Social Sciences had its 12th Annual Social Sciences Research (SSR) Conference.

A great selection of papers showcased some of the excellent PhD projects carried out by postgraduate research students from the Department of Social Sciences. These researchers have taken on some challenging issues including the transition from sexually exploited children to sex workers, LGBT rights to adoption in Turkey, car crime in Leicestershire, sexual harassment on the London underground, media representations of women in austerity and so on.

Dr Laura Valadez-Martinez was invited to give a keynote talk about challenges and opportunities during PhD journeys. She shared her experiences of battling lack of motivation and gave many practical suggestions such as keeping a research diary and increasing self-assurance by reading original materials and keeping up-to-date with research development. She addressed that each PhD journey is different therefore it is important to find one’s own way to ‘Live it, enjoy it and shape it’! You can find Laura’s previous talk on a similar topic here.

The conference attracted interests from School of Social, Political and Geographical, School of Business and Economies and School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences. With the key theme being “Engagement”, the presenters and participants enjoyed a stimulating environment and an inclusive atmosphere.

The SSR Conference is an annual get-together of postgraduate researchers and members of staff from the Department of Social Sciences. This year’s conference was organised by three PGRs Jack Joyce, Rachel Searcey, and Cuomu Zhaxi and received support from the Graduate School Research Culture Fund. If you want to learn more about the conference, you can search #lboroSSR on Twitter or find the Twitter moment here.

Please keep your eyes on www.lboro.ac.uk/socialsciences for future conference and other exciting events from the Department of Social Sciences.

Air Conditioning Repair Work in the Library

July 7, 2017 Steven Lake

Throughout July work will be proceeding on repairing and improving the air conditioning system in the Library. This work will be mostly taking place in the Library’s engineering plant room, but it is likely to involve some noise and disruption and there may be days when the air conditioning system to Levels 2 and 3 will need to be switched off for a time.

We will keep you up to date with any progress, and apologise for any inconvenience caused (particularly in this heat!).

Britain’s ‘missing’ Muslim women

July 7, 2017 Rachel Mackenzie

Whether British citizens with Muslim beliefs are sufficiently committed to “British values” and to a “British way of life” is a topic of intense political and media debate. Now a new report on “Missing Muslims” launched by the Citizens Commission on Islam, Participation and Public Life on July 3 has challenged the allegation that Muslim citizens are disengaged from the mainstream of British life. Continue reading

Change to driver packages in PC Staff Base Task Sequence Completed

July 7, 2017 Mike Collett

This work is now complete.

If you have any queries regarding this, please contact the IT Service Desk on x222333 or IT.Services@lboro.ac.uk

The UK General Election of 2017: the campaigns, media and polls

July 7, 2017 Loughborough University

Wed, July 19, 2017
9:30am – 6:00pm BST

Loughborough University London

This conference, sponsored by the Loughborough University Institute of Advanced Studies, provides a unique exploration of the momentous 2017 General Election from the perspectives of those most intimately involved as strategists, journalists and analysts.

The event features contributions from the campaigning, news and social media as well as polling organizations involved in the election. Confirmed participants include:

  • Ric Bailey (BBC)
  • Jay Blumler (Univ of Leeds)
  • Greg Cook (Labour)
  • Ivor Gaber (Univ of Sussex)
  • Gaby Hinsliff (The Observer)
  • Michael Jeremy (ITV)
  • Dennis Kavanagh (University of Liverpool and co-author, The British General Election of 2017)
  • Damian Lyons Lowe (Survation)
  • Keiran Pedley (GfK)
  • Gideon Skinner (Ipsos MORI)
  • Mike Smithson (Political Betting.com)

as well as members of the Loughborough University’s Centre for Research in Culture and Communication, the British Polling Council, and the UK Political Studies Association’s Elections, Public Opinion and Parties Group (EPOP).

The volume Political Communication in Britain: Polling, Campaigning and Media in the 2015 General Election, based on our previous event is now available to buy.

FAQs

Have you got further details about the event?

Further information confirming the running order for the event will be available here as soon as we have it

What are my transportation/parking options for getting to and from the event?

The location of the event is Loughborough University London.

How can I contact the organizer with any questions?

Please e-mail Dominic Wring: d.j.wring@lboro.ac.uk

Change to driver packages in PC Staff Base Task Sequence

July 6, 2017 Mike Collett

Tomorrow morning (Friday 7th July) the PC Staff Base Task Sequence will be updated between 8.30am and 9:30am. During this time this Task Sequence should not be used.

The update consist of some minor updates to driver packages to eliminate problem with specific models.

Once this change has been made and tested an e-mail will be sent out advising that the ‘PC Staff Base’ is available for imaging again.

CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION AND HELP?

Please contact our Service Desk at it.services@lboro.ac.uk for more information.

 

Losing on the swings and losing on the roundabouts

July 6, 2017 Donald Hirsch

The past five years have seen ups and downs for wage earners, in terms of average pay keeping up with inflation.  After dipping in the recession, real pay started to rise again in 2014.  The main beneficiaries were private sector workers, although when inflation hit zero even those affected by the 1% public sector pay cap saw modest increases in real terms.  But this year, the return of inflation meant that real pay has again flattened overall, and is falling for public workers.

Having spent nearly a decade awaiting a return to the previous norm of steady real wage growth, it’s probably time to recognise that we’re stuck in this spluttering stop-start cycle for the foreseeable future.  For many workers, the best hope is that they will gain on the swings – of modest pay rises and low inflation – more than they lose on the roundabouts of negative real pay growth.

But for the large proportion of working families (slightly more than half) whose low income entitles them to additional help from the state, current policies make the prospects grimmer than this.  The government has frozen the level of this help, and also the income level at which it starts being taken away.

This means that when earnings fall in real terms, such families take a double hit.  First, from their reduced real earnings; second from the declining real value of their tax credits.  That’s what’s happened this year to someone with an average pay rise of 1% – well behind the increase in minimum family living costs, which our latest MIS research shows to have increased by around 4%. Both their pay and their benefits are falling well behind inflation.

More fundamentally, this year has shown how such families can fall behind even when their earnings do keep up with rising costs.  Families earning the National Wage have seen above-average pay increases, slightly ahead of general inflation, and about the same rate as our minimum cost calculation.

But this does not allow them to keep up in net income terms.  The benefits freeze means first of all that the portion of family income coming from the state is falling in real terms, even as earnings rise with inflation.  And the net value of that pay increase is greatly reduced by its subjection to a means test.  For each extra pound earned, about three quarters is lost in additional taxes and lower tax credits.  This loss is only very partially being offset by a rising tax allowance.

The net result is that even a family whose pay is keeping up with rising costs has becoming worse off, relative to costs, by about £500 a year.

Looking ahead, as long as there is even modest inflation at around the target level of 2%, families affected by this freeze will not become better off without huge pay increases.  The only way to deliver on the promise to improve living standards for low income families will therefore be if pay improves and in-work support does not deteriorate.

Lifting the benefits freeze is a pretty simple ‘ask’ for Mr Hammond at budget time.  Don’t make the worst off families even worse off.

Using POD in JavaScript

July 5, 2017 Jason Cooper

Recently I needed to extend the documentation in one of our projects, which used Perl on the server and JavaScript in the browser. This reminded me of a throwaway comment I’d seen online about using Plain Old Documentation (POD) in languages other than Perl.

As the server side of the project is written in Perl it made sense to try using POD in both the Perl and the JavaScript. Sure enough, as long as you wrap your POD in /* block comments */, then it works perfectly. e.g.

/*
=head1 NAME

Pointless Example - a pointless example of using POD in JavaScript

=head1 FUNCTIONS

=head2 HelloWorld(message)

An example of POD for a function

=head3 PARAMETERS

=over 4

=item I

The message

=back

=head3 RETURNS

Returns the message preceded by "e;Hello World"e;

*/

function HelloWorld(message) {
    return "Hello World " + message;
}

The main advantage of using POD in this case is that all my documentation can be rendered by the same process, irregardless of whether it is for the backend Perl code or frontend JavaScript.

Introducing Mendeley Workshops

July 5, 2017 Steven Lake

Do you need a tool to help manage your references? If so, Mendeley can help! We’re running two introductory practical workshops this summer which will explain the purpose of referencing software, help you to set up a Mendeley account,  add references to it and organise them into folders. You will also learn how to export references into a document and create a bibliography.

The sessions are available on the following dates:

  • Wednesday 12th July, Seminar Room 2, 2-3.30pm
  • Thursday 24th August, Seminar Room 2, 9.30-11am

To book a place on either session, log in to Learn: http://learn.lboro.ac.uk/course/view.php?id=5792

Please note that these workshops are aimed at new or novice users of Mendeley and will not cover advanced features.

Write your way to enhanced wellbeing

July 2, 2017 Cheryl Travers

One evening recently whilst I was chilling in front of the TV, glass of wine in hand, reflecting on the past challenging week and feeling relieved it was finally the weekend, a Facebook message suddenly popped up. A friend had included me in a Facebook group as she had news to share, news which she warned would knock us for six. She had cancer!  My heart sank and the tears rolled.

A lovely woman, in a fabulous marriage, with a doting daughter, and a great career. My head was racing. What a terrible blow to them all.  How would she cope? How would she get through the awful journey ahead of her – chemo sessions and hair loss (that was what mainly prompted her message – to warn us of her newly acquired bald status).

The next morning I awoke to another message. She hoped I didn’t mind, but she had added me to a Facebook page, which she was going to use as a blog of her cancer journey. She said she wanted positive people around her, and she wanted to act in a positive, constructive way. She wanted somewhere safe to download her feelings, her progress and any setbacks. I was incredibly touched and also instantly relieved. She was going to reflect on it all as it unfolded and write it all down. I knew she was going to be ok.

Some months back I was lucky to have a breakfast meeting with a hero of mine, Professor Jamie Pennebaker from the US. He was giving a keynote at the British Psychological Society Annual Conference, where I was also presenting my work. For a number of decades he has studied and written about the many benefits of expressive writing on stress and psychological and physical wellbeing.

I, too, have been working with the power of the written word, which, when coupled with specific, challenging goals, can have far-reaching and life-changing consequences. For 15 years I have worked with goal setters, from all industry sectors as well as our final year undergraduate students. Many choose to focus on stress and wellbeing goals, which once written about in an on-going and reflective way, lead to fantastic results. The combination of writing things down and giving these written reflections a goal focus, is incredibly powerful.

At one extreme, people have claimed that this process, which I call ‘Reflective Goal Setting’ (see diagram below), has stopped them embarking on another suicide attempt, has helped them manage OCD, and anxiety and depression via a range of suitable, far-reaching goals. At the other end of the wellbeing spectrum, reflective goal setters report increasing their positivity, optimism and happiness, as well as reducing (or indeed banishing) unhealthy habits and enhancing their mental and physical fitness.

Reflective Goal Setting: Dr Travers’ 5-Stage Model:

The key to success appears to be the process of, and commitment to, writing about our goals and our reflections on them.

For example, I was recently training some high-pressured senior leaders from a finance company. Two of them were conscious that their stress levels were being further affected by their overall fitness – they had both got out of shape, and were feeling tetchy, anxious and lethargic. They both set a goal to improve their fitness and returned a month later for a follow up.  Updates revealed that one leader was overwhelmingly thrilled that his goal to exercise for at least 30 minutes, four times a week, had been surpassed and he was now working out every day.  He reported experiencing enhanced wellbeing and an improved ability to manage stress and pressure.  The face of the other leader, with the same fitness goal, visibly dropped. He had failed miserably, and had done one 30-minute run the first day, then nothing since.

We started to unpack the possible reasons why and one thing was overwhelmingly obvious – this second fitness-seeker had not bothered to write it down, whereas the fitness-achiever had gone away, written out his specific goal statement and used a diary to log his thoughts and feelings on his goal attempts and progress over the last month. Powerful stuff, and findings that are being replicated around the world by associate scholars of mine.

I have many examples of the impact of Reflective Goal Setting on enhanced physical and psychological wellbeing and would like to share elements of my five-stage model (see diagram above) as it relates to this.

Before you begin, get yourself a nice journal to write in:

Stage 1 – Consider your own wellbeing capability and capacity. How are things going for you? How do you react to pressure and stress? What do others feedback to you about your coping?  Are you keeping your head above water? What do you think contributes to your (lack of) well-being? What is your consistent well-being story? Write these findings down.

Stage 2 – Select a suitable, specific and challenging well-being goal. From your self-reflections and enhanced self-awareness, what do you think would be the most useful and impactful goal for you to try? Ask for feedback from others if you are not sure. Write these ideas down.

Stage 3 – Visualise yourself acting out this goal behaviour. Can you see yourself behaving in a fitter way, making wiser well-being choices and reaping the benefits? What would this healthier behaviour actually look like in action?  Identify role models whose healthy behaviour you could emulate. Write this all down and especially ways that you will measure your goal progress and any concerns you may have about the goal.

Stage 4 – Write out your detailed goal statement. Take the time to write down exactly what you are going to do, how you will do it, in what situations and exactly how you  will monitor and measure progress.

Stage 5 – Put it into practice. Actively seek out opportunities to practice your goal behaviour and regularly write down your progress and reactions to the goal. Reflect on and record any negative feelings as well as positive reactions and advances you make. Adjust your goal if necessary.

So, the key is to write reflectively throughout the entire process.

This Blog post was written by Dr Cheryl Travers, Senior Lecturer in Organisational Behaviour and Human Resource Management and a member of the Human Resource Management and Organisational Behaviour discipline group. Cheryl can be reached on C.Travers@lboro.ac.uk

Brexit negotiations: Turning points and concessions

July 1, 2017 Elena Georgiadou

This Blog post was originally published on The UK in a Changing Europe website on 28th June 2017.

