Getting Digital Ready

For staff interested in developing their digital skills or looking for some staff development opportunities, the new ‘Getting Digital Ready’ Wiki pages have launched.

Since working from home it is fundamental that staff are still provided with the opportunity to develop their digital skills and get involved in staff development. Developed as part of the ‘My Staff Development‘ offer, ‘Getting Digital Ready’ has launched, aiming to provide staff with high quality interactive booklets, guides and videos to support them whilst working from home. 

These newly developed Wiki pages by Library & Learning Services aim to support staff working from home with digital staff development opportunities. These pages include a variety of materials for staff to engage with, including bespoke interactive guides, support materials, videos and recommended LinkedIn Learning courses.

The interactive guides have been designed to support staff, enhance their digital skills and provide them with the opportunity to engage in staff development.

The guides have received much praise and success, with staff across the university accessing the guides over 500 times and spending on average 33 minutes engaging with the materials. Within these guides (divided into parts) staff will be able to develop their skills in focused areas, with videos to watch, links to webpages, guides and more. 

The guides are being developed weekly in response to staff training needs and digital advancements. Content has included: Top tips for working from home; Microsoft Teams; Making documents accessible; PowerPoint: Recording and adding voiceovers; Microsoft Sway: Creating interactive presentations. 

Above is a screen recording of Part 1 of the Getting Digital Ready guides.

Feedback

Staff have praised the guides, commenting: 

“Really great bite size sessions you can explore” 

“I have really enjoyed the opportunity to enhance my digital skills. I hope to learn lots more.” 

“Very clear and accessible. Thanks!” 

“These have been great!” 

To access the ‘Getting Digital Ready’ Wiki pages, visit the following webpage for more information: https://go.edgehill.ac.uk/display/staffdevelopment/Getting+Digital+Ready

Photograph of Laura

Written by: Laura Riella

Digital Capabilities Coordinator

UniSkills Webinars – join us in June!

UniSkills provides a wide range of support designed to help you develop your academic skills and confidence at University and beyond. Since the University closed in the middle of March we have continued to provide academic skills support, albeit in a slightly different way.

Our 1-2-1 appointments and UniSkills workshops (now webinars!) are being offered virtually using Blackboard Collaborate. Our webinar programme in May was really popular with a range of students from across all years of study, so we are delighted that our June programme, which includes all our popular webinar topics, is now open for booking!

Booking on a UniSkills webinar couldn’t be easier. There are no limits to how many webinars you can attend, so book your place today via ehu.ac.uk/workshops. You will receive a booking confirmation email immediately to confirm your place and, closer to the event, you will receive another email with more details on how to join your online session. Please note bookings close 24 hours before the webinar start time.

UniSkills Virtual Support

Don’t forget there is a wide range of online support and information available 24/7 on the UniSkills webpages, and your ‘My Library’ tab in Blackboard Learning Edge, and you can still access individualised 1-2-1 UniSkills support online with one of our Academic Skills Advisors.

If you have any questions or queries about how we can support you with your academic skills during this period contact us via email at CatalystEnquiries@edgehill.ac.uk or use our Ask Us service.

We look forward to seeing you at one of our June webinars soon!

Help and Support For You…

As we’ve mentioned before Library and Learning Services are no stranger to supporting students online and already offer a well-established digital library service…but we wanted to make sure you have a quick and easy list of just how (and who) to contact for more help and support!

Pink table with laptop open and hands typing. To the left is a notebook, to the right is a cup of coffee, pad and pen.

Online Assessments

For a lot of students, the online assessment period started on Monday 18th May and will run until Friday 5th June, so it’s important to know how to access support should you need it…

  • Subject Specific Support: if you need any help with your subject specific content, the first person you should contact is your tutor or academic department. This includes if you are struggling with any deadline dates or understanding what you have been asked to do. Your tutors will be able to offer further guidance on these types of queries.
  • Technical Problems: the Catalyst Helpdesk team are offering extended opening hours, and will be open from 7am on all assessment submission days, to support you as you complete and submit your assessment. You can contact the Catalyst Helpdesk virtually, via email or live chat, if you have any technical issues such as accessing Blackboard or your university email account, opening documents, downloading/installing the FREE EHU Microsoft Office 365 software or any problems when you come to submit your work in TurnItIn. Don’t forget we have also produced a number of Online Assessment guides to help you successfully submit your work but if you do need to talk to someone you can get in touch…
  • Getting online assessment ready: there is lots of great assessment preparation advice available on the UniSkills webpages, including guides on setting goals, advice on how to stay motivated and helpful tools and techniques you can use for successful revision. We even have an interactive online learning package for your Online Assessments, which includes an online assessment checklist!
  • Additional support needs: We understand that working towards assessments at this time can be challenging, and if you have a specific learning difficulties (SpLD) such as Dyslexia our SpLD team are keen to support you towards feeling positive about this way of working and any upcoming assessments. If you need any additional support get in touch with the SpLD team to arrange an appointment or ask any questions you may have about the services and support available.

