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Software for Success

Jim RTyson3 October 2019

Student research successWhat does it take to succeed in a student research project, or any research project for that matter?

Well, there’s a whole lot of stuff that Digital Skills Development can’t help with, and anyway, you’re all really good at that stuff: the scholarship, the domain knowledge, the research skills.  But, there’s an awful lot that we can offer.

Getting on top of the choices that face you now and planning what tools you will use will allow you to work out what skills you need to acquire and how you are going to acquire them.  And beefing up your digital capability will not only improve your chances of research success, but will add to your capital in an area that employers rate among top desirable job skills.

When people plan research projects, they often forget to work out what software tools and techniques they will use, what skills those tools require, and where they are going to get those skills.  Often, we think it will all just be obvious and somehow it will come together.  Well, in a way it usually does, but with a little planning and foreknowledge, we can transform these decisions from afterthought to opportunity.

Digital Skills Development are showcasing three new demonstration sessions to put you on the road to software success.  Each session introduces tools to tackle specific tasks for your research project.  We’ll look at:

  1. writing: is there life beyond Word?  Is there any reason to go there?  How do I cope with fussy formatting requirements?
  2. data analysis: is it worth learning to code, or can I cope by wrestling with my data in Excel?  I don’t do numbers, how can software help me?
  3. managing literature: imagine a world where your library and database searches link seamlessly  with your citation system and a database of annotated PDFs.  That world can be yours.

If you haven’t thought about what tools you will use for each of these tasks, or if you have thought about it but you’re just not sure what to do, these sessions are for you.  There will be demonstrations of different tools and approaches with guidance and discussion of what tool is best for the job.  If you think you know what software you are going to use, then we invite you to come along and  be challenged: there may be tools on offer that could smooth the way to a successful research project.

Now is the time to move beyond those good old coping strategies and tame the software beast.  These sessions will help you do it.  You can reserve your place on our booking system  which you can also find at https://tinyurl.com/s4s-ucl.

Do you have the skills?

SamanthaAhern11 September 2019

HeDecorativere in Digital Education we know that UCL’s student body is a diverse group with an equally diverse educational background. We also know that digital skills are an essential tool for everyday life and will support your studies.

We are therefore pleased to announce the launch of our new Moodle course Digital Skills Awareness@UCL.

This awareness course outlines the key digital skills you will need for your studies. It will not give you the digital skills – it is for avoiding surprises that make you say “no one told me I needed to know that!”.  It offers tips and advice from a variety of sources, including other first year students and university support staff, as well as helpful links and videos from around the internet.

But this is only part of the picture.

In our Moodle course Digital Learning@UCL, you will learn about the digital tools and services that you will encounter during your studies. This will include everyday services such as Moodle and Lecturecast, our lecturing capturing service, as well as the student blogging service UCL Reflect. The course also provides information about study support services and how to get started with IT services here at UCL.

To find out more about the development opportunities available to you visit the Digital Skills Development webpages.

 

Windows 7 Colour and Font Modifications Missing from Windows 10

Michele CFarmer7 January 2019

The issue is that in previous versions of Windows, you were able to get into the settings to change the colour of the window background, so that when you opened a Microsoft Word or Excel file, the background colour on your screen was your chosen shade.

The window option allowed a colour chart to open up, where you could move the cursor around to find the exact shade you were looking for (alla Win 98, 2000, XP, 2007, etc.). In Microsoft 10, there is no simple option.

The current accessibility options provided by MS for Win 10 are pretty awful.

I have been in touch with Microsoft and they say that due to complaints that they will be bringing this facility back, but we do not know when.

This window is no longer available

Screenshot of Windows 7 colour and appearance options

In the meantime UCL users can access a ‘Screenmasking’ option from a networked piece of software called TextHelp Read and Write. This software is either found on the Desktop@UCL, or from the Software Centre or Database.

Screen-masking Option Menu in TextHelp Read and Write

Digital evening classes?

Jim RTyson1 October 2018

This term, for the first time that I know about, the Digital Skills Development team are offering sessions in the evening. I had intended to write a blog post ready for this morning promoting these sessions and encouraging people to sign up. Alas, I fell behind. However, when I logged on this morning to check our schedule of training and bookings, I was delighted to see that the two evening training sessions for R and RStudio have already attracted more bookings than any other session – and this just a few hours after booking opened!

