Win a Kindle with your favourite reading places [Giveaway]

How’s this for a fab Summer giveaway?

TheUniversityBlog has teamed up with 360 feedback provider ETS to give away three Amazon Kindles!

The Kindle is an eReader, letting you read books, papers, and other content as if you’re reading it on paper. You probably know what the Kindle is already, but if you want to know more, Wikipedia is your friend.

I want to make this giveaway as simple as possible for you. For a chance to win one of 3 Kindle Touch devices, send a comment below and let us know the following:

  • Because the Kindle is portable, you can take it just about anywhere. What places do you most like to go to read?

Comment on or before 1st August 2012 to be in with a chance [UPDATE: THIS GIVEAWAY HAS NOW ENDED. Check the winners.]. I’ll then use a random choice generator to pick three winners out and announce those winners on 2nd August. Comments after 1st August cannot be added to the draw (mainly because it will have already finished!).

That’s it! Just tell us your favourite places you like to read. You’ll give other readers inspiration on where they can find a brilliant place to sit back and relax with a book. Well, maybe an ebook. 😉

A couple of things to point out:

  • The draw is open to entries from UK & Ireland only (sorry about that.);
  • You need to use a valid contact email address in the email field, otherwise we won’t be able to contact you if you’re picked! [The email field is not published here on the site]

Good luck. I look forward to hearing about your favourite reading places.

photo by amsfrank

photo by amsfrank

Creative talent…help me choose!

I’ve been asked to help find a student with a great creative talent.  That student could win big.

Next Generation Talent is a competition sponsored by Panasonic that will award one person a 42-inch High Definition TV, HD Camcorder, digital camera and Blu-ray player.  On top of that, they’ll get a 2-week placement at a creative agency and a portfolio review.  Not bad going.

To enter, students around the country were asked to submit an advert for Panasonic Viera HD products.

Last year, the prize went to James Fox at Loughborough.  Here’s his video:

Now you see how the bar was set.  This year, I am looking at four videos to choose from.  I’m willing to be swayed by your thoughts.  So what do you think?  Here are the four shortlisted videos:


Does teamwork win out, or a one-person mind-machine?

Even if you don’t watch University Challenge, you probably noticed the show’s growing presence over the last few days.  This year’s final was broadcast on Monday and some people went crazy.  The reason?  Gail Trimble, of Corpus Christi College, Oxford.

The whole UK (it seems!) has been awash with hype on who is possibly the best single contestant University Challenge has seen.  Ms Trimble has become the topic of conversation rather than the whole team from Corpus Christi.

Trimble has divided the public.  Is she smug or sexy?  Tremendous or troublesome?  Awesome or awful?  Arrogant or affable?  Right down to the flick of her hair when she answers correctly, it seems that people have been obsessing in a way that’s not generally expected when it comes to University Challenge.


As for me, I wanted Manchester to win the final, because I have admired their fantastic teamwork over the course of the series.  They nearly crushed Corpus Christi (or the Trimble Treadmill), but a late surge from Corpus Christi was just too fast-paced for Manchester.  I didn’t feel that bad about the great comeback, because I would attribute much of it on Corpus Christi’s other team members, rather than Trimble alone.  Teamwork, ftw!

University Challenge is a team game, so I’m over the moon that Manchester got to the final and convincingly held their ground, despite losing in the end.  Even Corpus Christi gave a team effort when it mattered.

Here are 11 ways they managed it:

  1. Don’t dismiss ideas out of hand. Sometimes it takes crazy thinking to get the most out of a team.  Shut them up quickly and you shut them up for good.  What’s the point in that?
  2. Listen to everyone. Manchester’s team captain (Matthew Yeo) gave everyone an equal hearing.  It’s a team, after all.
  3. Don’t have favourite members. Just because you gel with someone and appreciate the ideas they have, now is not the time to limit your focus.  If you see further value in another person and you want to engage further with them, do that independently of the team you’re working in.
  4. Enjoy what you’re doing so you relax more. Life’s too short to take it that seriously.  Manchester would confer and, at the same time, have a laugh as they did it.  And as soon as Corpus Christi won University Challenge, Manchester applauded them.  That said, they were led by Henry Pertinez who, apparently, originally studied at Corpus Christi…!
  5. Debate in a friendly tone. Don’t just argue.
  6. Recognise each member’s strong points…
  7. …but don’t allow anything but definite knowledge to shut out people’s views. Someone else’s guess could be right.  University Challenge has proved that in the recent past, including when Gail Trimble disagreed with a team member’s correct answer and gave a wrong one instead (no disrespect to her teamwork, just a recent observation).
  8. Engage positively with all members. Congratulate them on the best answers/ideas.  Give credit where it’s due.  Encourage more participation.
  9. If applicable, don’t be afraid to ask for help outside the group. Sometimes you can all be at a loss.  It’s fine to be uncertain.  See if you can work together to find the best person to enlighten you all. [Note: That doesn’t work on University Challenge, but it’s something you should remember for your own team work.]
  10. Don’t hold a grudge. In University Challenge, there’s no time to get annoyed when someone interrupts and answers incorrectly.  Okay, they’ve lost the team 5 points, but the game goes on.  They will likely redeem themselves later and may have already been worth far more than 5 points anyway.  It’s the same elsewhere.  Even a couple of minor mistakes aren’t the end of the world.  Keep it in perspective.
  11. Lead…don’t command. A true leader is encouraging rather than pushy.  Get it wrong and people may not want to pull their weight.  What’s the point if they’re not going to feel rewarded in the process?

That’s teamwork…but how intelligent are the University Challenge contestants?  Just because Trimble answered so many questions correctly, University Challenge in general doesn’t test a person’s intelligence.  Trimble is clearly intelligent, but that’s not the point.  I enjoy seeing how many questions I get right each episode, but I don’t feel clever when I get a lot correct.  It’s just a good set of questions for me.  That’s why teamwork is the best thing to look for on a show like this.

HP Freshman 15 Laptop Giveaway – We have a WINNER

Today I can announce the winner of a shiny new laptop.  Thank you to everyone who took the time to enter the giveaway.  It’s been wonderful to read your entries and I wish everyone the best of luck with their continuing studies.

Now for the moment you’ve been waiting for.  The winner of a feature-packed HP dv5t laptop, 500Gb external hard drive, HP all-in-one printer, and media dock is…

Aron Willis at the University of Sussex

Congratulations to Aron, who is studying Electronic and Electrical Engineering.  Aron says his workload varies (sometimes no work due in, but other times several assignments are due at the same time).  Understandably, Aron would like the work to be spread more evenly.  Well, I can’t change the dates your work is due in, but I can congratulate you for being the lucky entry to be picked at random for winning a fantastic prize package, thanks to HP.

I’m also able to give away an HP Protect Messenger Bag to four runners up, so there’s a bit more prize giving to go.  Hackcollege recently described the bags as having “enough room for your old craptops and more padding than a helmet”.  And if you don’t have a ‘craptop’, I’m sure you could carry other stuff in them too!

The runners up, who all win one of these bags, are:

It’s been a pleasure to be a part of the HP Freshman 15 Laptop Giveaway.  Today marks the end of the promotion, as TheUniversityBlog was the final site to participate.  It’s been great.  Thanks to the other brilliant sites that played their part and helped make some students very happy.

Don’t forget about the sites you may have come across for the first time as you enjoyed this laptop giveaway.  For one last time, here’s a recap of the sites who took part:

It’s been a great month and I hope we can do something like this again.  But for now, that’s it from the HP Freshman 15 Giveaway.  Congrats to all the winners.