What do you do if a technology isn’t working?


OK, well, I’ve managed to get most of the egg off my face, found my draft version and updated it. This is the last of the week and of 5 Days of Digital Literacy. No idea why the content of this post disappeared, but.. hey, sometimes technology goes wrong, sorry about that… funnily enough…

Encouraging changes

One of the most notable and encouraging changes I’ve witnessed over the last 20 years of working with people and technology is that when things go wrong, as they sometimes do, the audience and presenter, or the person sat at their desk, tend to take it more in their stride these days. There is an assumption that things sometimes go wrong, and that there is usually a solution at hand.

Indeed, if there’s a problem or need for information, we tend to be more self-directed these days.  If you didn’t know how to sort the rows and columns of data to your liking in Excel, or how to type a # on a Mac keyboard, if you wanted to know how to make a white sauce, or change a spark plug in a VW Golf, I’d wager you’d Google it, or search for the answer on YouTube without hesitation, before asking someone else. (Those are all things I have recently Google, by the way.)

Later in the post we’ll look at how to log a job with IT Services, if you just can’t find the answer, but I thought I’d share a couple of tips of my own, on a couple of common problems. (I’m not sure they’ll be able to help you with white sauce.)

  1. My Desktop is running really slow today

Are you asking too much of your machine? You may have too many programmes open (so close some), not enough space on your hard drive (contact IT Services and get more space, or delete things and then empty your trash), or something which I’ve been guilty of is having too many applications and shortcuts on the desktop. Does your desktop look like this:


This can significantly slow down start up, and can hamper its speed once it is up and running. I solved it by making a new folder on my desktop, then dragging and dropping everything into that folder. Ideally you need to be saving things into your documents folders. You may be surprised how much quicker your machine works afterwards.

If the Internet is slow ask your colleagues if theirs is also slow, if it is then you should log it. If it’s just your machine, then check that you aren’t running lots of programmes, or have loads of tabs open. If it continues, then log it.

  1. How can I adjust the volume in the classroom?

Are the lectern AND the computer on? The lectern should come on if you wave your hand over the control panel and wiggle the mouse. The computer is usually sitting in a box near your knee, and sometimes people switch it off.

No sound?  There’s usually three different volume controls to deal with: the software, the machine, the lectern. Be methodical in your approach:image001

  • Check the volume on the software you are using e.g. YouTube, or the media player you’re using to play your video/audio.
  • Then check the computer volume which, on a PC, is down on the right hand side of your screen, click it and see if it’s been muted or is very low.
  • And then check the one on the lectern, which is the big knob in the middle of the control panel.

The first place to look for support in a classroom is in the Teaching Room Technologies guide which will be on a wall in a clear plastic tray by the lectern. This will run through Getting Started and common questions for the technologies specific to that room.

If you come across a problem with the technology in a room, please log it straight away. This will not only help your colleagues and students, but will benefit you on your return.

Places to find answer and training materials

We’ve mentioned a number of excellent resources during 5 Days of Digital Literacy. Here’s a quick reminder:

  • Lynda.com – I have to say I use this more and more to dip into and find ‘good’ concise answers to software queries.
  • Google and Advanced Google Search – have a look at our post from the first week of 5 Days
  • YouTube – the number one search engine for under 20’s.

and then you have our University resources (please let me know of any in the comments so I can add them)

  • For assistance with technologies in classrooms, look for the Teaching Room Technology Guide printed for that room.
  • MyPlayer – I’m often asked how to do things in/on MyPlayer – there’s lots of tutorials on there, use the search.  There’s lots of tutorials on all kinds of University-related things in there.
  • Also, have a look at the LibraryIT ServicesAnglia Learning & Teaching and HR Staff Development.


If you have a problem that you cannot solve, then contact IT Services – they can’t fix it if they don’t know about it. There are 3 main ways to log a job:

  1. IT Self Service portal  – You simply log in with your current username and password. Take a look now for quick access to requesting support, raising incidents or acquiring new IT hardware.
  2. HELP – dialling 4357, (which spells HELP on your phone keypad) is the best extension to find them. The CST desk takes around 30,000 phone calls per year (2016), with the busiest times being between 09.00 – 09.15, and it gets very quiet from 4.45pm onwards, so if it’s non-urgent, remember we are open until 6pm.
  3. You can also log problems via email. Between April – December 2016 saw over 9,500 emails to itsupport@anglia.ac.uk and if you’re used to this method, you might be ready to try using our online self-service portal, which helps you to effectively log and view any jobs that you have with us and check on their status.

