“I already know how to do that” … : Why you should do some more training anyway

Whether you’re a student or member of staff at Sussex University, there’s loads of IT training available that you can take advantage of.  This may be at the front of my mind because I’ve just completed a TEL “Take 5” course in blogging, but more on that in a moment.  For what it’s worth, my personal opinion on this is that even if you think you’re pretty well versed in these areas, there’s always something you’re going to learn and it’s always good to refresh your skills from time to time.  The way I look at it is all these things exist to make our lives and our work and our studies a bit easier and well, that sells the whole training thing to me.  You may have forgotten certain features that hadn’t seemed relevant when you first encountered a certain bit of software several years ago, but now it’s something that’s going to save you a whole load of time, or make a piece of work just that little bit better (or, dare I say it, more fun..?).  Also, when you take courses with other people involved, the chances are that someone there is going to be able to impart some little bit of genius wisdom to you, as are you to them.  It’s a very enriching process.

Training courses for all

Both students and staff can book onto training courses in the following:

word copyMS Word – brush up on your word processing skills and produce some really impressive looking documents.


icon_excel_2013MS Excel – get your data under control and take intermediate courses to learn how to get Excel to do some really snappy things for you


Microsoft-Publisher-2013-iconMS Publisher – if your course requires posters or visual documents or you’d just like to learn how to make flyers or brochures in a more professional way, master Publisher for the best results


endnote-icon copyEndnote – adding references to your essays isn’t the chore it once was, thanks to Endnote


To do so, go here, pick the course(s) you’re interested in and it will direct you to book in through Sussex Direct.  Remember, these are free but you’ll get charged if you don’t show up without giving any warning.

A particularly good bit is all the course documents are available on Study Direct including the syllabus used and a great walk-through of each course.  You can find those here.

Training for staff

As well as the courses above, staff can access further training.  The idea for this blog post came from having completed (well, very nearly… just one task left to do) a course that’s being run by Technology Enhanced Learning at Sussex.  They’re the ones who basically get even the most technology-averse professors to come to terms with the interactive whiteboards and terms like podcasting and visualisers.  They help teaching staff to really make the most of the technology that’s available from campus, and to harness the greater power of the world wide web and all its associated tools.

Through TEL, staff can enrol on a variety of courses to develop their teaching – check here for the options – but non-teaching staff can also make use of their courses.  For example, I signed up to the current series of “Take 5” courses.  These are designed to be concise, “bite-size” courses that are easily added into your day and to increase familiarity in areas such as blogging, using Twitter and creating podcasts.  Completion of each course results in receiving an “open badge” which can be added to your LinkedIn profile and other online platforms.  And here’s a really good example of why it’s worth taking some courses about a subject you might already be familiar with – although I consider myself probably have above average experience of blogging (I like to waffle – or hadn’t you noticed?), I still took some interesting things away from the short course with me.  I’ve discovered some new and really interesting blogs, and I’ve found a whole new way of keeping track of them through Feedly and Flipboard.

And, whilst not blog-related, through the blog course I also learned about Padlet and Screencastify, the former being a great way to visually collaborate and share ideas online and the latter being a tool to create videos of a computer screen that can take users through processes visually – much better than a boring text guide.  I’ll definitely be using both of them in the future.

Click here for more information on the Take 5 courses.


Posted in IT Services, Make the most of IT

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