Academic Skills Support

  • SpLD and Learning Support Service: are committed to supporting students at the university who have or may have an SpLD, such as Dyslexia or Dyspraxia, to develop study skills strategies and navigate your academic journey. There are many ways these teams can help you with exam preparation and assignment writing and our team of specialist study skills advisors are happy to meet with you through a virtual appointment to develop your study skills techniques. Contact the SpLD team to arrange an appointment or ask any questions you may have about the services and support available.

All of us in Library & Learning Services would like to wish you the very best of luck in your online assessments and remainder of your academic year!

Keep Calm and Submit Your Online Assessment

Online Assessments will soon be here (Monday 18th May to Friday 5th June 2020) and we want to help you feel as prepared as possible for them. Usually this time of year we are supporting you with a Revision Central campaign but, this being a year like no other, we are bringing out the big guns to combine two campaigns, and will also be including all the great support from our Keep Calm and Submit campaign!

Preparing for your online assessment

Assessments can be a daunting part of university life, and it is only natural that you will want to perform at your very best. When it comes to revision there are no right or wrongs, so you might find what works for your course mates doesn’t work for you.

Before lockdown our Student Advisors created this video for you with lots of great revision study tips that work for them – take a look to discover if any could also work for you!

LS Student Advisors Ready, Set, Revise Tips – filmed on campus March 2020

There is lots more advice and guidance available on the UniSkills Exam Preparation webpages, but we’ve pulled out some good starting points for you below:

  • Clearly mark the date, time and essential details of how you’re being assessed in your diary or calendar.
  • Speak with your tutor well in advance if you are unsure of what to expect or to clarify any content you do not understand.
  • Set some SMART Goals to help you visualise what you want to achieve but also take time to reflect on your achievements so far, look how far you’ve come!
  • Take a look at our Exam Preparation Checklist to help develop your unique revision intentions to keep you motivated.
  • During a busy assessment period, it is important to take some time out of your day to relax, read more about maintaining a good study-life balance in our Top Tips for Studying Off Campus blog.
  • There are lots of revision tools and techniques you can try – read more about these in our Effective Tools & Techniques guide to discover which ones work best for you.
  • We know that this round of assessments will be different, so if you need some extra guidance take a look at our Getting Online Assessment Ready blog for lots of great advice.
  • This is a great life tip in general, but ensure you get a good night’s sleep and eat a brain-fuelling breakfast on the morning of your assessment.

Another great way to prepare for your online assessment would be to complete our UniSkills Online Assessment Toolkit. In here you will find lots more advice, tips, videos and even an online assessment checklist quiz!

Accessing Help & Support

Even though you cannot physically see us right now, there is still lots of help and support available to you online:

  • Visit our ehu.ac.uk/OnlineAssessment webpages for lots of useful guidance when accessing technology at home for learning and assessment.
  • Read your online submission assessment guide before your assessment date to make sure you are ready to submit!
    • Time Limited Assessment Paper Submission
    • Time Limited Assessment Handwritten Submission
    • Timed Blackboard Online Test
    • Video Submission
  • You can continue to access academic skills support online – visit the UniSkills webpages for more info.
  • If you need any technical assistance, experience any technical problems or would just like some guidance on how to set up your technology in an optimum way for your assessment then help is available by contacting the Catalyst Helpdesk virtually via email or live chat.

So remember, we are here for you if you need us and wish you all the very best with your upcoming assessments – you’ve got this guys!

Get Online Assessment Ready…

We know that, along with many other University activities at the moment, this round of assessments will be different but Library and Learning Services are here to help and support you to complete your Online Assessments.

Our new Online Learning and Assessments web pages have been designed with you in mind. They will help guide you through the process of preparing for and completing your Online Assessment whether that be a video submission, online test or a time limited assessment (TLA). The pages contain lots of useful information including technical guides to the different types of assessments, Internet/WiFi troubleshooting information and recommended web browsers.

