Saturday, 20 August 2011

Weeks 8 and 9

Oh dear! Behind again ...

Last week went by in a flash - the first few days filled with producing letters for successful applicants and stuffing them in envelopes (which had already been filled with useful documents, described by one of the new intake on Facebook as 'a massive "do u have a disability/religion/allergy/buy a gown please" pack'. Then on Thursday and Friday we were fielding phonecalls from applicants who hadn't made their offer grades, and their teachers. :(

Anyway, onward and upward!
Week 8, Extra Things: tumblr and posterous
Shortage of time at this point in the summer means that I probably won't venture further than Blogger for blogging at the moment. We have a bookgroup blog on tumblr, so I have participated in that by commenting etc.

Week 9, Thing 16: Flickr
Hurray! Something else I already use! Mainly for my holiday snaps, it must be said, but still - I have an account, and I do use it from time to time. I need to update it for this year - have got Prague photos from March up there, but still haven't done Orkney & Shetland (May).

Week 9, Thing 17: Podcasts
I went to a talk about these at a conference for teachers of English as a foreign language (I used to do this in a former life) and it's something we might consider for our website. Just not right now ...

OK, that's enough for today. Now I only have to worry about the weather: supposed to be going to the open air Shakespeare at King's this evening, and have just noticed that it's started raining. 

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Week 8 - nearly caught up!

Woohoo! Nearly there! Just as well, as I'll be in the office tomorrow (Sunday) morning to get the A-level results (they are released to universities a few days early), and we will then have a pretty hectic few days getting confirmation/rejection letters done ready to post out to applicants on Wednesday, so that they get them on the same day as the results are published.

Thing 14: Facebook.
I have a personal account which I'm now using more than I did to begin with. Initially I couldn't see the attraction, and in fact found the whole business rather tedious. However, a young person of my acquaintance informed me that this was because I didn't have enough friends (thanks!) and it's true that as my list of friends has gradually grown, the status updates have become more interesting.

There is also a group set up for applicants holding offers from Newnham. In fact, the equivalent group set up a few years back was the reason I joined FB in the first place - to keep an eye on what they were saying! I don't join the group myself, as I don't want to cramp their style, but I have asked the Schools Liaison Officer to join, as she is nearer to them in age, and can advise them to contact the Admissions Office if the current students are not able to answer their questions.

Thing 15: LinkedIn
As I'm now in the last few years of my professional career (just hit 60 this year!), I don't think I'll bother with this. The admissions officers in all the colleges have a very good and active email list, which we use to ask for advice, pass on tips, and generally keep in touch in between our termly meetings.

Phew! That's enough for now. Will leave tumblr and posterous for next week - if I have a minute in between fielding tearful phonecalls ...

Week 7 Things

Thing 12 - bookmarking.
Had a quick look at Delicious: one of its selling points seems to be that you can see other people's favourite websites. Browsing through the top ten on the front page, there was only one that caught my attention (10 things to do if you hate your job - quite sensible suggestions, but as I love my job, scarcely relevant!). Maybe I'm just not very adventurous, but I have a very limited collection of bookmarks, both on my home laptop (BBC messageboards, Trip Advisor, Facebook, my bank and a few time-wasting games) and at work (BBC school league tables, the University undergrad admissions handbook, Student Finance and one or two others). I'm also quite disciplined about getting rid of bookmarks I no longer need, and organising them in folders, so signing up to another tool seems a bit like overkill.

Thing 13 - LibraryThing
Not a librarian, so wouldn't use this for work. I was slightly tempted however, to use it as a reading diary. However, given limited time, I'd rather be reading than listing the books I've read, so - thanks but no thanks!

More Things ... still catching up

OK - where did we get to last week? Ah yes, Week 5, Extra Thing: Dropbox. Have decided I don't really need this - the Newnham IT office has set up our own file-sharing system, which seems to work all right, and I need to get on to Week 7 or I'll never catch up!

Week 6: reflection. It was good to meet people at B Bar and put some faces to names. From reading Aidan's blog I realise we live in the same part of Cambridge, although I didn't pick this up during the evening ...

