Have you discovered Microsoft Imagine Academy yet?
By Caroline E Norris, on 13 March 2017
You may know it as ‘Microsoft IT Academy’ (it’s former name) or you may not know it all but either way, it’s worth a look. This Microsoft learning platform offers a vast range of technology-related courses covering all levels from complete beginners through to specialist technical courses for IT professionals. It also has resources specifically aimed at educators.
Course delivery is via slideshows, ‘talking head’ video or screencasts. Most modules include ‘Knowledge check’ quizzes and there is also a final assessment when you reach the end of the course. You can print transcripts to show your progress and generate course completion certificates. Other features include closed captions and the ability to increase the speed or change the quality of the video.
There are nearly 1500 courses so how do you narrow it down? Click on the Catalog drop down at the top of the home page and then select See All Courses. This gives you a set of filters to narrow down your options to something more manageable. My first tip would be to filter by Language. If you tick English and English (United Kingdom) for example you will immediately halve the number of courses.
The next thing to do is to select a Product or Topic you are interested in. If you know you want to learn a particular application the Product filter is probably the most relevant. However, the Topic filter is probably more useful for exploring by theme.
Educator Resources – Teach and Educator Resources – Learn have some interesting courses aimed predominantly at school teachers including various courses on using Minecraft for Education, teaching coding and using ICT in the classroom.
The Office and Office 365 topics have some task-focused offerings such as ‘Run more effective meetings’ (using Skype for Business) ‘Collaborate Using PowerPoint Online’ or ‘Create accessible documents’.
Another way to find courses is to use the search box at the top of the screen. Searching for Office Hours brings up some short videos aimed at teachers and administrators such as ‘Create a Survey in Excel Online’ and ‘Deliver Curriculum with OneNote’. Searching for coding brings up the ‘Introduction to Programming with Python’ course, ‘Introduction to Data Science’ and ‘Creative Coding Through Games and Apps’ amongst others. Searching for Digital Literacy shows courses for real beginners and covers the basics of using digital tools.
Finally, if you really want to explore all the content more thoroughly you can download the entire catalogue (over 1,200 courses) as an Excel spreadsheet by clicking on the Excel icon to the right of the Sort by: drop-down.
Whether you just want to improve your own productivity and effectiveness or you want new ideas on using technology in the classroom, Microsoft Imagine Academy might just provide you with some helpful inspiration.
To register for Microsoft Imagine Academy visit www.ucl.ac.uk/isd/how-to/it-training/register-it-academy