The concessions from the UK side on the sequencing of the talks on the opening of negotiations on 19 June was hardly surprising given the developments relating to the UK election on June 8. Conducted in an atmosphere of constructive dialogue, the first day of Brexit negotiations not only reached agreement on talks sequencing but also set the tone for the subsequent stages as one of amicable divorce. This can be largely attributed to the turning point in the negotiation inflicted by the election result, which challenged the UK government’s mandate inferring a public call for a ‘softer’ Brexit.

Turning points triggered by key events such as changing evaluations of negotiation terms, elections, changes in public opinion about the issue and so on result in changes in negotiation strategies. This is because each of these events is viewed as instrumental in moving the negotiation process on a trajectory towards or away from agreement.

As Daniel Druckman suggests such events also provide negotiators with an opportunity to re-frame negotiations and encourage them to develop integrative solutions to the bargaining problem. In other words, the act of re-framing can serve as a critical juncture in the negotiation process to pave the way toward agreement.

As evidenced by the first day of negotiations, the UK has done exactly that. It internalised the turning point marked by the election result, reframed negotiations as integrative and changed its strategy from belligerent to cooperative through the use of a tactical concession. This change in strategy was undoubtedly necessary given Theresa May’s prior polemical declaration of war accusing Brussels of interfering in British democracy.

At the same time however, it seems to be part of the UK’s strategic response to the aftermath of an election, which challenged the dynamics in the relationship between the two negotiating parties (UK and the EU) as well as accentuated power asymmetries. Whether defined in terms of capabilities, resources and negotiating experience or defined relatively, in terms of perceived status and might, bargaining power has shifted towards the EU, especially as it emerged re-united post-Macron’s election.

In this climate, it could, perhaps, have been anticipated that the opening day of the negotiations would involve a tactical move of concessions on behalf of the UK. Concessions, often associated with weaker parties in a negotiation, need not be understood only as a sign of weakness.

Rather, they can be part of a well-developed negotiating strategy and an early communication tactic. Concessions as strategic communication transmit signals about priorities, perceptions and strategies. The substance of concessions forms a message in itself. Savvy negotiators know that they have to give away something in order to accomplish constructive outcomes. They also know that they need to concede strategically so that they create room for manoeuvring and move the negotiation towards a favourable result.

The timing of offering concessions can be also telling and must be considered carefully by the other negotiating party. Conventional wisdom suggests that concessions given early on may signal risk aversion or desperation and may deplete the reserve of concessions that can be offered later, when they may be more appreciated.

Similarly, the more important a negotiation is for a country, the larger the concessions that it will make to its partners. At the same time, however, international negotiations research suggests that early concessions can offer a means to generate more integrative agreements. Even more so, exchanging concessions can be a key strategy likely to be effective in securing more cooperative negotiations with increased payoffs for both parties.

It is highly likely that Britain did use the concession strategically to send signals that set the atmosphere and tone of negotiations. Notwithstanding, UK negotiators were faced with an uncompromising response from Michel Barnier who appeared to be unwilling to engage in an exchange of concessions.

Drawing on the two parties’ approach on the first day of negotiation we can’t help but consider the following. The UK’s signal regarding the atmosphere of negotiations is one that must not go unnoticed. It is crucial that it informs EU’s approach towards a value adding negotiation process. Notably, it is not only out of strategy but also out of trust that negotiators make concessions, but if their trust is not rewarded or returned in fair fashion, further concessions could be withheld until their opponents reciprocate.

The UK is also in a position whereby it needs to display an exceptionally sophisticated management of this fragile negotiation process. Given the uncertainty prevalent in the UK government and negotiating ecosystem, early concessions could prompt a nationalist backlash in Britain as well as renewed political support for hard Brexit, which is against UK’s interests.

This Blog post was written by Dr Elena Georgiadou, Lecturer in International Management and member of the IBSI discipline group.  This post was originally published on The UK in a Changing Europe website as part of the  28+ Perspectives on Brexit project. Elena can be reached on E.Georgiadou@lboro.ac.uk

Teaching dyslexic students: The power of images

June 30, 2017 David Roberts

INTRODUCTION

It should come as no surprise that the number of dyslexic students entering Higher Education (HE) has increased in line with the widening participation agenda that has accompanied neoliberal hegemonic domination of academic praxis.  That number has risen dramatically over the last two decades, from approximately 2,000 in 1994 to more than 20,000 in 2007 (figures after this year can’t be distinguished from Special Learning Disabilities generally, standing at 30,000 in 2013). There is no evidence to suggest the number is declining, especially given increasing reporting of dyslexia beyond the academy. The 2015 UK Census showed 6.3 million claiming to experience dyslexia, almost 10% of the population, and there are many subtypes.

 

Copyright Dr. David Roberts 2016. Dyslexic/SpLD HE students 1994-2104. Graphic created by author from statistics provided by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) open access website

For the purposes of this post, dyslexia is understood in accordance with the British Dyslexia Association’s (BDA) definition. It is ‘a specific learning difficulty that mainly affects the development of literacy and language related skills… characterized by difficulties with phonological processing, rapid naming, working memory, [and] processing speed” (BDA, 2016).  Why is this important? It’s because dyslexic students can find the routine way academia has taught for millennia – the hegemonic pedagogical platform we know as the lecture – to be a great challenge – not to mention how hard reading can be.

Copyright Dr. David Roberts 2016

DYSLEXIA

We have probably all become aware of the increasing range of different needs there are among the student population – module coordinators often receive lists of specific circumstances affecting their enrollees at the start of each semester, with the usual requirements for adjusted or alternative assessment regimes. But much less attention is paid to how we might support such learners in our primary contact space, the lecture theatre. This blog post is concerned with just that, and it draws from and builds on earlier posts I have made on visual learning – because we are all visual learners for as long as we are sighted.

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The BDA advises that dyslexia can be ‘resistant to conventional teaching methods, but its effect can be mitigated by appropriately specific intervention, including the application of information technology and supportive counseling’ (BDA, 2016). This reflects standard assumptions about the capacity of neoliberal modernity to treat all ‘problems’ with technologies, but it also reflects the extent to which universities have chosen or been compelled to increase social resources through various disability units.

But technology per se is not a silver bullet, in any dimension of teaching, which for as long as humans shall be teaching, will be a social enterprise based on relationships and communication. Technology can facilitate this, of course, but it depends very much on how those tasked with teaching an expanding dyslexic cohort interact with and lead such technology, instead of being led by fad and mantra with the expectation that the simple application of technology can provide all the answers. There’s no technological gold at the end of the rainbow.

Copyright Dr. David Roberts 2017

The dominance of this definition perhaps explains in part why responses to dyslexic people’s needs have often favoured technological provision – without an equally emphatic approach to challenging the issue of ‘conventional teaching methods’. Higher Education Institutions (HEI) have slowly but surely responded to this change in student demographics in a variety of very supportive, valuable ways. Yet large group lectures, which dominate in many areas of study, remain steadfastly anchored to a method of delivery that has remained largely unchanged for the last hundred years (Pickles, 2016; Connell, 2013).

The idea of the lecture has come under sustained assault but also been ably defended for the last century or so at least, and the jury remains out, and the lecture prevails, for right or for wrong. In the case of teaching dyslexic students, however, how we present lectures may be very wrong – and simultaneously present a remarkable opportunity to transform dyslexic students’ experiences of being taught in large groups.

Copyright 123RF

We know that dyslexic students often (but not always) exhibit a cognitive capacity for the interrogation of images that may exceed the capacity to absorb text. Some have proposed the idea that dyslexic people may experience an innate advantage or ‘special ability’ in terms of processing less precise but more expansive data, such as images. Eide and Eide refer to a ‘dyslexic advantage’ that challenges the idea that dyslexic people ‘suffer from’ dyslexia. Instead, they argue, ‘the brains of individuals with dyslexia aren’t defective, they’re simply different’ (2011, pp. xvi-xvii). This difference enables dyslexic people, among many other things, such that ‘their conceptual knowledge is often stored in… images…rather than in abstract principles or definitions’ (2011, p. 128).

Eide and Eide went on to note that some dyslexic people ‘are typically very good at remembering things they’ve done or experienced’ (2011, p. 127). This ‘experience’ may be direct or indirect: it may be that they better remember something presented in the form of a visual metaphor, wherein the metaphor renders familiar something that is otherwise unfamiliar. This led Eide and Eide to claim that some dyslexic people ‘will typically learn much better if general or abstract definitions are supported by scene-based examples or depictions’ (2011, p. 127). This suggests that ‘whilst [some] dyslexic [people] may be poorer at tasks involving precision and accuracy, they [may be] better at tasks involving seeing the ‘big picture’ or identifying new connections’ (Cryer, 2013, p. 8; West, 1997).

In short, images combined with limited text (so as not to swamp learners) may ease the passing of knowledge and the development of understanding. Eide and Eide, and Cryer, are not far from the truism and aphorism that ‘a picture paints a thousand words’. It is a matter of balancing text and image delivery, of using both text and images to convey academic content and meaning.

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Such characteristics of dyslexic interpretation have been characterised as ‘centre-periphery’. Von Karolyi and Winner point to visual periphery capacities in dyslexic people that might favour reception of images (2004). Whilst that work stressed the spatial aspect of visual-spatial interpretation, it suggested in addition that there may be a preference for processing material at the outer limits of the visual plane as opposed to the centre of the visual field. This means that large images would theoretically occupy a field of visual engagement that text does not. The authors claimed to find little that definitively proved a visual advantage enjoyed by dyslexic people, or that visual processing was an inherent skill enjoyed by dyslexic people.

Schneps, Rose and Fischer extend the idea of centre and periphery, noting ‘a converging body of evidence suggesting that at least some people with dyslexia exhibit a visual bias favouring the periphery’, whilst correspondingly, research indicates that non-dyslexic people experience a bias favouring the centre of the visual plane (2007, p. 133).  Schneps at al predict that this ‘centre-periphery’ framework ‘has potential implications for instructional support in visually intensive domains such as science and mathematics’ (2007, p. 128). The ‘centre-periphery’ framework identified above is key to understanding a relatively binary division between visual processing capacities.

Copyright Pixabay

Oversimplified so as not to become lost in biological detail, people favouring periphery capacity are better able to see wider ‘scenes’ whereas those favouring the centre are better able to see detail in a limited area, such as reading text in a book or on a screen (Schneps, et al., 2007; Levy, et al., 2004). Schneps et al argue that the centre-periphery structure can be considered for many intents and purposes as separate yet complementary visual systems. The idea of the complementary dualism of ‘centre-periphery’ as marking a difference between what many dyslexic and non-dyslexic people can effectively visually interpret is further developed by Coppin (2009). Coppin builds on Schneps et al to suggest that:

peripheral visual perception is like a wide-angle panoramic lens that enables the visual comparison of features in a scene. Centre perception is like a narrow-angle microscopic lens that shows each detail in that scene at extremely high resolution but at the expense of showing few surrounding details (2009, p. 2)

He then proposes that images could be used to support dyslexic people’s learning needs because images occupy the periphery that is underexploited by text-centric teaching (although not all dyslexic people will experience dyslexia similarly), but no testing of such a proposal was advanced. Furthermore, there was no discussion of what kind of image might be helpful. Indeed, according to a review of the literature in 2013, ‘no published research evidence has been found relating to the use of images in the education of dyslexic learners’ (Cryer, 2013, p. 9).

RECENT RESEARCH

Readers of earlier blogs will perhaps see a connection with the research I have been conducting at Loughborough University on the effect of using images in large group lectures. A three-year experiment across nine disciplines revealed that images could not only supplement text but could be as legitimate a medium for communicating complex arguments, theories and concepts as text is. Those blogs made an argument for balance in academic delivery, transforming lectures from their orthodox, logocentric propensity to spaces in which pictures were used to paint thousands of words and tell stories that increased engagement and generated spaces of active (as opposed to passive) learning. This was argued to be all the more important, relevant and innovative given the visual era human evolution has entered and embraced.

It was further argued that students coming to university experienced logocentric hegemony bracketed by their before and after experiences which are increasingly visual. This rendered university teaching and learning in lectures out of sync with both the environments from which are students arrive and to which they depart; and with another key element discussed in some detail concerning cognitive loading and Multimedia Learning (MML). Without repeating earlier content too much, MML posits that people have ‘dual processing’ mental capacity that means they learn better from words and images, than words alone; and that using excessive text alone overloads limited short-term memory (Lewis, 2016; Mayer, 2014; Ayres, 2015).

Copyright Dr. David Roberts 2015/Depositphotos.com

So, there appears to be overlap between benefits accruing to neurostandard and neurodiverse students to be derived from the balancing of images and text delivery in lectures This convergence of points in the two literatures (dyslexia and MML) frames the nature of the empirical research discussed here. There is ample argument to justify empirical testing of various forms of image use in HE settings as a means to support dyslexic learners; and the findings of the MML literature concerning text overload of short-term memory also seems to suggest relevance for dyslexic students. But the research presented here drew from neither initially.

FIRST CONTACT

I was giving a TEDx talk here at LU on visual communication for students. After the 18-minute presentation, a member of the audience intercepted me as I left. She was a student here, and she told me she was dyslexic, and that she had never seen anything like the presentation.

(Tedx Loughborough video with Dr David Roberts, 2016 video screenshot)

She elaborated on how the images had impacted her ability to stay tuned to the slides and then recall what I had said around each image. She told me she could remember my spoken words, and the meaning of the images, with clarity and ease. She also said that some of the images had moved her emotionally, saying that an emotional connection was partly responsible for her attention, engagement, interest and recall. Mainly, though, she said text was disengaging, hard to read and impossible to keep up with. Her anecdotal remarks led me to extend the experiments I had been working on with neurostandard students to their neurodiverse peers.

