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 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.

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.

New to programming?

If you’ve never programmed before, I’d recommend learning how. It’s a great tool to have in your belt, even if you’re not sure how it applies to your current research. Almost anyone who works with a computer on a regular basis can save time and do more with just a smattering of the basics.

Alisdair Tullo, our Programming and Applications Manager in PPLS, is starting up a 5-week course for students and staff members who haven’t tried programming before. It will start on the week of Sept 23rd and will be held at the Lister Learning and Teaching Centre. Anyone who’s interested should follow this link for more details:

https://softdev.ppls.ed.ac.uk/secure/signup/prog/

MSc Dissertation Support at the Writing Centre

Everyone writing an MSc dissertation will be aware that July is upon us. I took my MSc in Linguistics & English Language back in 2012-2013 and can still remember how it felt when June came to an end. Of course, submitting a dissertation is never a stress-free experience, but the PPLS Writing Centre would like to make sure that you’re adequately supported as you come into the home stretch. Accordingly, we’ve extended our offerings and organised a series of events in July to help you finish up.

Continue reading “MSc Dissertation Support at the Writing Centre”

IAD dissertation help for taught MSc students

The PPLS Writing Centre will soon roll out PPLS-specific workshops, boot camps and more for PGT students working on dissertations. But there is also a series of events in June created by the Institute for Academic Development, which supports students across all departments.

The offerings include workshops on planning, structure, writing, editing, and proofreading. There are also writing boot camps to provide you with a peaceful working environment.

For more, click on this link. Make sure to book well in advance.

Linguistics workshop now available

The last of our spring workshops is now open for bookings. It was developed by Mirjam Eiswirth, who is our most senior linguistics tutor. She has used her experience of delivering nearly 100 appointments to develop a series of activities designed to help students achieve distinction in their writing. There is a particular focus on sociolinguistics, but all students are welcome to attend.

As always, check our workshops page for the link.