Previously we have covered digital creation basics through PowerPoint and Word. Depending on what you study and your interests there are more advanced digital creation software’s which some of you may wish to explore. Here are a few useful beginners guides for these software’s some of which you may be able to pick up more easily than others. You don’t need to go through all of these videos as some are quite long but if you are interested in further advancing your digital creation abilities why not give one of these a try.
Suggested digital creation tools/software
These are just a few recommended tools to develop your more advanced digital creation skills. That isn’t to say these are the only tools there are several others you could look into here. You could also learn about these tools or software through MOOCS which are online courses that will be discussed more fully in a later post.
Adobe Photoshop is a software that is often used for image editing, graphic design and digital art.
Adobe InDesign is a software that focuses on layout and page design for print and digital media.
Sketch is a digital design app from Mac. You can use it for UI (User Interface), mobile, web and even icon design.
Adobe Illustrator is a vector-based graphics software. It lets you scale down your artwork for mobile screens or scale up to billboard size
Blender is a free and open-source 3D computer graphics software used for creating animated films, visual effects, 3D models, and many more. This is a fun tutorial that I have tried myself, it tells you how to make a 3D realistic donut whilst teaching you all the basics of Blender.
How will these tools help in my future?
The ability to use just one of these tools can be tremendously helpful for jobs in any of these fields and more:
Digital creation/design permeates much of our society delivering information, product identification, entertainment, and persuasive messages, which is something we will cover in a later post. Having a good grasp of how to use one of these more advanced digital tools may also help you stick out from the crowd when it comes to your job search after University. Employers will like these skills as achieving the speed and agility necessary for competing in today’s work/business environment requires that organisations advance their digital capabilities and creativity.
PowerPoint is an important part of your digital creation skills. Today we are going to discuss how to use it effectively and create great presentations.
Most of you have probably given the odd presentation at school and you are likely to give more at university and possibly even more in your working life depending on your career path. You may think well my particular field doesn’t really involve presentations so I don’t need to bother. You likely will have to give one at somepoint. For example, even though my main role is writing content like this I did have to give a short presentation when I first started just to introduce myself.
Slide Transitions and Effects:
Transitions and effects often become the focus of attention, which can greatly distract the audience. In addition to this when a presentation contains several of these effects and transitions runs on a computer much slower than the one on which it was created, the result can be slow and often look silly. These effects rarely enhance the message you’re trying to communicate leave the fade-ins, fade-outs, wipes, and dissolves to Hollywood filmmakers.
PowerPoint Graphics (don’t use Clipart)
As PowerPoint is so widely used if you go for clipart graphics it shows a lack of creativity. If you want to use graphics, use your own photographs or better-quality graphics from free image sites like The Noun Project. Screen captures can also add realism when presenting information about a Website or computer program.
PowerPoint Templates are distracting
Templates should be avoided as it forces you to fit all your originality into someone else’s mould. The templates are often distracting and use poor colour combinations. Create your own distinctive look or you could use the university or organisation logo in the corner of the screen. Could you really concentrate on what someone was saying if you were looking at this?
There’s too much text
Slides are great at depicting an idea using graphics or providing an overview. However, they are not good for detail and reading so you should avoid paragraphs, quotations and sometimes even complete sentences. Try and keep to at most five lines of text and use words and phrases rather than full sentences. The audience will be able to retain the key points more easily. Don’t use your slides as speaker’s notes or as a script to read from. You don’t want to write something that ends up looking like this.
Take the audience into account
Many people will often scan a table or graphical image directly from material that was designed to be printed and red off an a4 piece of paper not as part of a presentation. The results are at best mediocre. Print visuals are usually meant to be seen from 8-12 inches rather than viewed from several feet. These images are too small, too detailed and may often have too much text for an effective visual presentation. This also goes for font size for example 12-point font is too small aim for a minimum of 40-point font though sometimes a bit lower may be okay. Remember the audience and ensure all elements of any slide are large enough to easily see
Technology can go wrong
This is relevant for anything you store on your computer. You never know when equipment will malfunction or maybe you will have to give your presentation on another computer. You should be prepared by having a backup of your presentation on a USB, a compact-flash memory card with an adapter, or even a CD-ROM. In the worst-case scenario, nothing works, and you have no visuals to present. You should still be able to give a good presentation if you prepared correctly as the slides should just be a visual aid, not the main focus. So, make sure you familiarize yourself with the presentation, practice it and be ready to engage the audience regardless of the technology at hand.
