Activity Mapper is a website designed for straightforwardly adding to and reviewing a database of outreach and public engagement activities. It focuses on the relations between the people and activities; making it easier to build and explore connections.
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University of Southampton staff and students carry out thousands of interactive activities with schools and other publics every year. While some are centralised, most are ad-hoc and not recorded or publicised. Therefore there are very few ways for people to connect with each other across the university and discuss them, share ideas or best practice, give peer support and learning, help each other overcome similar challenges, or collaborate on new projects. Furthermore, schools and other publics see us as a single institution and are discouraged from working with us when we act like many disparate ones.
The Talk to US! UKRI-funded School-University Partnership Initiative (SUPI) [Southampton Education School and local schools, 2013-2016] showed us that nurturing these connections allowed us to deliver higher quality interactions to a greater reach of publics more efficiently—and that by recording and sharing our activities more connections could be made.
The Activity Mapper is designed to facilitate creating connections between outreach and public engagement staff and projects. It consists of an easy-to-add to database of outreach and public engagement Activities, and allows People to record when an Event takes place and the Audience served; and then makes it easy to manipulate and explore this information.
|Network View: The relationships between faculties, departments, the People in them and the Activities they attend and run are shown in a network diagram that can be navigated and manipulated, and links directly to the Profile View for each Activity and Person.|
|Map View: A geographic view shows both which locations have been visited, and how recently. Map View and can be filtered by faculty, department and Audience type; as well as set to showing unvisited schools imported from Department of Education datasets.|
|Report View: People, Activities, Audiences, Events and Venues are all available in filterable lists that can be easily navigated between or exported out to .csv files.|
|Profile View: Each Person, Activity, Audience, Event and Venue has a profile page with all the relevant information on it, from names and emails or address to a list of relevant Activities.|
|Pure Import: People can easily import outreach and public engagement activities that they have entered into an instance of Pure, and use them in the Activity Mapper with a little extra data.|
Example User Cases
- New Volunteers: A new PGR interested in engagement can check out the Network View, and zoom into their department to see who there is engaging with publics and what Activities they are connected to. If they find an Activity that looks interesting, clicking on it can take them to the Profile View for that activity, telling them how often it’s been run and who to talk to about getting involved.
- Engagement Planning: Staff reviewing the reach of the University’s school engagement activities can use the Map View and filter to show which schools have been visited in the past year and are likely to have active contacts. They can also view unvisited schools, to see where the University needs to reach out to.
- Impact Narratives: A faculty wanting to review the impact of their outreach and public engagement can use the Report View to create a filtered list of the Activities their staff have been running. In addition, they can use the Network View to compare their performance with that of other departments at a glance.
- Pure Export: We are exploring the ability to export Events added to Activity Mapper to Pure, so they can be easily used in the REF.
- Events Calendar: A calendar of upcoming events would allow the University to showcase its outreach and public engagement offerings, and calendars per venue would make it easier for different groups attending the same location to plan and co-ordinate efforts.
- Classifieds Page: Activity co-ordinators often need volunteers and many University staff and students would like to help out at events without running them – a classifieds page would provide a central hub for matching volunteering requests with offers of help.
- External View: We are exploring using the data in the Activity Mapper to generate an externally visible `menu’ of Activity opportunities for schools and other publics to make it even easier to engage with us.
Talk to Us
Interested in what you see and have any questions, comments or suggestions? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Activity Mapper was developed by the Research Software Group at the University of Southampton. Visit the RSG’s website.