Monthly Archives: August 2022

man looking at laptop in the Templeman library

Using Library and IT services – your first few weeks

Welcome to Kent!

Follow these top tips for study success in using library and IT services:

Come to an IT and Library Welcome session

Throughout Welcome Week and the start of term we hope you’ll join us for a short welcome session in the Templeman Library to find out all you need to know about getting started and using IT and Library services at Kent.

Check all the available sessions by viewing the blog or searching ‘IT and Library’ in the What’s On. No need to book – just turn up!

Take the IT and Library e-induction in Moodle

Take the IT and Library e-induction on Moodle. You’ll be guided through all you need to know to help you get off to a flying start!

Explore the Library with the Templeman Trail app

Follow the ‘Templeman Trail’ – explore and discover where to find your books; your favourite study space and Library services to help you succeed. Download Actionbound from your App store and search for ‘Templeman Trail’. Then head to the Library to take the trail: there’s a free drink for you at the end!

Read our essential IT and Library guides

We have loads of really useful online guides covering all you need to know in your first few weeks at Kent including: connecting to Wi-Fi and online services, downloading free software, borrowing books from the Templeman Library and accessing your Digital Library.

Working Smart Online webinar

Don’t miss this Working Smart Online webinar that introduces you to the tools you will need to use at Kent – get off to a flying start and begin studying successfully! This is an online event on MS Teams: join in at any time through the link.

Join us on Wednesday 10.00 – 12.20 of Welcome Week on MS Teams.

For further help:

Check our key guides on the Library and IT services student web page.

Contact IT & Library Support:

  • Nexus self-service
  • Chat to us online through our website
  • Email: helpdesk@kent.ac.uk
  • Tel: 01227 824888
  • Visit us on Floor 1, C Block, Templeman Library (moving to Nexus, D Block, Ground Floor of the Library after 3 Oct)
Three people looking at a computer screen

SharePoint 2013 closure dates

We have previously communicated that SharePoint 2013 will be set to ‘read only’ on 1 September 2022.

Whilst this has already been done for some sites, we have had to delay the read only date for all SharePoint 2013 sites to 1 October 2022.

Please ensure all content is moved away from SharePoint 2013 by 1 October 2022.

SharePoint 2013 will be permanently retired after 31 December 2022.

What does this include?

  • All SharePoint 2013 sites, which includes anything beginning with a URL sharepoint.kent.ac.uk.
  • SharePoint 2013 ‘mysites’, which begin with the URL mysite.sharepoint.kent.ac.uk/ and can be accessed by clicking ‘OneDrive’ in the top right corner of SharePoint 2013.

For further help:

There is lots of useful advice on the KentNet Support site.

If you are not aware of the process to move content or where content should be moved to please send your enquiry to Izzy Linthwaite, Digital Collaborative Services Lead, Information Services.

Staff Conference 2022: At Medway

As part of this year’s Staff Conference 2022 we have a variety of exciting wellbeing activities taking place on our Medway Campus.

For Tuesday 13 September, there will be an all-day health monitoring session at Medway, where our Occupational Health Department are offering staff blood pressure checks in Room M04. If you would like an appointment, please email occupationalhealth@kent.ac.uk

On Wednesday 14 September, before you join colleagues at the staff barbecue (between 12.00-14.00) for a fun afternoon of live music, food and drink, there are a number of staff wellbeing activities for you to sign up to.

All these sessions will be taking place on our Medway campus, so take a look at the schedule and come along!

09.30 – 16.00 – Acupressure chair massage – with Rebecca Farrell

Rebecca is the owner of Centre Anahata in Chatham and a member of the Federation of Holistic Therapists. currently the only practitioner trained to offer Ayurvedic Yoga Massage in Kent, alongside her qualifications in seated chair massage, reflexology and yoga.

Please book for twenty-minute slots of seated chair massage will be offered throughout the day to relieve muscular pressure and leave staff feeling energised and refreshed.

10.30 – 11.30 – Nutrition talk – with Leni Wood

Leni Wood is a registered Nutritional Therapist specialising in gut and women’s health within her online clinic at OWN Nutrition. Leni is also the Head of Nutrition & Wellness Development for Nellsar Care Homes Ltd where she works closely with catering, care and nursing teams who support elderly and vulnerable adults living with long-term illness and dementia.

The hour will include:

  • The basics of healthy eating and energy balance.
  • How to nourish yourself throughout the day, with a focus on sustaining energy through diet, avoiding the 3pm biscuit(s) and subsequent sleepy slump.
  • Macronutrients and micronutrients and how they can affect energy production.
  •  The gut / brain connection.
  • Simple tips for improving diet and lifestyle.