Now we’ve explored how to make your PowerPoint presentation more effective and what can go wrong why not check out some useful tips for you to use in your next presentation.
As a student, you have probably used Word to write a document maybe an essay or analysis/review. Additionally, Word is also a program you are often likely to use in your working life and so it is an important part of your digital skills. Even though so many people use Microsoft Word, not everyone knows how to maximize the capabilities of the program. Word is packed with features that can help make the creation of documents, reports, and text files easier. When your work becomes easier, you become more productive and more efficient.
Save your favorite formatting
Every time you start writing a new document you probably find yourself resetting the same formatting for your text. Here’s the good news: There’s no need to do that if you use Microsoft Word’s Quick Styles, you can save all of those formatting preferences so that the next time you need to create a document you’re ready to go.
For example, using the heading of an assignment or report. Each week you re-format that title so that it’s bold, centered, and size 18 font.
The better way to do this is after you have it formatted, highlight that text and then visit the Styles Pane menu in the Home ribbon. Click the button for a New Style, name it what you want maybe something like “Report title font”.
Tracked Changes and Comments
This is a very useful aspect of Word it allows you to make amendments to a document. If you want to keep track of your own revisions or add comments to your work, you can follow the steps in this video.
When receiving edits from your tutor or perhaps an editor in your future career with tracked changes, you can approve or reject each inserted, moved, or deleted piece of text in the document by clicking the Reviewtab.
Use the Navigation Pane to Navigate and Move Text Around
The Navigation Pane can be used to navigate efficiently around a document which is particularly useful when working in a large document that contains a number of headings.
• Click the View tab • Check the Navigation Pane box
You can navigate by Headings or Pages by clicking on the relevant link to jump to that part of the document. You can also use the Search field to search for specific text. The Navigation Pane can also be used to reposition paragraphs of text. Simply drag and drop the heading to move it. The associated paragraph text will also move along with the heading.
Comparing and Combining Documents
This may not be as much of a problem for any small essays or projects you do as a student. However, when it gets to the stage of writing your dissertation and larger assignments or when you’re moving into the working world this will become important. A common problem you will likely have is “Which version of my document am I looking at?” The problem is probably similar file names, back-and-forth emails, and misplaced files and folders can be confusing. At times you will need a way to find out which document is the most up-to-date. For example, let’s imagine you or your tutor has done a full revision of an essay draft only to realize that the changes weren’t tracked.
When either of these situations arises, Word has a Compare Documents feature that can easily save the day. To compare two documents, simply click the Compare dropdown in the Review tab and select two documents. If you forgot to track changes, a new document will appear with all the edits as tracked changes.
Collaborate on OneDrive
If you are working on a group project you can edit the same Word document simultaneously (works for all applications in the Office suite). Just save the document to your Microsoft OneDrive account, click Share, and send the link to the file to the rest of your group. People with the link can access and edit the document using the Word desktop app or Word Online.
Convert a document in Microsoft Word to PDF
It’s worth noting that you can convert any Microsoft Office document to PDF format. This includes an Excel worksheet, PowerPoint presentation, Publisher document, and a Visio drawing. Here is how to do it:
Open a Word document which you wish to convert to PDF format
All you need to do now is perform the Save As function
Click the File tab and select Save As OR press F12 on the keyboard
Enter a new File name if needed and select a location to save the PDF file to
Now click the Save as type drop-down menu and choose PDF (*.pdf) from the list and click Save
Open File Explorer (Windows + E) and navigate to the location you saved the PDF file
Shortcuts in Microsoft Word
Here are some useful keyboard shortcuts that will help make some processes faster and more efficient. If you want a full list of all the shortcuts, they are available on the Microsoft website.
Ctrl + C to copy, Ctrl + V to paste, and Ctrl + X to cut. Master these three basic commands and you’ll find yourself zooming through documents at surprising speeds.
