Blackboard Collaborate Ultra is the virtual classroom platform for the institution. It can be used via a web browser on a computer or an app on a phone or tablet. The tool is available within every Blackboard course at Edge Hill University. Each online classroom contains web conferencing tools that will allow you to perform two-way audio, multi-point video, interactive whiteboard, application and desktop sharing, breakout rooms, transcripts and session recording.
At present, you may find that your face to face sessions are now being delivered online through this platform. We have created this blog post to help students student prepare and engage with the virtual classroom at Edge Hill University.
Tips on Participating in a Session
Ensure your using a compatible browser. Please refer to the browser support page for further guidance.
Find a comfortable place with no distractions.
Before your first session, visit Blackboard Collaborate Help – Getting Started.
Plugin your webcam and microphone, if they are not built into your computer. For best results, use headphones with a built-in microphone.
Accessing Blackboard Collaborate Ultra Session:
You may be
provided with a link to the Blackboard Collaborate Session from a Blackboard
course, or you may have been sent a link in an email. In either case, click on
the link provided.
From your course menu on the left, click on the ‘Collaborate’ link which is usually under ‘Module Communication’.
Click ‘Course Room’ (shown below) or the title of a designated room, then ‘Join Course Room’ to join the session.
Find your way around:
Take a quick tour of the video below before you start engaging. This video is designed to give you a quick tour of all the important features and controls in the user interface.
Be sure to join your session 5 – 10 minutes prior to the start.
Set up your audio and video when you first join a session.
Participate in the session by responding to polls and providing feedback to the moderator.
Raise your hand by clicking the hand icon when you have a question or a comment.
Use Chat to send text messages to other participants and the moderator during the session.
Remember that running other applications on your computer can slow your connection to the session.
Should I mute my microphone?
Best practice for a synchronous course is to have your microphone on mute unless you want to speak. If you are participating with an online session, watching and listening is all that will be required unless you need to engage, it only takes an instant to unmute your microphone.
Can I use my Phone or Tablet?
You can participate in a Blackboard Collaborate Ultra session directly from your mobile device (Apple or Android) with the free Bb Student app. Within the app, you are able to fully interact during the session:
Join live classes
Share audio and video
Interact via text chat
View content shared by the instructor
Use whiteboard tools
Use emoticons, hand raising, polls, breakout rooms
When participating from a mobile device, you will have the best experience over Wi-Fi. Devices running operating systems prior to iOS 8.4 and Android 4.4 can experience rapid battery drain, so it is recommended that you are fully charged or plugged in.
Mark Wilcock Learning Technology Development Officer
Keep on top of the literature without endless searching
What is BrowZine?
An alternative to search engines, BrowZine allows you to easily find, read, and monitor scholarly journals available using Edge Hill’s library subscription. You can add your favourite journals to a personalised bookshelf which automatically updates when new content is avilable. From here, directly check the table of contents or link straight through to the article PDF.
What’s the best way to use it?
BrowZine isn’t for systematic literature searching. For this, a tool such as Scopus would be better. Instead, BrowZine takes you straight to your trusted sources, keeping you up to date without the need for repeated searching.
BrowZine’s other major strength is the mobile app. This syncs with the desktop site meaning you can continue reading on the go. Some publishers like EBSCO offer their own apps, restricted to in-house content, but BrowZine spans all publishers including smaller ones who don’t offer such services.
How can I get started?
Start using the desktop version or download the free app for Apple or Google Play. After downloading the app, find Edge Hill University in the list and enter your university username and password.
It’s true, the biggest of all book-related days is on the horizon and there’s no better way to join in with the festivities than by discovering something new to read (or add to an ever-expanding list of ‘to-be-read’s if you’re anything like me!).
The theme for this year is ‘Reading is Power,’ which encourages everyone to celebrate the ways in which books promote growth, choice, power and knowledge. With that said, here’s an eclectic list of favourites put together by some of the Student Advisor team to give you some ideas of what to read next!