To get Online Assessment ready we recommend following this pre-assessment checklist the week before your first assessment to avoid any pesky technical problems on the day:

  • Install Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox onto your PC or laptop as the University systems work best on these web browsers. We don’t recommend trying to complete assessments using a tablet or phone. If you don’t have access to a PC or laptop contact the Catalyst Helpdesk.
  • Read and digest any information provided by your tutors for the assessments you will be taking. It is a good idea to have the information about how the assessment will work clear in your head prior to the assessment date itself.
  • Make sure you have access to the software you will need, including Microsoft Word or another text editor. Remember that you have access to Office 365 and can download the software to your device for free.
  • Log into Blackboard on the device you will be using to check your access.
  • Update your alternative email. This is so you can easily reset your password should you need to.
  • Access our Help and Support guides which provide lots of step by step technical information on how to access and submit your assessment.

If you experience any technical issues or would like advice and guidance on how to set up your technology in an optimum way for your assessment then help is available by contacting the Catalyst Helpdesk virtually via email or live chat. The Helpdesk is available from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 6pm at weekends.

Remember that being prepared is one way to help you feel more organised and minimise any assessment nerves – so why not make a start and complete your pre-assessment checklist today.

Top Tips for Studying Off Campus

If like all of us in Library & Learning Services you are missing Catalyst, and haven’t quite perfected your new study space, we hope these handy tips will provide some useful guidance on how to make the most of your off campus studying.

Tip 1: Plan (and adapt) your new study routine

It can be challenging when your regular routine changes, even more so when it is out of our control, so taking time to plan a new study routine is a great place to start – think about what works best for you! Start small and plan a day/week at a time or look ahead and plan backwards from future deadlines and/or assessment dates. Although it isn’t always possible to plan for every eventuality it is sensible to set boundaries and consider other commitments, such as childcare or employment, when adapting to your ‘new’ routine.

A good daily routine can be as simple as getting up at a set time, changing out of your sleepwear and eating breakfast before starting your day ahead…and don’t forget to include an end routine to bring your study to a close. Take a look at our UniSkills Getting Organised webpages for lots of useful guides and toolkits to help you effectively prioritise your time.

Tip 2: Study Happy 😊

It is equally important to factor in some downtime alongside your studies to ensure you maintain a good study-life balance. By creating your own physical ‘study’ space (which could be as lavish as a home office, or as simple as a comfy spot on your bedroom floor) it will establish one of those all-important boundaries and help put you in the right mindset to work when you are there…and it will also enable you to ‘leave’ and get some headspace away from your studies. Why not revisit Student Advisor Maisie’s Study Happy Student Tips blog or remind yourself of all our Student Advisors’ top study happy tips in the UniSkills: Be Study Happy! video:

This video footage was recorded on campus in 2019.

Although it can be tempting to sit in front of a screen all day (computer/smartphone/TV) it isn’t healthy nor productive. Make the most of your daily exercise and get outside! Be that on a walk/run/bike ride, sitting in your garden reading or digging up some weeds, it is all extremely beneficial for your mental wellbeing! And if you don’t have access to a garden, why not create your own eco-friendly planters out of old newspapers or empty toilet rolls and grow some seeds on your windowsills!

Tip 3: Engage with your learning communities

Don’t forget that as an Edge Hill University student you are part of a wider learning community, so make sure you are engaging with your peers and wider support networks. Your tutors will be keeping in touch with you through online teaching and making sure you have the necessary information about your research, coursework and assessments, but they are also there for you if you have any subject specific queries or just feel a little bit overwhelmed by it all – and they can direct you to other support services, if needed. You could also set up/join an online study group with your course mates to discuss research and keep each other motivated!

UniSkills also offers a learning community where you can take part in online webinars alongside students from a variety of courses and years – a really great way to share knowledge and experience with peers from across the University! There are a wide range of academic skills webinars available for you to join including academic writing, referencing and being critical – check out the latest schedule and book your place online today.

Tip 4: Make the most of your eResources

A physical trip to the bookshelves might not be an option right now but with access to over 248,900 online resources, via the Library Catalogue, Discover More and online specialist subject databases, and many publishers around the world making additional content temporarily available, there’ll be no stopping you! And if you need any help finding and/or navigating your online resources you can book a UniSkills virtual 1-2-1 Information Skills appointment. Read more about studying online, and the support available from Library and Learning Services, in our Studying Online: Your Digital Library blog.