Instead of slowly pressing or holding down backspace on the keyboard to delete text to eliminate words or entire sentences, press Ctrl+Backspace with the cursor placed after a word you want to erase a word at a time, making the task much easier.
The keyboard shortcut for adding web links to a document is Ctrl + K which will save lots of time and quickly become one of your favourite tools.
Instead of using the mouse to navigate to the Find command (used to locate words, pages and headings in your document), click Ctrl + F to either open the window
Customising Microsoft Office 365
The Microsoft Word App
If you get Microsoft Word for your PC or Mac, you also have access to the Microsoft Word app in Google Play or Apple’s App Store. This app works for tablets and all other mobile devices and is perfect if you are traveling, or if you just prefer to write on a phone or tablet.
You might remember last week we covered digital notetaking, so I thought I would take you through Microsoft OneNote. OneNote is a digital note-taking application that allows you to gather information which can be backed up to Microsoft’s Office 365 cloud. What makes Microsoft OneNote perfect is it is such a versatile tool that you can use to:
Take lecture notes
Embed Excel sheets in your notes,
Take seminar/meeting notes,
Pull text out of images,
Create and share anything you could wish to even if it’s just a shopping list.
How to Use Microsoft OneNote?
Making the most out of OneNote
Alright, now that you have clear answers to “what is OneNote” and how to use Microsoft OneNote, let’s take a look at how to make the most out of Microsoft OneNote in the first place. Some of the reasons for using OneNote are quite similar to the arguments for digital notetaking.
Digitize What You Read
You are probabaly picturing something from the Matrix when I talk about digitizing what you read. This is in fact quite simple and is one of the best practices in OneNote. Most people often write down notes and highlight texts when reading books, articles, and magazines. When it comes to online sources, this can be a bit difficult. However, you can simply copy and paste texts to your OneNote and then edit, add some bullet points, highlight important paragraphs, and also save the source link as you like.
Regularly Organize and Reorganize
If you are constantly adding notes and creating new notebooks, it can be difficult to find what you are looking for. That’s why you should organize your notes regularly into correct folders
Another effective way to organize OneNote is to use tags to prioritize and categorize notes. Tags can help your future searches. Just click the line of text you want to tag and then select a tag from the drop-down. It’s possible to add multiple tags to a single note as well.
Calendars can also help you keep organised. You can capture your tasks or just the things you need to remember in OneNote and create an Outlook task inside the app. For example, you can set a reminder to start studying a particular topic at a certain time or when to work on your essay or project.
Also, you sometimes may need to use the notes you archived in a new note. In cases such as this, try to reorganize and find related content that should be aligned.
Archive your completed tasks and notes
This leads nicely on to using archives. You may go along with the notion that it doesn’t matter it was in the past. But as Rafiki from the Lion King would say you can either run from it or learn from it. You never know when you may have to use your old notes again. Instead of deleting them create an Archive folder in OneNote and add the old notes in that folder. This way, you won’t lose any information, and OneNote will still be able to search those files and bring you what you need.
Search through Your Notes
The built-in search helps you find your notes wherever they are. To search across your OneNote and find what you are looking for, select the magnifying glass or press Ctrl+F. Then type in a search word or phrase, OneNote can search for:
Words shown in pictures
Draw and Handwrite Your Notes
This was something we mentioned in the previous post, this allows you to quickly capture your ideas through drawing and handwriting. OneNote allows you to convert handwritten notes into text. To draw in OneNote, select the Draw tab in the ribbon. Then, click the desired type of pen and start making a quick drawing in your notes. This feature is a great time-saver when taking quick notes. You can capture complex ideas with a quick drawing and circle important things on a note.
Password-Protect Your Notes
This can be a useful feature both as a student or in the workplace where you may wish to keep your notes to yourself unless you are sharing them for a project. The password-protect option in OneNote is designed to keep your private notes safe from prying eyes. So, whether you keep your school notes, work tasks, blog content, or personal information in OneNote, you can protect them and keep them private with passwords. This will lock any page you want, and it won’t unlock unless you give the password.
Sharing Your Notes
Though you sometimes want to keep your notes private you may well need to share a few. If you plan to share your notebook with others, make sure you create your OneNote notebook on OneDrive so that other people can access it. If you have already created your notebook on your computer, then you need to move it to OneDrive first. The fact that it is now on OneDrive doesn’t mean others can see it. Click on share to share with other people.