Student Advisor Lauren has chosen… The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde
A brief description: A man named Dorian Gray prays on a portrait to stay young and beautiful forever. It works, but whilst he stays pretty the portrait gradually becomes grotesque because of the increasingly immoral things Dorian does.
Why is it your favourite?: The concept is really cool; the way the portrait measures out Dorian’s moral decline is interesting. Oscar Wilde’s writing always mixes pretty and witty tones, and that style works amazingly here. The characters are awesome; especially Dorian’s friend, Basil. This is the only book that I find myself flipping through to re-read specific passages or end up mentally reciting bits of.
Who would you recommend it to?: Anyone who likes morally ambiguous characters and pretty prose.
Student Advisor Arifa has chosen… I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World, Malala Yousafzai
A brief description: A courageous memoir on a girl who survived a bullet shot by the Taliban (an extremist group) in the city of Mingora. A young education activist, her refusal of silence lead to World Leaders being inspired by her ambitions to fight for the rights of education for girls. The Taliban took control of the area and dictated how women should live their lives. Despite the struggle of commuting to school with her books hidden under her shawl, she strived to study and excel.
Why is it your favourite?: It was a fantastic read and so well illustrated. I enjoyed the book as it was a chronicle on purity and honesty based on the situation in her village in Pakistan.
Who would you recommend it to?: To anyone that is need of motivation and inspiration!
Student Advisor Dylan has chosen… Deaf Republic, Ilya Kaminsky
A brief description: In the fictional town of Vasenka, a protest starts after the tragic murder of a deaf child. The town protest in silence and create their own sign language
Why is it your favourite?: The narrative is told through a series of poems, and through several different characters. I find myself checking, and checking again, that Vasenka is fictional; its nature and issues ring too true with the real world. Kaminsky writes like no other poet I’ve read before.
Who would you recommend it to?: I’d recommend it to people who love poetry, people who love fiction, people who love film and those that love everything in between.
Student Advisor Anna has chosen… Good Vibes, Good Life, Vex King
A brief description: This book is all about transforming negative emotions into positive ones to reach a high level of happiness. The book incorporates Vex’s own personal life experiences and explains how he has overcome the more challenging stages in his life. He discusses ways to practise self-care, positive lifestyle habits, taking opportunities, reaching life goals, overcoming possible fears and finding what you feel is your purpose in life.
Why is it your favourite?: I liked this book as it teaches you how to be a positive person and creates a feeling of happiness. His real-life experiences give context to advice that he is saying. I found this book a really good read whilst at university as life can become stressful at times, especially when I had quite a few deadlines to meet. It also gave me a good mindset when reading feedback on my work or talking to my tutors as I took the advice as constructive criticism rather than letting it dishearten me.
Who would you recommend it to?: Everyone! I feel as though it is a good book that can be useful to everyone, it helps you remain positive throughout life. This means it could be beneficial in your personal life, work life or throughout your studies.
Student Advisor Maisie has chosen… To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee
A brief description: A first person narrative from perspective of Jean-Louise Finch that follows Jean-Louise, or Scout as she is more affectionately known, and her brother get to learn some crucial lessons about judging others, tolerance and justice throughout the story which is set in Depression era Alabama.
Why is it your favourite?: An oldie but goldie- don’t let the fact it was published in 1960 put you off this is a timeless classic. The simple and child-like narrative helps to convey Scout’s raw emotions throughout the novel which helps readers realise the injustice of the actions that occur. Every time I (re)read it, I am always reminded not to judge a book by its cover and although this book may make you cry it will also fill you with joy!
Who would you recommend it to?: As it is quite an easy read I’d say anyone. Don’t let the memories of it being a school read put you off either.
Student Advisor Jen has chosen… Tall Tales and Wee Stories: The Best of Billy Connolly
A brief description: A collection of funny / interesting wee stories about life in Scotland, Billy’s childhood, life in Glasgow and his adventures travelling around the world.