After the project was announced in regular lecture slots, self-identifying dyslexic students volunteered to be involved in the research design after the project was announced in lectures. The plan was to reach out to all the dyslexic students on campus by email, by means of the Disabilities Office disabled students database. The researchers would have no sight of student identities since the email would be sent by the Disabilities Office. Formal ethical approval was granted and a conventional email was composed and run by volunteers. The volunteer dyslexic students liked the invitation, but thought it too wordy and proposed instead that the message be composed with a combination of text and inline images.

It was a compelling notion, and the email was designed around these parameters. The new email was considered much more appealing and likely to generate interest and engagement. The invitation to participate in research was also distributed through the Disabled Students’ Facebook page, and some 30 responses quickly accrued. The students had been invited to come to a lecture room for a 10-minute presentation, and were to be divided into control and experiment groups. Expecting a statistically significant cohort, it was disappointing to see only 7 students turn up, and this led to a new discussion with the dyslexic volunteers, who helped conceptualize and design a web tool that allowed students to participate remotely online. This tool is also now in use with neurostandard students and has proved helpful in increasing cohort size.

THE EXPERIMENT

Briefly (since it’s outlined in greater depth elsewhere), quantitative control group testing was complemented by qualitative focus group inquiry. In the first instance, two groups were exposed to the same 10-minute lecture content on global warming (an area students are probably conscious of and can relate to). One lecture was delivered using slides with text, the other using slides with imagery and limited text. Students completed an online questionnaire that asked for their verdicts on the slides (not on the text, not on the images) in the next room. The questions concerned student engagement with academic content in lectures.

Copyright Dr. David Roberts 2016

The data was clear: Of those exposed to standard slides, none considered them helpful in understanding and engagement, or indeed in any of the other questions. On the contrary, all the dyslexic students exposed to large high-quality found them to be valuable in engaging them and helping them understand the subject. The outcome is attributable to the broadly-held notion (above) that dyslexic students often (but not always) value images whilst being routinely overwhelmed with text in lectures – a problem they share with neurostandard students, who also experience the stress of cognate overload, but likely to a lesser extent (Coppin, 2009; Ellis, 2013; Mayer & Moreno, 1998).

The second set of data comes from focus group evaluation. The focus group consisted of 4 volunteers who participated in a one-hour session, at which we addressed reactions to the use of images. Forenames only are used.

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I wanted to get a general sense of how the images were affecting them. Alex started by saying that ‘the idea of learning things through other people’s experiences – through images – really hit home’. Referring to an image of a decaying rope bridge over a rushing river with children in school uniform crossing on the ‘school run’ in Colombia, used to accompany a discussion of the impact of corruption on very poor people, she declared that she could ‘still see the bridge that the locals had to cross to this day’. She added that ‘this [form of teaching] is amazing, because none of my [other] revision is going in’. She added that ‘I want to be able to provide this for my students if I become a teacher’.

Lewis declared that he had ‘found the majority of lectures in [his] two years here to be incredibly difficult to follow and keep up with, as the PowerPoints are all text based with lecturers reading off of a manuscript’. Referring to a lecture I had given 8 months ago as part of a regular module, he said that ‘the slides were almost a breath of fresh air as the images allowed me to concentrate on what [the lecturer] was saying and I was able to take more in’.

The discussion had a life of its own, as I had hoped. The participants ‘fired’ off one another; but this does not mean they all agreed on all the points each made. For example, there was some disagreement on the moment of engagement with images. By this I mean that their valuing of images and text differed. One of the group said he depended on plenty of text for revision, and said that slides with just images were useful but incomplete. When I suggested that text could be stored in the ‘notes view’ of PowerPoint and thus be accessible online at any time, he considered the matter resolved for him. It was, he said, ‘the best of both worlds’. Others didn’t take the same view but agreement was neither sought nor necessary.

The group concurred with the statement that they ‘got it, straight away, from the first slide’. They could understand the rationale for the use of images; they soaked up the effect. For one, ‘this was the right way for me to learn because the images stick and I remember two weeks after what they are about’. Another concurred, adding that ‘images stick in my head much more easily and for much longer than words on a slide, or from a lecturer. They can stay for weeks and make you think more broadly about the subject. It leads to reflection as to why such an event happens, and then made me pursue other explanations’. A final remark on that matter: ‘slides with that much text feels like an attack’.

Copyright Dr. David Roberts 2017

This took the focus group beyond the empirical test and back to curriculum lectures they had attended earlier in the semester, in which images are the norm. Their remarks are worthy of note because they provide some answers as to why the images work for them. One student remarked at length on this. He said image-based lectures were:

“The most engaging lectures I’ve had so far [yr2]. I haven’t missed one yet. You have a connection to an image. You can almost imagine you’re there. There’s no physical connection to words on a page. We have another lecture that uses just text. That does nothing, it doesn’t engage me at all with what you’re saying. But you put up images.  You can talk as much as you want; you can tell people about things and what it meant to people, but when you show them an image, a physical example of how it impacted people, it really drives the point home and make me think about it a lot more, about what we’re learning.”

The students were making powerful connections with the images that sparked their mental engagement and triggered their interest.

Copyright Dr. David Roberts 2017

We developed this further. There was little equivocation. Text-based slides were much harder to ‘stay with’, especially when the text mirrored, or duplicated, the lecturers’ speech. One student declared that:

“In any two-hour lecture, at certain points different people are going to drop off attention span at what is being said or read. Having continuous slides of writing isn’t going to re-engage you with the lecture, whereas if you use good images then you are going to be drawn back into the words. This is why I haven’t missed any of the [visual] lectures so far. If I know I’m going to go to a lecture I’ll be bored in, then it just gets worse and worse. In a lot of the other [two-hour] lectures, I see people leave at half time. I haven’t seen that in one of [these] lectures so far. Your lectures get a round of applause. In others, people clap, but that’s more because it’s finished.”

Deepening the discussion, the focus group was asked to interrogate the internal process involved. The images are normally made of components that, when taken together, issue a subjective message. This is especially the case with paradox images, which seem to force engagement through the presentation of oppositional positions. For example, when teaching about capitalism, it is impossible to escape the connection between this social process and another, like war. The arms trade is an obvious example, but other more nuanced relational dynamics are at work. I use an image of a diamond with blood dripping off it. The diamond is normally seen alone as an object of beauty, but the blood added to it raises questions about that beauty – why and how is a diamond connected to blood loss?

Copyright Dr. David Roberts 2017

A student claimed that these kind of images ‘make me curious as to what the photographer or artist was thinking when they made it’. She added that she couldn’t ‘help but be connected to and engaged with the image, and as [the lecturer] discusses its meaning and relevance to the academic material, a connection is forged that makes thinking about this stuff a happier experience’. All the participants agreed. We discussed one image that provoked debate days after the lecture in which it was shown. It was street art found on a wall in Lebanon and photographed and uploaded to the web. It depicted the attack on the Twin Towers as a function of western neoimperialism, articulated in the ‘M’ of the McDonald’s fast food chain. It’s reproduced here.

Copyright Dr. David Roberts 2017

Two things emerged from this discussion. The first was that in one image it had conveyed such a complex and multidimensional debate simply and clearly and held value just for this. The second was that it had outraged some students who said it should not have been used (it was used to contrast with orthodox explanations for 9-11 that make the attack about ‘bad Muslims’). The second thing that emerged was that debate about its meaning and use had continued outside the lecture for days. One member of the focus group declared that ‘even if someone despises an image, without even realizing it, they validate its use by discussing it afterwards. They’re doing exactly what the lecturer wants – discussing the lecture content’.

There had been some discussion of the reduction of text use in these slides. To be clear, the slides with images are not necessarily, or even often, devoid of text. The method involves reducing the visible text, especially since covering an image with text would defeat the purpose of the exercise. The text that might normally appear on the projected slide can be deposited in the notes view’, making it accessible to students that want it. But it became clear that even when there were no images (not every slide has to have an image), it was preferred when text was reduced.

This method uses normally no more than one line of text, normally less. The number of slides is increased to accommodate necessary text, but what is being said does not increase; it is instead dissipated over more slides. It seems there is an important process going on in line with MML theory regarding cognate overload. One student declared, when confronted with text-heavy slides:

“I give up. I don’t bother reading it. I miss it. It’s a waste of my time. Why am I here? I do exactly the same thing. I have to make a choice. Am I going to listen to the lecturer, or am I going to read the text he’s providing? Half of a lecture is wasted if I have to choose. I can’t read the text and listen as well. It’s like visual indigestion. Eat slowly and you absorb it better; any nutritionist will tell you that. Same with lecture slides. Break them down and we can digest them better instead of swamping us with material we have to break down ourselves before we can start processing it.”

The students claimed that minimal text meant they ‘didn’t have to choose between writing text down or listening to the lecturer’.

Copyright Dr. David Roberts 2017

One member of the group ended the discussion with this comprehensive remark. I’m including it because it says a lot on one space. He said that:

“The pictures add an extra dimension that we can absorb without overloading our listening, reading and writing. I rephrase the image textually, instead. When I’m listening to a voice and watching a picture, I’m not scribbling down the slides’ text. I’m engaged in interpreting an image whilst hearing the lecturer discussing it, without being distracted from a visual image by reading text that duplicates the spoken words. Pictures and spoken words go mutually, complementarily.  Text and spoken words are divisive and force a choice. Looking at the images, instead of text, makes me ask, what should I write down, as opposed to accepting the text on a slide and/or copying it down uncritically. That’d be like A levels. Images up the ante and give me autonomy instead of text that spoon-feeds me.”

Copyright Dr. David Roberts 2017/123RF

CONCLUSION

The number of dyslexic students we teach is increasing, and the primary pedagogy to which we expose them is the large group lecture, traditionally a text-centric exercise. Dyslexic students’ anecdotal remarks concerning a visual method I have developed for lecturing prompted a control group experiment and focus group investigation of the effect of images on dyslexic students’ engagement and interaction in the lecture theatre.

Probably because neurostandard and neurodiverse students share dual processing capacity when interrogating lecture slide content, the positive impact on engagement and active learning processes experienced by the former group was mirrored in the latter. The outcome was unequivocal but the sample group was small. It seems reasonable to hope that more research can be undertaken across a larger body of neurodiverse students.

Bibliography

  • Ayres, P., 2015. State-of-the-Art Research into Multimedia Learning: A Commentary on Mayer’s Handbook of Multimedia Learning. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 29(4), p. 631–636.
  • BDA, 2016. British Dyslexia Association. [Online]
    Available at: http://www.bdadyslexia.org.uk/dyslexic/definitions
    [Accessed 13 April 2016].
  • Connell, R., 2013. The neoliberal cascade and education: an essay on the market agenda and its consequences. Critical Studies in Education, 54(2), pp. 99-112.
  • Coppin, P., 2009. Using dyslexia to explore the cognitive characteristics of illustrations and text; using illustrations and text to explore the cognitive characteristics of dyslexia. Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina.
  • Cryer, H., 2013. Exploring the need for accessible images for people with dyslexia, Birmingham: Royal National Institute for the Blind.
  • Eide, B. & Eide, F. F., 2011. The dyslexic advantage: unlocking the hidden potential of the dyslexic brain. New York: Hay House.
  • Ellis, A., 2013. Reading, Writing and Dyslexia: A Cognitive Analysis. London: Psychology Press.
  • Levy, I., Hasson, U., Harel, M. & Malach, R., 2004. Functional analysis of the periphery effect in human building related areas. Human Brain Mapping, 22(1), pp. 15-26.
  • Lewis, P., 2016. Brain Friendly Teaching—Reducing Learner’s Cognitive Load. Academic Radiology, 23(7), pp. 877-880.
  • Mayer, R., 2014. The Cambridge Handbook of Multimedia Learning. 2nd ed. New York: Cambridge University Press.
  • Mayer, R. & Moreno, R., 1998. A split-attention effect in multimedia learning: Evidence for dual processing systems in working memory. Journal of Educational Psychology,, 90(2), pp. 312-320.
  • Pickles, M., 2016. BBC News. [Online]
    Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-38058477
    [Accessed 26 May 2017].
  • Robinson, N., 1999. The use of focus group methodology with selected examples from sexual health research. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 29(4), pp. 905-913.
  • Schneps, M., Rose, L. T. & Fischer, K. W., 2007. Visual learning and the brain: implications for dyslexia. Mind, Brain and Education, 1(3), p. 128 – 139.
  • Stewart, D. W. & Shamdesani, P. M., 2014. Focus Groups: Theory and Practice. London: Sage.
  • von Karolyi, C. & Winner, E., 2004. Dyslexia and visual spatial talents: Are they connected? . In: Students with both gifts and learning disabilities. New York: Kluwer Academic Publishers, pp. 95-117.
  • West, T., 1997. In the Mind’s Eye: Visual Thinkers, Gifted People With Dyslexia and Other Learning Difficulties, Computer Images and the Ironies of Creativity. New York: Prometheus Books.
  • Wilkinson, S., 1998. Focus group methodology: a review. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 1(3), pp. 181-203.

 

This Blog post was written by Dr David Roberts, Senior Lecturer in International Relations and a member of the IBSI discipline group. David can be reached on D.Roberts@lboro.ac.uk

Loughborough Postgraduate Awards

Loughborough Postgraduate Awards

June 30, 2017 Dr Katryna Kalawsky

On the 24th June, George Hones, LSU’s first ever Postgraduate Executive Officer, hosted LSU’s first ever Loughborough Postgraduate Awards! The evening provided a night of reflection and celebration of the outstanding achievements of the postgraduate community and the staff that have supported them over the last year.

In total 14 awards were up for grabs and it was great to hear that so many of our Doctoral Researchers had not only been nominated but also shortlisted!

Whilst we don’t have the space in this blog post to mention all those nominated for an award (there were loads!), we wanted to give a special mention to those who were shortlisted and those who won on the night – a huge well done to all!

