Learning in the Time of COVID-19

The COVID-19 outbreak has radically changed the way we all study.  I’ve created a new site to help you adjust to some of those changes:

https://uoe.sharepoint.com/sites/PPLSLearningResources (EASE required)

This new site has information on how to continue to engage with our academic community, learn from the resources you have access to at home, and improve your computing and personal skills.

At this point it’s very much a work in progress.  Still to come are external resources, programming, statistics, philosophy skills, research support and more.  These will take longer to coordinate, but you can expect updates soon.

Three appointments per month

The School of PPLS has reduced the amount of assessment for some courses. That means that we will probably have more to spend on supporting students writing UG and PG dissertations. We will therefore temporarily allow students to book three appointments per month. It doesn’t matter what the topic is; these can be used for your coursework OR your dissertation. This increase will last from March until August. You can take advantage of it immediately.

The situation, of course, changes all the time, so we may update our eligibility constraints again. If you want updates from the PPLS Writing Centre, follow us on Twitter (https://twitter.com/pplswriting).

We’re going online

For the last week, tutors at the PPLS Writing Centre have been meeting students online instead of face-to-face. Today, that arrangement has become our new official policy. We are still open, but we have moved all of our services online.

Every student taking a PPLS course or writing a PPLS dissertation can continue to book two appointments per month with our tutors. You can book these appointments in the usual way. They will be held through Microsoft Teams (https://teams.microsoft.com). You should already have access to Teams with your student account.

This is a volatile period, so we may need to cancel appointments with very little notice. If this happens to you, we will attempt to find a replacement as soon as possible.

You can find a brief set of guidelines in our booking portal. Please make sure to read them carefully so that this transition can be as smooth as possible.

Learn how to program: Experiments

Quite a few students end up needing to run computer-based experiments for their dissertations. As with most skills, it’s usually best to learn how to do this ahead of time: you won’t be under as much pressure that way and there’s a good chance that your knowledge will help you think of more things to investigate.

Alisdair Tullo and Chris Gillespie will be running a series of courses during Flexible Learning Week to help you quickly get up to speed with things. These courses will be highly compressed, so make sure to check the time commitments carefully. Theoretically, it’s possible to attend all three courses, but that will be a major endeavour.

Online Experiments with jsPsych (full, but you can join the waiting list)
Feb 17 (9:00-17:00), Feb 18 (9:00-12:30)

Coding in E-Prime
Feb 18 (14:00-17:00)

Experiments with OpenSesame
Feb 19 (9:00-12:00)

February PhilSkills sessions now booking

If you’d like to know more about writing in Philosophy, consider booking a place on one of the two PhilSkills sessions coming up in February. They’re designed for students in Pre-Honours Philosophy courses, but everyone is welcome to attend. See our PhilSkills page for more details.

Learn reference management and practise programming

Later this week, Andrew Kirk from Digital Skills will be holding a workshop on how to use Mendeley, a popular reference manager. Learning how to use referencing software is a good use of your time; writing becomes so much easier when you don’t have to worry about tracking your citations and updating your bibliography. If you’re interested, consider booking a spot for Oct 25th (12:10-14:00). The workshop will take place in Lecture Theatre 2 in Appleton Tower.

And in early November, Alisdair Tullo will be running a Coding Dojo. This is a 3-hour event for programmers of all abilities. Participants will bring problems to work on, and then teams made up of both beginning and expert programmers will work on solutions. At the end, you’ll discuss the various ideas you came up with and share some tea and cake. Interested parties should complete the registration form for Nov 8th (14:10-17:00). The location for this one is Room 2.14 in the Lister Learning and Teaching Centre.

Pre-honours workshops now available

We have finalised our pre-honours workshops for 2019 and are now accepting bookings.

These workshops are aimed primarily at first-year students and will be fairly large, but we’ll keep things interactive through the use of online voting and discussions. You’ll look closely at excerpts from real student essays to see which approaches work and which do not.

Visit our workshop page now to see what’s on offer. And make sure to create a Top Hat student account in order to participate (instructions here). The first workshop starts next Monday, so act now.

PhilSkills for Pre-Honours Philosophy

Every year, the Philosophy department runs PhilSkills workshops to help undergraduate students improve the skills they need to succeed in their studies.

Each of these workshops is designed with a particular course in mind, but all interested students are welcome to attend. The first one is “How to Read Philosophy” by Jade Fletcher on Sept 27th. If you’d like to come, please visit the registration site to book your spot today.