A warm welcome from Library and Learning Services to all new PGCE and PGDE students. We look forward to meeting you and getting to know you all this year. We are the Student Engagement Team (you may hear us referred to as UniSkills) and we are here to provide support with all aspects of your academic skills.
There’s lots to take in during your first weeks so we’ve pulled together some key information about your Learning and Support Services Induction, UniSkills support and how to find your academic resources in one handy blog.
Learning and Support Services Induction
Catalyst is home to Library and Learning Services, Student Services and Careers and we are here to support you with many aspects of your student life. Head over to the Learning and Support Services Induction page to explore your interactive induction toolkit (or watch the video recording) at your own pace. You will discover all about each of the three services, how they can support you and how you can access their support!
If you’ve yet to explore Catalyst, and its many facilities, you can also join us for a Student Led Catalyst Tour on Thursday 1st September. Drop in between 1pm-4pm to meet your friendly Student Advisors for a guided tour of the building, its facilities and support available. If you can’t wait to visit Catalyst you can take a Student Led Virtual Catalyst Tour or explore our interactive 360 Catalyst Tour over on the Learning and Support Services Induction page.
Academic Skills Support – UniSkills
UniSkills provide a wide range of face-to-face and virtual support designed to help you develop your academic skills and confidence at University and beyond.
A great place to begin exploring UniSkills support is the UniSkills web pages. On here you’ll discover handy guides, video tutorials and interactive online toolkits all available 24/7! There is also lots of information and guidance on a range of academic skills topics such as:
- Getting Organised
- Finding Academic Information
- Academic Reading and Writing
- Exam Preparation
- Referencing and Academic Integrity
- And lots more!
UniSkills Workshops and Webinars
UniSkills workshops and webinars are an opportunity for a deeper dive into a specific skill that will support you on your academic journey. Facilitated by our friendly and knowledgeable Academic Skills Advisors, these sessions provide an informal safe space where you will be supported alongside other students in a small group setting.
UniSkills workshops and webinars cover a wide range of topics including academic reading, writing and referencing, effective exam preparation, finding academic resources, conducting a literature review, presentation skills and much more!
Our popular Uniskills Workshops run throughout the academic year, with a new programme announced each term. Workshops (on campus) and webinars (online) are self-bookable via the student portal and you can attend as many as you like. The autumn/winter workshops programme will launch w/c 10th October. Keep you eye out on the UniSkills webpages for the launch of our autumn/winter programme and get booking!
Find Your Feet
If you’re keen to hit the ground running you can join your Student Advisors all week Monday 3rd to Friday 7th October as they take you on a guided tour of:
- Your Student Homepage
- Finding and logging into your virtual learning environment (VLE)
- Exploring the Institution Homepage and tips for navigating Blackboard
- Where to find your library resources, including:
- how to find and loan physical books
- how to find and access eBooks
- Overview of UniSkills academic skills support
- Jargon busting Q&A opportunity
Once you’re settled in and starting to work on your research and assignments you may require more specific support. Our experienced Academic Skills Advisors can help you develop your academic skills and strategies and 1-2-1 support is available on a wide range of topics.
Finding Your Resources
Before you begin writing your assignment you will need to think about your research, reading and resources. You can explore your print and electronic resources through the University Library search tool: Discover More. Discover More enables you to locate physical books, eBooks and electronic journals in one handy place. You can also check out your tutors essential and recommended resources on your Online Reading List.
Read more about getting the most out of your Digital Library on our Learning and Support Services Induction page.
Education Resource Collection
As well as academic textbooks, which you’ll need for writing your assignments, there’s also a dedicated Education Resource Collection. There are lots of resources you can borrow, including:
- Key Stage 1 and 2 children’s books
- larger picture books for whole class reading sessions
- phonics resources, subject packs
- interactive kits ideal for using in the classroom while you’re on placement
As an Edge Hill student have access to thousands of high quality academic eResources. These are particularly useful when you are on placement as they can all be accessed online. Your Subject Resource pages contain relevant journals and databases for your programme of study. There are also links to newspaper collections, classroom resources and useful websites, such as Times Higher Education, so you can keep up to date with current affairs and recent developments in the education sector.
If you need any help finding your academic information or navigating your online resources don’t forget we have lots of handy UniSkills toolkits, videos and guides on the Finding Academic Information web page – all available 24/7!
You Want It, We Get It
And, if there is ever a book or journal article that we don’t have in our collection you can ask us to add a copy by using the You Want It, We Get it service. Fill in the item details on the form and we’ll do our best to get it in for you – how cool is that?
Although you’ll be on campus engaging in lots of in-person teaching and learning you will still be accessing lots of online platforms and tools along the way. Check out the Online Learning pages for lots of support and advice about:
- Edge Hill’s online learning platform (Learning Edge)
- online assessments and submission tools
- troubleshooting tips for accessing webinars, online tutorials and virtual meetings
- useful platforms and tools such as MS Teams and Office365
If you have studied with us before, you may find that there have been some changes to Learning Edge (Blackboard) and Turnitin. Whether your a new or returning students we’ve got you covered with lots of handy guides and video tutorials on how to access and get the most out of all your online tools!
Read Student Advisor Charlotte’s top tips for completing your PGCE/PGDE course.
Having recently graduated from my PGCE this July, I have come up with some of my best tips for new students starting their programmes this September. The PGCE year is very different from your previous university studies; you will complete two school placements while engaging with academic texts, completing a variety of assignments and reflecting on your teaching practice.
My number one tip would be to get yourself a diary or a planner to keep you organised. Your PGCE year is a very busy year so it is important that you keep on top of all of your lectures, independent study sessions, meetings and any other important dates you may have. This diary or planner will only become more essential as you transition into your placement so you can successfully plan and organise your time around your teaching hours. Organisation is one of the key skills which will help you succeed during your PGCE, so if this is something you struggle with head over to the Getting Organised webpage on the Uniskills webpages for more.
The PGCE year is not just about getting practice teaching in your chosen area, you will also need to complete assignments based on teaching your subject specialism, or reflecting on your teaching practice. In your assignments you will be expected to be critical, a reflective practitioner and use a variety of academic sources. To help you with these skills, UniSkills offer a range of workshops that you can attend before you start your placement, which can be booked on the UniSkills webpages. Those which will really benefit you for your PGCE include ‘Being Critical’, ‘Finding Academic Information’ and ‘Powerful Presentations’.
Lastly, if you need support during your PGCE, make sure you reach out to people, as well as dedicating time to relaxing with family and friends. While it is best to turn to your tutors for course-specific advice, if you would like some extra support with your academic skills, such as writing, referencing, finding information and more, you can also book a one-to-one appointment with an Academic Skills Advisor.
Your PGCE year will be one of the most rewarding years throughout all of your university studies, by following these tips you will find that you settle in to your PGCE, and can fully prepare for the exciting year ahead!
Further Help and Support
Phew! We know that’s a lot of information to take in but don’t worry as this blog won’t be going anywhere and you can revisit as/when you need.
If you have any questions or need any further support you can contact the Catalyst Helpdesk via Ask Us and in person:
- Monday to Friday | 8am and 8pm
- Saturday and Sunday | 10am and 6pm
You can also keep up to date with alll the latest Library and Learning Services news and updates by following us on our socials:
That’s everything we have to share with you today – we wish you all the very best for this coming academic year and look forward to supporting you soon!