Category Archives: Edge Hill University

The Art of Computing – Tuesday 8th December 2015

To begin with, I would like you to answer the question below.

What is your first impression of those who work in IT?

I am asking this because it is easy to regard IT as an industry that can put off many newcomers, from wanting to explore further. As a result this means, those who work in IT are likely to be considered as working in a world of hard logic, consisting of ones and zeros. This perception of IT can have the effect of putting off potential practitioners. However there is more to IT than meets the eye, for the industry is actually more creative than many realise. This is because the design and development of new hardware, software and data products require creative thinking and a willingness to think differently, beyond the norm.

Last Tuesday, I attended a lecture delivered by Professor Mark Anderson of Edge Hill University. The purpose of this lecture was to explore how IT can be as exciting, as any creative art form. Another reason I had for attending, was that Mark was a lecturer of whom I had studied under, during my Masters Degree at the university a few years previously. Therefore I saw this as an opportunity to listen to what he had to say, and to see other faces from my Edge Hill past.

The lecture was a real eye-opener for me. As I listened to Mark speak about how IT can be creative and exciting, I sensed his burning enthusiasm for his subject, driven by adrenaline as he spoke with passionate energy, as well as my mind opening up. This was expanded upon through examples of how computing is as creative as any art form, such as Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) now commonplace in Hollywood cinema and modern video games. I also learned about how computer, hardware, software and data can be used as artistic tools to build things that we can interact with. Finally I also learned that coding is an expressive artistic form for a programmer, as it allows them to experiment and try things in differently.

To conclude, I wish to thank Mark for delivering an interesting lecture, and for showing computer programming to me in a completely different light, as an art form. In my opinion computing is more than just logic and binary code (1’s and 0’s). As computing changes, the need for creative people in IT, to design and create new exciting ideas is extremely important. Therefore creativity in computing needs to be encouraged.

What do you think?

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Facing the Future – Tuesday 3rd November

From the days of writing articles and press releases with typewriters, the roles of Public Relations (PR) professionals and journalists have changed, along with the skills required. These changes have been driven through technology, especially with the evolution of social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and blogging platforms, such as WordPress.

Last week, I attended an event organised by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) called Facing the Future. Held at Edge Hill University’s magnificent Creative Edge building, the purpose of the event was to look at what the future holds for PR and journalism. As a blogger, this piqued my curiosity enough to attend and find out more. I found the event to be an unique and interesting experience, as it gave me a glimpse into the world of PR and journalism.

The event featured two excellent speakers in Sarah Pinch, the president of CIPR and Alastair Machray, the editor in chief of Trinity Mirror in Merseyside, Cheshire and North Wales. Sarah and Alastair both touched on the importance of advertising revenue in printed and digital media, and of the need to work closely with others. Both speakers also reiterated the importance of demonstrating ethical responsibility, openness, honesty and high standards of professional conduct, and to avoid bringing employers into disrepute. It was this statement about demonstrating high standards of ethics and honestly, that I believed was the most important lesson of the night. This is because ethics and honestly must be applied universally across all professions.

Other interesting points about journalism and PR that I learned included:

1. Ethics and judgement are more important than tools and skills.
2. Vital to grow a local audience.
3. The deadline is now, as today’s news becomes instantly forgotten!
4. Write in plain English and avoid jargon.
5. Content needs to be audience driven.

Upon reflection, I felt the event was informative and engaging, to listen to and learn from. I have learnt that journalism is about collecting, writing and distributing audience and advertising friendly information. I have also learned it is vital to maintain a strong sense of ethics, honesty and openness for successful management of reputation and branding. To conclude, all the above not only applies to those working in PR or journalism, but also to professionals in every industry.

The Impact of Social Media on Businesses

Social Media has changed how businesses interact with customers. Online platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, provide a platform for two-way relationships between businesses and customers.

On Tuesday 3rd February 2014, I attended a event about impact of social media. Held and organised by Edge Hill University’s Business School, in partnership with the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM). As a user of social media, I am interested in how it produces positive and negative effects on businesses and individuals, and importantly how it should be used properly to enhance rather than diminish.

The event covered several aspects of social media, from making a Twitter impact in 140 characters using hashtags, to using Facebook to engage with local people through word of mouth. Two important points I learned about was that social media makes or breaks businesses and the importance of getting real-time analytics and reports. Other useful tips included:

1. Getting your points across in as few characters as possible.
2. Tailoring your content towards what your customers want is important.
3. Social media is great for attracting visitors, building relationships and closing leads, but least effective for selling products.
4. Be positive, enthusiastic, passionate and avoid negativity.
5. You cannot control what people say about you.
6. With social media you are talking to a global audience.
7. Engage with customers who use social media to raise an issue with you.
8. The above also applies to individuals too!

I mentioned the last point because, every professional including myself is also a marketeer, even though we may not be consciously aware of it. Each of us have our own values and principles, that forms the genesis of every successful working and business relationship with others.

In conclusion, social media is a powerful tool, which can either enhance and grow businesses or negatively affect reputations and lose customers.

Edge Hill University – University of the Year 2014

Well done to Edge Hill University for winning University of the Year 2014, at the Times Higher Education awards. This is a measure of how far the university has progressed, since being awarded full university status in 2006.

A few years ago, I had the pleasure and pride of studying and graduating at the university. It only seems like yesterday that I graduated with my Masters Degree. How time has flown by, since I graduated back in 2009.

In my opinion, it is more than just a beautiful 160 acre campus, with great architecture and surrounding greenery. Edge Hill University holds a special place in my heart, as it helped me get to where I am today. I learnt so much from talented and supportive lecturers and I met some wonderful people, during my studies. For students like me, who came from underprivileged and disadvantaged backgrounds, Edge Hill has been the starting point for me to confidently take my first steps into my career in IT, and I will always be eternally grateful.

I recommend Edge Hill University, as a great place to study for any prospective student. If you are interested, have a look at http://www.edgehill.ac.uk/

As a member of the university’s Alumni network, I have occasionally attended a variety of public events and seminars. I have also seen the university grow and bloom into a thriving institution, with many wonderful developments such as the Faculty of Health and Social Care, Arts Centre and Creative Edge. That makes me so proud that the university has been rightfully recognised as a shining beacon of higher education, and I know Edge Hill University will continue to thrive and prosper, as an institution of excellence.

From the bottom of my heart, I conclude with these few words…

Thank you so much and congratulations!