Tip 5: You are not alone!

Although it may feel like you are fully self-isolated right now it is important to remember you are not alone and there is lots of help and support available

Beat that paywall!

Even with Edge Hill’s library subscriptions, sometimes you’ll find the perfect online source only to hit a ‘paywall’ and will be asked to pay. Don’t do it! Here we introduce a resource to help you get past paywalls.

an image of a brick wall with a Great British pound symbol. This represents a paywall

Accessing the books, journal articles, and more can be very complicated right now. One one hand, lots of publishers have temporarily opened up free content and made it easier, but on the other hand we’re all off-campus now, and can’t reply on the University IP address.

One thing is for sure, you will hit a paywall eventually! When you do, and you know signing into the University hasn’t helped, try the tools and services here:

A poster titled 'how to scale that paywall'. It includes a list of tools and services you can use. These are included further down this blog post.
A PDF version of this poster, complete with links to all the options is available here

Unpaywall

This is a handy free web browser extension you can add to Google Chrome or Firefox. When you reach a page that looks like a paywall, Unpaywall automatically runs some checks for you and shows a coloured padlock. If it’s green, then success! Just click on the padlock to access. If it’s grey, then Unpaywall can’t find a free version and it’s time to move onto a different option.

Google Scholar Button

an image showing the Google Scholar Button in action. It shows how you can highlight text with the article title and Google Scholar will try to find a full text version for you.

Another browser extension, this works in a different way to Unpaywall. Highlight text with the article’s title, press the Google Scholar button, and the tool will try and find the PDF for you. Alternatively, you can just copy and paste the title of the article into the Google Scholar website.

You Want It, We Get It

Provided by Library and Learning Services, this is a one-stop service that includes Inter-library Loans and the former ‘Add a Book’ facility. Tell us what you need using the online form and we will work with our suppliers to get it, either buying a book for the library collection (you get it first!) or delivering the article straight to you electronically.

It can typically take a few days for an item to arrive, and longer for a hard copy book to be added to stock. It is not possible to process hard copy items right now due to the situation with COVID-19 and our suppliers may also be affected, so please bear this mind.

Email to ask the author

Many people use this as a last resort, but it can be very effective. Generally speaking, authors want their work to be read and cited, and so will often be happy to help you. This can often be done in accordance with copyright policies too, removing a potential barrier. It doesn’t work as well for older works though, as the author may be difficult to reach or no longer with us.

To sum up

There are now lots of effective, legal ways to get round a paywall and access the items you need. Why not give a few a try and see how you get on?

Join a UniSkills webinar online!

UniSkills provides a wide range of support designed to help you develop your academic skills and confidence at University and beyond. We are committed to continuing our support during this uncertain time, albeit in a slightly different way…

We know our popular UniSkills workshops are valued by students across all years of study to help you find high-quality academic information online and develop your academic writing and referencing skills. Over the next few weeks we will be delivering these workshops via an online classroom which means you can join us wherever you are.

UniSkills Virtual Support

UniSkills Webinars

Finding Academic Information
Improve your search strategy, make the most of the library catalogue, online reading lists and Discover More to find eBooks and journal articles for your assignments, and learn how to evaluate your sources.

Friday 1st May | 11am-12pm
Thursday 14th May | 2pm-3pm

Reading Academic Texts
This session will give you some great tips for active reading and help you develop effective reading skills.

Thursday 21st May | 12pm-1pm

Become a Paraphrasing Pro
This webinar will teach you handy techniques to avoid plagiarism, as well as how to strike that all-important balance between paraphrased sentences and direct quotes.

Wednesday 6th May | 2pm-3pm
Friday 22nd May | 1pm-2pm

Being Critical
This webinar will help you develop the crucial academic skills of critical reading and conveying critical thought in your writing.

Tuesday 5th May | 10am-11am
Tuesday 12th May | 12pm-1pm

Academic Writing
Join us for an Introduction to Academic Writing webinar or, if you are looking to take your writing to the next level, why not join our Develop Your Academic Writing.

Introduction to Academic Writing
Monday 27th April | 11am-12pm
Monday 11th May | 2pm-3pm
Tuesday 26th May | 10am-11am

Develop Your Academic Writing
Tuesday 28th April | 1pm-2pm
Thursday 7th May | 1pm-2pm
Wednesday 13th May | 10am-11am
Wednesday 20th May | 2pm-3pm
Wednesday 27th May | 2pm-3pm

Harvard Referencing
An introduction to the Harvard referencing style including in-text citations, bibliography/reference lists and the importance of referencing to avoid plagiarism.

