Tech’ top tips – #47. Taking shortcuts

This tip is provided by the Centre for Enhancing Learning through Technology (CELT). The images in this post will expand when clicked.

Ctrl Windows AltWhen using the Windows PC’s around campus, a number of keyboard shortcuts are available to help make life easier when navigating around the systems.

Keyboard shortcuts can also help with accessibility of systems – here are a few you may know already and some you may not.

  • Ctrl + C – copy highlighted items
  • Ctrl + X – cut selected text
  • Ctrl + V – paste copied items
  • Ctrl + Z – undo
  • Ctrl + A – select all items on screen
  • Ctrl + E – centre selected items (e.g. text or images in Microsoft Word)

 

  • Windows + D – display the desktop (minimise all windows)
  • Windows + L – lock the PC
  • Windows + N – create a new Note in OneNote

 

  • PrintScreen – capture the entire screen
  • Ctrl+Alt+PrintScreen – capture only the active window
  • Alt + Tab – toggle through open windows

The above represents only a few handy keyboard shortcuts, use the comments field below to add your own useful keyboard shortcuts.

Tech’ top tips – #39. Head(ing)s we all win!

This tip is provided by the Centre for Enhancing Learning through Technology (CELT). The images in this post will expand when clicked.

When writing using Microsoft Word it is useful to use the Heading Styles to ensure our documents remain as accessible as possible.

The Heading Styles in MS Word

To our eyes, formatting headings and sub-headings using just the font size/colour, bold and underline functions may look ok but to the computer these cosmetic changes mean nothing. By using the built in Headings Styles, we ensure that our headings are preserved for those reading our documents in different formats (on the web or as .pdf). More importantly accessibility technology such as screen readers will translate our headings properly and our documents will be more accessible.

Tech’ top tips – #37. High contrast in Blackboard

This tip is provided by the Centre for Enhancing Learning through Technology (CELT). The images in this post will expand when clicked.

After a long weekend in the sun I’ve been inspired to write about high contrast and Blackboard today.

As described in the previous Tech’ Top Tip #12 – Making the Computer Work for You; by applying themes and high contrast modes in Windows can help provide a tailored experience where required.

But how do we make sure Blackboard remains accessible?

As Blackboard is accessed over the Internet the web browser (Chrome, Firefox, Edge etc.) that we use should respect and apply any themes or high contrast mode that we have set in Windows. However, should you find that Blackboard is not being displayed in accordance with your preferences you can tell Blackboard to use the Operating System (Windows) styles by clicking on your name in the top right-hand corner of the screen and selecting Settings.

In here you will see a ‘High Contrast Setting’ link. Clicking this enables us to set Blackboard to ‘Yes, I will use Operating System styles to overwrite Blackboard styles’.

Select this and click the Submit button and Blackboard will then apply the theme or high contrast mode rather than its own style.

Tech’ top tips – #30. Making PowerPoint work for you

This tip is provided by the Centre for Enhancing Learning through Technology (CELT).

We’ve all been there – a big presentation, whether it be for work or study, and the presenter shows a million text filled PowerPoint slides and just reads the screen. The entire audience falls asleep and more importantly the messages are not conveyed.

So what can we do when using PowerPoint to make our presentations more engaging and accessible?

The first piece of advice is to remember that the PowerPoint slides are not the entire presentation. The presentation is made up of components; yes, we may have some slides to display but the main component of the presentation is you!

Remember that our PowerPoint slides are only there to augment and prompt us when presenting. The idea is that we use the visual elements to emphasise our key points using text and images to ensure those who learn in different ways find it easier to engage. For example; a paragraph of text about an important moment in history may be accurate and contain key points, but a picture depicting the messages helps us to visualise and absorb the information more easily.

However, be careful when using images, as too many pictures can be confusing – especially if the images are not explicitly linked to the topic. As always when using images, it is important that we are aware of copyright and that we only use images to which we are entitled and we must reference image sources.

Embedded video can be another tool to ensure we get our message across in a succinct way. If we are presenting on an established topic it is likely that somebody will have made a video and, within reason and with appropriate acknowledgement, there’s no harm in re-purposing available materials. As with images, being aware of copyright and referencing our videos is important. We should always try to use videos that have captions or subtitles included and enable these when playing the video to the audience.

We must also think about accessibility – paragraphs of black text on white slides is not only pretty boring it is not an accessible way of conveying messages. We need to think about using contrasting colours, accessible fonts and limiting the amount of text using bullet points. Not only for when we display our slides but also when they are printed as some audience members may require a printed version. A good tip is to use the Slide Master function to set an accessible convention that propagates through to all of the slides – this makes it easy for us to ensure our slides are consistent and we can quickly change the look and feel of our whole presentation should we need to.

An example PowerPoint slideHere’s an example of a slide that is used when explaining the function of different connectors on a device. The pastel background was set using the Slide Master function, there is a clear picture of the connectors that are being talked about and there is minimal text content. Yes, this may look pretty simple and it might even look boring, but with an engaging, scripted, delivery and the video that is linked from the slide I have a nice piece of content that includes different elements and will not put my audience to sleep.

Tech’ top tips – #12. Making the computer work for you

This tip is provided by the Centre for Enhancing Learning through Technology (CELT).

The Ease of Access iconWhether on campus or when using Windows 10 at home, a number of accessibility options are available for colleagues and students to tailor the PC for specific needs.

To open the Windows 10 Ease of Access centre click on the Start button and type ‘Ease’ or use the Windows key + I keyboard shortcut and click on Ease of Access. In here you will find a number of options that relate to the PC reading screen content, a built in magnifier and the option to select one of the pre-set high contrast settings.

Selecting a high contrast settingTo complement these functions DMU expects, through policy, all written learning materials and content that is accessible through Blackboard to be available in a downloadable and modifiable format. This helps to ensure that the Ease of Access tools work as effectively as possible for students and colleagues who need them.

If you need help with enabling the Ease of Access tools or with any of the other Assistive Technology available at DMU, please pop in to the Kimberlin Library or check out the Assistive Technology Library Guide here https://libguides.library.dmu.ac.uk/at

Tech’ top tips – #3. Shortcuts to success

This tip is provided by the Centre for Enhancing Learning through Technology.

When using the Windows PC’s around campus, a number of keyboard shortcuts are available to help make life easier when navigating around the systems.

Keyboard shortcuts can also help with accessibility of systems – here are a few you may know already and some you may not.

Ctrl Windows Alt
[CC0], from Wikimedia Commons
Ctrl + C – copy highlighted items
Ctrl + X – cut selected text
Ctrl + V – paste copied items
Ctrl + Z – undo
Ctrl + A – select all items on screen
Ctrl + E – centre selected items (e.g. text or images in Microsoft Word)

Windows + D – display the desktop (minimise all windows)
Windows + L – lock the PC
Windows + N – create a new Note in OneNote

PrintScreen – capture the entire screen
Ctrl+Alt+PrintScreen – capture only the active window

Alt + Tab – toggle through open windows

The above represents only a few handy keyboard shortcuts, use the comments field below to add your own useful keyboard shortcuts.