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.

Returning to Learning

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.

Book online at ehu.ac.uk/workshops or simply drop in on the day! 🙂

References
HUNTER-JOHNSON, Y., 2017. Demystifying Educational Resilience: Barriers of Bahamian Nontraditional Adult Learners in Higher Education. The Journal of Continuing Higher Education. 65 (3), pp. 175-186.

KASWORM, C. E., 2018. Adult Students: A Confusing World in Undergraduate Higher Education. The Journal of Continuing Higher Education. 66 (2), pp. 77-87.

UniSkills Workshops – Spring 2020

New Year'S Day, Target, Resolutions

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:

As much as we’re sure we’ve got you covered with the above, do let us know in the comments below if you think of any other workshop ideas that might help get your academic cogs into gear.

So, diaries at the ready and in the meantime – we’re all ears!

New Year, New UniSkills!

January is the perfect time to wipe your slate clean and set some study resolutions for the year ahead. Whether you’re a chief procrastinator or struggling to decode feedback, UniSkills have curated a selection of motivation-boosting workshops to have you back on track in no time.

Ready, set, goal!

Monday 20th January 2020

This creative session will help you visualise and set achievable academic goals

Need some motivation this January? Visualising your academic success can help inspire you to set goals and keep you motivated. Be prepared for this semester and beyond by joining us to creatively explore academic goal-setting strategies. This workshop will help you to think about how academic success might look to you, and will offer you the chance to create a visual representation of this to take away. Secure your place now.

Moodboard of images

Mindset Matters

Wednesday 22nd January 2020

Come along to this session and find out why your mindset matters to your success

Whilst success and getting things right is brilliant, we can also learn a lot from our mistakes. How we approach setbacks and failure can depend greatly on our mindset, this session will therefore provide you with tips to help foster your growth mindset and move away from fixed mindset thinking. If you want to think about why you study the way you do, how you could make changes and become a more resilient student – then this is the session for you! Secure your place now.

Focus on Feedback

Friday 24th January 2020

Join us at this drop-in session to get the most out of your assignment feedback

Your tutors provide a wealth of constructive comments and suggestions, but do you always know how you can improve your future work based on their advice? If you’re unsure, then this is the session for you. We’re here to help you make the most of your feedback, so that you can put together a plan and put it into action. All you need to do is bring along your feedback and get planning! Secure your place now.

Ready to channel your inner artist, reboot your mindset or conquer your ‘criticality’ once and for all? Book your place on the above workshops here, or speak to the Catalyst help desk team.

Study Tools: Box of Broadcasts

Whilst Catalyst is home to thousands of books and a multitude of journal articles available online, Box of Broadcasts (BoB) is another great resource to help enhance your assignment writing.

Box of Broadcasts
Image : https://s3.amazonaws.com/libapps/accounts/21650/images/BoB1.jpg

BoB contains over 2 million online resources dating back to the 1990s and includes all your favourite channels such as BBC1, BBC2 and Channel 4. TV shows, documentaries and other media formats are great ways to access research if you want to give your reading eyes a break.

With programs dating back over 30 years you can easily create playlists of topics to suit your needs and analyse trends and patterns of research to create a wider more informed view that will help in your  assignment writing.

Besides assignment writing BoB can also be used to catch up on the latest TV shows and films as well as live programs. Available on all devices you can watch live; request and record and create your own playlists and it perfect for on the go viewing. It even has an easy to search format that helps with academic referencing.

If you’re unsure of how to used BoB it really is simple (especially when you know how), but these helpful video tutorials provide a bit more information on how to make the most of what BoB has to offer: http://bufvc.ac.uk/tvandradio/bob/bob-video-tutorials

So, if you’ve not watched enough festive TV this season why not take a look at what BoB has to offer before you see in the new year!

Student Advisor Maisie
Maisie Masterman – Student Advisor
BSc Primary Education with QTS – 3rd Year

Submitting Your Assignment: Tips from a 4th year…

Once you’ve finished your assignment, closed those 300 tabs you’ve had open for days and tidied up the remains of endless coffees and snacks, all you want to do is to upload your work to Turnitin and never see it again. But… you’re not quite finished. There are things to do BEFORE submitting your assignment. Luckily, I’ve put together some tips and tricks for submitting assignments. Trust me, as a fourth year, these are handy!

Tips and Tricks for submitting your assignment. Tips from a 4th year.

Check to see if your references are complete

Depending on what subject you study depends on what referencing style you use. Each referencing style will have their own sets of rules and if used incorrectly, it could lose you a few marks! Make sure you are checking over your references by using a referencing guide – these are available from your My Library tab on Learning Edge. (If you’re struggling with your referencing, you can even book a peer to peer appointment with one of us Student Advisors!)

