Last month we welcomed Nick Jensen to the FMS TEL team, as Senior Digital Skills Demonstrator.
Nick has joined the FMS TEL team to cover the role of Senior Demonstrator. Nick is co-ordinating a group of PGRs who assume the role of Digital Skills Demonstrators. As part of the wider remit of the department he delivers our digital skills provision, teaching students digital skills and techniques.
Nick brings insider knowledge with him, having previously been a Digital Skills Demonstrator himself for a four-year period from 2019 to 2023.
Using a problem based approach to help students help themselves, Nick and our team offer digital capabilities instruction in sessions that both directly and indirectly support student work (from undergraduate course assignments to PhD theses). We offer more than 100 sessions, serving over 2000 students each year. We deliver sessions both on campus and online.
“Having worked with the FMS TEL Digital Skills team for more than 4 years, applying to the Senior Demonstrator role was the perfect progression. I have previous managerial experience in the Further Education sector, and with my long-term career goals of procuring an academic support role in Higher Education, this role seemed like a logical next step. Since commencing the role some highlights have been running a staff training session for new and returning demonstrators, being involved with a Senior colleague in their interviewing processes and getting to put my own stamp on the teaching resources through re-vamping the content.”
Michelle Miller shared her work in digital skills and accessibility at the Learning and Teaching Conference in March this year. This poster shows how you can improve your PDFs’ accessibility using Adobe Acrobat Pro, including common issues flagged by Ally, the accessibility checker in Canvas. All colleagues have access to this software.
In FMS and SAgE, students can produce heavily mathematical theses. These can be difficult to manage in Microsoft Word as it is not designed for documents that include a lot of equations and other mathematical notations. Furthermore, theses are often very large documents with each chapter in a separate file. Compiling those chapters into a single document is something that LaTeX is ideal for. It was designed with professional typesetting so that users can focus on their content and not the style of the document.
Here at FMS TEL, we added a session in LaTeX to our catalogue of digital skills sessions a few years ago, and since the pandemic we have transitioned this to a webinar with some interactivity.
LaTeX is an open-source mark-up language so the training sessions are on primarily on learning the LaTeX code. This enables postgraduates to set up their documents from scratch or, more likely, to modify pre-existing templates such as the template that we provide them on the Digital Skills Hub or working a boilerplate paper. The slides used in the session are also provided on the Digital Skills Hub as well as some additional materials used during the session such as the graph files used.
Sessions are in two parts and cover how to set up your document in LaTeX, incorporating comments, mathematics, images, bibliography and references, tables and matrices, and more. There are many different LaTeX editors but the training session is built around the Overleaf.com editor as that is completely in the cloud and therefore nothing needs to be installed to be able to use it. It is free to use unless collaboration is needed with a document or other advanced needs. Skills learned with this editor should be easily transferable to other editors.
We have had a great response to the LaTeX training session. It is always very popular and we get a lot of positive feedback from participants.
Are you supervising a postgraduate student? If so, consider recommending Digital Skills workshops to help them with the process of formatting their thesis.
Digital Skills offers a series of four workshops specifically designed to help postgraduate students to format their thesis effectively and efficiently in Microsoft Word to University standards.
Sessions cover the use of Styles, caption and cross-referencing, customising multilevel lists, managing images and tables, modifying EndNote output, and merging chapter files. These skills provide students with the ability to create a successfully formatted thesis.
The first in the series of sessions takes place on 21st October 10-12pm. Encourage your students to sign up now via Workshops. Alternatively, students can complete the tutorial in their own time via the Digital Skills website.