PhD Teaching Award

  • Winner – Louisa Ejim
  • Shortlisted – Jenna Townend, Laurence Coles, Oliver Hooper

Subwarden of the Year

  • Winner – Emma Blundell
  • Highly Commended – Romanda Dillon
  • Shortlisted – Edward Cerny, CJ Marlas

Postgraduate Representative of the Year

  • Winner – Mohammad Daniyall Khan
  • Shortlisted – Lauren Estwick, Carl Robinson, Jacky Mueller, Greg Usher, Misha Gabre

Postgraduate Event of the Year

  • Winner – Think and Drink (London Rep Team)
  • Highly Commended – LiQuiD Lab
  • Shortlisted – John Phillips Welfare & Diversity Week

Contribution to Student Development

  • Winner – Donna Palmer
  • Shortlisted – Ellie Read, Marie Hanlon, David Fletcher, Simona Rasciute, Rachel Sandford

Unsung Hero

  • Winner – Jenny Evans
  • Shortlisted – Tracy Preston, Aly Howells-Chivers

Postgraduate Team of the Year

  • Winner – LiQUiD Lab Committee
  • Highly Commended – London Rep Team
  • Shortlisted – John Phillips Committee, Centre for Service Management Team, Greg Ushers & Misha Gabre

Postgraduate Volunteer of the Year

  • Winner – James Brady
  • Highly Commended – Jaw Wook Park
  • Shortlisted – Amina Hamoud, Jack Needham, Jonny Flowers, cheng Gu, Leanna Kightley, Gareth Tedds

Supervisory Team of the Year

  • Winner – Julie Fisher & Brian Reed
  • Shortlisted – Lorraine Cale & jo Harris

Outstanding Delivery

  • Winner – Val Mitchell
  • Highly Commended – Louise Cooke
  • Shortlisted – Phillip Grunewald, Simona Rasciute

The John Phillips Contribution to Community Award

Contribution to Knowledge

  • Winner – Oliver Hooper
  • Shortlisted – Jenna Townend, Gaby Wolferink, Terri Graham

The Immediate Impact Award

  • Winner – Sumai Bertrand

The Bryn Pike Award

  • Winner – Ellie Read

Thank you to George for a great evening and for also being a superb Postgraduate Executive Officer!

 

Loughborough University London joins forces with Chelsea Football Club

Loughborough University London joins forces with Chelsea Football Club

June 29, 2017 Lauren Proctor

Loughborough University London and Chelsea Football Club are delighted to have formed a three-year strategic partnership that will see the two organisations work together on research, internships, player aftercare and engagement activities.

Continue reading

Loughborough ranked 6th in the UK!

Loughborough ranked 6th in the UK!

June 29, 2017 Lauren Proctor

Loughborough University has once again been ranked in the top ten in the 2018 Guardian University Guide.

Continue reading

Loughborough University named #1 in the UK for Media subjects

Loughborough University named #1 in the UK for Media subjects

June 29, 2017 Lauren Proctor

Loughborough University has been ranked first in the 2018 Guardian University Guide for Media and Film.

Continue reading

HereEast launch new shuttle bus service

HereEast launch new shuttle bus service

June 29, 2017 Lauren Proctor

HereEast have recently launched a free shuttle bus service for visitors to the HereEast campus.


The free shuttle bus service connects Here East to all major tansport stations in Stratford, London. The bus operates from Stratford International bus stop E and Stratford City bus stop X, and will take approximately 5 minutes to reach Here East.

Stratford bus station, Stratford rail station, Stratford DLR and Stratford underground stations are located in close proximity to Stratford City bus stop X. On arrival at one of these stations, please follow the signs towards Westfield Stratford City and the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. If you are using the underpass, exit the station and turn right before you reach Stratford City bus station. Stratford City bus stop X is on the opposite side of Montfichet Road. If you are using the bridge over the railway tracks, when you reach the end of the bridge, walk down the stairs on the right hand side and cross Montfichet Road when you reach the bottom. Stratford City bus stop X is located here, opposite Stratford Place.

1 July Coffee Morning

1 July Coffee Morning

June 29, 2017 Lauren Proctor

Come along to our coffee morning on 1st July to receive a tour of our stunning campus and hear from current students and staff about the postgraduate opportunities available at Loughborough University London.


Join us on Saturday 1st July from 10:00am – 2:00pm to discover our range of postgraduate programmes inside London’s new innovation quarter on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Receive a tour of our magnificent campus and find out more about our funding and scholarship opportunities. Students and recruitment staff will be on hand to answer questions about our master’s and PhD programmes, and will be able to introduce you to the outstanding student experience on offer in London. Staff will be able to give advice on the application process and provide more information about our unique careers development package.

Book your place!

Building Work in Level 3, Commencing 3rd July

June 29, 2017 Steven Lake

On Monday 3rd July work will commence on relocating the printer/copier area in the middle of Level 3. This will involve the removal of the printers and the knocking down of the screening walls surrounding their location.

During this work a significant proportion of Level 3 will be unavailable to visitors, though access will still be open to the PC Clinic, the Seminar Rooms and Training Room 1. The printers from this area will also be unavailable for use during this time – if you need to print, photocopy or scan documents, alternative machines are still available on Levels 1.2 and 4.

This work will involve some noise and disruption. We apologise in advance for any inconvenience this may cause.

University Open Days 30th June - 1st July

June 28, 2017 Steven Lake

The University will be holding Open Days on Friday 30th June and Saturday 1st July. Visitors, students and staff should be aware that campus, and in particular the Library, will likely be extremely busy on both days.

As usual the Library will be hosting several displays and stands by other support services within the University on both days, and they will be taking up temporary residence this week on Level 3. As such, certain study areas on this level will be unavailable during this time and will be cordoned off from public use.

How European academics are feeling about life in Britain after the Brexit vote

June 22, 2017 Ondine Barry

Professor Monica Giulietti is interviewed in a new Blog post in The Conversation about how the Brexit vote is affecting European academics working in the United Kingdom.

Monica, who is Italian by birth, has been living and working in the UK for nearly 24 years and has been a Professor of Microeconomics at the SBE since 2015.

She says in The Conversation article:

“The argument everyone makes is: it’s not about you, it’s about the others.” But as she says, there may be another family just down the road telling another European person it’s not about you. “So it could be about me. It depends on who is looking.”

To read the Blog post in full, please go to: https://theconversation.com/how-european-academics-are-feeling-about-life-in-britain-after-the-brexit-vote-78687

Database Trial - The Cold War

June 22, 2017 Steven Lake

Revisit one of the most turbulent periods of the 20th century with our latest database trial, as we explore the history of the Cold War.

From the end of World War II to the early 1990s, the Cold War was the central driving force in global politics. In addition to nuclear arms races and shifting military alliances, the Cold War years had a critical impact on many of today’s most intriguing research topics, from technology to terrorism, immigration to international politics. No other resource but The Cold War: Global Perspectives on East-West Tensions, 1945-1991, brings together primary source documents from around the world to shed new light on this crucial period in world history.

To begin searching go to http://infoweb.newsbank.com – access is via IP address and the trial runs to 21st July 2017.

We welcome feedback – good or bad – on this trial, please contact Steve Corn s.c.corn@lboro.ac.uk with your comments.

The importance of a staff-student partnership for excellent teaching

June 21, 2017 Liam

Across the course of my year as Education Executive Officer, one of the points I have repeatedly made is the importance of a partnership between staff and students. Continue reading

9 Inspirational Loughborough Women in Sport

9 Inspirational Loughborough Women in Sport

June 21, 2017 Bethan Fagan

Whether it’s a kickabout with your friends on one of the free-use courts or if its boasting about our table topping BUCS performances every year, sport runs through our DNA across the campus. Continue reading

How to make the most of the summer months

How to make the most of the summer months

June 21, 2017 Lauren Jefferis

Exams are over, the last day of term is approaching and suddenly your busy student life has disappeared. I am currently in the ‘post-exam-bewilderment’ stage; I have so much time and no idea how to spend it. Continue reading

Library Opening Hours During the Summer Vacation

June 21, 2017 Steven Lake

As today is officially the last day of the 2016-17 Academic Year (hooray!) it seems like a good time to remind people that from next Monday, 25th June, for the rest of the summer the Library will be switching to its vacation opening times schedule. This is:

  • Monday 9am-5.30pm
  • Tuesday 9am-5.30pm
  • Wednesday 9am-8pm
  • Thursday 9am-5.30pm
  • Friday 9am-5.30pm
  • Saturday CLOSED
  • Sunday CLOSED

Please note above that our only late(ish) evening opening is on Wednesday nights, and that we are closed entirely at weekends for the duration of the vacation (try saying that with a mouthful of ice cream!). Please also be aware that last entry to the Library is ten minutes before closing time, in order to allow staff to clear the building.

The IT Services PC Clinic in the Library is open throughout the summer, but only during the hours 11am-3pm. Outside these times the IT Services Help Desk can be contacted 8.30am-5pm (week days only).

The Library Shop will be closed for the summer, but the Library Café will remain open, 9.30am-3pm daily, dispensing breakfast cobs, coffee and sympathy for those who aren’t sunning themselves on a beach somewhere instead!

As usual during the vacation we will be catching up with a few out-of-season maintenance jobs around the building; we will keep everyone posted here and on our usual social media channels of when & where these will be taking place to minimise any potential disruption to visitors.

If you never try, you’ll never know

If you never try, you’ll never know

June 20, 2017 Imogen Newey

As the end of University approaches my friends have kindly helped me reflect on some of the best things about University life. From the friendliness and enthusiasm of the people, to the events, sports, societies, and much more. What a journey we have been on!

So this month I thought I’d share with you some of the best memories they’ve had at uni as well as my list of things not to miss…

1. Getting involved with clubs, societies, and your hall

“I would say being part of lifesaving and taking part in the competitions and events, such as socials, has been one of my best memories as I had never heard of lifesaving before I came to uni.” – Jessica

“Getting involved is an opportunity to do things you wouldn’t have otherwise, meet loads of new people, and provides time to work out what you want to do and to learn things you’re interested in.” – Adrian @ Bristol

2. Fresher’s

Fresher’s (the first week or two at uni) is a fantastic way of getting to know people and settling in. Don’t worry if you don’t know anyone; everyone there is away from home and wanting to make friends.

Myth buster: Fresher’s isn’t all about getting drunk, there are sober events from fairs to film nights, UV roller blading/badminton/zumba, and loads more.

 

3. Trips

“I climbed Snowdon and went on many weekends away. It was a good opportunity to make friends and explore!” – Lily

Take advantage of LSU Trips (and the 1/3 off railcard for students) to visit loads of places around the UK and go on cool tours.

4. Volunteering: become an Action hero

With so much time, especially in my first year, I enjoyed volunteering at the campus nursery. The kids were so excited to see me each week, the staff made me feel so welcome, and I really felt I was contributing to the community. There are loads of other opportunities to volunteer too! Including dog-walking.

(P.S. check out Enactus society too!)

5. Rag: charity and fundraising

Taking part in Rag forced me to push myself to discover what I can do; including climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and dog-sledding across Norway and Sweden. Also, my involvement with Ragsocieties, and working as a student ambassador at uni helped me to secure a place as 1 of 12 trainee leaders for a British Exploring Society expedition to the Indian Himalayas. At above 3500m I saw the Milky Way and did important environmental, leadership and cultural work.

Uni really does lead on to even more!

6. Take a position of responsibility

“My stand out memory is joining Taekwondo in 1st year and training with 5-7 people a session. After joining the committee and building it up we had 15 strong members plus on and off members each session. When we hit 50+ members we became the biggest martial art society at UEA. I found out over Christmas that the club has continued to expand to over 60 members. Creating a sustainable successful society is a really high point for me from my time at UEA.” James @ UAE (but you can do this at any uni!)

Try a position on Sports, Society, Action, Rag or Media committees. Or run to become part of the Exec team, maybe even their President to help future students. Or if you don’t fancy what’s available, you can set up a society of your own.

In societies such as TEDx and Media people have gone on to work for TED and media organisations, even if their degree wasn’t related to that! They can provide a new passion and skill set.

7. Gaining a degree!

“My stand out memory is after completing our final deadlines in third year, a group of us from English went out for lunch and we were all sat there like “we did it!” Gradball was also an amazing memory because it was a celebration of our achievements” – Bella

8. International and placement opportunities

“My stand out memory was going abroad and the international opportunities available” – Tom

Taking a year to study or work abroad is an experience I can vouch for as incredible – the personal and career development is amazing!

There are also numerous work placement opportunities for a greater understanding of your subject area and career progression.

9. What about me?

As I look back on my time at university it’s hard to pick a favorite moment: is it the friends I’ve made? – certainly. But it’s also: the mountains I’ve climbed (figuratively and metaphorically), representing Loughborough in AU running, learning I can live away from home, studying abroad, learning to salsa dance, finding a support network for life, and finding the #LboroFamily, crossing Norway and Sweden dog-sledding, and the skills and lessons (for example what I do and don’t like) I’ve learnt that have allowed me to get jobs and find my direction

It’s too hard to choose just one!

10. Finally, just remember…

“If you never try, you’ll never know.”

NO REGRETS

Celebrating Women's Sport Week 2017

Celebrating Women's Sport Week 2017

June 20, 2017 Liam

This week, alongside a national campaign by Women in Sport, we’re sharing some of our sporting success from our female students, graduates and players. Continue reading

Robots at the Cope Auditorium

June 20, 2017 Steven Lake

To mark UK Robotics Week next week the Cope Auditorium is opening its doors for an evening of cybernetic discussion under the banner Robots at the movies: The portrayal of robots and androids in contemporary films.