Use Microsoft Word’s “Read Aloud” feature

Microsoft Word has a brilliant feature that will read your assignment aloud, helping you to hear where you might’ve made a mistake, or where a sentence is not as clear as you wanted it to be. Make use of this tool! To launch the Read Aloud feature go to Review and locate the Read Aloud feature. Take a look at the Assistive Technology pages for more great support.

Highlight where you have answered the questions / met the learning outcomes

It can be easy, especially in essays, to go off topic and start writing about content that doesn’t answer your topic question. Go through and highlight places where you have answered your assignment title or question and try to think of areas where things could be tightened or strengthened.

Textbook highlighted

Check for incorrect spelling and grammar

Thankfully, Microsoft Word often does this for you without you having to lift a finger. However, if you’re like me, you might make spelling or grammatical mistakes that Word might not pick up. For example, I often use words that are not in the right place, or use an alternative correct spelling (e.g. there, their, they’re). Also, make sure that you are avoiding contractions (can’t, shouldn’t, won’t) and idioms (e.g. at the end of the day).

Check that the format is correct

Does your assignment follow the formatting rules for your course? Usually, courses will outline preferences for the format of assignments, so they look professional. For example, they might specify a font style, font size, spacing etc. Check with your module handbook or tutor if you are not sure.

Take a break

If you have time, leave your assignment for a few days to allow yourself to come back to it with a clear mind. Looking over your assignments with fresh eyes will help you notice where you have made mistakes, or where you think your assignment might need more work.

Look at previous feedback from tutors

Feedback from previous assignments is your best way of achieving a better mark. Looking back over you tutor’s comments and acting upon them will show that you have developed and improved since your last assignment.

Check your originality report

Turnitin will provide you with an originality report that will let you know what percentage of your assignment is matching other materials. The originality report shouldn’t be used as a proofreading tool. However, you might want to have a look through to see if you have referenced all of your quotes and ideas correctly.

DO NOT LEAVE UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE

Take this advice from an MA student… submitting your assignment at the last minute can go awful if Turnitin goes down or is under scheduled maintenance. Make sure you submit your assignment a few days before the deadline to ensure an easy and smooth submission.

So… that’s a wrap on my tips. Of course, there are many more things you could do before submitting your assignment, but these are the tips I’ve found the most important.

Happy submitting!

Student Advisor Dylan
Dylan Booth – Student Advisor
MA Creative Writing

#EHUKeepCalmSubmit Competition 🎄

We know this time of year can be stressful with deadlines nearing and exam revision to do, on top of an ever-increasing demand to be social for all those festive activities!

We want to help ease the burden a little and give you a reason to carry on ploughing through until the end of term, with our week-long campaign in Catalyst. Keep Calm and Submit is happening 9th-13th December and you can read all about what’s happening in our blog: tinyurl.com/EHUKeepCalmSubmit19  

If the festive fun, study tips and exam revision prep is not enough, why not take some time to join in our #EHUKeepCalmSubmit competition!

How to enter:

  • Pick up a competition entry elf from Catalyst – we will be handing them out around the building or you can collect one from the ground floor desk event space
  • Write your study tip on the entry form
  • Take a study sElfie with your tip and share on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram
  • Include #EHUKeepCalmSubmit and make sure to tag us in for your entry to count

So, come out of the freezing cold and join us in Catalyst to take part…we don’t mind if your sElfie is a resting Grinch face or happy little elf…and you could be in with a chance to win a £25 Amazon voucher or UniSkills festive goodie bag prizes! Who wouldn’t want to win a prize so close to Christmas?! Terms and conditions apply, see below.

Keep Calm and Submit Competition Terms and Conditions
1. Only EHU Students are eligible to win prizes, EHU staff may enter but are not eligible to win a prize.
2. Eligible competition entries must contain a sElfie photo with one of the competition elves.
3. There is one £25.00 Amazon voucher to win and two runners up UniSkills goodie bags.
4. You may enter the competition as many times as you wish, but only one entry will be entered in the final prize draw.
5. Only entries posted between 11am Monday 9th December to 4pm Friday 13th December will be eligible to be entered in the prize draw.
6. The winners will be contacted via their social media account and you must be able to provide your student number as identification to be eligible to win the prize. If no student number can be provided your entry will be null and void and another winner will be drawn. 7. The winners will be picked at random from a prize draw on Tuesday 17th December 2019.
8. The prizes are non-transferable.
9. All winners must be able to collect the prize from the Catalyst Helpdesk and be able to provide evidence/ID that they have won before we will award the prize.
10. Prizes must be collected by 4pm on Friday 20th December 2019.
11. If anyone cannot be contacted or prizes are not collected by Friday 20th December 2019 the entry will become null and void and a re-draw may take place in the new year.