To generate a link to share your note with other people:
File tab>Share>Get a Sharing Link.
To change the permission settings of your shared note:
Go to your OneDrive and change permissions or stop sharing.
OneNote documents become available offline when shared from OneNote or SharePoint.
I hope you have learnt more about OneNote today. If you can use the product effectively, it will have dozens of benefits that will not only help in your student and work life but in your day-to-day life.
Digital Notetaking can in fact fit into two of our digital capabilities’ digital creation and digital learning. So instead of ‘notetaking’, it should really be thought of as ‘note creating’ or ‘note making’. This is because good notes are creations that represent your thinking, learning, understanding, and questioning. In contrast ‘taking notes’ where you just write down what you have heard or read is actually poor for learning. Whilst these notes do help you record information (like in a lecture), they are actually poor for learning as they don’t require much thought.
The benefits of Digital Notetaking
Though notetaking with paper is very useful and I’m not suggesting you should only use digital notes but there are some benefits to digital notetaking.
Organization. Endless folders can be created almost instantly so sorting is simple and easy. Tags can be applied to files for easy access, sorting, and searching. Each file is named so it is clear what each file is; and you can change the name if you want. Also, files can easily be moved to different areas on the computer. Since the files are digital, they do not take up any physical space (unlike notebooks or papers).
Easy to share. Rather than copying or scanning notes, computers have simple share screens to instantly share with anyone. People can collaborate on a document like in Google Docs, or files can be emailed quickly. When sharing notes, unlike with paper you still retain the original notes.
Faster. Writing is time-consuming, especially in a fast lecture. Typing takes the least amount of time so more information can be put on the page.
Backups. Although computers and tablets can go wrong, they can be backed up on the cloud another drive or on a usb so that your notes are safe. Losing notes can be costly when studying for an exam especially if you spent a lot of time working on them. The ability to back up your notes is one less thing to worry about.
Audio recording. You can use a recording software or app that allows you to playback your notes, which is a great tool if you prefer to learn audibly. You could also record your lectures to back up your notes.
Digital notetaking via tablet
The tablet is a happy medium that has both benefits of the computer and paper notes. Sharing and customization is easy, and it also gives you the option of handwriting which while not as fast provides better retention. Additionally, the small size makes tablets as portable as notebooks. Some note-taking apps for tablets such as the iPad include GoodNotes and Notability.
Apps for note creation
Here are a few apps that you might find useful. The Hull University Libguides has a full explanation of all these applications.
Today we have discussed the benefits of digital notetaking but that isn’t to say that one form of notetaking is better than the other. You could utilize both physical or digital noteataking effectively as this video explores. It’s up to you which one you find most useful or you could use a combination of the two.
As it’s approaching Halloween I thought it appropriate to theme this week’s post on digital wellbeing and some of the fears that may be caused by the digital world. Namely stress and anxiety which may sometimes feel as if it is coming out of nowhere (a bit like a flying pumpkin), but is likely in part due to our developments in the digital world. Whilst technology has many major benefits there are some downsides when it comes to our mental wellbeing.
One of the biggest impacts on our digital wellbeing is our phone usage the persistent messages and notifications mean that we are constantly distracted by continuously checking our phones. A UK study found that we unlock our phones roughly 85 times a day, and use them for about five hours each day. This means we are unable to focus our attention and consolidate things into our memory, causing us to feel more and more ‘goldfish-like, which can be quite distressing in itself.
So how can we avoid this? The most obvious choice is to turn off your phone although this can be difficult for some people and you may need to keep your phone on if you have responsibility for other people. So if you can’t turn off your phone there are ways you can minimize these distractions. You can temporarily hide your notifications by turning on do not disturb in the iPhone Control Centre or on an Android device by going to Digital Wellbeing and parental controls turning on Focus mode. Here are some instructions for how to do this on those devices. There will be similar instructions available online for other devices.