14.00 – 15.00 – Sound healing – with Michelle Crozier

Led by Michelle Crozier, originally from an opera and musical theatre background Michelle became a kirtan drummer and backing vocalist, supporting other artists.  She then realised her dream of leading her own kirtans and sound healing events.

The hour will entail a sound healing journey in which attendees which just need to sit back and relax. The intention is to let go of the stresses of everyday life that can appear in the body on a physical, emotional and energetic level. The music will be a creative mix of singing bowls, tingsha and koshi bells, kalimba, shamanic sounds, drumming, mantra singing and rich angelic tones.

12.00 – 14.00 – Medway staff barbecue

Food, drinks, live music socialising and networking… We hope to see you there!

Check out the daily programmes for the Staff Conference 2022.

Don’t forget to check out The Medway Learning and Teaching Festival.

Working together on the Cost of Living

The cost of living is an increasing concern for many of us following recent announcements on both the energy price cap and rising inflation. We want to make sure we are doing what we can now to prepare for this and support staff and students wherever we can. 

Staff from HR, Commercial Services and Finance are meeting regularly to identify what we can put in place ahead of the winter months. Trade Union and Staff Representatives are also gathering suggestions ahead of the 21 September JSNCC where we aim to come up with an initial list of measures to introduce. This includes looking into external schemes that could help staff with managing their finances, circulating discounts available to staff, and seeing what other financial measures might be possible on top of the recent one-off payment from the Staff Resilience Fund. 

The potential impact on students is also a huge concern for all of us and we want to do everything we can to minimise the impact on their studies. A cross-University working group led by Kent Union is meeting regularly to quickly identify ways we can support new and returning students. This includes campaigns to raise awareness of the range of financial support available to students at Kent, plus any new initiatives we can put in place to limit the impact of rising costs. Discussions are also taking place with other universities and the local council about city-wide activity. 

This is a worrying time for so many here and across the country, both in terms of personal budgets and the wider impact on businesses and institutions. We are also keeping a close eye on the impact on our own bills as a University, both in terms of utilities across our estate and our wider suppliers. All of us will have a part to play in this, from putting forward suggestions for how we can support each other to doing what we can to minimise non-essential spend – we will also provide regular updates on our work on this as the working group continues to meet. 

Make a suggestion to your Trade Union or Staff Representative 

Get confidential support anytime via our Employee Assistance Programme 

students leaving Drill Hall Library

Support at Medway

Find out how to get support at Medway:

First points of contact

The friendly Colleges and Community Life Team can help you connect with other students in your College community through activities and initiatives, working with your College Committee and Residential Life Assistants. They can offer advice and refer you to other specialist services, whether you are living on- or off-campus or studying remotely.

You can also get in touch with your School or Division if you have a query. They should be able to help you or point you in the right direction for further support.

Support with your studies

Our Student Learning and Advisory Service (SLAS) can help you with everything from perfecting your essay writing to learning how to reference properly.

Don’t forget School is also there to help you with your studies and offer a range of study support.

Might you benefit from contact with Student Support and Wellbeing?

If you have a disability, chronic condition, mental health condition, specific learning difficulty or autism, please contact Student Support and Wellbeing to see how they can help you make the most of your university journey.

We have a team of expert staff who can help you face the challenges of studying, socialising and living independently, whatever else you might be going through, whether it’s something you’re experiencing for the first time at University or have dealt with for a while.

There is also a free confidential counselling service which offers you a safe space to address issues concerning you and can help get thoughts, feelings, behaviour and perspective on life back in balance again.

Kent Union

From money worries to housing issues, academic problems to visa support, Kent Union’s Advice Service is available to help through their free, impartial and confidential advice service. Find out more about Kent Union at The Hub

Financial support

With the cost of living rising, you are probably thinking more about your finances. Our financial help and advice webpage includes tips on budgeting, getting a part-time job and who to contact for further support. Plus, we offer a range of emergency financial support options.

Health services

It’s a good idea to register with a local doctor near to your accommodation in order to receive treatment under the National Health Service (NHS): Find your nearest NHS Surgery. Medway students can call Canterbury Nursing Services on 01227 823503 for telephone advice for minor illnesses/injuries and contraception. Check out this Visual Guide: Finding Health Support and Emergency Services at Medway

Students sat at Canterbury labyrinth

Support at Canterbury

Find out how to get support at Canterbury:

First points of contact

The friendly Colleges and Community Life Team can help you connect with other students in your College community through activities and initiatives, working with your College Committee and Residential Life Assistants. They can offer advice and refer you to other specialist services, whether you are living on- or off-campus or studying remotely.

