Collaborating on Blackboard

Blackboard themes

“I have changed the look and feel of Blackboard to make it easier for me to find my way around, read course titles and find documents.  I set it up how I like it and then you can personalise your page (top right of the menus). I chose the forest theme because I found it had quite subtle shades and it was easy to see and use and it wasn’t too stark.  Then you click on submit at the bottom of the page, and it puts it all into place for you. But then I was working with someone who did not like my colours so I used the Internet Options in Internet Explorer to quickly make it easier for her to read content with a blue background.”  (High Contrast mode is also available through the My Places menu on Blackboard)

blue colour background for Blackboard

Sarah – nursing

Opera browser has handy mouse gestures

“I use Opera rather than Internet Explorer to go back a page – right click and a left click, straight one after the other, that makes going back so much easier! Not using Alt / L & R Arrow. I also used Firefox a bit, but Opera is much nicer. You have to do right click followed by left click very quickly!”

” I prefer the layout so much more and the keyboard and mouse shortcuts are so useful. For instance I use right click followed by left click to go back a web page or just the z key.” The YouTube video below illustrates what is possible with mouse gestures.

I find the automatic reloading of a page useful when working on forums which you can customise to however many minutes or seconds you want. Opera also allows you to add your chosen search engines as part of the menu. There is also a function called ‘speed dial’ that provides you with your 4 most important web sites”

Chloe – Psychology

iPhone for organisation image capture, notes and using iCloud

icloud on mobile“I was given an iPhone that I use for calendars, calls, texting with speak selection, camera shots of articles using Image to text and video capturing of lectures.  I use it to organise everything and sync with iCloud so I can view and work online from my desktop as well.  This does not work for videos at the moment – those have to go through iTunes.”

Fiona – Multimedia and Design

iCloud-transfer.com is the site which can provide you with the iCloud tips/tricks, iCloud tutorials, and iCloud resources to help you use iCloud easily

Free iPhone 4 light app for reading

iphone lightI find that when I am trying to read very small sized text the free LED light app can be incredibly useful.  It can act as a torch and also has a flashing option and SOS setting!. Just double tap the touch screen to turn it on providing you are not using VoiceOver – when you have select the icon first and then double tap. The menu items can be read back with voice. The battery drains pretty quickly if the light is used for too long.

Jane – Researcher

iSoton app for bus timetable, campus map and lecture timetable.

soton iPhone app“I use the free university iPhone bus timetable and map app when I am in a hurry and need to find my way about.  It also has my timetable and modules.”

Nicole  – Engineering

Audio Notetaker used with an Olympus Digital Recorder

“I have found Audio Notetaker very useful for gathering quotes from audio recordings when interviewing people as well as recording and making note from lectures.  You can also see PowerPoint slides alongside the audio sections and jump to each section. It has saved so much time when I used to have to work through the recordings on my Olympus recorder

Taking Notes Live with Audio Notetaker – YouTube Video

Google Calendar synchronise appointments with alarms for reminders

“I keep a diary for appointments then I have a Calendar for committee stuff with reminders and I set alarms that all synchronise.”

Aiden – Oceanography
Google Sync for Mobile YouTube video

Lipreading issues and Podcasts to review lectures on audiology

“I also use my glasses in lecturers so that I can lip read, but if the lecturer turns away from me I might as well give up! It bugs me not to be able to see clearly but it makes me even crosser when they forget that I depend on seeing their face not the back of their head! It was a much bigger issue with the larger groups up in York and ISVR has smaller groups so I can cope. But it would help if lecturers could remember to face the audience rather than talk to the board”

“If I can’t hear I just leave it, but it might be quite a good idea [to put audio versions of lectures on Blackboard].  If there’s something that you’re a bit confused about, you can go back and listen to it again in your own time.”

Sarah – ISVR

There are some examples of podcasts about different audiology topics which have been provided by the Medical University of South Carolina.  They are all well laid out and have transcriptions.podcast library webpage

 

Dim screen for note taking in lectures

“A problem of using a laptop in class can be the light given off by the laptop’s display. I found sitting at the back of the class stopped a lot of this unwanted attention, but this also had the disadvantage that you might not be able to see/hear what the lecturer was saying. Instead, I found a simple remedy which is free. 99% of laptops have the ability to dim the screen’s brightness, either by using the function keys (FN + F6 & F7 on some laptops) or from the graphics display properties available in control panel – under the display settings. Some laptops also offer dimming as part of the Power options in Windows.

Dim laptop screen

Dim laptop screen

By dimming the screen you will reduce glare – reducing eyestrain, reduce unwanted attention and will also save your laptops batteries from being drained – advantages all round!”

Jim –  Information Technology in Organisations