Tech’ top tips – #38. Wellbeing, a few pointers for you

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

While social media is a great way to keep in touch with friends, family and is even used in some contexts for learning; it is important that we are mindful about how we use social media and the potential negative effects on our health.

This article (, March 2016) is particularly interesting as it relates our use of online social spaces to our real-life insecurities and how our online behaviour can court these emotions and feelings, thus leading to a negative effect.

However it’s not all bad news. There are mindfulness app’s that we can install to help track and limit our use of potentially negative habit-forming platforms. There is also lots of advice about being mindful and healthy when interacting in online social spaces. A quick Google search will return numerous sites and articles – here’s a couple of examples to get you started:

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 – #36. Can you do the splits?

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

When working with long documents or spreadsheets it can be really useful to use the Split Window view to help with formatting, reading and to track calculations. I find this especially useful in the following scenarios:

1. When inserting images or graphs into Word splitting the window helps to ensure I get the alignment and placement consistent throughout the document. Selecting View>Split means that I can scroll through different sections of the document and make sure formatting is consistent.Here’s how the draft of this post looks when split in MS Word. By splitting the window I can get my images sized consistently before aligning them.
2. When electronic papers are provided for meetings it is useful to split the window to ensure we see any papers while keeping of the agenda. Here’s an example of a 72 page set of amalgamated meeting papers with the agenda (page 1) at the top and one of the associated papers (page 23) showing in the bottom half of the screen. To create this view in Adobe Reader click View>Split.
3. As mentioned, splitting the window can help us to keep track of large spreadsheets but unlike Word and Reader Excel can be spilt two ways to enable four separate areas of a spreadsheet to be viewed simultaneously. This spreadsheet ranges from A:1 to CV:5712 but with a split I can see all four corners at the same time.

Tech’ top tips – #35. Keep your feedback in a safe place

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

The TurnItIn Download iconWhen using TurnItIn for feedback, students may wish to download their feedback for reviewing offline and to ensure a copy is taken for backup.

Feedback can be downloaded from the TurnItIn Feedback Studio by clicking the Download icon toward the right of the screen and selecting ‘Current view’. This will produce a .zip file with a marked-up version of the submission containing the feedback.

Tech’ top tips – #34. Loan a laptop and other Library support

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

Don’t forget – you can still loan a laptop from the Kimberlin Library for up to 3 hours. Ask at the front desk for details if you need to borrow a laptop.

There are also PC’s around the quiet study and more general zones of the library along with the PC’s that are stationed around the various campus buildings.

For more information on computer availability and further extended library support as we near the end of the academic year click through to this post

Tech’ top tips – #33. Office templates

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

Saving a PowerPoint templateA tip I learnt recently is how to create templates in Microsoft Office to save setting up styles each time. I have known for a while how to edit the Normal template to ensure MS Word behaves just how I like it when opening a new document but using this technique we can create templates for all Office applications.

In this example, I’ll look at PowerPoint – yes there’s the Master slide view for ensuring consistency within a deck of slides but what if we’re delivering a series of presentations and want each one to be on point. Using a template we can ensure the formatting, fonts, placeholders etc. are the same every time.

Opening your PowerPoint templateOpen a new blank PowerPoint presentation and use the Slide Master view to get the themes and other elements just how you want them. Now, close the Side Master and click on File>Save As – in the drop down box select PowerPoint Template (*.potx). Notice that the save location automatically changes to your local Custom Templates folder. Click Save to save the template and the next time you open PowerPoint or click File>New you will be able to select your template. Here’s my view of File New in PowerPoint with a couple of templates I have available.

Thanks to Anna Richards for the inspiration for this tip!

Tech’ top tips – #32. Assessment round up

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

As its assessment season for undergraduate students, here’s a recap of a few assessment tips when using the learning technology at DMU. Full online help can be found by clicking the UserGuide link in Blackboard or dropping in to a CELT student drop-in session, Kimberlin Library Collaboratory, Wednesday lunchtime.

TurnItIn – it is really important that students obtain a digital receipt from TurnItIn. After you have uploaded your submission, please make sure you click the final Confirm button and this will ensure TurnItIn sends you an email with your digital receipt. If you do not receive this email please report this to your module leader or tutor. The TurnItIn Confirm button


A TurnItIn digital receipt notification

DMU Replay – when submitting multimedia files please make sure the file is rendered with an audio track, even if there is no audio. Also, as with TurnItIn, if you do not receive the email confirming that your upload has been processed please contact the module leader or tutor.
Online tests – unless told otherwise, please only use the installed version of the Internet Explorer web browser when taking online Blackboard tests in labs. If you need/are able to move back to previous questions please do not use the Back button in Internet Explorer, there are buttons within the test for navigating around if you need to. The Blackboard Test navigation buttons