Another important aspect of our digital wellbeing is our usage of phones at bedtime. You get into bed intending to go to sleep, but you just want to check your phone to find out something unimportant like tomorrow’s weather or scroll through your feed. Then an hour later, there you are watching a totally random video about monkeys. Looking at our phones when we should be sleeping over-stimulates our brains, making it harder just to switch off, and exposes us to blue light from the screen. Research suggests that blue screen exposure can reduce melatonin production, which interrupts our circadian rhythm (sleep-waking cycles), making it harder for us to fall, and stay, asleep. Unfortunately, poor sleep tends to mean poorer resilience and higher levels of anxiety and stress.
The best solution as before is to turn your phone off and maybe do something else before bed like reading a book. However, if you really need to keep it on you can adjust your phone’s lighting using Bedtime Mode (Android) or as previously mentioned Do Not Disturb (iPhone).
While in the past there was often a clear boundary between where work-life ended, and home life began… this area is now very much grey. This may not be as much of a problem when you are a student but is something you must be aware of when entering the working world. Most of you will have your work emails on your phones meaning you are constantly available and contactable. This makes it very difficult for us to ever truly disengage from work and relax.
Appoint a gatekeeper. Don’t have the willpower to self-regulate? Appoint a loved one as a technology gatekeeper. If you’re really struggling
This is a more expensive option, you could consider getting two separate devices. One device is dedicated to work the other for your free time.
Fear Of Missing Out is essentially a type of social anxiety that arises from the fear that you are missing out on something; maybe an event, work or social opportunity, a communication, a connection, or just something that you might like be a part of. So we want to be connected ‘just in case’. Many people probably have considered leaving social media but the majority decide not to, because of FOMO. Ironically, the more connected we are, the more likely we are to experience FOMO because it is often caused by the posts we see on social media sites like Facebook. This leads us to believe our friends and acquaintances are having exciting and/or interesting experiences in our absence.
Relish feeling out of the loop. Great things will sometimes happen when you aren’t out there and sometimes you’re not invited. But you are likely missing out on way more boring things than exciting. You just have to admit that sometimes you will miss out like everyone else and sometimes it’s nice just to have moments to yourself
Take a break from social media. Try staying offline for a day, a week, or maybe even a month and it will likely put in perspective what is really important. You will realize life is much the same only you are less worried about what other people are doing. If you wanted you could even go as far deleting you social media apps but that’s up to you.
Use software to prevent FOMO. There are Apps available such as Forest for iOS, Space for Android, RescueTime for Windows, or SelfControl for Mac. All these generate reports to help you see just how much time they spend online and set time limits. Most phones already have inbuilt features for checking screen time as you can see.
We can’t help but compare ourselves to others, and social comparison theory suggests that we use these comparisons to evaluate how we think and feel about ourselves. Social Media, encourages this, as it is full of information that can be used to rank our apparent social success (e.g. friends, likes, shares, followers).
These metrics are problematic because if we don’t get enough likes on something we post, or if someone has more likes or friends than us, it can make us feel inferior especially if one day you get a load of likes then the next barely any. It’s almost like you think you are getting a treat with all those likes but in fact, it’s a trick. Furthermore, the disparity between real life and what people post on social media means that we often see an extremely edited ‘highlight reel’ of people’s lives. This links back to FOMO with this false impression that others lead a more interesting life than yours but in reality, it has its ups and downs as it does for everyone.
We previously talked about limiting time spent online but there are more ways to prevent social comparison. Here are some boundaries you can put in place to protect yourself:
Unfollow any accounts that make you feel bad about yourself.
Set a timer that lets you scroll for 30 minutes. When time is up, step away.
Turn off your phone when you’re with your family and friends.
Don’t feel obligated to reply to every comment and message
When you feel a need to check social media, ask yourself why. Are you bored, uncomfortable or seeking affirmation?
I hope this has provided some useful information about your digital wellbeing and given you some helpful solutions to many of these issues. if you have time why not watch this video which explains many of the ways you can optimise your phone for your digital wellbeing.
You may remember in the first #TechItUpTuesday post we went through accessing your university email and some etiquette tips. Well, today we will be going over almost everything you need to know to become a master at email. This is a skill that will likely aid you not just as a student but also in your future career.
Keep in Contact and Organise
Online contacts lists help you organize contact information for your friends, family, and coworkers, just like an address book. Once people are added to your contacts list, it’s easy to access their information anytime and anywhere.