You can find all our contact details and opening hours on the Contact Us webpage as well as a huge wealth of information on IT Services and Software and how to get started or learn more.


To complete this week’s activities and qualify for the digital badge, please complete this short survey. As the survey is anonymous you’ll ned to let me know you’ve completed it by leaving a comment in the blog post here.

Thank you for engaging with ‘5 Days’. We hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as we have.  Please be patient with the badges – I will get around to you.

Very best wishes from the Anglia Learning & Teaching team.

Anglia Learning & Teaching website

Anglia Learning & Teaching Staff Development opportunities

Come to our annual Leaning and Teaching Conference!



Lynda.com is an impressive online learning tool that we’ve been using at Anglia Ruskin since 2014. It has free, professional, certificated online courses available to all staff and students. You don’t have to complete courses you can simply dip in to lynda.com for reference (a bit like a professional, no-nonsense YouTube search). Or you can use it to build your CV by completing courses (you can also easily add the certificates to your LinkedIn account if you have one), get new staff up to speed with software, teach students skills needed for the task in hand, etc.

There’s over 4,000 courses in personal and professional development, software tools and methodology, higher education study skills and many more subject areas. lynda.com is heavily used by both students and staff and we currently have 4,250 active users.


  • 4,250 active users, 450 of which are new since 1 September 2016!
  • We’ve completed watching over 170,000 videos as an institution, in over 11,000 hours and lynda.com has issued 1,930 certificates of completion
  • The top 5 courses of all time are: Excel 2013, Word 2013, PowerPoint 2013, Outlook 2013 and the Foundations of Object Oriented Programming.


Find something in lynda.com that would be useful to you or your students/staff/colleagues, either personally or in your work, and post a link here in this blog post.

  1. Log in directly to Lynda.com by going to http://arul.ink/lynda and use your University username and password. Your username should look like this: jlw1@anglia.ac.uk – your password is your usual staff password.
  2. Enter a search term in the big white search box at the top of the page in Lynda.com. I want you to find something that you’re interested.
  3. Go into one of the courses and look for the Share button.
  4. Copy and paste the link into the comments section of this blog.

Screen Shot 2017-03-02 at 14.54.31.png

Going Further:

I believe you’d benefit greatly from watching this introductory video about Lynda, that was presented at the last Anglia Learning & Teaching DigiFest event, as a ‘lightning’ presentation.

There’s more information here.

IT Services can put on  demo sessions for your team or Faculty; just ask at ittraining@anglia.ac.uk. If you would like a quiet space to study lynda.com content, or any online training materials, check out our IT Training Clinic sessions. These are staff PC lab sessions facilitated by our IT Trainer.



What is reddit?

Self-styled as ‘The front page of the Internet’, reddit is a social media/news aggregator and forum. People from around the world post links to just about anything (and I mean ANYTHING) from cat pics to serious political topics. Contentious matters may be tagged [NSFW] (i.e. Not Suitable For Work) and are definitely not for the faint-hearted. There is now a Content Policy and reddit will ban users and delete content that violates this code.

Wild West

There’s no two ways about it, reddit can feel like the internet version of the wild west, and the design of it is looks like it was knocked up 10 mins before the hand-in deadline, by someone who hates design. However, the simplicity of it, and the freedom it facilitates, its worldwide reach, and uninhibited access is arguably everything that is good and powerful about social media and the web.

reddit statistics gathered at the end of 2016:

  • 234 million unique users
  • 853,824 subreddits
  • 11,464 active communities
  • 217 countries with users
  • 8 billion page views
  • 25 million votes

Users, who are anonymous, can choose to upvote or downvote posts, and the most popular posts will rise to the Front Page. In addition to voting, users can comment on posts but be warned, as with all public forums, a fairly high proportion of users are puerile trolls and you may encounter some unpleasant attitudes (NB Don’t feed the trolls – i.e. do not argue with them, just ignore them). This is despite the rules of Reddiquette. Users may also flag a thread as [SERIOUS], which usually keeps away the trolls.


reddit is divided/organised into ‘subreddits’ which are dedicated forums for specific interests.

