The Student Digital Leader team is a new scheme being set up this year. We are a group of students from all different subjects and colleges who are here to help new and returning students navigate Durham’s digital Student Services. We are available every day, via live chat or email and if necessary a video call, for the first few weeks of term to answer any queries or problems students encounter when accessing Durham’s online systems, or signpost them to someone who can help.
This year, we find ourselves returning to university during this strange situation of a pandemic with everything a little uncertain. I think it is so important everyone is aware of and able to access the huge variety of online services being offered, especially as we move towards a more digital or ‘blended’ learning. We are here to make sure that everyone feels comfortable using the online services provided in order to get the most out of the teaching and learning this year as well as guiding students on how to access the digital methods in place for the wider student experience and enrichment.
Why am I taking part?
I study computer science and maths, so encountering computer problems is a common occurrence for me! Most of the time we are capable of solving these on our own, but sometimes we just need someone to help talk you through it. As Student Digital Leaders this will be our role: to act as a friendly face to walk you through a solution and show you where to find information in case you come across any other problems.
This year I am going into my fourth year, but I remember arriving in Durham in first year and feeling very overwhelmed with all the new online systems I was required to use and know how helpful it would have been to have had someone to support me. I chose to get involved with the Student Digital Leader team as I wanted to offer this support to other students who feel like that and use the knowledge and experience I have gained over the past three years here to help others.
I am one of those people who is always busy. During term time I take part in sports, music, art and volunteering so am used to fitting in my studies around that! When we entered lockdown 6 months ago I suddenly had so much time on my hands. I didn’t know what to do with myself and found myself getting bored very easily. I have been eager to get back to Durham for a while now and can’t wait for term to start again. Since some activities I usually take part in won’t be going ahead, at least to start with, this role seemed like the perfect way to use my time in between studying doing something positive.
My advice to students
Arriving at university can feel really overwhelming. At times, it can feel like you have no idea what you are doing and everyone around you does. This is just not the case; it’s likely that everyone around you also feels like that too and it’s completely normal. Soon enough you will begin to settle in and get the hang of things.
My advice to anyone is: ask for help. Whether it’s getting in touch with us Student Digital Leaders with a query about online services, or asking a Frep or Exec member about something in your college, if you’re unsure about something there are so many people with experience ready to help you out, so there is no need to struggle through things on your own.
There is also so much information available online on the Durham university website, so if you have a question about something that’s the first place to check. In terms of Durham’s online services, lots of information can be found here: MyDigitalDurham.
However, if you are struggling to find the answer to your query or just need someone to talk you through how to do something, that’s what the Student Digital Leaders are here for. There is no problem too small and there are no silly questions. We are here to reach out to and will help you find the solution you need.
More information about Student Digital Leaders, our services and how to get in contact can be found on our webpage.