Why is it your favourite?: I think my favourite book changes all the time. I finished this book a few days ago. It gave me comfort and reminded me of home at a time where I was feeling quite home sick. His happy wee stories about life in Scotland made me laugh out loud, which is rare when I read books.
Who would you recommend it to?: Everyone and anyone. I think the way he tells stories can bring us all joy and happiness. You can dip in and out of the chapters, you don’t have to read them in order or fully. Making it perfect to fit into our busy lives.
Whether you spend all your free-time reading or you haven’t picked up a book since high school, World Book Day is all about creating life-long readers! The charity does great work by providing children across the country with access to books, and we can all join in by sharing the stories we love! To find out how to get involved with the charity directly, click here!
There are as many reasons to love books as there are books themselves, so why not get involved in the World Book Day fun and try something new or re-discover an old favourite? Head over to the library catalogue to see what stories are waiting for you in the Catalyst!
Did you know know February is national Love Your Library month? To celebrate we want to know what you love about your library whether that be the staff, the books or even the views from the roof garden. Hang your comments on the tree or pop it on a post-it and enter our prize draw to win some luxurious goodies courtesy of Hotel Chocolat (T’s & C’s below). You can also look out for some of our favourite comments at #EHULoveYourLibrary.
If that doesn’t get you in the mood for love then why don’t you have a look at our Valentine’s Day playlist on Box of Broadcasts. There are the usual romantic comedies, tearjerkers and classics as well as TV & radio shows. Just click on the link, select Edge Hill University as your home institution and log in using your Edge Hill username and password.
#LoveYourLibrary Prize Draw Terms & Conditions
The prize drawer is open to all EHU students and staff (except Learning Services staff).
By leaving a comment you are consenting to having it posted on Learning Services social media (your entry slip will not be posted)
The winner will be picked at random from a prize draw at 4pm on Friday 14th February
The prizes are non-transferable.
The winner will be contacted through their Edge Hill email account.
The winner must be able to collect the prize from Catalyst Help Desk and be able to provide evidence/ID that they have won before we can hand over the prize.
Prizes must be collected by 5pm on Friday 28th February.
If anyone cannot be contacted or prizes are not collected by the entry will become null and void and a re-draw will take place.
Come to our ‘Publishers on campus’ event and get a free lunch while you’re at it!
Emerald and IEEE will visit the Tech Hub on Wednesday 26th February to deliver talks on how to publish with them and answer any questions you have about which journal to choose, how peer review works, what editors are looking for, and more.
The first talk by Emerald will focus on the social sciences and humanities, whereas IEEE will approach the topic from a STEM context. Everyone is welcome. You can attend either talk or both, and everything is free, including the lunch.
Date and time: Wednesday 26th February 2020, 12-2pm Venue: Tech Hub Lecture, Ormskirk Campus Programme: 1200-1215 Lunch 1215-1300 Emerald: ‘Getting Published’ 1300-1345 IEEE: ‘How to get published with IEEE’ 1345-1400 Presenters available for questions
——-*STOP PRESS* The trial has now been extended to 31 March——-
You’ve been sharing your thoughts on Sage Research Methods – here on trial until 13 February. Here’s a summary of the best feedback.
Sage Research Methods is an online platform with authoritative case studies, ebooks and videos on different methodologies. Also included are tools spanning the research process like the Project Planner. See our post from December to learn more.
Written by academics, these demonstrate “how methods are applied in real research projects”. Among the experts, Edge Hill lecturers have authored several cases including Clare Woolhouse (Faculty of Education) and Paul Simpson (Faculty of Health, Social Care and Medicine). One author in the participant observation & mixed qualitative methods series told us how the cases are aimed at both students and experienced researchers, and that Sage encourages authors to write accessibly
Little Green Books
The Little Green Books are a series covering quantitative applications in the social sciences, great for taking your research in a new direction. One person noted, “The Little Green Books look extremely useful to me as a PhD student, as I will be performing analyses on my data that I still need to learn”. Little Blue Books meanwhile, are short and accessible texts on a range of qualitative methods.