Maybe it’s for a group of friends, fellow students, or for your colleges when you enter the working world. If you find yourself sending emails to the same people on a regular basis, it might be a good idea to create a group. This will allow you to select various email addresses and save them as a single group. Then you can simply select the group as the recipient instead of having to select each individual address. The feature can usually be accessed from the Contacts page of your email client (e.g. Gmail).
Using Cc and Bcc
Copying individuals on an email is a good way to send your message to the main recipient whilst also sending someone else a copy at the same time. This can be useful if you want to convey the same exact message to more than one person. In professional settings, copying someone else on an email can help get things done, especially if the person receiving the copy is in a supervisory role.
Though perhaps you may not want everyone to know who else was included in the email. This is more likely to happen in the working world perhaps if you are sending out an email to a number of clients they might not want their email shared with other people so instead, you can use Bcc (blind carbon copy). Just like with a Cc it sends exact copies of the email to multiple recipients, though it does not show other recipients who got a copy, and BCC recipients don’t see further replies from the email thread.
When you’re receiving a lot of emails on a daily basis, it can be difficult to keep them organized. Luckily, various email clients offer a feature called filters, which basically sort your emails into folders as you receive them. This is usually located under the “More” drop-down when you select a message and should give your the option to “Filter messages like these”.
You can create filters that sort your email by various characteristics, including specific senders or recipients, keywords in the subject or body, and attachments. For example, let’s say you want to make sure emails from your tutor don’t get lost among the rest of your messages. You could create a filter that sorts every email received from your tutor.
The best tool for organization in your email is the Calendar. Just as you write in a notebook, you can click any time slot in the Outlook Calendar for example and start typing. By using the Calendar, you can create appointments and events, organize meetings, view group schedules, and much more. You can also set up reminders to tell you when these events are happening. This will help you massively both as a student and in the workplace.
Schedule an email
When you’re finished with your email, click the down arrow at the bottom left of your new email next to the “Send” button. You will be prompted with “Schedule Send.” Click this option and pick a date and time to send the email. Once this is selected, click “Schedule Send” and then it will send by itself.
Un-send an email
To set this up, go to the Settings icon in the top right-hand corner of your Gmail homepage, choose Settings → General, then toggle on “undo send.” You can decide how long you have before the option to call your email back from the dark internet chasm disappears. For the more nervous person, you can opt for the 30-second option, whilst the braver of you can select five seconds.
This can be useful both as a student and in the workplace. If you worry that someone may want to contact you with an urgent matter and you won’t be able to reply by email you can set up an auto-reply message that says, “If this is a highly urgent matter, please call me on…” and give your phone number or an alternative way to contact you. To do this just Select File > Automatic Replies then select Send automatic replies. You can then choose the dates and times you’d like to set your automatic reply for and write in your message. This may be slightly different depending on your email client.
Almost all email clients have some set of keyboard shortcuts that can help you navigate your emails more quickly. As these shortcuts can vary depending on what email client you use here are a few support pages listing shortcuts for some popular clients:
This can be useful if you have more than one email and you want to access all your emails in one place. Here is how you can redirect your university emails to your own account. The method should be quite similar for most email clients.
First, you need to set up your personal account as a contact in Outlook:
Click on the button at the top left of your screen (or the button at the bottom left if you are on mobile device).
Click New to add a new contact.
Add the details of your personal email account and select Save.
Click back on the or button and return to your Mail.
Now you can set up the rule to send emails to that account:
Click on the cog button  and choose Options (if using a mobile use the three dots at the bottom right instead of the cog).
From the options pane that appears on the left of the screen, choose Inbox and sweep rules.
Click on the + button to add a rule.
Give the rule a name (i.e. Send to personal).
In the When the message arrives box, select [Apply to all messages]
In the Do all of the following box, select Forward, redirect or send and then Redirect the messages to…
Your contacts list should open.
Select the personal account contact you created earlier and choose Save.
Click OK to complete the rule.
Take a break
Last but not least this is an important part of your digital wellbeing though it may not impact you as much as a student. When entering the working world getting a stressful email after work hours can really put a damper on going out with friends or family time. Activate your email “snooze” feature when you need a break from your inbox, and emails will reappear at your chosen time.
