Bye Bye Stafford

June 24th, 2016 by WEARN Nia

EU vote results aside today has been a long day for other reasons – it’s the last day I’ll be at the Stafford Campus (or any of us games staff will be) – which means the 3 years I spent as a student here between 2001 and 2004 and the last 10 years as a lecturer are at an end on this campus – and new adventures await in Stoke on Trent.

I remember coming here as a student, amazed by the amount of computers in the Octagon, that they promised that one of the engineering labs would be filled with computers (and it was, D11, it just took 10 years) and that it had an American Diner on site. I remember when The Lounge was Sleepers and Legends hosted BSE nights. I’m glad there will be students on site still, and I look forward to see if any of their international-ness leaks into Stafford.

In the decade I’ve taught  at the campus I’ve taught 100’s of students things about games and games design, run group projects that have made amazing games, hosted 6 awesome global game jams – (that will continue in our new labs without a doubt, I just need to work out where best to set up my camp bed), I’ve hosted a conference, and a European project visit (fewer of those in future I suspect), held interviews and done open days, sat in meetings, validated awards and built a snowman – I’ve been in 5 different offices across 2 different buildings, gained a sofa, a purple chair, horded post-it-notes – generally made myself at home. The last year especially has been fantastic knowing my son was in the one site nursery plotting his escape. (he too will move to Stoke with me so you can keep up with his adventures here) It’s been good, but all good things must come to an end.

I’m not sad about the move really – I like new challenges, and I’m looking forward to having more people around, our new labs, and just generally being a part of something a little more vibrant. I’ve always been envious of the attention payed to the Stoke campus and it’s courses and I can see the opportunities for our students and staff. In the last year I’ve barely had a week where I’ve not been on the other campus for one thing or another – so I know it well.  my desk is all picked out in my new office, I’m even looking forward to sharing with more staff again, as these last few weeks have been very lonely indeed. I’ve even had my last yellow food canteen moment today and I look forward to having some degree of choice at lunch times again. It will be a while before I can face a chicken wrap anywhere.

2016-06-24 11.48.36

 

So, come August, when I’m back from leave, and back from Digra/FDG you’ll find me in my new home, in my office in the Flaxman building- looking forward to new adventures and easy access to ice creams =D

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Facebook Polls and Checklists

April 7th, 2016 by WEARN Nia

I use Facebook a lot in my teaching, mainly for group communications – and we now have large scale global groups for a lot of the awards. It came to me today the the polls function, which I’ve used for lots of other things was an easy way to do a quick check list that the students could see if they’d done all the bits of an assignment – especially with big multi part assignments.

Checklist

What’s quite nice is I had immediate feedback from some of the Level 6 students that they found it really helpful in working out what they had left to do for the final year projects.

 

Junior/Senior Planning ahead

April 7th, 2016 by WEARN Nia

Big modules take big planning. Junior / Senior – the big Level 5/Level 6 module is such an mega task of planning (with everyone having an opinion) that it kind of starts now.

Lots of what I put in place assignment wise has helped – Blackboard journals and the corresponding rubric have helped a lot – even if not everyone liked the smiley faces. One of the big issues is keeping everyone happy, and making sure all of the different students, and their groups are balanced. This isn’t an easy task. Sits suggest I’ll have 191 Juniors and 192 seniors (and there’s 24 Programmers too). This year we had about 350 students.

I’ve always asked the Current Juniors – about to be seniors what they want to do as Senior. I also let them pick more then one option so the numbers may be a little skewed – but it’s nice to see a raise in people wanting to be producers – I suspect since we changed the size of the groups, from 30 down to 12/13 – it’s a much more manageable task.

But I’ve also been tasked to ask the current level 4 students where they see themselves – but in a slightly simplified questionnaire since they can’t be producers. This data is interesting in it’s own right.

(It will be even fancier if that chart updates as it should)