Monday, 19 July 2010

New front page done

Matt and I have been thinking about a design for a new front page of the Student Development site for a while now, and now it's done. After some really useful comments to previous posts (New front page progress and We need a new front page) we've finalised a design. It's not brilliant because we're working with some quite tight restrictions in our Plone CMS and we're having to do everything in tables, but I think it's a lot better than it was. We now have a lot more space to promote current news and events and the rather confusing team structure has been replaced by three clear themes. There's also more white space than there was.

Hover over the image below so see notes, or just go to

Draft social media guidelines for UoL

On Thursday last week AlanBrendanEmmaRichard and Michelle had a really useful meeting with our Marketing and Communications team to  talk about blogs, blogging and branding at the University of Leicester. We talked mostly about institutional blogs but also about staff blogs and all agreed that Wordpress was the platform of choice. I mentioned that Joss Winn, at the University of Lincoln, had set up

Your chance to contribute

At the end we also touched on the draft social media policy that Marketing and Communications are working on. Helen's kindly given me permission to put the policy on so people can comment on it (at the paragraph level). So here's the link to the draft policy on for you to comment on. Thanks to Marketing and Communications for letting us comment on the policy in this way. I hope that it proves to be a really useful way of developing policy.
By  Matt Hamm

Friday, 16 July 2010

Plagiarism tutorials now creative commons

Nearly three months back I blogged about Making the plagiarism tutorials creative commons. Well, it took a while but they're now finally done. You can see them all here. It probably took about 30 minutes per tutorial to make all the necessary changes, and I just did them one at a time, as I had the time. Hence it taking nearly three months.

Track back to the original post if you want to access the original files.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Thinking about a Facebook ad

I've been thinking that it might be a good idea to do a Facebook advert for our Student Development Facebook page during freshers' week. Having had a quick look at the guidance it looks like adverts can be very specifically targeted. There are three steps to putting one up:
  1. design your advert
  2. targeting
  3. campaigns pricing and scheduling
So I'm after advice, especially if you've used Facebook adverts before. My options under the three steps are as follows.

1. Design your advert

Facebook Content - that's easy, that will be the Student Development page.
Title - that will default to the name of the page.
Body text - the help text is helpful here.

Image - need something that's 'visible when small', the help text tells me.

2. Targeting

Should I make this UK? The help text says 'Choose countries where your target users are located when they access Facebook.' So presumably this comes from their IP details rather than their profile information? I could also limit the 'City' to 'Leicester' - but I assume this would be too specific if Facebook draws this information from profile data?

Age - I'll make this 18 years of age plus. The rest of the demographic information (gender, interested in, relationship and languages) I'm planning to leave unselected.

Likes and interests
I think I'll leave this blank.

Education and work
Education - this is where it gets tricky. I could choose 'At University' (see image, right) but the students I most want to reach may have not yet updated their profile and therefore still be listed as 'At Secondary School'. If I can assume everyone keeps an up to date profile though I could then choose 'At University' and then 'University of Leicester'

Workplaces - I plan to leave blank.

Connections on Facebook
Connections: Target users who are connected to: [Enter your page, event, group or application]. I was thinking of putting University of Leicester Students' Union Facebook page here but the help text says 'Leave this field blank unless you would like to narrow your audience to people connected to your Page, group or event.'.

Target users who are not already connected to: [Student Development, University of Leicester]

Friends of connections - I'll leave this unselected as the help text says the same as for 'Connections' (see above).

3. Campaigns, pricing and scheduling

This includes account currency, account time zone and campaign name, but more importantly the daily budget ('What is the most you want to spend per day?' and programme ('When do you want to start running your advert?'. And the more targeted the advert the cheaper the per click price. For instance, if the advert is very un-targeted the per click price is £0.70 but if I choose 'University of Leicester' in the Education bit the per click price halves - £0.35.

So, what do you suggest?

Thursday, 8 July 2010

New front page progress

I've been thinking on and off for about a month now about how we can improve the front page of the Student Development website. I blogged about it a while back (We need a new front page) and got some very useful comments.

The reasons for redesigning it are:
  1. to give us more space to promote topical news and events
  2. to theme our work under three main headings to give what we do more coherence (succeed in your studies, gain experience, plan for a career)
  3. to make things easier to find
Having had an really useful meeting with David Morgan yesterday I've re-worked things a little (see draft below) to give the 'Latest news and events' bit more space for more stories and also given the three themes different colours to try and differentiate them a bit.

We're working within quite a restrictive CSS in Plone so it's not easy to make it look quite how I want it to but it's getting closer. You'll see I've put a space holder image in for story 1 - the reason being I couldn't find an image of the correct dimensions (long and thin) to go in that bit - which probably means that bit's not ideal.

There are still things I need to do, including:
  • put in an obvious Information for employers link somewhere
  • maybe also put in a link for PhD students to supplement the mentions they get within the three themes
What do you think? As usual, all comments gratefully received :)

Student Development staff can login to see the most up-to-date version here.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

How to embed an annotated flickr image

I thought you couldn't embed an annotated flickr image into a page, but then Alun told me you could using the brilliant Mbedr. I had to use the <iframe> code rather than the <object> code but it was still quick and easy.

Matt will be pleased because he was wanting a way to embed an annotated CV into a page. This should do it nicely. And I'm sure they'll be lots of other uses too.

So here's the photo of Andrew's office again, but this time complete with annotations. Thanks Alun!

Annotated flickr image

Just had a helpful response from Andrew Norman to my tweet re annotated flickr images and wondering whether the annotations still work when the image is embedded...


Tuesday, 6 July 2010


Just wondering if this will be useful after Alan's suggestion. Anyone used Wallwisher before? It looks handy but not had any experience of it.

Tagginganna project plan

Our ingenious #tagginganna project plan ('our' = MarkAlexJayJay and me)
Tagginganna project plan

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Team building day success!

After blogging about our team building day earlier in the week I'm pleased to be able to report that it was a big success. Here's what we did:
  1. created a beautiful tyre-planter garden complete with sand pit
  2. laid a long stepping stone path with a hopscotch centre piece
  3. made a meandering bark path edged with scented plants leading to a fairy circle of log seats
  4. engineered a raised, decked walkway between the trees.
Our volunteering team did a fantastic job of organising it and I think everyone enjoyed working together on a really valuable project. Here are the snaps, more to follow in the Leicester Mercury...