The COVID-19 pandemic was always going to pose additional challenges to the CDT. We were 19 strangers, all from different backgrounds and areas of expertise, thrown in a virtual environment and challenged to work in an effective, transdisciplinary way as a cohesive team. Not only that, we are meant to have some fun as well! With a lot of help from a very attentive management team, cohorts 1 and 2 have tried (and hopefully succeeded) to bring a little bit of social fun to the virtual CDT.
Induction Week and the ITTs
During induction week, and indeed both ITT2 and ITT3 the management team organised multiple social activities to replace the usual informal networking sessions and conference dinners, these were organised mostly with external companies hosting the games for us.
For the induction week (and pre-arrival welcome events), we had a whole series of virtual events to get to know each other, culminating in a virtual escape room at induction. During the rest of the induction week, many other evening activities were planned including a human bingo, quizzes, and an evening on Jackbox games.
The virtual ITTs were also packed full of virtual socials. ITT3 had the widest range of activities, including a virtual wine and cheese night hosted by a local company Wolf Wine, a virtual film night, and an around the world globe trotting challenge. You can read more about the ITT weeks through previous student blogs!
To try and emulate the in-person CDT experience, weekly events were organised throughout the year. In semester 1 we were lucky enough to be able to visit campus once a week thanks to the Bath Blend learning approach, so we were able to have coffee or lunch together.
For every virtual day, we had virtual coffee mornings teams calls set up with Cohort 1, Cohort 2 and the management team to keep the community feel of the CDT. Additionally, Feel Good Friday teams posts were set up to get to know each other a little better, even if just to find out peoples favourite icecream or to talk about what everyone is watching!
End of week socials also played an important role in getting to know each other. These took the form of either an Activity week (on a Thursday) or a 'Friday drinks over Teams' meeting (on Fridays, who would have guessed!). Friday drinks allowed the students and management team to just have an informal chat and a laugh, whilst activity weeks were organised and run by the students themselves.
Most recently, we have an AAPS Euros Sweepstake running!
The obvious place to start is online games. Nothing makes you get to know people better than chucking them out of a spaceship, accusing them of murder! I'm talking about the popular 'how to get away with murder' game Among Us of course! For those who haven’t played, Among Us consists of players controlling little Teletubby looking things on a spaceship tasked with little menial challenges along the way. However, one or more of the players are allocated the 'imposter' role, who strive to kill everyone on board! As a group if you catch the imposter and chuck them into outer space, you win. If the imposter kills you and your teammates, you lose!
Paloma's tips: Make sure you are muted when you are the imposter, it gives it away a bit if you cheer every time someone is 'murdered'.
For those who didn't like going around killing other cohort members, we played many other more PG games too! The second game I'll chat about is Jeopardy! Apparently very popular in the US, I'd be lying if I said most of use even knew what it was beforehand! Regardless of initial confusion and ever present IT problems, Jeopardy was a huge success!
Paloma's tips: Apparently googling is cheating...
Now that we were getting to know people a little better, it was time to ask more probing questions using Jackbox Games. This website became a socials go to, with a bunch of fun multiplayer games to choose from. One example is Jackbox’s 'Role Models', a hilarious game where you match players with certain traits or characters. These can be anything ranging from Disney villains to food items, or who's most likely to survive on a desert island. So the really important questions will finally be answered.
Paloma's Tips: Don’t take it seriously, if you are the most like a bowl of cereal, then unfortunately you are the most like a bowl of cereal!
So now we know what fruit everyone is... let’s test our artistic skills! Gartic.io is a drawing game, a little like Pictionary, where all contenders take turns drawing a randomly assigned item across a range of categories. You are assigned points depending on how quickly you can guess what has been drawn, as an artist, you get points depending on how many people correctly guess your creation!
Paloma's tips: Use a mouse!! Picasso never used a trackpad for drawing, and neither should you!
The final game I will discuss is called chameleon. This game is similar to Among Us in the sense that there is an imposter, however there is no killing involved. A specific category is told to all but one of the players (e.g. France or David Beckham). Each player must then go around and say a fact about the category. These facts must be specific enough to show you are not the chameleon, but vague enough so the chameleon can't guess the category. The overall aim is to find the chameleon.
Paloma's tips: Don’t get confused with Among Us and go on a killing spree!
A charity poker tournament was set up by our very own James Angus. A £1 buy-in meant that the winner got to donate the winnings to a charity of choice. For those who couldn't play poker, never fear! James kindly set up a 'pro' table separate from the people who struggle to control facial expressions when bluffing. The best thing is that when you run out of virtual money, you just start again! Poker is a perfect opportunity to just have a chat and a bit of fun, I hope the rest of the cohorts enjoyed this as much as I did!
None of this would have been possible without the help of our wonderful management team, and all of the participating students, so I shall conclude this blog with a massive THANK YOU to everyone who came along this year! We are looking forward to seeing everyone in person soon, with our in person coffee mornings and our weekly lunch time walks starting!