The Project Planner
Another PhD student tweeted us to say how this resource has helped plan her research project through each stage, going into the project registration process. Key steps like defining a Topic, reviewing the literature, developing research questions, etc are introduced, explained, and plotted along your timeline. This would apply equally well to an undergraduate or Masters dissertation.
Some respondents noted that downloading resources can sometimes be troublesome, but overall there has been lots of praise for Sage Research Methods. Here are a few comments:
I would certainly use this for teaching and research purposes. If it’s updated at regular intervals, it might make keeping reading lists up-to-date that bit easier
A lot of the content is very advanced, I strongly believe it can be incredibly useful to other students like me that are eager to advance the researching skills and hope to work in a research setting in future
I think this is a brilliant, comprehensive resource (that includes methods-related innovation) for staff and students across the Faculty as well as in social sciences, arts and humanities.
There’s still time to try it!
The trial finishes on 13 February. After this, Library and Learning Services will assess feedback and usage levels, and decide whether to purchase a subscription to specific parts of the platform. Even if you don’t have time to check it out fully, be sure to download any interesting cases, chapters, etc for later while you can!
The early bird may catch the worm, but it’s the Cat(alyst) that’s got the cream!
If you’ve been on campus lately you will have spotted, and hopefully visited, Catalyst…but are you making the most of this fantastic facility and its equally fabulous learning and support services that roost inside?
Club Catalyst – you’re already a member!
Catalyst is your central point of access to Library & Learning Services, Student Services and Careers so there is an abundance of help and support available (take a look below if you don’t believe us) and the building itself has lots to offer!
The Catalyst Helpdesk is your one stop access point for all services and support in the building and you can contact the team weekdays 8am-8pm and weekends 10am-6pm in a number of ways:
😊 Visit the Catalyst Helpdesk ☎️ Telephone (01695 650800) 📱 Text (+4401613751608) 💬 Online Chat 📧 Email And don’t forget our online knowledge base AskUs is available 24/7!
[To the tune of Club Tropicana…] Club Catalyst the books are free, Fun and learning, there’s enough for everyone! All that’s missing is study, But don’t worry, you can bring that!
You will find your print resources (books and a selection of journals) on the first and second floors and self-issue machines here too…as well as two on the ground floor. You can check PC availability or book a study room before you arrive, and discover your perfect study space across the four main floors:
Ground Floor – Social Study
1st Floor – Group Study
2nd Floor – Quiet Study
3rd Floor – Silent Study
It is important to make sure you are also taking effective study breaks – we highly recommend the roof garden (open daily 11am-3pm, weather permitting) for beautiful panoramic views across campus and some mind calming fresh air!
Catalyst itself is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week during term time so if you’re an early bird or a night owl there is something for everyone! If you are visiting after hours just remember to bring your UniCard along to swipe access into the building. View current opening hours here…
Making the most of Catalyst support if you’re an Early Bird 🐓
If you’re planning to arrive early on campus, don’t sit in your
car until class begins – be green, turn off your engine and come inside cosy
important meal: 53.3 Degrees, Catalyst’s fab
coffee shop, is open from 7am every weekday so why not take advantage of a hot
(or cold) breakfast. Throughout the day you can also grab a range of hot and
cold drinks and food, including those all essential study snacks! Tip: their vegan sausage rolls give Greggs a
run for their money!
a head start: Log in and catch up with your emails, check for any module / tutor
updates and prep for your day ahead. You will often be set pre-lesson reading
and it is important to complete this to get the most out of your lectures and
seminars. Use your mornings to familiarise yourself with topics or even do some
wider reading, so you can contribute effectively in your classroom discussions.
Academic Skills Support: If there’s a particular piece of work you’d like some help with, or you need some guidance navigating your reading and research, you can book a UniSkills 1-2-1 appointment weekdays 8am-6pm. Our friendly Academic Skills Advisors are on hand to offer their knowledgeable advice and support on a wide range of academic skills.