Automata, robots and androids have been a creation and fascination for humans over centuries. From Maria (Metropolis, 1927), R2D2 and C3PO (Star Wars, 1977), WALL-E (2008), The Terminators (1984, 1991, 2003) to Transformers (2007), they have been portrayed as our friends, adversaries, alien to almost human, invaders and enslavers or as our saviours and trusted companions.

These portrayals in the movies have reflected and perhaps influenced our opinion of them. Join us for an amusing evening reviewing our relationship with these technologies as reflected in their portrayal in the movie industry.

The discussion runs from 6pm – 7.30pm next Thursday (28th June) in the Cope and is brought to you by the Centre for Doctoral Training in Embedded Intelligence in support of the UK Robotics Week 2017. The event is free, but booking is necessary – visit the link below to do that.

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/robots-at-the-movies-the-portrayal-of-robots-and-androids-in-contemporary-films-tickets-31961461592

A tale of two leaders: news media coverage of the 2017 General Election

June 19, 2017 Loughborough University

The battle for control of the media agenda is a defining characteristic of modern election campaigns to the extent that some argue they can have a pivotal influence in determining their eventual outcome. Continue reading

A Sport Business and Leadership visit to Wimbledon

A Sport Business and Leadership visit to Wimbledon

June 19, 2017 Lauren Proctor

You may remember from a blog by John a few months ago that our Sport Business and Leadership students visited Wimbledon in their first term! This time, we have student Simon give his opinion of the visit for the Sustainability and Leadership module.


A short walk from Earlsfield station at 9am brought all of the Sport Business and Leadership students studying on the Sustainability and Leadership module to the home of tennis, or at the very least, the home of The Championships.

There are not many sporting events that can simply call themselves The Championships and people instantly know what you are talking about. The Championships (or Wimbledon) is one of them. Just the mention of Wimbledon conjures up imagery in the mind; the green grass, strawberries and cream; champagne…

However, as we visited Wimbledon as part of our studies and with it being a cold December day, strawberries and cream would have to wait!

We were about to have an amazing opportunity to hear from leading figures at Wimbledon.

Once we had our badges and entered the grounds we were shown to the Rolex Suite where, for the first time in all of our many site visits, we were offered tea in a china cup and saucer and cake and biscuits on china plates. Only Wimbledon could entrust students in such a way! Whilst indulging in the refreshments we had a chance to look around the room and try to name the celebrities that were in the many photos around the walls of the suite.

 

Martin Guntrip, Director of Wimbledon, then gave us an informative presentation on what Wimbledon is doing to make The Championships more sustainable. Everything from discussing the building programs, to how many strawberries are consumed (28,000kg’s!) and recycling initiatives were discussed. After a great presentation, Martin gave us a little test on our knowledge where prizes of champagne, a Wimbledon bag, and other Wimbledon merchandise were on offer. A great way to teach students to pay more attention next time! It reminds me though that fellow student Mark, the winner of the champagne, promised to share it!

Another presentation followed on the new developments at Wimbledon including the redevelopment of Court One and about the Master Plan for the development of the Wimbledon site in to the future.

We then had a tour around Wimbledon with Dan Bloxham, Head Coach at the All England Club. It was amazing to hear some insights from Dan who, amongst many roles he has at the club, is the last person to speak to the players before they head out on to Centre Court on finals day. From the press office to the changing rooms, and to the courts themselves, we were privileged to get a real behind-the-scenes tour from a man in the know.

On a cold December morning, it was clear what a difference it makes to be a student at the best university for sport in the world. We spent a morning at the All England Club and had the chance to speak to leading figures in Wimbledon about significant sport leadership and sustainability issues. I particularly love this method of learning which really develops the information you get in lectures.

I would like to thank Dr Russell Seymour at Loughborough University London and all the team at Wimbledon for a fun and informative site visit. I am already looking forward to my next visit where the better weather might mean some strawberries & cream and a glass of champagne are on the cards!


Loughborough University London would like to thank Simon for taking the time to write this blog.

Find out more about our Sport Business and Leadership MSc by visiting our website.

Find out more about Wimbledon and the All England Lawn Tennis Club on their website.

Goodbye second year, hello placement

Goodbye second year, hello placement

June 19, 2017 Miranda Priestley

Well, the year is over. Second year has been tough but I have achieved a lot. As an art student, my outcomes are not only essays but I also have visuals to share so I thought I might show you some of them this month. Continue reading

That's a wrap!

That's a wrap!

June 19, 2017 Hannah Timson

So I guess that’s a wrap on second year. There I was feeling like I was getting old at the start of this year; I’ll be heading across the stage at graduation on a zimmer frame this time next year. Continue reading

End of the year celebrations

End of the year celebrations

June 19, 2017 Sofia Aguiar

Exams are over! Well for most of us anyways. To be honest I didn’t even have exams in the first place but I have handed in my final piece of coursework and am ready to embrace summer. Continue reading

Thank you Loughborough – Where’s my next stop?

Thank you Loughborough – Where’s my next stop?

June 19, 2017 Jacky Man

Hi guys, hope your exams are going well and the exam tips from me and the other bloggers have provided some valuable insights for your A-levels preparation. Continue reading

New Look Creative & Print Services in Herbert Manzoni

June 16, 2017 Steven Lake

University Creative and Print Services will be re-opening its doors on Monday 19th June following a period of refurbishment in the Herbert Manzoni Building.

This project has brought print, post and parcels under one roof, providing a one-stop-shop for all three services.

A contemporary new look foyer and reception area has enabled a more creative, spacious and accessible area for visitors to the service.

Cards and Parcelz services formerly based in the Student Accommodation Building will now be based in the Herbert Manzoni Building.

If you would like any further information, contact the team on creativeandprint@lboro.ac.uk

Making the most of your new-found free time

Making the most of your new-found free time

June 16, 2017 Asli Jensen

Hallelujah! I AM A FREE SOUL. I am finally (hopefully) finished with my degree. I’m guessing everyone else is also finished with exams or coursework. So I have kindly decided to impart you with some great ideas on what you can do during your free time now, which does not cost a dime. Actually, it will cost you money… but you can’t put a price on happiness, can you?

Do all the things you put off

Remember whilst studying there were always things that you wanted to do, but you mentally told yourself ‘no’ because you had other priorities? Now is the perfect time to do all of those things. Whether it’s reading Fifty Shades of Grey, re-decorating your room, starting a blog, cooking a meal or just simply buying a new toothbrush. You’d be surprised if you reflect and think about all the stuff you put off. Time doesn’t stop, so you better get a move on. I know I will be painting my room, probably quite poorly, but painting nonetheless. I’ll also be reading some of my favourite books from my younger years, ah, nostalgia. Nothing beats a teen fiction book during summer.

Music albums

Music is deemed to be ‘the escape from reality’ so I guess it’s a good way of removing your thoughts of exams and coursework results. We all know that music has the ability to elevate your mood. I’ve noticed that on Spotify you can search for what mood of music you’d like and it will play songs relative to that. So, there’s music for everyday of the week. There’s always the time to create your own YouTube playlist of the songs you would like to listen to as well. My guilty pleasure is actually Take That, so that’s what my Spotify will be playing. ANYWAYS, my point is that music is always an option.

Festivals or music concerts

Obviously festivals and music concerts are synonymous with summer, it’s the thing to do. But – let’s be honest, either they are charging extortionate prices (and I’ve spent all my moneys on exam snacking) or they sell out within the blink of an eye. Don’t worry if that happens. It’s not the end of the world. You’re going to make your own festival. It’s pretty simple. All you need is some green space, some semi-decent speakers and a good group of friends. Thank me later.

Binge watch a TV series

As far as I’m aware, Game of Thrones is coming back on the 17th July and according to my calculations that gives you enough time to start or re-watch all the previous series.

If you’re more of a Netflix girl like me then season 5 of Orange is the New Black was recently released so that would be a high recommendation. I’ve only just finished my exams so I will be definitely watching all those episodes… in one sitting.

I can’t believe I’m actually recommending this, but somehow, I was enticed by the epitome of ‘trash TV’ also known as Love Island. It’s somewhat intriguing and slightly classier than Geordie Shore, so a definite time passer. Also, ITV player doesn’t have long ads during episodes, which is always a plus.

I’m sure there are a million other things to watch too but a subscription to Netflix is a good investment this summer.

Destroy your revision stuff

Obviously don’t destroy your textbooks, readings books and revision guides. You can actually make a decent amount of money from those by selling them to others. However, there is nothing more liberating in this world than tearing up the countless pieces of paper that you used to makes notes, answer practice questions, or whatever else you did. Rip them into thousands of pieces, and then go recycle them. You will feel much better if you know you are being environmentally friendly.

What am I going to do?

I will be doing all the things I’ve listed above in addition to: liking memes on Instagram, eating a tub of ice cream every other night, drinking lots of Coke, hanging out with my friends, drinking lots of water (can’t deal with the English sun), watching the sunset from random places, possibly worrying about my grades, gaining some pounds, worrying about gaining some pounds, and then – most excitingly – sleeping.

Science, Conference, and other wild things….

Science, Conference, and other wild things….

June 16, 2017 David Odetade

I was really excited to be part of a science event day at Castle Rock School in Coalville, near Loughborough. It really was an enjoyable day as I was part of the group that represented Loughborough University (paid volunteering). Continue reading

Financial Support!

Financial Support!

June 16, 2017 Chidinma Okorie

One of the factors I always consider whenever it is time for me to write these blog articles – which, invariably, informs my choice of topic – is the questions I have had people who wish to study in Loughborough ask me. Continue reading

Loughborough Design School Degree Show 2017

June 15, 2017 Steven Lake

The Loughborough Design School will be holding its annual Degree Show this weekend in the School’s exhibition space.

The event is an opportunity to see at close hand the final year project work from the School’s students graduating this summer. A sneak preview can be had at the School’s website: http://www.lboro.ac.uk/departments/design-school/study/undergraduate/degree-show/

The show starts on Friday 16th June and runs until Monday 19th June and is open 10am – 4pm daily. Entrance is free.

Getting back to my old hobbies

Getting back to my old hobbies

June 15, 2017 Piers John

Coursework period has finally come to an end, and I managed to successfully meet all of my final deadlines for the year. This time of year is always a tough one, especially as I find all my time consumed by essay writing and research! Continue reading

Degree Attainment Gaps and New Research at Loughborough University

June 15, 2017 Tom Berry

In this blog-post for the Centre for Academic Practice, Nuzhat Fatima, LSU Welfare and Diversity Executive Officer, discusses the Black and Minority Ethnic student attainment gap in UK higher education institutions, and introduces a new research project at Loughborough entitled ‘Experiences in the Classroom and Beyond: The Role of Race and Ethnicity’

What is the ‘degree attainment gap’?

The ‘degree attainment gap’ is often described as a national crisis within the education system. The Equality Challenge Unit describes the degree attainment gap as “the difference in ‘top degrees’ – a First or 2:1 classification – awarded to different groups of students. The largest divergence can be found between BME (Black Minority and Ethnic Students) and White British students. Leaving an education institution with lower grades has lifetime effects; this limits BME students into pursuing a potential post-graduate education where the requirements generally tend to be a 2:1 or above. Most graduate employers will require a 2:1 or above also.

The problem arises as many BME students enter university with the same grade classification as their white counterparts. However, BME students leave university with significantly lower grades in comparison to their white peers.

“In 2012/13, 57.1% of UK-domiciled BME students received a top degree when compared with 73.2% of White British students’ – an overall gap of 16.1%” (ECU).

Homogenising all minority students is unhelpful as they are a diverse group with differing outcomes. For example, Black and Caribbean students are the worst affected group at a national level. When observing the national breakdown of the BME category (2012/13), it can be seen that Black and Caribbean students are the most affected ethnic group. Students from Pakistani, Chinese and Indian backgrounds are also affected.

  • 4%of Indian students were awarded a top degree (a degree attainment gap of 8.8%)
  • 9%of Chinese students (a gap of 9.3%)
  • 2%of Pakistani students (a gap of 19.0%)
  • 8%of Black Other students (a gap of 29.4%)” (ECU).

A reliance on a meritocratic model to understand academic achievement has meant that the BME attainment gap was, and sometimes still is, framed as a problem caused by a limitation in the students themselves. This is also known as a deficit model. However, the attainment gap would not be a national problem if it were a meritocratic issue only. This raises the question of whether there are conditions within our educational institutions that negatively impact BME students both culturally and academically, and which contribute to the existence of the attainment gap.

Potential contributors

There is no sole contributor to the attainment gap. Multiple factors contribute to students being unable to reach their potential and attain a top degree. It can be due to geographical location, institutional insensitivity towards culture, a Euro-centric based curriculum, methods of assessment, and experiences of racism which go beyond the classroom and have a lasting impact on student life. Additionally, social interactions within clubs and societies can also impact on academic performance. These points are often dismissed as generalisations that potentially impact all students; however, to tackle the BME attainment gap one must consider how these factors work together in a negative way to disproportionately affect BME students.

What can be done? A way of tackling this is institution specific research, which does not homogenise institutions and lived experiences. Such research can become a catalyst for tackling the BME attainment gap on a structural and an institutional level.

What is Loughborough proposing to do?

 Loughborough prides itself on being an inclusive university and is aiming to tackle this national problem on an institutional level! Together with brilliant academics such as Dr Line Nyhagen (Reader in Sociology & School Champion Athena SWAN) and Dr James Esson (Lecturer in Human Geography), I have contributed to the proposal for a newly funded student led pedagogical research project. This research project will be carried out so that we as an institution can further our progress towards making education inclusive by raising standards and aspirations of all!

The project will examine BME and other students’ own learning experiences at Loughborough University in relation to the curriculum content and more broadly, including their take-up of individual consultations with lecturers, relationships with peers, and take-up of opportunities that can enhance their learning experience (e.g., student rep positions; student ambassador jobs).