You can also get in touch with your School or Division if you have a query. Your School should be able to help you or point you in the right direction for further support.

Support with your studies

Our Student Learning and Advisory Service (SLAS) can help you with everything from perfecting your essay writing to learning how to reference properly.

Don’t forget your School is also there to help you with your studies and offer a range of study support.

Might you benefit from contact with Student Support and Wellbeing?

If you have a disability, chronic condition, mental health condition, specific learning difficulty or autism, please contact Student Support and Wellbeing to see how they can help you make the most of your university journey.

We have a team of expert staff who can help you face the challenges of studying, socialising and living independently, whatever else you might be going through, whether it’s something you’re experiencing for the first time at university or something you have dealt with for a while.

There is also a free confidential counselling service which offers you a safe space to address issues concerning you and can help get thoughts, feelings, behaviour and perspective on life back in balance again.

Kent Union

Kent Union are your Students’ Union. From money worries to housing issues, academic problems to visa support, Kent Union’s Student Advice Service is available to help through their free, impartial and confidential advice service.

You can also get in touch with your Kent Union full-time officers who are each responsible for specific areas within the Union.

Financial support

With the cost of living rising, you are probably thinking more about your finances. Our financial help and advice webpage includes tips on budgeting, getting a part-time job and who to contact for further support. Plus, we offer a range of emergency financial support options.

You can also access Kent Union’s Campus Pantry at Mandela Student Centre, and can speak to their Advice Service about any extra support or advice you might need.

Health services

Kent has its own NHS general practice on campus called the University Medical Centre, with an independent pharmacy next to it. Our University Nursing Service provide advice for minor illnesses/injuries and contraception, and is staffed 24 hours a day during term time by registered nurses. Check out this Visual Guide: Finding Health Support and Emergency Services at University

Staff Conference 2022: EDI Pathway on 15 September

As part of our Staff Conference 2022 (15-16 September), our ‘EDI Pathway’ will take place on Thursday 15 September. This is a day-long, face-to-face strand of presentations and workshops addressing, among other things, the experience of our trans students, the role of our staff disability network, accessibility and adult education.

All sessions will be taking place in Room TS2 in Templeman, so take a look at the schedule and come along!

10.15 – 11.00 – The experiences of our trans students – with Lynne Regan

This session will present Lynne’s recent research which looks at how improvements to university processes and facilities can provide a more inclusive environment where trans students feel validated and supported. It considers how trans-inclusive curricula can help to address the power imbalance of learning within a privileged cisnormative environment. The session will include group discussions with scenarios about we can better support our trans students.

11.15 – 12.00 – StellarHE – promoting diversity in leadership – with Sarah Dustagheer

Authenticity, inclusive emotional intelligence, cultural competence and inclusive leadership are some of the attributes that Black, Asian and ethnically diverse leaders bring to Higher Education. And yet they continue to be under-represented in senior roles and their lived experiences continue to be impacted by micro-aggressions through to outright discrimination.

StellarHE supports the achievement of Race Equality Charter Mark goal to “inspire a strategic approach to making cultural and systemic changes that will make a real difference to minority ethnic staff and students”. It is a tried and tested development experience for Diverse Leaders in HE.

In this session the first ever cohort of StellarHE colleagues from Kent share their experience of the course.

12.00 – 13.00 – What are they saying about faith in universities? – with Revd Dr Stephen Laird

Recent research has revealed that students at UK universities are now generally more attuned to religious faith than lecturers, supervisors and service providers. Our own student demographic has moved decisively towards greater ethnic and cultural diversity – something which is not reflected to the same extent across the staff body – and this observation certainly applies at Kent. This session will involve the sharing and discussion of data and our local insights followed by a discussion.

13.50 – 14.30 – Why do we bother with EDI initiatives? with Martin Michaelis

Is the purpose of EDI to make sure we adhere to legal requirements and remain in line with the law? Or do we want to go beyond the minimal requirements set by the law? And if so, why?

Drawing on his experience as EDI Lead in the Division of Natural Sciences, Martin will outline the importance of understanding why we undertake EDI initiatives and how the University and all staff and students can benefit from doing so. What is needed, he argues, is an inclusive, participatory leadership approach across the University that gives everybody the opportunity to make meaningful contributions and to receive the recognition for them.