Today we will be taking a look at digital communication through Microsoft Teams. Teams is used to have online lessons or business meetings which include audio, video, and screen sharing. Teams allows you to communicate with your teacher’s fellow students or colleges. In Teams, you can also access any files your teacher or employer may ask you to upload or complete. You can also send your completed work by attaching your documents. If you are interested you can find out further information on the Microsoft website.
First, let’s start with a video that explains the use of Teams and how to communicate like a pro.
Most of the information you need is provided in this video but here are some useful tips for you to use when in a Teams meeting.
Hover over Turn camera on to preview your video.
Preview how you appear: Select Blur my background to blur background or select More background effects to preview other backgrounds or add your own.
Apply and turn on video.
Share your screen:
Select Share content to present your screen. You can share:
Raise your hand and show reactions:
Under Reactions, choose how to engage in a meeting:
Select Raise hand to let others know you’d like to speak without interrupting the conversation.
Choose a reaction like Applause or Heart to show how you feel.
Spotlight a video:
When a featured speaker’s talking, spotlight their video so it’s the main one everyone sees.
On meeting controls, select More options (…) and choose:
Gallery: Default view 3×3 layout
Large gallery: 7×7 layout that shows up to 49 people at once.
Together mode: Lets you feel like you’re in the same shared space space in the meeting
Create and open breakout rooms so you can hold smaller, more focused discussions.
On the meeting controls, select Breakout rooms.
Choose how many rooms you need and how to assign participants.
Select Create rooms > Start rooms
You’re on Mute
Don’t forget to unmute yourself if you want to talk (though if it is a really large meeting you may be unable to talk unless you are hosting). For those of you who have already used Teams, this has probably happened to you, you neatly explained your point only for someone to say you’re on mute.
Stickers and Memes on Teams
Just because you’re working doesn’t mean you can’t spare a bit of time and have a mess around. Here is something a little more fun, this video explains how to use stickers and create memes through Teams.
Now it’s time to end the call, make sure to check out the library blog every Tuesday to keep yourself updated on your digital skills. #TechItUpTuesday
JISC is a tool you can use to discover the range of your digital capabilities. These capabilities as JISC describes are the skills and attitudes that individuals and organisations need if they are to thrive in today’s world.
There are six key elements to consider when building your digital capabilities.
ICT Proficiency (functional skills)
Information, data and media literacies (critical use)
Digital creation, problem solving and innovation (creative production)
Digital communication, collaboration and partnership (participation)
Digital learning and development (development)
Digital identity and wellbeing (self-actualising)
Why are digital capabilities important?
Digital capabilities are important for students as they help you learn how to think critically, creatively solve problems, and express your ideas in interesting ways. Having a good level of digital proficiency will also help many of you in your future careers. Since Covid-19 these skills have become increasingly important as several businesses are moving to digital alternatives compared to in-person activities. This means that more employers will expect all staff not just those specialised in IT to be well versed in their digital capabilities. A company can have the best digital tools in the world but still be inefficient if the employees fail to utilise them proficiently.
As this video explains your level of digital capability depends on several factors: the requirements of your role at work or as a student, your subject specialism, career choice, personal, and other contextual factors. So for some of you, you may only need to be well versed in a few of these skills whilst others may need to know much more.
How to use JISC?
It takes approximately 20 minutes to create your report using JISC. First, use this link or click on the button under the image at the start of this article. Press login then select your organisation which in our case is Hull University and log in with your email and network password to initially set up your profile. Then press explore your digital capabilities, where you can then being to create your report. Once you have completed the report don’t forget to either take a screenshot or record your results down somewhere, otherwise if you want to view your results at a later date you will have to go through the whole process again.
As I previously said don’t worry if you aren’t knowledgeable in all areas you don’t need to be proficient at everything, it’s a personal reflection, so consider what skills are most important to you.
When studying remotely the first thing you need to do before anything is get everything set up correctly.
You may have to download specific software, so check in good time any information and instructions you have been sent. If you are using a mobile device, you may need to download the app from your app store.
For online lectures/meetings you will need to be able to hear the other person, so make sure the device you are using has speakers or you can attach headphones. Check these are enabled in the settings and ensure that you have not muted them.