I want to congratulate Loughborough University for putting diversity on the agenda and I am thrilled to have support from the University and the above academics who are committed to learning from the experiences of students in order to deliver the best education possible.

Information taken from the ECU: http://www.ecu.ac.uk/guidance-resources/student-recruitment-retention-attainment/student-attainment/degree-attainment-gaps/

Image may contain: 1 person, standing

Nuzhat Fatima has been the Welfare and Diversity Executive Officer at Loughborough Students Union for 2016/17

How the Conservatives' media strategy collapsed during the election campaign

June 14, 2017 Loughborough University

There is no question that the surprising result occurred despite excoriating criticism of the main opposition party from the right-wing press. However, detailed analysis of mainstream news coverage by Loughborough University shows there were plenty of signs that the Conservative Party was losing control of the media election as the campaign unfolded. Continue reading

Tricia's snippets 2017-06-14

June 14, 2017 Tricia

Interesting bits and pieces!

New and improved UN-Water website (email May 26th 2017)

http://www.unwater.org/?utm_source=UN-Water&utm_campaign=b1ca20b3af-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_05_25&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_f51074d406-b1ca20b3af-247775961

The United Nations World Water Development Report 2017

Wastewater: the untapped resource

http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0024/002471/247153e.pdf

*From USAID Global Waters (May 2017):

Where WASH saves lives: creating new traditions in Nepal

In the past, Nepalese girls would have been subject to the taboos of chhaupadi — not being allowed to use the family toilet or sleep in the family home during their menstrual period

https://medium.com/usaid-global-waters/where-wash-saves-lives-creating-new-traditions-in-nepal-7f2f3917ca64

Doubling access to safe drinking water: how four African countries did it…and how others can too

The WALIS project identified four common elements applied to local systems in Ethiopia, Rwanda, Senegal, and South Africa that contributed to meeting the Millennium Development Goal for clean water access to help other countries learn how to replicate their success

https://medium.com/usaid-global-waters/doubling-access-to-safe-drinking-water-how-four-african-countries-did-it-and-how-others-can-too-3b45343f8587

From Sanitation Updates:

Recent WASH research

Posted: 06 Jun 2017 10:52 AM PDT

Microfinance for Sanitation Policy Brief

Water Currents, June 5, 2017 – WASH & Neglected Tropical Diseases

USAID WASHpals grant – Habit Formation Approaches and Gender Equity & Social Inclusion Innovations for Hygiene Behavior Change

Posted: 05 Jun 2017

Lessons learned from WASH and NTD projects

Posted: 31 May 2017 06:48 AM PDT

Developing Markets for Sanitation: A Blog Series

USAID Global Waters – May 2017

*(see extracts above)

Recent WASH research

Posted: 25 May 2017

In A First, Kerala Makes Sanitary Napkin Vending Machines Mandatory In All Schools

Posted: 22 May 2017 09:52 AM PDT

Developing Markets for Sanitation: A Blog Series

Posted: 19 May 2017 08:04 AM PDT

WASH data dashboards from WHO

Join now – SuSanA online discussion “Applications of Sanitation Systems and Technologies in MENA”

USAID GWASH – Lessons Learned: Hybrid CLTS Approach to Improving Sanitation

USAID SAREP – CLTS Monitoring and Evaluation Toolkit and Manual

Global Waters – Tackling Water Issues Lightens the Load for Garment Workers

Global Waters – Doubling Access to Safe Drinking Water: How Four African Countries Did It … and How Others Can, Too

Posted: 17 May 2017

How El Niño forecasts can help prevent cholera deaths in Africa

Putting the Swachh in Swachh Bharat

Recent WASH research

Posted: 15 May 2017

Developing Markets for Sanitation: A Blog Series

How did Vizakhapatnam become India’s third cleanest city?

Posted: 11 May 2017

Recent news on cholera outbreaks

Posted: 10 May 2017 10:33 AM PDT

World Bank, WSSCC Highlight Sanitation Financing Needs

Recent sanitation/WASH research

SuSanA webinar: Panel discussion on How to Influence and Engage Government in Sanitation – 1400 GMT 17 May 2017

Posted: 09 May 2017

From email alerts (sanitation in the title):

From journal email alerts:

Water research

ISSN 0043-1354

VOL 110; (2017)

WATER RESOURCES MANAGEMENT -DORDRECHT-

ISSN 0920-4741

VOL 31; NUMB 8 (2017)

Science of the total environment

ISSN 0048-9697

VOL 583; (2017)

 

 

Summer bucket list

Summer bucket list

June 14, 2017 Rachel

The end of the academic year is in sight, and that can only mean one thing… summer! Once exams are out the way you might not know what to do with all your free time, but don’t panic – we’ve got a few suggestions to help you make the most of your time in Loughborough.

Continue reading

Graduating this Summer? Remember to Clear your IT Services Account!

June 13, 2017 Steven Lake

Important message from IT Services for all final year students graduating this summer.

Following completion of your studies your IT user account will enter a 30 day expiry period.

After 30 days, access to your account, and all University systems will be permanently terminated. Please read the following guidance to avoid loss of data.

Important: Action required

  • Back up any data you wish to keep (Important emails, data from *Google Apps , U Drive, OneDrive for Business and content from Learn)
  • Update you email details .Where you have quoted your University email address (online accounts, job applications etc.)replace this with your personal (non-university) emails address.
  • Redeem any unused printer credits. Credit that is not redeemed prior to account expiry will be lost.

Full advice and guidance can be found on the IT Services webpage: Finalists and Alumni

If you need further assistance, please contact IT Services by e-mailing IT.Services@lboro.ac.uk , or by phoning (01509) 222333.

*To take copies of your Google data – Google takeout, follow our step by step ‘Backup your Google Apps’ instructions: http://www.lboro.ac.uk/services/it/student/leaving/

From Newcastle to Amsterdam

From Newcastle to Amsterdam

June 13, 2017 Jessica Rutherford

Exam time always brings a very different feel to a University campus and it’s no different at Loughborough. The campus almost seems to shut down as students head into exam season. My undergraduate teaching has come to an end and as assessment marking is finalised, that’s me done with this job role. I’m sad to finish this role as I have loved getting to know the students and guiding them through projects, I find it such a rewarding and enjoyable role, I just wish they had more teaching weeks each year!

My contract with SNOOKS also came to an end in May. The girls treated me to a burrito lunch (my favourite!) to spend some time together out of the office before I left. They couldn’t get over how I managed to eat my burrito without creating a huge mess so had to take a photo! This role has been great though, I’ve learned so many new skills and have come to understand there’s so much more to social media than you would ever think. This is a job role I would certainly consider pursuing again in the future as I’ve really enjoyed digging deeper to figure out why certain posts engage with people more than others and then trying to develop future content based on those results. I love being creative but having all the statistics to show the relevance of what you’ve produced makes it so easy to learn from, through a lot of trial and error.

For the bank holiday weekend at the end of May, my boyfriend and I took the overnight ferry from Newcastle to Amsterdam with friends. We spent a night in a hotel in Amsterdam giving us longer to explore the city. The weather was fantastic (which luckily for me meant the North Sea was very calm and I wasn’t sea sick!) around 30 degrees both days so of course, we had to visit the ice bar and have a few drinks there to cool off!

Now that teaching has come to an end for PhD students, as well as finishing my two job roles, I’ve been applying to re-enter the world of full time employment. I’ve been interviewing for a few positions and have decided this is the time to head back up north to my boyfriend. I will be continuing my PhD as a distance learner and I have no doubt there will be numerous challenges along the way juggling full time work and a part time PhD, but I feel confident that having a secure 9 to 5 job will give me the structure and routine I need to do so successfully. So, once I’m offered a job everything will be changing again and I will be moving away from the Midlands. I am still working towards my September review so will need to focus a lot of time on my PhD over the summer to prepare for this. This is the big scary panel review I’ve mentioned in my previous blogs and it’s coming round incredibly quick!

The coming month is very exciting for me. I have a spa break with my mum for my birthday, my best friend’s hen party, visiting good friends who I’ve not seen in two years and a voluntary role relating to my PhD. It’s going to be a really busy but fun month so my next blog should be a very interesting read!

 

Corbyn, Labour, Digital Media, and the 2017 UK Election

June 13, 2017 Loughborough University

Labour did not win the general election. But neither did the Conservatives. Parliamentary arithmetic will prevail and the Tories will form a minority government propped up by the hard-right DUP. Will there be a hard Brexit? Will austerity continue along its previous punishing trajectory? Who knows, but both seem less likely with a minority government. Will the government even last until the autumn?

The result was truly extraordinary and begs so many questions but here I want to discuss how Jeremy Corbyn and his movement of activists are changing the Labour party.

Labour’s share of the vote saw a huge increase. The party picked up seats in constituencies, such as Canterbury (Tory since the First World War) and Kensington, that nobody would have predicted would switch to Labour, and certainly not Corbyn’s Labour. Five weeks ago, Labour were lagging behind by about 20 percent in most opinion polls and there were forecasts of a 150 seat majority for the Conservatives. This is, after all, why Theresa May called the snap election in the first place. After the election that gap stands at only 2 percent, with Labour on 40 percent and the Tories just north of 42 percent.

UKIP’s share of the popular vote has been slashed to just 1.8 percent, against a 2015 total of 10.8 percent. Across the country, but particularly in places like the north east of England UKIP were crushed as voters switched back to Labour as well as the Conservatives. UKIP’s much vaunted “threat” to Labour in working-class constituencies like Hartlepool or Middlesbrough, for example, repeated in broadcast media vox-pops with “ordinary voters” over the last few weeks, melted away like snowflakes in the sun.

It turned out these were not representative of “ordinary voters” but, as we know from decades of journalism research, they were editorially selected because they fitted with the “Labour is failing” frame. Labour saw off the challenge and increased its share of the vote in the areas where UKIP was supposedly going to split the Labour vote and hand seats to other parties. Labour trounced UKIP in Wales. The results in London show just how strong Labour has become in Britain’s capital. And, yes there was a remarkable Tory recovery in Scotland but Labour also won seats north of the border.

June 9 was huge for Corbyn and the movement of new party members that sustained him through his election as Labour leader in 2015 and the challenge to his leadership last year.

Shifts in Engagement

The deep question here is to what extent Labour’s surge during the campaign — and remember it was really only during the final two weeks of the campaign that the surge became evident — can be explained by broader, below-the-radar, systemic shifts in political engagement in UK party politics and how elections are being reshaped by ongoing changes in our media system.

Central to this are new forms of engagement through digital media and how they jell with both the evolving ground war on the doorstep and online, as well as longer-term cultural shifts in how people experience politics. As Jenny Stromer-Galley and I argued last summer in a think piece that served as the introduction to a special issue of the International Journal of Press/Politics we edited on digital media, power, and democracy in parties and election campaigns we edited, the growth of digital media in citizens’ political repertoires has affinities with a broader shift toward youth engagement, and a general skepticism of authority. There is a willingness among many individuals to see elections and party participation as fair game for social media-fuelled contentious politics of the kinds that have been so important for non-party protests and mobilizations over the last decade. This is happening among those significant sections of the public who have started to channel their social media-enabled activism into party politics and to integrate it with face-to-face doorstep campaigning under the guidance of the new Labour party leadership and Corbyn’s ancillary movement Momentum.

We saw similar forces at work with Bernie Sanders’ campaign in last year’s U.S. presidential election. We saw it with Italy’s M5S and Spain’s Podemos. Key here is the process of organizational and generational cultural changeand how it fits with changes in how digital media are now used in political activity.

When Labour lost the 2010 election, and even as Corbyn continued to attract a huge influx of new members for his party during 2015 and 2016, much commentary revolved around the “death” of social democracy and even the party form itself. But what June 9 suggests is that, for Labour and its half a million-plus members, the party organizational form is alive and kicking.

Rather than dissolving, Labour looks like it is going through a long-term process of adaptation to postmaterial political culture and is leading the way in new organizational strategies that combine online and offline citizen activism. Skepticism about Labour’s new members, suggesting that they are not prepared to help out on the doorstep and are merely “clicktivists” who don’t see the value of old-style campaigning now seems wide of the mark.

This is a complex process. Interactions between the organizations, norms, and rules of electoral politics, the new, flexible, ad hoc, connective styles of political engagement, specific issues, and the affordances and uses of digital media will make the difference. National, regional, and local contexts will also shape overall outcomes.

jeremy corbyn t-shirt

Digital Media and the Party-as-Movement Mentality

But still, digital media foster cultures of organizational experimentation and a party-as-movement mentality that enable many individuals to reject norms of hierarchical discipline and habitual partisan loyalty. This context readily accommodates populist appeals and angry protest — on the right as well as the left. Substantial numbers of the politically active now see election campaigns as another opportunity for personalized, contentious political expression and for spreading the word in their online and face to face networks. As a result, Labour is being renewed from the outside in, as digitally enabled citizens, many (though not all) of them young people, have breathed new life into an old form by partly remaking it in their own participatory image. The overall outcome might prove more positive for democratic engagement and the decentralization of political power than many have assumed.

So far, this shift has not touched the Conservatives. They remain a declining party, with a shrinking membership of fewer than 150,000, stuck in the elite-driven, broadcast-era mode that they (and Labour) perfected a generation ago, bolting on digital media targeting without the engagement.

Turnout among young voters rose significantly during this election. A reported 63 percent of 18–34 year olds voted Labour. The campaign saw a massive voter registration drive led by Labour, the Liberal Democrats, and the Greens, but missed in the coverage is that the parties were also joined by online movement 38 Degrees who ran their own crowdfunded registration campaign including targeted Facebook advertising that generated four million “register to vote” ad viewings. It looks like it worked.

