Tag Archives: library

Getting online when you arrive on campus

Apps on mobile phones
Image courtesy of jfingas (Flickr).

This week’s blog post considers how to make the most of the online environment at your university or college.

When you arrive in the UK and begin your course of study at a UK college or university you will need to get used to going from one place to another on a daily basis, between buildings, across campus or even between campuses if your place of study is a large one. The teaching timetable will require that you quickly get to know the location of lecture theatres, seminar rooms, computer workstations and possibly labs, and of course, administrative offices, the library and student union facilities (including shops and restaurants) as well. Don’t worry! Even if at first you get lost, you can ask other students for directions and it won’t take you long to learn.

However, for some aspects of your study programme you will be able to save time and effort by using your institution’s online facilities. Your library will almost certainly have an online website and online catalogue which you access from anywhere, log in and use to search for course books and other materials that you need to read or reserve to collect later.

Setting up and regularly checking a university or college email account is very important and one of the very first things to do after you arrive. Your lecturers will often contact you by this means to make you aware of important dates and events for your course diary. Your institution’s administration will also use it to contact you. You may be able to arrange an appointment to see your tutor by sending a polite and clear email (although some tutors prefer to use a signup sheet on their door to show when they are available to see students individually).

It is very likely that your college or university will have a downloadable and dedicated institutional app for your phone. This can be customised by you, and may provide information while your are on the move about your timetable, the library, campus maps, local bus times, your modules, student news and social events and much more. Find the computer support service on your institutional website to find out how to download the app.

So after you have physically arrived on campus, don’t forget to get yourself online!

If you have a question related to academic life and study in the UK and you can’t find the answer in the Prepare for Success learning resources, write it on the Question Wall and we will try to answer it here in the blog next time.

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How can I access my university or college library and course reading online?

This week’s blog post is in reply to a question from a student comment on the post about digital literacy skills: “Could I use any E-book reader, like Kindle reader, to download the tutorial references or academic books? By this way, would it be cheaper and more convenient than buy real book or borrow from the library?”

Lecturers’ recommended course reading material that is in a digital format, such as e-books, scanned chapters or articles in online journals, to which your institution subscribes, will usually have to be accessed through your university library’s online catalogue. To download it, especially if you are off-campus, there will be a secure login procedure (e.g. VPN). Regarding the use of a Kindle reader, most of the large e-book collections (Ebrary, MyLibrary, EBSCO) allow e-books to be downloaded onto such devices, but not all. The best way to find out whether a particular e-book reader is compatible or not is to look at the ‘help’ pages online that can usually be linked to from each e-book.

Your course reading lists are likely to contain many items – not all of them available as e-books or in another digitised format – so you may wish to select essential books to buy, and borrow (or access) others through your library. Important books are often in a reserve section of the library so that as many students as possible can read them.

Check out your university or college library website to find out more about the range of resources they hold in your subject area and how you can access them.

If you have a question related to academic life and study in the UK and you can’t find the answer in the Prepare for Success learning resources, write it on the Question Wall and we will try to answer it here in the blog next time.

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What digital literacy skills are needed for study in the UK?

Two students using laptopsThis week’s blog post is in reply to a librarian who has been asked to help identify resources for teaching literacy skills relevant for students coming to study in UK higher education from her college. The student needs she mentions are “adapting to big libraries; information search skills (online) and use of e-resources expected in the UK.”

Mobile phone showing a PLEA free resource that may help educators and support staff as well as students themselves is The Digital Literacies Toolkit – a free set of learning resources to help students and educators explore a range of web 2.0 tools that can be used for study-support purposes, and to raise awareness of good practice in relation to social software.

If you have a question related to academic life and study in the UK and you can’t find the answer in the Prepare for Success learning resources, write it on the Question Wall and we will try to answer it here in the blog next time.

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