Do you spend a lot of your time worried about all the things you have to do? The PPLS Skills Centre has collected a set of video courses on getting organised. You might want to try “Getting Things Done”, a 30-minute course that presents a systematic way to get your to-do list out of your head so you have mental space to concentrate on actually doing your work. You’ll get that time back and more. For this collection and others, visit the “Developing your skills” section at the PPLS Learning Resources site on SharePoint. If you need to get access to LinkedIn Learning, visit “The Fundamentals“.
Social distancing will probably be in place for a while, so it’s important to think about how to carry out experiments in a way that doesn’t put anyone at risk. If you’re an MSc student, you’ll have already heard about the various options that are available to you from the PPLS Postgrad Hub on Learn. But these options are also important for PhD students who are working on long-term projects. And third-year undergraduates might want to start thinking about getting ready for next year.
That’s why our SharePoint site has a section dedicated to ways of recruiting participants and carrying out appointments online. Have a look and see if the work you want to do can still be carried out.
Did you find something new to read in our PPLS DiscoverEd lists last week? Did you go through the first chapter of a book, get excited about continuing, and then… forget to return to it? Try making a reading club so that you can stay motivated and talk about what you learn with others in PPLS. If you’re not sure who to invite, let us ask around for you. Just pick out a book, create a discussion area, and tell us about it so that we can advertise it to everyone else. Instructions and tips are available at https://uoe.sharepoint.com/sites/PPLSLearningResources/SitePages/How-to-form-learning-communities.aspx.
We all know that people have been stocking up on groceries, but there hasn’t been as much news about stocking up on books. But that’s just what happened in late March: book sales jumped (see https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-52048582 and https://www.theguardian.com/books/2020/mar/25/book-sales-surge-self-isolating-readers-bucket-list-novels). Lots of people are catching up on the reading that they’d been meaning to get around to.
So what are we to do in PPLS? The main library might be locked up, but our e-resources are still available. There are hundreds of books available in each of our disciplines. All we need to do is get some coffee and click on the titles that sound interesting. But that raises another question: what to choose?
I’ve tried to help you answer that question. I went digging through all the PPLS reading lists on Leganto for books that have been assigned in our courses. Then, I checked each title in DiscoverEd to see if electronic copies were available, and assembled the results in three large spreadsheets. You can access these spreadsheets as PDFs by visiting our Learning Resources site (https://uoe.sharepoint.com/sites/PPLSLearningResources) and choosing either “DiscoverEd lists” from the top menu or “Learning more about your field” from the panels in the centre. Browse through the titles and see if anything jumps out. There might be a book that was recommended in one of your earlier courses that you never got around to reading. You could also try looking ahead to topics you’re thinking about taking in future semesters. Or what about exploring another part of PPLS? I’m in Linguistics, but I can see that there are three titles on “Sentence Comprehension” just waiting for me in Psychology.
Not all of us have time on our hands right now, of course, but many of those who do have a lot of it. If you’re in the latter category, I hope you’ll have a look.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
Alisdair Tullo and Chris Gillespie are running two computer programming courses in the second semester. Interested students and staff members from PPLS should follow these links for more information. Both courses will run for five weeks.
Java Programming with Processing (Tuesdays 14:10-16:00)
Intermediate Programming with Python (Thursdays 14:10-16:00)