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Wil Musket Web Science (Social Science)2017

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I enjoyed attending the Web Science conference at the Royal Society in London. Even before I signed up with Southampton, they were offering opportunities other institutions I considered were not.

What made you choose Southampton?

Initially, the attraction to study at the University of Southampton was the breadth of the course, as well as the progressive, supportive, helpful and positive communications, formal and informal that I received. There appeared to be an air of quality attached to all aspects of Southampton.

Moreover, before I began the course, I was offered various opportunities from Southampton. One of these was a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), a six-week course in Web Science, available for me to study for free online.

I enjoyed attending the Web Science conference at the Royal Society in London. Even before I signed up with Southampton, they were offering opportunities other institutions I considered were not.

The course was unique and appealing to me; l was keen on the blend provided in Web Science degree programme, with potential in developing an understanding of the web and academia in the context of the World Wide Web.

What have been your Southampton ‘highlights’ (best experiences) so far?

The ongoing, perpetual highlight of Southampton, as cliché as it may seem, are the people. I feel I can learn something from everyone whom I have come in contact with. Interacting with and meeting people, both within and outside academia, have had an undoubtable impact on my development. I remain confident that they will shape me forever. Southampton is a blend of hard work and social life surrounded by intellectually astute people from all over the globe.

What opportunities have you taken up (within your degree programme and extra-curricular)? In what ways are they helping your personal development? EG exchanges, student societies, volunteer work etc.

I took the opportunity offered to network through the MOOC and through the distinguished lecture Barry Wellman delivered, as well as at the Royal Society, helping my personal development by enabling me to strengthen my communication and soft skills in general.

Do you have the opportunity to study modules outside of your core subject area, and how do you think they are adding to your experience / will affect your future plans?

Web Science does not really have a core area!

As Web Science is interdisciplinary by nature, it is difficult to have one core subject area; there is a great deal of choice in subject areas as a result of this breadth of disciplines. My optional module this semester was Management.

I believe this will enhance my studies by further broadening my options and experiences, helping to shape my future plans.

Have you had any exposure to employer involvement or research led learning during your course? How will this help you achieve your ambition?

A variety of industry specialists are guest lecturers in WEBS1001 who lecture us weekly, increasing awareness of various industries and, employer involvement.

What are you enjoying most about your course?

I am relishing the variety of different disciplines contained within the course.

What networking, employment and work experience opportunities have you undertaken and how have they enhanced your undergraduate experience?

In the module SOCI1001 we had a careers presentation and talk advising us and informing us of what options are available.

I have attended two careers fairs in Engineering and Information Technology as well as Management and Business. These have enhanced my undergraduate experience by providing me with information and data of my options available to me, helping me towards making an informed choice about my future. They have contextualised and solidified my future employment interests.

I have had access to, and acquired contact details of many organisations, providing me with options and opportunities beyond my studies.

Studying towards a degree at Southampton has assured me this was the right move, offering control and choice that a degree would provide me with in my future.

It has provided me with insight as to what employers are looking for.

What are the strengths of your course and of your department?

One of the main strengths of studying Web Science is that I never have the same day twice in respect of what I study. One moment I study Politics, the next Sociology, the next the intricacies of web architecture.

The broad set of modules from four different faculties is not something afforded by many other degree programmes, nor is the broad, contextual understanding you are provided with in relation to the Web.

Another strength of Web Science is that it is unique. Southampton is one of the only institutions in the world that offer Web Science, a systematic discipline to study the Web. The industry partners and a strong postgraduate presence are helpful and insightful in facilitating my appreciation of the importance of Web Science, and actively operate to grow Web Science beyond its current bounds.

Web Science’s strengths lie in how it contextualises understanding; rather than simply providing academic knowledge, it is grounded synoptically in the context of the web.

How would you describe your learning environment (facilities, labs, equipment etc)?

There are a vast number of learning environments Southampton has to offer.

I mostly make use of Special Educational Needs Facilities to support my Dyspraxia. I use the ATS (Assistive Technology Suite) for independent working.

Due to Web Science’s broad and diverse nature, I never really have the same learning environment each week.

Recently, I have worked in the Zepler labs on Network Analytics, analysing my Facebook friendship groups, as well as working in lecture theatres.

Whilst there are compulsory working environments, I do not feel constricted or limited in where and when I can work. There are formal assessments that must be completed of course, but I find great flexibility in my learning environment; I structure how I work towards my deadlines.

I find there is a great deal of choice in the areas in which I work independently, with the library, the Assistive technology suite within the library, my halls, as well as the Zepler labs and computer rooms and bookable rooms in the library.

What problems/issues does your study deal with and what difference could this have in the world?

Defining the web! It has been remarked that there is no systematic discipline to study the web. Web Science is an interdisciplinary endeavour, designed to address this lack of systematised study of the web.

Formalising the study of the web: whilst it does this, it also brings together a multitude of disciplines dealing with the issues surrounding the web. This brings new epistemology relating to the web, and new approaches to understanding it.

Web Sciences ultimate end goal is to understand how people change the web, and how the web changes people.

Do you have any idea of what you would like to do in the future? Have the opportunities you have taken up while at the University helped you have a clearer idea of what you might like to do?

The opportunities offered at the University have helped provide new and fresh data and information about my options.

This has made me realise the extent of things I can do, as well as constrain my options; there were over 100 stalls at the careers fairs, but I focused on the few businesses that really attracted me, scoping my ambitions.

What is your long-term ambition?

To work out what my long-term ambition is!

To be able to choose and control my future career position and path. I would ideally like to move toward becoming an evolving business manager, utilising technological systems to participate in the innovation of ethical practises through the use of language.

Would you recommend Southampton to new students – and why?

I would only recommend any option to someone if they truly believed they were compatible to that degree program, institution and life choice. I would recommend it to someone like me because of the support I have received before and during my studies, as well as the social dimension of the University and the city.

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