Micro-interns are mega productive!

Oxplore continues to expand our student voice through the University of Oxford’s Micro-internship Programme. In December, we hosted three students (Gabrielle, Shona, and Daanial) from differing disciplines who came together to create web and social media content that will soon be available online.

Meet the micro-interns in this animation created by Gabrielle.

Gabrielle was our Video Development Assistant and visited a number of colleges and departments during her time with us. She filmed items for an upcoming Oxplore marketing campaign, student videos for our Instagram, and developed a number of animations.

Shona and Daanial were our Content Development Assistants for the week. They worked diligently on our upcoming January big question (Would you pay everyone the same?) finding resources and articles for it and even recording two video interviews with Oxford University academics.

Thoughts from the students…

Oxplore sees these interns as an invaluable resource and here are their reflections on their time with us.

I have had a very enjoyable week working as a micro intern at Oxplore. The best bits include interviewing academics and discussing the topic of ‘Would you pay everyone the same?’. These discussions have definitely redefined how I view certain topics, and it is clear to see how Oxplore will spark discussions across the country. The internship has allowed me to develop skills in video creation and editing, and it is clear to see the benefits that the content I created will have for students looking at the website. It was wonderful also, knowing that the output, discussions, and tasks I was undertaking were all in aid of a wider goal of widening access and participation. The internship is something I have certainly valued doing, and the experiences and opportunities gained here have been unparalleled. I believe that Oxplore makes a genuine impact and am grateful to have been a part of developing the Big Questions and being part of the team. – Daanial

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This micro-internship has been an immensely rewarding experience for me and has enabled me to develop many new skills that will help me in future communications, marketing and/or outreach positions. It was exciting to have so much freedom over our project and to receive such a positive response from academics at the university when contacted for an interview about their research. The two interviews we conducted with academic staff were a definite highlight for me, as I gained first-hand insight into cutting-edge research and opinion and learned more about other faculties in the university. Using video and audio editing software has been fascinating and enriched my understanding of the process of content creation. Filming for an Oxplore YouTube video with so much creative license over our storyboard and content felt liberating and satisfying as I feel we were able to incorporate lots of our own personality into the clips. I’ve engaged with lots of new people this week, who I hope to continue conversations with over projects lined up as part of my role as President of Oxford First-Gen for this year. It’s also been immeasurably helpful to better understand the inner workings of central university Widening Participation efforts. I definitely think I’ve gained a lot personally from this week, but it’s also fantastic to feel that our efforts will have a positive impact on improving access for prospective applicants in future. – Shona

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I have had a fantastic time combining my passion for filmmaking with my dedication to access and outreach while producing fun and accessible videos for Oxplore’s ‘Big Questions’ during my micro-internship. The opportunity to interview students and academics at Oxford, as well as the chance to use professional quality video equipment, has helped me to develop production and editing skills that I will hopefully use in my future career in TV and Film production. Hearing the opinions of amazing individuals at Oxford on questions such as ‘Should We Eat Animals?’ and ‘Could We End Poverty?’ has shown me the benefits of lateral thinking – we can learn so much about the world by approaching topics from diverse academic (and personal) stand-points. A particular highlight of the week for me was learning how to use animation software to create videos which fit the Oxplore house style. I have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to explore big academic questions in new and engaging ways and I hope you will be just as fascinated with our approach to the big question launching in January – ‘Would You Pay Everyone the Same?’ – Gabrielle

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12 days of Oxplore

Not another 2018 round-up?! As 2018 draws to a close, we wanted to mark just some of the activities the Oxplore team has been engaged in. Thanks to our users, followers and supporters for your ongoing enthusiasm and engagement this year.

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Looking towards Teachers

Oxplore is all about Big Questions,  so it’s probably no surprise that one of the biggest questions asked at the University of Oxford is: “How do we improve outcomes for more of our young people?”.

In this post, I’ll be looking at why I’ve been asked to work with teachers to find ways to turn up the level of impact in our work of Widening Access and Participation.

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Photo from https://unsplash.com/@willyin

It’s been a year since Oxplore launched, and it’s a been a  great success in terms of online engagement from students and schools. But the work of the Widening Access and Participation team has a long way to go, and it makes sense to look at other audiences we could work with.

I am new to the team, and to the work of the University and it is hard not to be drawn into the statistics and narratives around the lack of diversity at Oxbridge. These issues have been discussed with humour and the collective smarts of 4 Cambridge Grads, especially in this episode of the fantastic Over the Bridge podcast.

There are so many possible levers and interventions that could change the lives of young people and, perhaps bring more of them to the University of Oxford – and there are many wonderful projects making a difference (UNIQ, TargetOxbridge).  Oxplore, like so many of these initiatives, looks to shift the perspective of young people

However, teachers and other trusted adults in the lives of children have the opportunity to have a greater impact, earlier. Changing behaviours, expectations and opening opportunities with teachers, from KS2 upwards, should have a sustained and greater effect. Or at least, that’s our hypothesis – that we are going to test and evaluate.

