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.

Participating in the Virtual Classroom at Edge Hill University

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.

Laptop and mobile showing Collaborate features

Tips on Participating in a Session

Preparation:

  • 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.

In Session:

  • 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.

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Mark Wilcock
Learning Technology Development Officer

Introducing BrowZine

Keep on top of the literature without endless searching

An image showing the different ways to access BrowZine including desktop and mobile device views.
BrowZine provides a virtual bookshelf of your favouite journals, taking you straight through to the full text. You can access it from a computer or with a mobile app.

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.

World Book Day 2020 📚

World Book Day

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
the Picture of Dorian Gray Student Advisor Lauren
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.

Book cover image source.

Student Advisor Arifa has chosen…
I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World, Malala Yousafzai
I am MalalaStudent Advisor Arifa
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!

Book cover image source

Student Advisor Dylan has chosen…
Deaf Republic, Ilya Kaminsky
Deaf Republic Student Advisor Dylan
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.

Book cover image source.

Student Advisor Anna has chosen…
Good Vibes, Good Life, Vex King
Student Advisor Anna
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.

Book cover image source.

Student Advisor Maisie has chosen…
To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee
To Kill a MockingbirdStudent Advisor Maisie
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.

Book cover image source.

Student Advisor Jen has chosen…
Tall Tales and Wee Stories: The Best of Billy Connolly
Tall TalesStudent Advisor Jen
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.

Book cover image source.

https://www.worldbookday.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Happy-World-Book-Day-carousel-2.jpg
www.worldbookday.com

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!

Happy reading everyone!
Student Advisor Lauren
Lauren Gallagher – Student Advisor
MA English

Love Your Library

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.

Image of interior of Catalyst surrounded by hearts and a bow and arrow. Image has text which says love your library. Join us for a week long celebration of our fantastic study spaces 10th-14th February

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

  1. The prize drawer is open to all EHU students and staff (except Learning Services staff).
  2. By leaving a comment you are consenting to having it posted on Learning Services social media (your entry slip will not be posted)
  3. The winner will be picked at random from a prize draw at 4pm on Friday 14th February
  4. The prizes are non-transferable.
  5. The winner will be contacted through their Edge Hill email account.
  6. 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.
  7. Prizes must be collected by 5pm on Friday 28th February.
  8. 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.