So, reflecting ...
  • What have you learned that's new?
    iGoogle, Google Reader, RSS feeds, Lightshot, among others.
  • What have you enjoyed about '23 things' so far?
    Trying out new stuff, and reading the blogs.
  • Which of the thing do you love/hate?
    Love Lightshot, not so keen on iGoogle, wouldn't even bother with Pushnote.
  • Which ones will you carry on using?
    Probably Google docs (for the book group), if I can get it to work; Lightshot; will be experimenting with a blog for applicants in the next admissions round.
  • Can you incorporate the things you're learning on this programme into your (working) life?
    See previous question ...

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Pushnote and Evernote

Still trying to catch up with Week 5!

Had a read through the stuff about Pushnote, and also read what Anna said about it. Decided I agreed with her points, so haven't taken this any further.

Just installing Evernote ... my firewall didn't recognise it, so I'm hoping it's safe!

OK - have created my first note (a to-do list - I'm very fond of them!). Don't have time to explore any more at the moment. Watch this space.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Catching up

... rather breathlessly! I thought that having the office to myself for two weeks would let me catch up on all sorts of things, but I seem to be spending rather a lot of time sending out reminders to people who need to send me information to put into the freshers' information packs as well as doing loads of photocopying for said packs, so the Things have been a bit neglected.

Week 5, Thing 9 - Google docs
Again, this is something I have used in the past with the Admissions team. We thought it would be a good idea to have a web-based spreadsheet so that the Admissions Tutor and Schools Liaison Officer could enter details of their visits to schools while on the move, rather than having to wait until they were back in the office. The plan was that I would then download the spreadsheet from time to time, so that I had an up-to-date version. This was not completely successful, for two reasons:
- the AT and SLO still had to be nagged to fill in the spreadsheet, and as the nagging took place while they were in the office, it rather destroyed the point of having a web-based document;
- when I downloaded the document, any visits which had been entered since the last download had the date in the American format (mm/dd/year), so I had to check them all and manually change them.

Add to that the problems I have had recently trying (unsuccessfully) to access a spreadsheet connected to one of my book groups, and you'll see why I'm not totally enthusiastic about Google docs, although I recognise that it's a good idea in principle.

Week 5, Thing 10 - Pushnote and Evernote
Week 5, Extra Thing - Dropbox
OK - read the instructions and created an account for Pushnote, but somehow don't think the IT guys at work will take too kindly to me installing any unauthorised 'extras', so will leave this to try out on my home computer. Same applies to Dropbox - we have our own online file-sharing set up by the IT office.
And on to Week 7!

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Reflecting ...

Had a week's holiday earlier this month (a few days in Weymouth, lovely weather, swam in the sea!), came back to my desk to a bit of a backlog. At the end of that week our lovely Schools Liaison Officer left us for pastures new, and my boss was off on her hols for two weeks, so there was quite a lot to sort out before they went. As a result, the Things got a bit neglected. However, fortunately quite a few of them were things I was already familiar with - here's a quick round-up of comments:

Screen-casting: This was new to me, and I can see that it could be very useful. The Cambridge Admissions Office used this technique to explain to applicants how to fill in the Supplementary Application Questionnaire, I seem to remember, and it was very successful. However, I don't think it's going to be something I will need in the near future - just as well, as the college system was very reluctant to let me load Screencast-o-matic.

Doodle: I've been using this for a while, mainly in the book groups I belong to (three, at the last count!) and guess what - I was introduced to it by a librarian! Brilliant tool, and I plan to indoctrinate my office colleagues as soon as a suitable opportunity comes up.

Google calendar: The Admissions team use this as a means of keeping everyone in the loop as regards who is in the office on a specific day, who is on school visits, when Open Days are scheduled etc. I have separate calendars for work and personal commitments, but the Admissions Tutor doesn't discriminate between the two, so occasionally we come across events such as children's dental appointments, Brownie meetings or Pilates classes too. Very useful, but we have found it a bit fiddly adding new people (new SLO starts next month) and giving them access to each other's calendars. Not always very intuitive.

OK, will stop there for now, and do Week 5 Things in a separate post.