SO, I’ll be spending the next few months visiting schools, talking to teachers and school leaders, looking for how we could best complement Oxplore; with a digital  platform for educators.

I’ll be asking questions here – and, hopefully asking for your help.

If you’d like to be involved, please watch this space, and the @Oxplore Twitter feed

 

Oxford Big Question Challenge – for UG and Taught PG Students

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***Entries have now closed for the Oxplore Big Question Challenge –

Those who entered will be contacted shortly if they have won top prize or have been selected as one of the runners-up.***

At Oxplore, we strive to inspire 11-to-18-year-olds to think and explore beyond their school curriculum, and we need your help! This competition is open to all current Oxford undergraduate and taught postgraduate students from any discipline.

Propose your ideas for a new ‘Big Question’ for Oxplore with some recommended reading resources. The ideal Big Question will fascinate young people whilst being broad enough to accommodate different arguments and disciplines (you can see examples at www.oxplore.org).

The best idea will not only win you £75 to spend at Westgate Oxford, but also the opportunity to see it produced and included on the Oxplore site. With five runners-up prizes of a £25 voucher each, there’s nothing to lose.

Entries will close on Sunday 28th October at 11:59pm – Sunday of 4th week.

 

Continue reading Oxford Big Question Challenge – for UG and Taught PG Students

Engaging young people through digital learning – Oxford Thinking insight

The team were delighted to be featured in the latest issue of Quad – Oxford’s new alumni magazine – and on the Oxford Thinking webpages. We know that the University’s alumni community are keen to see the University making progress on widening access (including the First Gen alumni and the Black Oxford Alumni). Without a donation from an Oxford alumnus, Oxplore would not exist!

‘We’re certain that it’s totally innovative, and we haven’t seen anything like it elsewhere on the web,’ explains Dr Alex Pryce, from Oxford’s Undergraduate Admissions and Outreach team. For two years, Dr Pryce has been working with colleagues from all corners of the University to develop Oxplore, an initiative aimed at engaging young people and potential applicants through digital learning.

Read more on the Oxford Thinking website…

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Photo by John Cairns

Interns continue to make a difference!

Oxplore has been expanding our student voice through more ideas and content generated by our fantastic interns! The University of Oxford Careers Service programmes means we were able to recently host three micro interns (Georgina, Serena, and Laura) for one week and had another intern (Mia) for four weeks. Each of them contributed greatly to our ongoing development.

Our three micro interns were quickly organising, producing, and then filming a discussion about a Big Question by their fifth and final day with us. They did an incredible job and you can watch the clip on ‘Is falling in love bad for you?’ here.

Not only did they complete a superb video, but they also enhanced our content with additional resources. Georgina, Serena, and Laura created reading lists for the questions ‘Does Race Matter?’, ‘Should You Ever Fall for a Chat-up Line?’, and ‘Should You Have To Be British To Live in Britain?’

Laura also planned our forthcoming undergraduate competition (watch this space in Michaelmas) while Serena and Georgina collaborated on plans for a new Big Question for the site.

Finally, we’ve been fortunate to have Mia as our intern for a number of weeks this summer. She’s helped with drafting a future blog post for NACE, contributed a reading list for the question ‘Does Fake News Matter?’, and she shot, edited, and created the social media plan for a video that gives you a tour of both Balliol College and the Mathematical Institute, while answering the question, ‘Does Truth Exist?’ with Maths student Jamie.

Thoughts from the students…

We were extremely privileged to have had the opportunity to work with these students and here are some of the reflections that they shared with us about their experiences with Oxplore.

As someone with a passion for access and outreach being able to use my creative skills to develop work for the Oxplore website has been really rewarding. I liked the variety of tasks I was able to undertake, working both in the Undergraduate Admissions Office as well as going to the Music Faculty to speak to Professors. Developing the mini-podcast was a particular highlight for me and I have learnt a lot about sound editing, something I wasn’t familiar with before at all. Interviewing academics for the podcast has made me more interested in communications, journalism and excited about the possibilities of digital outreach. – Georgina

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Being entrusted with developing the competition really excited me, as I felt that I learned how to create and shape everyone’s ideas into something new and usable. It was encouraging to feel that I had been trusted to make decisions, from the prizes to the graphics. The week flew by, as it developed from marketing ideas and possible prizes into a fully mapped out plan that is (nearly!) ready to go. I have learned so many new things about marketing this week, from writing an extensive print brief, dissemination plan and Gantt chart – and I’ve had a lot of fun getting to learn how to use the photo editing software for the first time. The skills I have used will very soon come into use as I manage the marketing for an Oxford Playhouse musical in January and hopefully in my future career in marketing or outreach work. – Laura