Yet The Right-Wing Press Still Matters

the sun general election front page corbyn

At the same time, it pays to remember that these extraordinary changes are also accompanied by persistent, long-term trends in our media system. Today some commentators are claiming that the power of Britain’s overwhelmingly right-wing tabloid media is on the wane. The election day front pages of the Sun, the Star, the Mail and the Express were outrageous even by the usual standard of these outlets, leading some to suggest that these news organizations protested too much and failed to influence the outcome of the election. There is a new alternative news ecosystem emerging in UK politics, with sites like The Canary (6m visits a month) generating much shareable content that has been used to foster solidarity among those young Corbyn supporting activists.

But we need to remember that the Conservatives achieved more than 42 percent of the popular vote and will be forming a government, albeit a weak one. Labour surged, against all the odds, but it seems difficult to suggest that the incessant campaign against Corbyn in the British press did not make a difference to the overall outcome of the campaign.

How long the Conservative-DUP minority government will last is anyone’s guess. But there are deeper changes underway on the British left. Digital media logics, in complex interactions with older media logics, older organizational forms, and evolving patterns of participation are playing a role in these changes.

Andrew Chadwick

Prof @newpolcom. From August 2017 I’m moving to be Prof @lboroCRCC & @lboroSocSci. http://www.andrewchadwick.com

First year? Completed it mate

First year? Completed it mate

June 12, 2017 Tara Janes

I’ve finished first year! I’m feeling quite smug because my flatmates all have exams and all I’m doing currently is laying about and hassling them to play frisbee with me: “You need revision breaks guys!” Continue reading

General Election 2017: A presidential media campaign which gave men the dominant voice

June 12, 2017 Loughborough University

The media offered ‘presidential’ coverage of the 2017 General Election, focussing their attention on May and Corbyn, analysis by Loughborough University has found.

In contrast to the 2015 election, where minor parties commanded significantly higher levels of news presence, in 2017 the two main political parties dominated campaign coverage.

This two party squeeze was most evident in press coverage, with 84% of the featured politicians coming from the Conservatives and Labour.

Figure 1.6 Party prominence in press coverage in 2015 and 2017 General Elections

Figure 1.6 Party prominence in press coverage in 2015 and 2017 General Elections

The Conservative party sources gained most coverage and quotation in both press and television news, with the Labour party receiving the most negative coverage overall.

And yet again men dominated coverage, with nearly 63% of those that appeared in news being male, compared to 37% female. This is despite there being a female Prime Minister. The dominance of men was evident across all political, professional and public roles related to the election.

Figure 5.1 Gender balance across sources

Figure 5.1 Gender balance across sources

Speaking about the findings of the team’s final report, co-author Professor David Deacon said: “As with the referendum, it seems as though the campaign really mattered in influencing the outcome. The Conservative party started strongly in media terms, but lost control of the terms of debate and struggled to get it back. It was certainly anything but a Brexit media election.”

Results in the report are derived from detailed content analysis of weekday news coverage of the General Election, compiled by experts in Loughborough University’s Centre for Research in Communication and Culture (CRCC).This week’s report also revealed:

  • Newspaper coverage was highly negative in the main. The most partisan newspapers gave greater editorial focus to attacking the party/parties they opposed, rather than advocating the party they supported.
  • The terrorist attacks in Manchester and London had a direct impact on the media agenda, bringing defence and security issues to the fore.
  • Policy focused coverage was more prominent in this media election than the 2015 campaign.
  • Despite its importance in the 2016 EU Referendum, immigration did not make the top 5 most prominently reported issues. Coverage of this issue in 2017 matched that found for 2015.
  • Across all media, more coverage was given to health and health care than the economy and taxation.

Read the full report.

Important Information for RefWorks Users

June 12, 2017 Steven Lake

Do you use RefWorks as your favoured referencing software? If so, it is important that you act now in order to ensure that you do not lose any of your work.

From September 2017 the University will no longer be supporting RefWorks; so It is vital that you make provision to migrate any references you have in RefWorks to a new platform.

The University is now recommending Mendeley as our chosen referencing software. If you choose to use Mendeley migrating your references from RefWorks to Mendeley is a simple process, details of which can be found on the Referencing Software pages on Learn:

http://learn.lboro.ac.uk/course/view.php?id=3539

These pages have further details about Mendeley, with videos and guides, informing you about the functionality of Mendeley and how to get started using it.

The Library is also running introductory workshops throughout the Summer:

  • 27th June; 9.30-11am
  • 12th July; 2-3.30pm
  • 24th August; 9.30-11am

Go to the Library website to book your place:

http://www.lboro.ac.uk/services/library/students/eventsandworkshops/

Alternatively contact your Academic Librarian for further details about the workshops and Mendeley:

http://www.lboro.ac.uk/services/library/staff-researchers/about/librarystaff/

Goodbye deadlines, hello Student's Union!

Goodbye deadlines, hello Student's Union!

June 12, 2017 Gemma Wilkie

So it’s June, and I can almost see the end of second year. I don’t know if I am pleased by that, having now met all my deadlines, or if I am sad because it means I will have to leave Loughborough temporarily… Continue reading

Media coverage of the 2017 General Election campaign (report 4)

Media coverage of the 2017 General Election campaign (report 4)

June 12, 2017 Loughborough University

Report 4 (covering 5th May – 7th June inclusive)

This is the last in a series of weekly reports by the Centre for Research in Communication and Culture on national news reporting of the 2017 UK General Election.

The results in this report are derived from detailed content analysis of election coverage produced on the weekdays (i.e. Monday to Friday inclusive) between 5th  and 17th May 2017 from the following news outlets:

Television: Channel 4 News (7pm), Channel 5 News (6.30pm), BBC1 News at 10, ITV1 News at 10, Sky News 8-8.30pm

Press: The Guardian, The I, The Daily Telegraph, The Times, The Financial Times, The Daily Mail, The Daily Express, The Mirror, The Sun, The Star

We analysed all election news found in the television programmes. For the press, we included election news found on the front page, the first two pages of the domestic news section, the first two pages of any specialist election section and the page containing and facing the papers’ leader editorials. More information on our methodology.

In this report we focus on the following features of news coverage during the opening stage of the formal campaign: 1, the visibility or presence of the different political parties and other organizations and individuals in the news; 2, the most frequently reported political figure; 3, the positivity and negativity of press reporting of the main parties; and 4, which issues attracted most media attention.

Intercoder reliability tests were conducted on all key variables.[i]

Where we divide coverage into weekly segments. Sample days for the respective weeks were the weekdays between: 5th May to 11th May (week 1), 12th to 18th May (week 2), 19th to 25th May (week 3), 26th May to 1st June (week 4), 2nd to 7th June (week 5).

Executive summary

  • In contrast to the 2015 media election, the two main political parties dominated campaign news coverage in 2017. This two party squeeze was most evident in press coverage, with 84 percent of the featured politicians coming from the Conservatives and Labour (on TV news these parties accounted for 67 percent of all politician appearances).
  • This represented a significant narrowing of the range of coverage compared with 2015, where minor parties commanded significantly higher levels of news presence.
  • The Conservative party sources gained most coverage and quotation in both press and television news. With TV the differences with their main rival were small; with the press this coverage gap was more pronounced.
  • The two main party leaders dominated coverage. Theresa May was more prominent than Jeremy Corbyn in the early stages of the campaign, but in weeks 4 and 5 Jeremy Corbyn was more or equally prominent.
  • The dominance of the two party leaders increased as the campaign progressed, rising from 30 percent in week 1 to 39 percent in the penultimate week.
  • Newspaper coverage was highly negative in the main – in cumulative terms no party achieved more positive than negative coverage. The most partisan newspapers gave greater editorial focus to attacking the party/parties they opposed, rather than advocating the party they supported.
  • The Labour party received the most negative coverage, but the controversy and policy u-turn on the Conservatives’ social care policy led to a period where media criticisms of the Tories exceeded those for Labour.
  • Coverage of the electoral process itself (e.g. opinion polls, electoral events, campaign mishaps) was the most prominent issue overall. However, the levels of this coverage were appreciably lower than those found in the 2015 General Election campaign. Policy focused coverage was more prominent in this media election.
  • Brexit and the EU was the most prominent substantive policy issue overall, but its relative news value fluctuated across the campaign, peaking in weeks 1 & 4, then falling back in the last week of the campaign.
  • Across all media, more coverage was given to health and health care than the economy and taxation.
  • The terrorist attacks in Manchester and London had a direct impact on the media agenda, bringing defence and security issues to the fore.
  • Despite its importance in the 2016 EU Referendum, immigration did not make the top 5 most prominently reported issues. Coverage of this issue in 2017 matched that found for 2015.
  • In total, nearly 63% of those that appeared in news were male, compared to 37% female. The dominance of men was evident across all political, professional and public roles related to the election (e.g. business sources, politicians, public sector spokespersons, experts, etc.)

Section 1: Prominence of political parties in news coverage


Figure 1.1 compares the prominence of the political parties on TV news for the sample period. Figure 1.2 makes the same comparison for national press coverage. 

Figure 1.1: Prominence of parties on TV news (5 May - 7 June)

Figure 1.1: Prominence of parties on TV news (5 May – 7 June)

Figure 1.2: Prominence of parties in national press (5 May - 7 June)

Figure 1.2: Prominence of parties in national press (5 May – 7 June)

Key findings

  • Conservative party sources gained greatest prominence in TV and press coverage in terms of the frequency of their appearances.
  • The margin of difference between Conservative and Labour sources was far greater in press coverage (9.6%) than TV (2.1%)
  • The two main political parties dominated press coverage to a greater extent than in TV news. In the press, Conservative and Labour sources accounted for 84 percent of all politicians reported. On TV news they accounted for 67 percent of all political appearances.

Figure 1.3 compares the amount of direct quotation of the political parties and their leaders on TV (measured in seconds). Figure 1.4 makes the same comparison for newspaper coverage (measured in words).

Figure 1.3: Direct quotation of parties and their leaders (TV)

Figure 1.3: Direct quotation of parties and their leaders (TV)

Figure1.4: Direct quotation of parties and their leaders (Press)

Figure1.4: Direct quotation of parties and their leaders (Press)

Key findings

  • The Conservatives received most direct quotation on TV and in the press.
  • Once again, this prominence was greater in the press than on TV, where the comparison in quotation time between the Conservatives and Labour (including between their leaders) was more balanced.
  • Reflecting their reduced news presence, smaller parties received little direct quotation.
  • Minor parties were quoted more on TV news than in the press. Factors relevant to this include new Ofcom guidelines for broadcasters that encourage broadcasters to take past and present electoral or polling performance into consideration, as well as the potential small-scale fall out of the seven-party leadership debate, which gave the minor parties an important platform midway through the campaign.
  • The distribution of direct quotation in coverage accentuated the dominance of the party leaders noted earlier. Theresa May accounted for 51 percent of all Conservative direct quotation in the press and 43 percent on TV. Jeremy Corbyn’s quotes amounted to 53 percent of all Labour quotation in the press and 41 percent on TV.
  • This trend was even more evident for the smaller parties, whose leaders tended to dominate their parties’ contributions.

Figure 1.5 compares the prominence of the political parties on TV news in the 2015 and 2017 General Election campaigns. Figure 1.6 provides the same comparison for national press coverage.

Figure 1.5: Party prominence on TV news in 2015 and 2017 General Elections

Figure 1.5: Party prominence on TV news in 2015 and 2017 General Elections

Figure 1.6: Party prominence in press coverage in 2015 and 2017 General Elections

Figure 1.6: Party prominence in press coverage in 2015 and 2017 General Elections

Key findings

  • Party coverage has appreciably narrowed in 2017, compared with the previous election.
  • This two-party squeeze is most evident in press coverage, but the trend is also evident in TV news coverage.
  • In 2015, 55.7 percent of all politician appearances on TV were from the two main parties. In 2017, 1 percent of all politicians were Conservative or Labour.
  • In 2015, 69.7 percent of politicians in the press were Conservative or Labour. In 2017, this had increased to 84.3 percent.

Section 2: most prominent political figures in campaign news coverage

Table 2.1 identifies the most frequently reported political figures in the final week of news coverage. It also compares their position in the previous week’s sample.

Table 2.1: Most prominent politicians in week 5 news coverage (week 4 position in brackets)

Position Politician %
1 (2) Theresa May (Cons) 30.9%
2 (1) Jeremy Corbyn (Lab) 29.3%
3 (7) Tim Farron (Lib Dem) 6.9%
4 (8) Boris Johnson (Cons) 5.7%
5 (3) Diane Abbott (Lab) 5.7%
6 (4) Nicola Sturgeon (SNP) 4.7%
7 (5) Paul Nuttall (UKIP) 4.1%
8 (6) Amber Rudd (Cons) 3.2%
9 (13) Emily Thornberry (Lab) 2.8%
10 (-) Sadiq Khan (Lab) 2.5%
11 (-) Nigel Farage (UKIP) 2.2%
12 (-) Justine Greening (Cons) 1.3%
12 (-) Philip Hammond (Cons) 1.3%
12 (9) Ruth Davidson (Cons) 1.3%
12 (12) John McDonnell (Lab) 1.3%
12 (-) Norman Lamb (Lib Dem) 1.3%
12 (-) Willie Rennie  (Lib Dem) 1.3%
12 (-) Leanne Wood (PC) 1.3%
19 (15) Karen Bradley (Cons) .9%
20 (19) Patrick McLoughlin (Cons) .9%


Key findings:

  • Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May remained the most prominent politicians in the final week of the campaign.
  • It was mixed fortunes for the leaders of the minor parties. Tim Farron and Leanne Wood saw their coverage increase while Nicola Sturgeon and Paul Nuttall received less coverage.
  • Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, found himself thrust into the news spotlight following the London terror attack, although he was much less visible over the whole campaign (see below).


Table 2.2 (below) identifies the most frequently reported political figures in the news over the whole campaign period.