‘So what has this got to do with my work?’

The power of reddit can arguably be boiled down to these three things:

  1. Information – there’s so much that can be gained from the ‘hive mind
  2. Debate – debating in ‘serious’ subreddits can be beneficial to everyone.
  3. Contact – you can benefit from being in contact with people wanting to talk about the same things, whether they are just interested parties, or top professionals in any subject and area of life, from astronauts to film stars, scientists and businesses people.

Finding useful information

Filtering information is primarily achieved by browsing and/or subscribing to subreddits. The subreddits to which I have subscribed include Higher Education, Cambridge (the city rather than the university), politics, science, world news, ARU, and baking (I like cakes!).

By subscribing and unsubscribing to subreddits, including education-related topics, you can tailor the information you receive. As a registered user you can submit a new link, submit a new text post, or, if you can’t find what you’re looking for, create your own subreddits!

To help you get started we’ve put together a list of subreddits (links below), the links take you to subreddits specifically focused on those areas.




Find something in reddit that is useful or interesting to you in your job, and copy the URL into the the comments section of this blog post – even better if you describe why it’s useful to you. reddit_logo1

Things you might not know about Twitter that might change your mind about it, if you thought Twitter was a waste of time… like I did.


Do I really need to know what Justin Bieber had for breakfast?

Hopefully today we can convince you that amazing things can be achieved with just 140 characters.

What is Twitter?

Do we need to talk about what it is, and how it works? The only thing I’d add to this first paragraph, is that as well as sending messages to the world, or to a defined group, you can follow people on twitter. Every time they send a message, you get notified, and people can follow you. Simple.

The power of the #

We need to know about hashtags if we’re going to talk about Twitter. If you click on, or search for, a specific word with a hashtag at the start of it, then every tweet with it in will appear in date order, latest first. So if you were to search for or click on #hignfy, you’d find everything to do with the satirical BBC news program Have I Got News For You. That’s not their account, it’s every message sent by anyone that had that hashtag in it. Yes?  To go directly to their Twitter ‘feed’ you’d go to @haveigotnews.

Why is that useful? Well, apart from being able to find information on things you’re interested in, you could create your own hashtags and use them to draw together information and discussion amongst your students and colleagues, related to maybe a module, or topic you’re all interested in. #reallyuseful?

A few statistics

  • The estimated total number of registered Twitter users is 1.3 billion
  • 38% of millennials in the US have a twitter account
  • Around 6,000 tweets are sent every second.


Click on the image above and have a look at the daily Twitter counter!

Who has the most followers? 

Well, you’ll probably not be surprised that all but one of the top 5 most followed individuals are pop stars, and that won’t do anything for our argument that Twitter can be useful to us in our work – we’ll get to that. It doesn’t take much to imagine the effect of having nearly 100 million followers has on record sales. (100 million times 79p – the price of a track on iTunes). Or, if they just happened to mention a brand of lipstick… In fact, many record companies will now sign a band on the numbers of followers they have on Facebook and Twitter. That might seem sad at first, but if you work hard building your following, great things can be achieved using Twitter and Facebook, and they’re free.

On a serious note, doesn’t this tell us that millennials are already conversant with Twitter, and ready to use it to find other information?

You don’t have to look too far down the list to see slightly more… cerebral feeds that people follow in their millions. BBC news has nearly 30 million followers, NASA have 22 million, Reuters 16 million. Individuals such as Neil deGrasse Tyson (2.5 million), and Brian Cox (1.5 million) can reach large numbers of people, who are all able to ‘retweet’ their message i.e. to send them again to their followers, who could then retweet to their followers… etc.

As far as ‘serious’ Twitter accounts or ‘feeds’ as they’re known, are concerned (business, science, political, research, etc) , worldwide, there are a number of benefits that come from the many, many people reading, retweeting, commenting, etc  The power of the ‘hive mind’.

  • Thousands, if not millions of experts use Twitter to chat, discuss and debate ideas. How much more quickly can we solve problems with that many people debating serious issues?
  • Twitter is a Reciprocal Curation Engine, perfect for experts to digest, focus and grasp new ideas and take them further.
  • Whether you’re in politics, industry or education, Twitter enables one-to-one communication with interested parties/your clients.
  • Twitter may have only 140 characters available, but that can include webpage URLs, PDF files, basically whatever is up on the web – i.e. it can link to things that have much more substance.
  • Twitter is a tool that can be used when all other news options have been shut down.