Breakfast Club: During key times of the year, you can drop in Tuesday and Thursday mornings 8:15am-8:45am for advice and guidance on all things Careers. Whether you’re looking for a part-time job, interested in volunteering, want to know more about the Student Opportunity Fund, or are unsure where to start with graduate job applications – come along for a chat and a free bite to eat!
Find your calm: The Faith and Reflection Room provides a quiet space for reflection, contemplation and prayer for the exclusive use of staff and students at Edge Hill. Open to people of all faiths and none, it offers the opportunity to explore matters of faith and spirituality, or just simply to find your calm before a busy day. You will find the Faith and Reflection Room in the Magnolia Building, next to the Forest Court Halls of Residence.
Making the most of Catalyst support if you’re a Night Owl 🦉
If you’re more productive as the sun goes down 🧛 then here’s
some great tips, activities and support available after hours:
Research, Read and Write: If you find you’re buzzing with ideas after the days classes then why not make a start on your research, reading and assignments. There is lots of academic skills support available 24/7 at ehu.ac.uk/uniskills
You could start by revisiting your lecture / seminar notes to
summarise your key themes, recommended reading or highlight any gaps in your
knowledge you’d like to research further. Quieter evenings lend themselves to
reading and research (especially on the quiet (2nd) and silent (3rd)
Make an assignment plan, create your search strategy or simply
stop procrastinating and get writing! If you’re nearing submission then
complete your final edits, print it out and proofread before you upload to
If you’re not quite ready to knuckle down with your study, or just
need a well-earned break (these are important too!) then there are plenty of
great activities hosted by Catalyst support teams:
Tuesdays: meet your Campus Connectors, every other Tuesday evening 5pm-7pm,
in the Catalyst foyer (by the comfy seats!) for chilled-out games, crafts and a
That Thursday Thing: is the informal weekly meet-up of people who want to meet up with other people. Join in, every Thursday 5pm-7pm, to relax, chat, watch films, play games, listen to music or whatever you fancy doing!
Try Something New: If you fancy trying your hand at 3D printing, or would like to give a new sport a go, look out for TechSkills and Pop-in and Play sessions. Visit the Campus Life Facebook events page for latest updates!
Crack that CV: If you’re unable to attend one of the Careers CV workshops during the day you can book a place on a CV Webinar! Delivered by our exceptional Careers Advisers, the Webinars are a great way to receive information and advice, as well as ask questions, without having to be present.
Other support available in Catalyst…
Of course, there is tonnes of other support available throughout the day in Catalyst too, including…
Are you returning to education after a break? Does the thought of studying again fill you with trepidation as well as excitement? Are you anxious that you won’t be able to ‘keep up’ with other students?
You are not alone! Students who are returning to study after time away sometimes feel that their academic skills are ‘rusty’, and worry about whether they will be able to remember how to undertake academic study, or write assignments. However, research shows that students who return to study after a break from education are often found to be more motivated, self-determined, focussed and hard-working (Hunter-Johnson, 2017; Kasworm, 2018). Our experience has also shown that given the right encouragement and access to support, all students have the potential to achieve, regardless of their age or stage in life.
Did you know?
… that Edge Hill University have a high percentage of students who have not come directly from school or college? The most recently available statistics show that more than a third (35.4%) of our students in the 2017/2018 academic year were over 25, and almost a quarter (24.8%) were over 30. While higher education does not have an upper age limit, the chances are that there will be several people on your course who are returning to education after a significant break.
The Returning to Learning community of support has been developed to offer a safe space for students re-entering education at Edge Hill to reconnect with learning and share their experiences with others in the same boat. We also welcome anyone who has previously been in the same position, and can offer peer support or tips for ways to ease back into an educational setting.