It will be interesting to find out how popular and successful this experiment is. If the demand is there for out of hours sessions in Digital Skills Development then we may be able to increase the offer. Do you find the idea of an evening class in digital skills attractive? Let us know in the comments.

Developing Digital Scholarship at UCL

MoiraWright23 January 2018

The next UCL Digital Literacy Special Interest Group (UCL DL SIG) will be taking place on Friday February 16th from 2pm – 5pm (ticket link at the end of this post).

Digital content is increasingly being used in learning, teaching and research across the Higher Education sector. This has led to a significant change in research practices across disciplines, which include knowledge creation and dissemination through social media and repositories. Complex software tools are being used for data analysis in Arts and Humanities as well as Sciences, and large data sets are being made available to the research community, leading to a blurring of the organisational and support responsibilities of academic stakeholders. This timely event takes a look at digital scholarship at large, and considers new initiatives and opportunities within UCL to address the challenges associated with this disruptive shift.

Event Programme

Developing Digital Scholarship: Emerging Practices in Academic Libraries – Alison MacKenzie, Dean of Learning Services at Edge Hill University and Lindsay Martin Assistant Head of Learning Services at Edge Hill University.

The impact of digital on libraries has extended far beyond its transformation of content, to the development of services, the extension and enhancement of access to research and to teaching and learning systems.As a result,the fluidity of the digital environment can often be at odds with the more systematic approaches to development traditionally taken by academic libraries, which has also led to a new generation of roles and shifting responsibilities with staff training and development often playing ‘catch-up’. One of the key challenges to emerge is how best to demonstrate expertise in digital scholarship which draws on the specialist technical knowledge of the profession and maintains and grows its relevance for staff, students and researchers.


From digital scholarship to digital scholar  – Alison Hicks, Lecturer UCL Department of Information Studies.

Drawing on her experience working as an academic librarian in the United States, Alison’s presentation centres on the capacities that are needed to participate in practices of digital scholarship, as well as the inherent risks and challenges of engaging in open and networked spaces.


Introduction to Digital Scholarship and Open Research – Daniel van Strien, Research Data Support Officer UCL Library Services.

Daniel will be presenting on a session which aims to help participants make a practical start in practicing open science and digital scholarship he is a Research Data Support Officer within UCL Library Services with an interest in digital scholarship and new approaches to research.


Where’s your digital at? – Moira Wright, Digital Literacy Officer, UCL Digital Education.

With an interest in student digital and information literacy skills for employability. Moira will be talking about the Jisc Digital Capability Discovery Tool and how to get involved in the UCL beta pilot.


Research IT Services – Tom Couch, UCL Research IT Services (RITS).

Whilst many of the existing users of Research IT Services are pushing for more of the same but better, the broadening base of digitally engaged researchers from different disciplines requires more experimentation with new technologies and services. Tom Couch reports on some recent projects that have helped RITS to engage and support new groups of researchers.


Please use this link to book your ticket via Eventbrite

We’re using the Jisc definition of digital literacy: ‘the capabilities which fit someone for living, learning and working in a digital society’.
The UCL DL SIG was created for UCL staff to promote the use of technology in learning, provide a platform to ask questions, exchange ideas and also to get support from colleagues beyond UCL Digital Education.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Where’s your digital at?!

MoiraWright22 January 2018

Discover your digital capabilities! The Digital discovery tool helps you to reflect on your digital expertise and confidence. Find out how to make digital technologies work for you – and get noticed for the skills you have already.

The tool is a self-administered quiz about professional digital practices in education. Workshop participants will receive a personalised report based on their responses with links to resources and guidance. The tool is designed to be reflective, informative and developmental – it’s not an objective measure of an individual’s digital performance.

UCL staff are invited to participate in one of three workshops of the beta pilot with an opportunity to use the tool and provide your feedback to JISC.

Places are limited for these sessions and a sandwich lunch will be provided.

Sign up via Eventbrite use the links below:

Thursday 8th February 2018 from 1 pm – 2pm

Tuesday 20th February 2018 from 1pm – 2pm

Monday 26th February 2018 from 1pm – 2pm

A version for students is planned for March 2018 and we’re keen to give students at UCL an opportunity to participate in the pilot. If you would like to discuss running departmental workshops (either staff or student) please contact Moira Wright.

Links:

JISC digital capability discovery tool

Photo by Emily Morter on Unsplash