Keep Calm and Submit ☃️

As your first semester comes to an end and deadlines begin to approach, it is a good time to elf yourself by thinking about how you can submit on time and revise for exams! Do not panic as Keep Calm and Submit week is returning Monday 9th – Friday 13th December to offer you help, support, revision ideas and study tips to help you embrace your hectic schedule, rather than run from it! Remember, ‘tis the season to be jolly, so having a break is also important!

Keep Calm and Submit Winter Promo Image

Keep Calm and Submit
All week our knowledgeable Student Advisors will be available (11am-4pm) on the ground floor event space in Catalyst (Ormskirk), so why not take a well-earned study break and join them to discover some of their own great study and revision tips. Do not miss the opportunity to get involved in creative tasks to help you conquer your assignment and revision nightmares.

Feedback Spinner
Understanding feedback is hard, learning from it is sometimes harder. Why not come and have a go at our Feedback Spinner! The Feedback Spinner is designed to help you see some common examples of essay feedback and how we would advise you reflect on it and use it to enhance your abilities. Start the new year off knowing how to embrace the advice you’re given and discover your potential to succeed!

Rejoice in your Referencing
We know referencing is snow joke so fear not as we have a checklist to ensure you’re doing it to the best of your ability. Come to Catalyst and have a look at our snowman referencing checklist and see what other tips and tricks we have on offer. You can also refer to your Harvard Referencing guide for some extra help!

Try not to lose your baubles!
Light up your holidays this winter by increasing your knowledge with tips and advice on essay and exam prep. Look out for our UniSkills Festive Tree where you can pick up or write your own study tip. Don’t worry if you do not have any advice, you can enjoy getting creative by leaving us a colourful bauble to brighten up our tree. Our Student Advisors will be demonstrating their own techniques on keeping calm and prepping for submission dates and/or exams.

Submission Checklist
It’s a busy time of year and you’ve no doubt lots of naughty and nice checklists, but you might want to think about adding this next one to your pile. Your Student Advisors have put together an essential submission checklist which could be a lifesaver as you begin to do your final proofreads. I’m sure you would rather relax knowing you’ve done everything possible with regards to your essays, so why not come see us to find out more!

Take an Elfie!
Keep an eye out for our Take an Elfie competition for the change to win some festive and financial prizes! To get ahead of the game make sure you are following all our social media accounts: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. Read more about the competiton here: tinyurl.com/EHUKeepCalmComp

UniSkills Workshops
If you want to get involved some more, why not join a UniSkills workshop, all of which have been designed to help you develop your academic skills and confidence at University and beyond: This is what is running over the next two weeks:

UniSkills Advent
Keep your eyes out for 24 great Keep Calm and Submit study tips to get you through this busy period. You’ll find them on our Twitter and Facebook from the 1st to 24th December…or just search for #UniSkillsAdvent

Elf Hat

Winter UniSkills Support
UniSkills provide a wide range of face to face and virtual support, find out more at ehu.ac.uk/uniskills. Although UniSkills take a little break over the festive period that doesn’t mean our support stops! You can access lots of help, support and guidance online 24 hours a day – a great place to start is your My Library tab in Learning Edge or the UniSkills webpages. Whether you’re just starting your very first assignment and want to learn about planning and structure or are writing your final dissertation and need help with referencing, we can help you to boost your UniSkills! ehu.ac.uk/uniskills

Christmas at Catalyst
Catalyst is open 24/7 until 8pm on Monday 23rd December (then festive opening hours, as below) and 24/7 opening will resume from 8am on Thursday 2nd January 2020!

Driving home for Christmas?
If you are planning on going home over winter, you may be interested in using your local university library as part of the SCONUL Access scheme. This is a reciprocal service supported by most of the higher education libraries in the UK and Ireland. You can also take your wireless device to other universities and by connecting to the Eduroam network with your Edge Hill username and password you will be able to use Wi-Fi and access Edge Hill eResources. Visit our Using Other Libraries webpages for more information and to apply.

Giant Pencil

With so many amazing winter activities taking place during Keep Calm and Submit week (and beyond!) be sure to join us inside Catalyst for lots of tips and techniques to help you sleigh your study fears, begin to snowball in your academic abilities and simply, Keep Calm and Submit!

From Fact to Fiction 📚

I read for pleasure and that is the moment I learn the most
– Margaret Attwood (Nobel Prize of Literature, 2019)

Hi, my name is Georgia and I am a Student Advisor for Library & Learning Services in Catalyst. A great Study Happy tip is taking regular breaks and doing something enjoyable!

As a primary teacher in training, we are always encouraged to promote reading for pleasure in schools, but what about when you get past primary school? I loved to read throughout school, but now that I am in university, I find it hard to even think of reading something other than academic literature.

Open book with view over campus.Stack of reading books.Book.