Returning to Learning Ethos
Our aim is to create a community of positive support to help develop the confidence of returning students, enabling them to believe that they can achieve, and be academically successful. To ensure that we can offer our students the best experience, we draw upon research, our experience and academic skills knowledge, as well as students’ own ideas about what they need, to best support their transition back into education.
The Returning to Learning group will meet on the first Wednesday of every month between 2pm-4pm in The Willow Room, Catalyst. Whether you are totally new to university, are in your final year, or are returning to postgraduate study, why not come along and share your experiences? Each session will offer you the opportunity to:
Meet other Returning to Learning students
Share your concerns about returning to academic study at university
Learn how others in this situation have adapted to Higher Education
Suggest tips for effective learning
Develop your academic resilience
At each session we will also aim to gather information about any key areas of concern for the group, and will use this to design a short, structured session, to run at the start of the session the following month.
Another year, another jam-packed schedule of UniSkills workshops! What better way to start the decade than making sure you’re equipped with top tips and strategies to succeed in your studies?
To kick start this year’s programme, the Student Engagement Team have put together three extra special workshops under the theme of New Year, New UniSkills. Put those Pinterest skills to good use at Ready, Set, Goal, learn what it means to be academically resilient at Mindset Matters, or simply drop in for a second-eye over those comments at Feedback Focus.
And, if that’s not enough to put a spring in your step this semester, our timetable is back with all your usual favourites. Master those pesky in-text citations at Harvard Referencing, avoid accidental plagiarism with Become a Paraphrasing Pro, and say goodbye to presentation jitters with our welcoming community of practice, UniSpeaks. Usually held over a lunch time in Catalyst, integrating a workshop (or two, or three!) into your weekly routine has never been easier.
Never been to a UniSkills workshop before? Never fear! As much as we love seeing familiar faces (you know who you are), our sessions are welcome to everyone – not to mention they’re a brilliant way to meet students from beyond your course.
Don’t forget to pick up our latest timetable when you’re next on campus (rumour has it there’s some lurking by the Catalyst printers), but in the meantime here’s what’s in store:
Some tips for promoting your research online and tracking how it’s doing
After doing the research and getting your outputs published, it can feel like the dissemination will surely take care of itself – you can tweet it, make it open access on Pure (if the publisher allows) and let your networks do the rest right? This works to an extent, but there are some great tools out there to push it even further.
Set up in 2019, Edge Hill Figshare is a home for any research materials worth sharing that don’t have a home elsewhere such as datasets, figures, conference presentations, or posters. These can be added to Pure in some cases, but Figshare visualises them an brings them to life. For example, by sharing a poster in Figshare like this PhD student has done, you can connect it to a global community, give it a DOI, and track any views, downloads, or altmetrics activity. This exposure also provides an opportunity direct traffic back to your research outputs. To get started, just go to the site, log in and share something. Learning Services can provide, help, advice, or training sessions.
Altmetrics track research impact via social media channels, websites, policy documents, blogs, Wikipedia, etc. They demonstrate impact far quicker than citations, and can track engagement beyond academia. For example, one 2019 study about how the human gaze can deter seagulls swooping to take food like chips received global exposure across news media, and this is reflected in the altmetric count, but in academica it has yet to accrue many citations.
Workshop: ‘Promoting Research Using Social Media’
On 25 March 2020, Dr Costas Gabrielatos from English, History and Creative Writing is running this workshop. It discusses the combined use of academic networking websites (e.g. Research Gate, Academia) and social media to make reseach visible and accessible. All staff and research students are welcome – either book via MyView or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
‘Maximizing dissemination and engaging readers: The other 50% of an author’s day: A case study’
This paper has some great tips for disseminating research across and beyond our regular bubbles echo chambers. This includes harnessing the power of influencers and taking the opportunity of conference hashtags.
Definitely worth trying, this platform enables researchers to work with journalists to present their research for broader audiences and reach new readers. The company is coming on campus in February and March and you can book a one-to-one with one of their highly expereinced editors.