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Student Interns adapt to remote working

In the academic year 19/20, the Digital Skills and Training team employed six student interns.

Four Digital Skills Trainers and two Digital Champions started working with the team in November 2019. Each of our Student Trainers was assigned an existing course from the Digital Skills Programme to co-deliver, and three of the students also developed new courses on topics that matched their skills and interests. The Digital Champions were working on promoting digital skills to undergraduate and postgraduate audiences, in person and online. Each student was assigned a mentor at the beginning of their internship, and were well supported and adjusted to working within the team.

Due to the unforeseen circumstances caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the nature of these internships was dramatically altered as the team adjusted to remote working. All six students adapted to the change in an exemplary manner and continued to work from home. Four of our interns left Edinburgh and travelled to their respective home countries and cities, some working as far as seven hours ahead of our UK office hours. General uncertainty and quick changes to travel schedules caused some distress and confusion, but the team was determined to ensure the students could complete their internships.

We implemented flexible working schedules, regular communication and worked with the students to come up with solutions to ensure they could achieve the objectives of their internships. The students impressed us with their creativity and attitude under the challenging circumstances, and the overall experience of the internships was very positive, both for the students and for the team.

Student interns continue to form an integral part of the Digital Skills and Training team’s strategy and operations. We are continuously impressed by our students’ abilities and, after adapting to the challenge of a rapidly changing working environment, we are confident that we can keep working with students in the future, no matter the circumstances.

Highlights of the work completed by our interns since the beginning of lockdown

  • Ensuring the continuity of our Python Courses by establishing these as stand-alone, self-enrol Learn courses.
  • Adapting two courses that the students developed earlier in the year (Introduction to Programming and Marketing Yourself on Social Media) for an online audience and delivering them by webinar to 50 attendees.
  • The continued growth of our new Instagram Account as more people were looking for online guidance and skills development opportunities.
  • Publishing a list of online resources for writing a dissertation or thesis to help students who are working on their research papers over the summer months.