Firstly, the important question! What is reading for pleasure? Well, this is the idea that anyone should be able to pick up a book, and not only read it but enjoy it! You don’t have to be an avid reader, just somebody who enjoys letting your mind ease into a world made of words, wit and wonders.

Our assignments require us to read journals, books, eBooks and ensure that we complete referencing correctly, but sometimes you need a brain break from studying and what better way to lose the stress of reality by getting lost in an atmosphere of imagination. In fact, reading not only relaxes your mind but also develops vocabulary and writing skills, supporting your academic assignments more than you’d think.

Did you know that there is an amazing range of fictional literature available in Catalyst? A whole section, from the first floor of the library to the second, filled to the brim with stories to expand your reading from ‘The Tiger Who Came to Tea’ to ‘Macbeth’. These resources are accessible to all students to loan and I would recommend having a look around and discovering a book for you. You may be searching for a book for your children, your class or yourself, and you don’t have to be a teaching student to appreciate a good book!

Display of fiction book on Catalyst roof garden.

If you’re interested in sharing your favourite books with others and being introduced to new stories, then make sure you get involved in the Edge Hill Book Hunt. This scheme allows students and staff to leave books around campus for others to find, read and love. All you have to do is hide a book and then find a book! Make sure you post your found book on twitter with #EHUBookHunt.

#EHUBookHunt example.

Thank you for reading my blog – Student Advisor Georgia 📚

Student Advisor Georgia
Georgia Maestri-Banks
BA Primary English Education with QTS – 3rd Year

Study Happy Student Tips

The cold, dark nights of winter are finally upon us and despite Halloween being over I, like many students, am still feeling a little on edge… Not because of ghosts or ghouls but something more terrifying…assignment season is well and truly upon us.

Even as a third year the dreaded assignment deadlines looming ever closer tend to fill me with dread and panic. Despite having the best intentions, by starting early and doing plenty of reading, I somehow have days until my deadline and I am yet to start writing.  

If you’re like me and seem to get yourself into a bit of a tizz, worry not, as there are a multitude of ways to chase the assignment worries away…

Dark sky lit up by full moon with tree and birds in front.

1. GET YOURSELF A HARVARD REFERENCE GUIDE (shouty caps because it’s important!)

This is arguably one of the easiest ways to improve your academic skills and a great one to have under your belt!  It massively helps the flow of your assignment to have supporting evidence and references fitting in seamlessly with your own writing, rather than inserted randomly at the end. I’d recommend printing off a reference guide…mine never leaves my bag! Grab your Harvard Reference Guide here!

2. Proofread

I know it’s boring and can be long winded, especially after you’ve spent weeks reading and writing on the same subject, all you want to do is submit that assignment and have a well-deserved rest. BUT. Proofreading is a sure way to spot any little mistakes within your writing. I love using a text to voice converter or the read aloud feature in Word. You can also get a friend or family member to read over as a second (fresh!) pair of eyes, this is a good way to help spot those small annoying grammatical errors.

3. Use Google Docs, or a memory stick, not just Word

I discovered this the hard way after a 3500 word assignment deleted itself ☹ BACK UP YOUR WORK! I now use Google Docs to write my assignments as it’s free, can be used anywhere and all changes are automatically saved onto the cloud, meaning I don’t have to worry about deleting Word or losing my pen stick …and I’m not having to hawk my laptop around with me. Google Docs is also super helpful for group projects as it allows everyone in your group to see and edit the work wherever you are making collaborations – 1000x less stressful!

4. Explore your references, references (aka wider reading!)

I find looking at the reference list of the articles and books I am reading, especially of my core texts, a great starting to point to help me delve deeper into the subject area. Not only does this enhance your knowledge with wider reading but it also allows you to boost your references and showing depth of reading allowing you to access those higher grades! Also, when reading a source write your reference in your reference style (e.g. Edge Hill Harvard) right away, so when it comes to creating your reference list it’s a simple copy, paste and quick check over!

5. Ask for help when you need it

Although we’re at university to learn, and tutors can’t write your assignments for you, they are there to help us. If you’re unsure I find emailing the module lead or my personal tutor a great place to start. If you have non-subject specific query, such as how to find the right information, or how to be critical, Catalyst is where you need to be. UniSkills offer a range of workshops and 1-2-1 appointments. Check out our upcoming events and workshops at ehu.ac.uk/workshops. We also offer more casual drop in support sessions every weekday, 11am-2pm, for any quick queries you have – visit the Catalyst Helpdesk for more information.

I hope these tips have helped you feel a bit less spooked about your upcoming assignments…if you want any more help and support please get in touch via Ask Us, visit the Catalyst Helpdesk or you can find us (Student Advisors) all this week on the ground floor of Catalyst for Study Happy week!

Thank you for reading my blog – Student Advisor Maisie 😊


Maisie Masterman
BSc Primary Education with QTS – 3rd Year