This short video is a good stepping off point to understand how useful it can be for students, teachers and researchers.

Crowd Sourcing

Twitter is a great way of providing opportunities for ‘crowd sourcing’ your work, getting people to engage in and help you with your work is often possible. Some researchers have been successful in using Twitter to get actual funding. Indeed some of our students have been funded as a consequence of contacting people via Twitter.

New Audiences

Twitter is a very good medium for helping you to reach out to non-academic audiences, such as governmental organisations, business, NGOs etc.

Tweet about new publications

These can be journal articles, blogs, website updates, etc. It is a good idea to have access to an online version of the full publication, or to an abstract, so that the tweet can point somewhere for followers to get more information. By providing the link via certain shortening services (e.g. bit.ly), you can gauge interaction with your publications.


Twitter is a great way to raise awareness of events your organisation or department may be hosting. You can then LiveChat the event to further raise awareness. Several of my colleagues monitor Twitter chat from events they can’t physically attend.


Twitter is of course a communication medium, but it can actually be of great use in keeping the members of the sub-groups within your organisation up to date with your activities. You can also use Twitter to communicate more easily with students, researchers and part-time staff who may not always be kept up to date with activities through normal channels.


Choose one of the following:

Put together a list/a couple of Twitter feeds that you think your students would find useful to follow. If you don’t already (and I’d love to know if you do), you could add that list to your course materials in the VLE/LMS. The best way to find them is to Google people, institutions, businesses etc, and look for their Twitter address (it’s usually somewhere on their front page). Paste them into the comments section of this post. Maybe you have a Twitter feed you’d like to share with us?  How about this one for starters: @AngliaRuskin with 24,000 followers, incidentally.


Put together a list of Twitter accounts that you would find interesting in your general life, in or outside of work.


Sign up to our wonderful Twitter course 10 Days of Twitter – #ARU10DoT – which has been very successful, and has also been adopted by other Universities. Let us know you’ve signed up, by saying so in the comments here.



5 Days is back on Monday!


5 Days of Digital Literacy is back on Monday!

Welcome back and well done to everyone who has engaged with the course so far! Last month was great fun. I’ve added a few of the memes you created on this page – I think they’re beautiful.

Welcome to all newcomers! Please read the posts and follow the instructions carefully to get the most from the course.

Please bear with us regarding your digital badges, as the admin side of this course is considerable. We WILL get to you when we get chance. Thank you for engaging.

Remember that you can attempt this course at any time, not just within the five days the blog posts get released. It is a good idea to keep up, but it’s not essential. Please let people know they can still join in, and can start from the very start if they wish.

Very best wishes, and have a sensational weekend, Anglia Learning & Teaching.

Vampire Power


We should all be aware of our power consumption, not only from a personal financial perspective, but also as a responsibility to the planet. As the strap line of a well known supermarket says, ‘every little helps’, and when it comes to a 40 million people switching off their televisions at night, rather than putting them on standby, that can make a huge difference.

Power and financial cost

Have a play with this tool to ascertain how much energy you are using with devices and how much money (all be it in dollars) they might be costing you every year.

Vampire Power, Standby Power, Phantom Power

The above are all names for the power that our devices use when you are not using them. (It’s not always bad as some devices require some power going to them to retain information.)   In America this costs 19 billion dollars a year.

Mobile Phones

There are somewhere in the region of 40 to 60 million mobile phones in the UK. How many of their chargers are on right this minute, with no phone attached to them? Is yours on at home right now?

According to a number of studies, 50% of the power that our phone chargers use happens when we are not actually charging our phones – so switch them off. There’s also plenty of evidence to show that third party chargers can use even more energy this way, and can also be very dangerous when left on, or even being switched on at all. Be very careful, and avoid 3rd party charges if you can. Feel free to Google ‘Third party phone charger danger’ if you wish to inform yourself.

Our Planet

Well… I don’t think we need to go into that so much here. There’s a seemingly endless amount of writing on this subject freely available to everyone. Many articles report that somewhere in the region of 97% of all scientists believe it’s happening, and that it’s a man and woman made problem. I threw a stick and found this article, but you can find your own.