If you use an online calendar, plan out your day and add events and put webinar links you are sent into the location or the notes section. If you do this, you then aren’t looking back in your email inbox to find it later on.
A webinar is an online event hosted by an organization/company (University) and broadcast to a group of individuals through their computers via the Internet. There are some differences to be aware of depending on the type of webinar.
In smaller group webinars you can use your microphone and webcam to participate verbally. Some platforms also feature a hands-up button that you can click on to show that you want to contribute. This is also useful for medium-sized groups and avoids everyone talking at once and in these, you can also type into chat windows. Chat windows are the place to ask questions, share short thoughts and links to web pages and documents. They don’t always automatically open on some platforms – so look for the word ‘chat’ or something like a speech bubble icon.
For larger webinars, it is less practical for everyone to participate verbally and so this option often isn’t available. Therefore, your main way of contributing is via the chat window. The presenter could also ask you to answer some questions where you need to type into the chat window, or you may want to use it to ask them questions. Another common feature of these larger webinars could be polls which a presenter may use if they want an opinion on something, they could ask you to vote in a poll.
When working collaboratively it is useful to have online meetings to make decisions, divide tasks and share progress. You may need to initially get in contact via email or Canvas messages or some other platform. There are two common types of online meeting.
Synchronous meetings mean you will all be logged in talking at the same time using things like Skype, FaceTime, Zoom and Google Hangouts. Again to make the most of these meetings, you will need speakers and a microphone. You can also share webcams which may make communication feel more natural. Although for those more shy amongst you they may just want to text type which is fine.
Asynchronous meetings mean everyone will contribute at different times. Technologies like Canvas messages, Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger and iMessage all do this. Others in your group may prefer these kinds of meetings depending on their commitments.
If you are working on a project together, it can help to have a space where you can share files or work at the same time. The University provides you with a Box account which has lots of storage. Simply log in at box.hull.ac.uk to set up your account and then connect to your University of Hull Box.
Other options include Google Drive and Microsoft Office’s OneDrive. With Google Drive and OneDrive, you can not only store files in the same place, but you can edit them together in real-time.
Using collaborative workspaces
When using a collaborative workspace you need to ensure you share content with everyone in your group. Once you’ve uploaded files select the relevant folder and choose the ‘share’ option. You will usually need everyone’s email address to set this up. After this everyone should be able to add their files and notes into the same area.
It is really important to communicate effectively and professionally and make sure you can communicate effectively and that everyone has a role and takes responsibility for doing what is required. Any decisions that are made, should be recorded and everyone in the group should stick to them.
Working remotely means you will have to manage your time effectively and whilst time management is very personal and works differently depending on the person, there are some principles that are common to all. These principles include organisation, prioritisation, focus and self-discipline.
Immense amounts of time gets wasted, and deadlines are missed if you are not at least reasonably well organised. Use a diary or a calendar. This can be paper or online, but you must use it consistently. Enter any deadlines you have and all unmovable tasks like lectures, tutorials, lab work, part-time work, volunteering, sports commitments, child-care, and family.
Prioritise and Focus
Some things are more important than others. They don’t have to be done first – but they need time allocating to them first. Assessed work is a good example but it depends on your circumstances. You may have other responsibilities maybe you need to juggle study with looking after family members.
Staying focused when working remotely is probably one of the more difficult challenges for some so here are some tips on staying focused.
Avoiding social media – apps that block social media sites, turn off notifications.
Environment – Choose or create an environment that is free of distractions. You could consider the Library or a dedicated workspace at home maybe even a Coffee shop as some people work well in the kind of environment.
Time of Day – Different people focus better at different times of the day. Morning is actually when we are most productive and at our best, and when we will likely do our best work.
Self-discipline – sometimes there is nothing else you can do but just be disciplined and understand now is a time for work.
Working remotely can sometimes be isolating and lonely so make sure you keep in touch with your fellow students and friends. The conversation doesn’t have to be study-related it is important just to interact socially with others. If you have never used one of these tools or applications before, signing up will help you keep in touch with others using the same platform.
You don’t have to just talk with friends you could also take the opportunity to make new connections. Check out these online communities to meet like-minded people or other students and researchers.