Table 2.2: Most prominent politicians in campaign news coverage (total news appearances)

Position Politician %
1 Theresa May (Cons) 30.1%
2 Jeremy Corbyn (Lab) 26.7%
3 Tim Farron (Lib Dem) 6.8%
4 Nicola Sturgeon (SNP) 3.7%
5 Boris Johnson (Cons) 3.6%
6 John McDonnell (Lab) 3.4%
7 Paul Nuttall (UKIP) 3.4%
8 Amber Rudd (Cons) 2.8%
8 Diane Abbott (Lab) 2.8%
10 Emily Thornberry (Lab) 1.8%
11 Philip Hammond (Cons) 1.7%
12 Michael Fallon (Cons) 1.5%
13 Ruth Davidson (Cons) 1.4%
13 Caroline Lucas (Green) 1.4%
15 Jeremy Hunt (Cons) 1.2%
16 David Davis (Cons) 1.1%
17 Leanne Wood (PC) 1.1%
17 Jonathan Ashworth (Lab) 1.1%
19 David Cameron (Cons) 1.0%
19 Angela Rayner (Lab) 1.0%
19 Vince Cable (Lib Dem) 1.0%

Note: percentages=(frequency of appearance/ number of items)*100

Key findings

  • Over the campaign, news coverage was dominated by leaders of the two main parties. Thirty percent of all items featured Theresa May and 26.7 percent, Jeremy Corbyn.
  • The leaders of the other parties attracted much less coverage in comparison. Tim Farron, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, received more attention than the other minor party leaders, even though his party had fewer seats than Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP (8 to 56). Leanne Wood received the lowest amount of attention in comparison.

Figure 2.1 shows the appearance of Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn in coverage as a proportion of all political actors on a week-by-week basis[2].

Figure 2.1: Proportional presence of the two main party leaders by week

Figure 2.1: Proportional presence of the two main party leaders by week

Key findings

  • Campaign coverage became more focused on the two main party leaders as the vote neared. May and Corbyn’s combined presence broadly increased from 30 percent in week 1 to a peak of 39 percent in week 4.
  • Until the third week, Theresa May was more prominent than Jeremy Corbyn, but in week 4 coverage of Corbyn exceeded that of the Prime Minister. In the final week their media profiles were nearly equivalent.
  • The manifesto launches of both parties and the ‘leaks and tweaks’ that accompanied them[3] were clearly a factor in increasing media attention to the respective party leaders.

The visibility of the DUP in the campaign

Following the election, it would appear that the Democratic Unionist Party will now form an important role in the Conservative Party’s ability to govern as discussions on an arrangement between the two parties began on the Friday following polling day. Attention will now turn to the DUP’s politicians and policies in the coming weeks as the nature of the relationship between the two parties becomes more apparent.

Table 2.3 shows the prominence of various DUP actors during the 2017 campaign within all political actors.

Table 2.3: Most prominent DUP politicians in campaign news coverage (total news appearances)

DUP actor N % items
Arlene Foster (DUP Leader) 5 0.2%
Nigel Dodds (Deputy Leader, Westminster Leader and Foreign Affairs spokesperson) 2 0.1%
Other DUP figure or the party in general 3 0.1%
Total Appearances 10 0.4%

Key findings

  • DUP representatives accounted for only 0.4% of media appearances in all items.
  • The party’s leader and Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly, Arlene Foster, was the party’s most prominent actor, although she appeared on only 5 occasions.
  • Nigel Dodds, the party’s Westminster Leader and MP for Belfast North, appeared on only two occasions.
  • These results suggest the wider national public are likely to be very unfamiliar with the party, its personalities and its politics, despite its now crucial role in supporting a Conservative-led government.

Section 3: Positive and negative treatment of the political parties in the press

In this section we discuss the overall positivity or negativity of newspaper coverage. For each item we assessed whether the information or commentary contained within it had positive or negative implications for each political party[4].

Scoring

  • If an item mainly or solely focused on positive matters for a party, it was given a value of +1.
  • If it mainly/ solely focused on negative matters for a party, it was assigned a value of -1.
  • Items where there was no clear evaluation, or contained positive and negative issues in broadly equal measure, were coded as zero.
  • Items where no reference was made to the party were excluded from the calculation.

The scores in figures 3.1 – 3.5 are calculated by subtracting the total number of negative stories from the total of positive stories.

Figure 3.1 shows the overall directional balance of stories of the respective parties.

Figure 3.1 Overall evaluations in newspapers

Figure 3.1 Overall evaluations in newspapers

Figure 3.2 weights this differential by the latest ABC circulation figures for each national newspaper.

Figure 3.2 Overall evaluations in newspapers (weighted by circulation)

Figure 3.2 Overall evaluations in newspapers (weighted by circulation)

Key findings

  • The unweighted figures are illustrative of a highly negative campaign – no party on this measure attained more positive than negative coverage.
  • With weighting for circulation, the figures reveal that, on balance, the Conservatives were alone in receiving more positive than negative coverage by a slight amount.
  • This indicates that most of the party’s negative coverage came in newspapers of smaller circulations (see Figure 3.5).
  • The Labour party received the most negative coverage by either measure, demonstrating that the higher circulation newspapers were among the most negative towards the party.
  • The Lib Dems, SNP and UKIP each received negative coverage by both measures, although this was marginal, reflecting their relatively smaller news presence.

Figure 3.3 shows the overall directional balance of stories of the respective parties for each week of the campaign.

Figure 3.3 Evaluations by week in newspapers

Figure 3.3 Evaluations by week in newspapers

Figure 3.4 provides the directional balance of stories for each week weighted by circulation.

Figure 3.4 Evaluations by week in newspapers (weighted by circulation

Figure 3.4 Evaluations by week in newspapers (weighted by circulation

Key findings

  • The unweighted figures show that the Conservatives began to receive much of their criticism from the press from week 3 onwards, in the aftermath of the launch of their manifesto and the ‘dementia tax’ u-turn.
  • Indeed, this middle week of the campaign was the only week in which the Conservatives received more negative than positive coverage when evaluations are weighted for circulation.
  • Things began to improve for the Tories during the last two weeks of the campaign, though this did not translate into a positive press to match Labour’s negative press.
  • Week 3 was also the week in which the Labour party received their least negative coverage of the entire campaign.

Figure 3.5 breaks down the overall distribution in figure 3.1, by party and newspaper title.

Figure 3.5 Evaluations by newspapers

Figure 3.5 Evaluations by newspapers

Key findings

  • The figures are illustrative of the partisanship of the press, with most newspapers demonstrating a clear evaluative slant towards one of the two main parties and away from the other.
  • The Guardian and the Mirror were the Labour party’s main backers in the press, with the Sun, Telegraph, Express and Mail providing support for the Conservatives by this measure.
  • Notable exceptions to this partisanship are the Times, I and Financial Times, each of which were characterised by negativity towards both Labour and the Conservatives.
  • Even where newspapers do seem to show a clear partisan preference in their reporting, directional balance is characterised by more negativity for an unfavoured party than positivity for a favoured party. In short, the campaign was more about attack than advocacy.

Section 4: Issues in the Media Campaign

Table 4.1 compares the prominence of the most prominent 10 issues in the media across the entire 2017 campaign with their relative prominence in the 2015 General Election.

Table 4.1: Most prominent issues in news coverage 2017

2017 General Election % difference from 2015 General Election
1 Electoral process 32.9% – 12.5
2 Brexit/European Union 10.9% +7.8
3 Defence/Military/Security 7.2% +4.7
4 Health and health care provision 6.7% =
5 Taxation 5.7% -1.1
6 Economy/Business/Trade 5.5% -5.9
7 Social Security 4.6% +2.4
8 Immigration 4.2% +0.8
9 Devolution & other constitutional issues 3.3% -1.0
10 Standards 3.0% -0.3
11 Education 2.9% +1.6
12 Public services 2.3% +1.7
13 Employment 1.6% -0.7
14 Housing 1.3% -1.5
15 Other issues 7.9%

Key Findings

  • Although the drama of the election itself was most prominent in 2017 (Electoral process), this was substantially lower than in 2015.
  • Brexit and Europe was the most prominent substantive policy issue overall.
  • Coverage of defence and security issues, marginal in 2015, was much more prominent in 2017 following controversies over Trident and responses to the Manchester and London terror attacks.
  • Coverage of business and the economy was much less prominent in 2017 than in 2015. In previous elections, the economy has proved to be the most covered policy issue and in recent years has been an issue widely perceived to be owned by the Conservative Party. In this election, coverage of the economy and business was far less prominent than in 2015, and became more marginal as the campaign progressed (see figure 4.1).
  • Despite its importance in the 2016 EU Referendum, the issue of immigration remained as marginal in 2017 as in 2015.
  • Coverage of health and health care was as prominent in 2017 as it was in 2015.
  • Education issues in 2017 (notably school meals and tuition fees) received more attention than in 2015.
  • Despite their obvious considerable importance, issues of housing, transport and the environment were rarely reported either in 2015 or in 2017.

Figure 4.1 compares the proportional prominence of some of the main issues across the weeks of the campaign.

Figure 4.1: Proportional prominence of issues by week (all media)

Figure 4.1: Proportional prominence of issues by week (all media)

Key Findings

  • For what was supposed to be ‘the Brexit election’, the Conservative Party struggled after the first week on the campaign to get the media to define it as such.
  • The rise of Health and Health care in week 3, and the rise of defence related issues in the last two weeks, show the extent to which the Conservative campaign was blown off course by the ‘dementia tax’ u-turn and then by security issues in the aftermath of the Manchester and London Bridge terrorist attacks.
  • Coverage of the electoral process itself dipped through the middle three weeks of the campaign.

Section 5: Gender Balance of Campaign News

Figure 5.1 shows the different types of people who appeared in the news by their gender over the campaign period.

Figure 5.1: Gender balance across sources

Figure 5.1: Gender balance across sources

Findings

  • In total, nearly 63 percent of those that appeared in news were male, compared to 37 percent female.
  • Amongst politicians the split was 60/40 percent in favour of men.
  • Outside of the political party arena, men were consistently over-represented relative to women across all professional and public categories

[1] Our thanks to our coding team: Shani Burke, Gennaro Errichiello, Simon Huxtable, Jack Joyce, Herminder Kaur, Jade Markham, Nathan Ritchie, Lukas Stepanek, Ian Taylor, Rosie Tinker and Lou Tompkins

[3] The Labour party manifesto was leaked in advance of its official launch. Three days after the launch of the Conservative manifesto, the party made a u-turn on its proposals for social care reform.

[4] This is not solely a measure of overt support or criticism by a journalist of a party (although these instances would be included in the count). It is a broader measure of the extent to which newspapers report on issues/ comments/ developments that have positive or negative implications for parties. We only coded these instances where these were overtly referred to in the piece.

 

[i] Inter-coder reliability UK General Election 2017 campaign analysis

A reliability test using a random sample of 11 newspaper stories was conducted early on in the coding process with 10 coders. It is customary to provide an inter-coder reliability measure for each variable on a coding sheet. We have focused here on the more subjective variables that require coder judgement and the scores below are for these variables on the coding sheet.

Two measures are used, average pairwise percent agreement (APPA) and Krippendorff’s Alpha. Given the number of coders and the amount of training time ahead of this snap election our confidence level was set at 70% for APPA and 60% for Krippendorff’s Alpha.

The identity of actors in the news: APPA 78.324%; Krippendorff’s Alpha, 0.733776976662

Disposition of actors in the news: APPA, 72.9761904762%  Krippendorff’s Alpha. 0.633986079743

The themes of news items: APPA, 76.2962962963%; Krippendorff’s Alpha, 0.684490950537

Overall story evaluation: APPA, 86.7824074074%; Krippendorff’s Alpha, 0.644939179375

 

 

New Task Sequence Media (Jun17) for SCCM CB

June 9, 2017 Chris Carter
Following the upgrade to SCCM Current Branch 1702, the Task Sequence Media has been updated to take advantage of new features introduced by Microsoft.

Most notably it is no longer necessary to restart the PC if no Task Sequences are found or the PC fails to find Task Sequence dependencies. In these cases, once the problem is resolved you should be able to start the process again without a reboot.

The new version can be found at \\ws2.lboro.ac.uk\DesktopResource\Windows\W7\common\TaskSequenceMedia\Current Branch.

The previous SCCM CB Task Sequence Media will continue to work on all but multi-boot iMacs in labs. However, as ever we recommend updating to the latest version.

CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION AND HELP?

Please contact our Service Desk at it.services@lboro.ac.uk for more information.

Database Trial - British Online Archives

June 9, 2017 Steven Lake

Our latest online trial dips into some of the historical resources of the renowned British Online Archives.

Home to over seventy digitised primary source collections, BOA continues to dedicate itself to teaching and research within the Humanities and Social Sciences. Their globally-related collections, ranging from colonial, missionary and transatlantic relations to twentieth century political and social development, cover four-hundred years of world history. Their dedication to academic excellence through collaboration with the United Kingdom’s leading libraries, archive repositories and academic experts ensure that BOA remains at the forefront of Higher Education teaching and research.

We are trialling several components from their Political History and Slavery resources collection. Please follow these links to the content you need:

Political History

Independent Labour Party: Formation and Development

British Labour Party Papers: 1906 – 1969

British Labour Party Papers: 1968-69 1993-94 Scottish Nationalist Leaflets – 1844 – 1973

British women trade unionists on strike at Bryant & May, 1888

Slavery

Slavery in Jamaica, records from a family of slave owners, 1750 – 1860.

Slavery: Its supporters and abolitionists, 1675, 1865

Slave trade records from Liverpool 1754, 1792

Slave trading records from William Davenport & Co, 1745 – 1797

Access is via IP address and the trial runs to 10th July 2017.

We welcome feedback – good or bad – on this trial, please contact Steve Corn s.c.corn@lboro.ac.uk with your comments