As consumers the cumulative use of the population is the issue. It’s easy to find statistics that confirm that it costs less than a pound to charge your phone in a year – but what price is that if there was a billion phones sold in 2016? Of course mobile phones are not the only culprits, in fact they take up a minuscule part of the over all need for power, and perhaps that’s the scariest thing about it.


Did you know that our University was awarded £1 million from the HEFCE Revolving Green Fund for the Combined Heat and Power plant on the Cambridge Campus Sustainability at Anglia Ruskin University. Find something on our site related to this area that you didn’t know, or think should be brought to our attention,  and share it in the comments.


Find me some recent statistics about UK power use, and post in the comments.


Find an up-to-date article about alternative forms of energy that you found interesting.

















Photograph taken on iPhone, processed with the Snapseed app, text created with the InstaQuote app.

Today I’d like to talk to you about using your mobile phone/devices or even an actual camera, to take photographs.

If you do not take photos, you will still hopefully find this interesting.

Why use photographs in your work?

  • Many studies suggest that as many as 40% of people are visual learners.
  • Photographs can accelerate understanding by illustration.
  • Photographs can help people to retrieve information from memory.
  • They break up text in presentations.
  • Using your own photographs means you don’t’ have to ask permission to use them!

According to Ofcom more people now have mobile phones than laptops and PCs, and 2017 is set to see mobile users take literally trillions of photographs. So, if we’re going to take photos with our devices, let’s look at how we might take better ones.

My 5 top tips for instantly better photographs

  1. Bend your knees. Photographs taken at eye level are usually more engaging. Bend your knees if you’re taking photographs of people who are sitting down or who are smaller than you. Get closer, or crop more tightly later when processing, to achieve a more intimate shot.


Eye level is often more engaging


Bend your knees rather than titling your camera

  1. Switch OFF your flash. If something is far away and it’s dark, your flash is useless. (Your flash is useless at concerts!). Classrooms are surrounded by windows and often have lights on, so you will rarely need a flash in that situation. Switch the flash back on if it’s too dark, obviously.


switch off your flash

  1. USE your camera and experiment with it. Look at what you have shot and remember what worked and what didn’t. Get used to deleting lots and lots of photos and keep just the good ones.

N.B. This point may draw criticism from many photographers. I’m not asking you to ‘spray and pray’ as it’s often referred to, nor am I advising you to spend the entire event taking photos, but DO use your camera more, and review what you shoot critically to make them better next time.

  1. Be aware of and use the rule of thirds. People don’t just need to be in the middle of your shot. Most portraits, landscapes, film, TV shots, and most paintings, comply with the rule of thirds, or deliberately break that rule.
middle  middlethirds


Nobody likes having their photo being taken, by the way. Be positive with your subject, and brave. Suggest that they turn their shoulder VERY slightly towards you as it makes it look less like a mug shot.

NB: It’s not always easy to see a scene in thirds (and it’s not a law to do that either), but once you see it, you will see it everywhere – have another look at the Mona Lisa, the Hay Wain or TV programmes like the news and imagine lines on the image, like the one above.


  1. Apps: It’s become rather trendy to announce that you didn’t use a filter on your photograph, but in reality professional photographers spend hours processing and editing their shots – just don’t over do it (OR really over do it!).

img_2812Too far?! (taken with a free app called Prismo)

It’s often a matter of taste, BTW. This shot was quickly processed with an amazing app called Snapseed. Do you like the one on the right more or less I wonder?


Lots to choose from today:

Create an educational meme using your device and apps (I used InstaQuote on the image at the top of the page) and make the quote pertinent to your work or inspirational, and email it to me Jason.williams@anglia.ac.uk. With your permission I’ll post the best ones on this blog for everyone to see.


Take a photograph considering the 5 tips above, and email it to me Jason.williams@anglia.ac.uk and I will give you feedback on it. With your permission I’ll post the best ones on this blog for everyone to see.


Let us know how you might find photography useful in your work. Or give us an example of how you have used photography.


Find some recent statistics related to mobile phone and photography (using Google), and post it in the comments.


Let us all know of any photographic apps you have found that you like.




All photographers were rubbish at it when they started.

Put your camera down occasionally and enjoy the event/gig/your life.