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I have had a wonderful week working as a micro-intern for Oxplore and feel proud to have contributed and created content for such an engaging and interesting website. Oxplore may be aimed at 11-18 year olds, but in both browsing the website’s previous questions and creating resources for our new one, ‘Does Music Matter?’ I feel like I have learnt a lot and will definitely be returning to the website to explore it more. The five days flew by – it’s hard to believe that we fit so much into five days, starting with brainstorming and planning and then finding and creating most of the content needed, including videos, articles, quizzes and podcasts. Recording and editing audio files is something that I hadn’t done since GCSE so it was great to work with audio-editing programmes again and regain some of the skills. It was also great to get to know more about the access and outreach department in case I decide to pursue more outreach work in the future. – Serena

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What this internship has taught me above all is the value of online access; its potential to reach young people differently to in-person outreach, but no less powerfully; and the ways we can go about trying to build meaningful content. The Oxplore team came up with a brilliant itinerary for me in which I was able to explore loads of different aspects of a digital outreach job: from writing content, to storyboarding, to filming and editing, and more. I’ve been so grateful that the team have provided me with huge amounts of support, but have also challenged me to develop new skills – for example, the planning and execution of a video for the Oxplore YouTube and site was something completely new to me, but has turned out really well. The control I’ve been able to have over my ideas has given me the confidence to have more of them: I’ve learnt that digital outreach requires a lot of creative thinking, and the team’s trust in me to produce content has made this feel less like an internship and more like being an equal partner in an exciting project. – Mia

Micro interns with macro impact!

The Oxplore team were lucky enough to be joined by three fantastic Oxford University undergraduate students on ‘micro-internships’. These shorter placements are organised by the Internship Office at Oxford University and offer applicants the chance to contribute to a project within a team for a week at the end of term.

We were hugely impressed with the quality, breadth and depth of the work they each produced. Being such a small team, we were able to vastly increase the scope of our project for the week which had a direct and positive impact upon audience reach and engagement.

One of our interns, Molly, focused on creating new digital content for our upcoming Big Question on mental health. She independently organised, filmed and edited a series of short interviews with undergraduate students. Within the videos, students gave their top self-care tips on looking after their personal wellbeing, and they explained on what the concept of mental health meant to them.

Our other two interns, Olivia and Jessy (pictured below), were tasked with organising a Facebook live stream in a week! They approached this daunting prospect with calm professionalism, and pulled together three excellent speakers to discuss and debate the Big Question ‘Should we believe the history books?’

Check out the video here! 

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Thoughts from the students

We asked each of the interns to write a reflection on the week that they spent with us- we were thrilled to hear that they all found it useful and enjoyed being a part of the team. We are very grateful for the enthusiasm and energy that they brought to the role, and wish them all the very best in their future careers!

I found my week at Oxplore really exciting and insightful. It was lovely to work in the office alongside so many dedicated people on such a thought provoking and clever piece of Outreach work. One element that I really enjoyed was the freedom of seeing a project through from start to finish. Being able to dedicate the whole week to the live stream and pick our chosen question, create the promotional content and guide the academic discussion gave me lots of new skills in organisation and planning. I particularly enjoyed making the trailer for our live stream and it has encouraged me to put more time into video editing. Now I’ve learned what it is like to focus on outreach full time and how closely intertwined this is with video production and social media, it has shown me that two of my pre-existing interests can meld really well together. I will definitely be getting involved with more work like this in the future – Olivia.

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My week with Oxplore has been amazing! I’ve really enjoyed learning more about this platform and the University’s widening participation schemes. It’s been so beneficial to have the opportunity to plan a live stream outreach event from scratch; from choosing the question, thinking ourselves about how we would tackle the question, to gaining skills in event management by finding relevant academics and locations, as well as having to film, edit, and promote videos for the site. This microinternship has been fantastic because of all the different skills involved and subsequently all the experience gained in just 5 days! I hope to use these skills to take digital widening participation back to my College to ensure opportunities are there for students and schools that can’t make it to Oxford for a visit and equally to put a more academic-spin on access. Also, I’ve really loved working full time in outreach every day and hope to be able to do this once I graduate – Jessy.

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I have found my week as a micro-intern for Oxplore incredibly interesting and insightful. My passion for creating videos was always merely a hobby, and so I am really thankful for the opportunity to pour all my energy into producing these three videos without any other priorities and distractions. I have learnt about using professional video editing software like After Effects, been taught about different lighting techniques, and discovered what it is like to produce videos as a group. It has been really informative to see what producing videos is like in a professional environment. This experience has encouraged me to pursue more professional opportunities in video production and further develop my own skills in video editing software – Molly. 

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