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Spotlight on research – SPARK report

21 Jan 2019

Here are the particular highlights featured in this issue:

The University of California’s ‘Climate Lab’ is a great way of engaging the audience with research storytelling. Their visiting researcher M Sanjayan narrates videos which give insights into sustainability, packaging and the environment to encourage audience behaviour change. Although filmed in the style of a TV documentary, each episode is a social media-friendly five minutes. It’s worth noting that this work has been done in partnership with Vox, a major news institution in the US.

The University of Nottingham’s Digital Research Week hinges on a Digital Research Hackathon, DRHack, which promotes collaboration between staff and students. Participants work together on five data challenges introduced from across the university. Hacks like this are becoming a vital part of the development agenda for many organisations as a new way of bringing people together.

Other innovations from universities in the UK and overseas:

The University of East Anglia is adopting Instagram stories to communicate with their social media audience quickly and effectively. Users quickly type and send a query, and the university responds directly with an Instagram message. Short videos are then created to share the best questions and answers.

At Deakin University, Professor Michael Leiter from the School of Psychology hosted a compilation of videos designed to help students understand their stress levels during exams, with advice on what they could do about it. This information not only supports students but gives them some insight into the academic study behind it.

Finally, from outside the HE sector:

To inspire the next generation of engineering superheroes, the UK government has teamed up with Marvel.Users take an aptitude test and solve problems to reveal the type of superhero they are, and once the test is complete, there is a downloadable certificate and videos about real engineering heroes.

One very well designed website, which uses video in a brilliant way, is Teacher Kids. It promotes the skills of children with disabilities by letting them create films in which they are the teachers and share their talents with the world. All they need to do is make a video tutorial, hashtag it on social media and the website team will find and share it.

Read about all of these and more in the full report below: