October 25, 2017, by Postgraduate Placements Nottingham
Recognition and Responsibility
This week we hear from Wafaa Eelehemer about her placement with the University of Nottingham’s Libraries, Research and Learning Resources (LRLR) department.
I was delighted to be successful in applying for a placement in the University’s Libraries, Research and Learning Resources (LRLR) department. It was exactly the kind of multi-faceted and dynamic professional environment in which I felt that I could develop essential business skills. At the same time though, I was a little worried about whether or not I would be able to complete the project in enough time to allow me to prepare well for my exams. As it turned out, however, I needn’t have worried. I got lots of support and my placement line managers were very understanding and accommodating about my studies; for instance allowing me to work from home when necessary.
The placement project itself involved analysing qualitative information provided in the Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES), and comparing the results with data from the undergraduate National Student Survey (NSS). To deliver this work I had to learn how to use Nvivo and Tableau software suites to analyse bulk data, in order to derive insights that could be used for enhancement purposes.
At times, especially during the coding phase, I found the project challenging, both in terms of keeping the end goal in sight and also the responsibility I felt when trying to group student comments accurately with similar feedback. Working with Tableau was really interesting though and I stayed motivated because I was looking forward to seeing the end results of my work. My managers and colleagues also gave me constant support at every stage of the project and I couldn’t have asked for better supervision.
The highlight of the placement was when I got to present my key findings to senior management at the university. To be given such a responsibility, and to be able to represent my own work, was a great reward for all my effort. I’m also really glad that I had the experience because otherwise I wouldn’t have known how seriously and carefully the university explores student feedback. It certainly made me feel that involving students in these kind of projects is a great way to provide additional, valuable insights to university management.
I would definitely recommend the Postgraduate Placements Nottingham scheme (PPN) to other students. The interview process was very good and helped me to know what to expect right from the start. The placement environment itself was supportive and healthy, and I was proud to have got to know and work with such nice people. I certainly learnt some entirely new skills, including gaining experience of specific software packages, and I was exposed to a different working environment and another side of university life. All in all it was a great experience and the discussions I had with different people throughout the project about their career paths will certainly make me consider a wider variety of opportunities in the future.