Wednesday 29th April | 2pm-2:45pm
Thursday 14th May | 11am-11:45am
Monday 18th May | 10am-10:45am
Thursday 28th May | 12pm-12:45pm

There are no limits to how many webinars you can attend, so book your place today via the date links above or visit ehu.ac.uk/workshops to browse them all. You will receive a booking confirmation email immediately to confirm your place and, closer to the event, you will receive another email with more details on how to join your online session. Please note bookings close 24 hours before the webinar start time.

Don’t forget there is a wide range of online support and information available 24/7 on the UniSkills webpages, and your ‘My Library’ tab in Blackboard Learning Edge, and you can still access individualised 1-2-1 UniSkills support online with one of our Academic Skills Advisors weekdays 8am-6pm.

If you have any questions or queries about how we can support you with your academic skills during this period contact us via email at CatalystEnquiries@edgehill.ac.uk or use our Ask Us service.

We look forward to seeing you at one of our webinars soon!

UniSkills Goes Virtual

During this period of uncertainty let us reassure you that you can still access lots of help, support and guidance with your academic skills via our UniSkills service.

UniSkills provides a wide range of support designed to help you develop your academic skills and confidence at University and beyond. Our team are ready and waiting (virtually!) to provide advice and support around assignment planning, academic writing and referencing, finding academic information and more.

We are no strangers to providing information virtually and many of you will be familiar with accessing UniSkills information via the UniSkills webpages and your My Library Tab in Blackboard. Here you will find a wide range of support materials including online guides, videos and toolkits on topics from time management to presentation tips.

UniSkills Virtual Support

The Finding Academic Information pages are a great place to start if you are looking for tips on how to access high-quality information for your assignment. Here you will find a package of online video tutorials to guide you through how to make the most of your key learning resources.

The Academic Reading and Writing pages provide information about academic writing including being critical, paraphrasing and proofreading.

Individualised 1-2-1 UniSkills support continues to be available but we have relocated our face to face appointments online and will be offering virtual appointments for the foreseeable future. If you would like an appointment with one of our Academic Skills Advisors just book online and we will send you all the details you need to join the session:

If you cannot find a suitable date or time then just get in touch.

Our popular UniSkills workshops will be returning w/c 20th April with a fully online programme of webinars – lookout for the new virtual timetable coming soon!

If you have a question or query about how we can support you with your academic skills during this period contact us via email at CatalystEnquiries@edgehill.ac.uk or use our Ask Us service. Don’t forget – we are here to support you – just in a slightly different way.

Studying Online: Your Digital Library

As we find ourselves transitioning to a digital study environment Library and Learning Services are here to help you know what online resources are available for you, how to access them and how to get the most out of them.

Library and Learning Services are no strangers to offering a digital library service and have been supporting students studying online and at distance for many years, so don’t worry if this is a totally new experience for you because we are here to help.

Image of Catalyst silent study room with text: Studying Online: Your Digital Library

A great place to start your digital learning journey is our Digital Library Induction and UniSkills Finding Academic Information webpages. On here we have created a package of online tutorials to guide you through how to access, and make the most of, your key learning resources.

You have access to over 248,900 online resources via the Library Catalogue, Discover More and online specialist subject databases. If you need any help navigating and finding your online resources help is available from the UniSkills team – you can even book a virtual 1-2-1 appointment for support with Information Skills (Search Skills and Finding Resources).

Image of Discover More search bar

Most of the eBooks we currently have are now unlimited access (meaning no limits to numbers accessing at any one time), we are prioritising eBook purchases, looking at further electronic provision moving forward and even have a handy eBooks Guide to help you read online and download at your leisure. Many publishers around the world are also making additional content temporarily available to support teaching and learning where access to physical books and resources may be limited. Details of all these extra resources and how to access them can be found on the additional access to eResources webpage.

Image of Library Catalogue search bar

If you are struggling to get hold of any resources, please use our You Want It, We Get It service and select the electronic option and we will do our best to help.

So, remember even though you cannot see us right now we are still here to support you. If you need any further help or support you can keep up to date on our COVID-19 Keeping You Updated webpages or get in touch with us via email or live chat.