Year in, year out

So, here it goes for another year... As an indicator of how we've had to hit the ground running it's taken me a good few weeks to get around to this blog post. Since Monday I've been on the second stage of my IDM Diploma in Teddington and am writing this from the bar of the hotel in which I'm staying in Hampton Court after just wishing my kids goodnight via Facetime - the best thing work ever did was give me this laptop!

My view as I write this post -
(The Kings Arms, Hampton Court)
It's been a good few days so far with some great lectures on brand, social media and campaign planning and I now have a big list of actions to take back to the office. We've also been informed that the qualification we've been studying for has been upgraded to a Postgraduate Digital Marketing Diploma (PG DipDigM) meaning if I pass I get an extra two letters after my name! It's all looking good so far too as I passed my first assignment with flying colours. Let's hope I can keep up the momentum...

As far as work is concerned, the team has already been busy with some new innovations. The first of these being that we are now displaying unit information on our course pages. This has been a real team effort between our ICT department, Squiz and myself and brings us up to speed with our competitors. What it means is that each course page shows the units which are currently being studied on each course. This data comes directly from our SITS database and is updated nightly so should always be completely accurate and gives a much more detailed overview of the exact content of each course.

'This page is now offline as it hasn't
been updated since 2003...'
The team also spent a day at Squiz getting some bespoke training on asset listings and their applications. It was really great stuff and has not only allowed us to better understand and automate our front end lists but also our back end reporting. The latter is evidenced by our latest report showing the most active departments in removing content from their sections (people are great at putting content online but rubbish at removing it) and who needs to try harder!

Today we've also gone live with our phase 2 of our events calendar. This allows the functionality of adding key dates and most excitingly customised embeddable calendars. The way these work is users add their events to the calendar as usual but can then apply a number of filters (e.g. location, department) and use the code it generates to embed a bespoke version into their own section of the site. Very useful for all as it allows the user to highlight just their events but also keeps everything held centrally.

In other news, I've taken part in my first set of interviews for the year for Marketing Officer which were very enjoyable (but tiring!) and have worked with our colleagues in Student Services to launch a whole new Careers section. I've also been working with our Education and Sport department to create a number of new films highlighting each of their departments (Teacher Education, Education Studies and English Language & Communication). The content of these was developed by the faculty themselves with our input in helping to select a production company, briefing them on our brand and working on a seeding strategy to ensure maximum impact. We're particularly happy with one which was produced to highlight the opportunity for students to take part in work placements at Club Le Santa in Lanzarote:

Anyway, time to sign off as my bar snacks have just arrived! It's been good to get back into my blogging groove and here's to a fantastic 2014...
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