14.30 – 15.15 – Get involved – the Staff disability network – with Dr Jennifer Leigh, Josie Caplehorne, Hannah Greer and Dr Jolie Keemink

What does it mean to be disabled, chronically ill or neurodivergent? What is it like to work with or manage a disabled or neurodivergent person? What are we too afraid to ask or say?

Delivered by the Staff Disability Network, this session will create more openness and understanding around these topics, introduce the Network’s activities, explain how you can get involved and what the network can do to support you. An open discussion will follow, using an approach that harnesses creative research methods to bring about conversations on topics that can be hard to put into words and to co-create a tangible output.

15.30 – 16.15 – Making information and learning accessible for all – with Kasia Senyszyn

How do we make our content and our teaching more inclusive? How do we gain confidence in creating accessible content to support all our students?

This session is for all staff who want to improve their support for students and staff with additional accessibility needs, as well as develop creative ways to embed ‘reasonable adjustments’ into their work and processes. Come along to learn interactively and to play some games!

If you have any access requirements for the session please do get in touch.

16.15 – 17.00 – Bridging the gap: How the University is breaking barriers to adult education and doing 6th form differently – with Donna Coyte and Lucy Frost

Diversifying our teaching provision is an important objective for the University as it enhances opportunity for students, breaking down barriers to progress and achievement. Find out about the University’s responsive and flexible approach to adult education and 6th form provision, why we do this, what we’ve learnt and why it matters.

Listen to our students on the 6th form programme on the Medway campus as they explain why they love our University Entrance Diploma course, how it has helped them to progress to undergraduate study and why we decided to develop and invest in this innovative programme. Adult students on the University’s Access to HE Diploma programme will also share their experiences of getting back to education. This session will focus on how and why this information can be of use to staff with some key ‘take-aways’, with a brief Q&A at the end.

Check out the daily programmes for the Staff Conference 2022.

fruit in a supermarket

How to save money on your food shop

The rising cost of living is difficult for many of our students, and we understand that some extra help may be needed at this time.

If you’re still struggling, please reach out to our Student Support and Wellbeing team for help. You can also access Kent Union’s Campus Pantry at Mandela Student Centre, and can speak to their Advice Service about any extra support or advice you might need. We also offer a range of emergency financial support options.  

In addition to this support, we’ve compiled a list of student tips to help save on your food shop.

(1) Plan your weekly budget

The best place to start is having a weekly budget to work out how much you can realistically afford to spend each week on food. Start by working out your income – whether you have a part-time job or you’re getting money from your parents, every income you have should be accounted for. You’ll then need to make a note of your regular expenses and subtract this from your income. This should then leave you with the amount you have available for food, activities, shopping, and anything else you need to buy over the week. Make sure you set aside a fair amount for food and necessities, and use this weekly budget to inform your spending decisions and plan your food shopping accordingly.

(2) If you can, buy in bulk

Buying in bulk works out cheaper in the long run. For items with a long shelf life that you know you’ll use – like pasta, rice, and washing up liquid – it’s cheaper and easier to buy larger quantities than to keep getting small packets. For example, currently, 1kg of Tesco Penne Pasta costs £1.40, whereas 300g costs £1. Although the 300g packet is cheaper, it works out as £3.34 per kg of pasta when buying 300g packs – which is clearly more expensive than just buying the 1kg bag and using it throughout the term. Therefore, if you can afford it, it’s better to bulk buy at the start of term than to keep buying smaller amounts of items each week.

(3) Do your food shop in the evenings

Most supermarkets start reducing the price of food after about 18.00 so that they can get rid of stock before the end of the day, and make things cheaper that they will no longer be able to sell as ‘fresh’ the next morning. This is great for getting a cheaper food shop – the food will still be fine to eat, just less expensive.

(4) Make a list

Making a list of what you NEED will help to keep you on track with your shopping, and will ensure you don’t waste money on unnecessary items that will just end up going in the bin (which is also far more environmentally friendly as it limits food waste!) Make sure you check your cupboards before you head to the shop so you don’t buy duplicate items that you won’t need, and jot down any ingredients you’re missing.

(5) Keep an eye out for student discounts and cheap deals

There are lots of money-saving discounts online and in stores. As students, you should be able to access student discounts for a range of shops and restaurants, so make sure you always ask if this is available when shopping. For discounts on the Canterbury campus, grab yourself a Totum discount card or a Co-Op membership to access rewards and offers in our two Co-Op stores. It’s also a good idea to do your food shops at cheaper supermarkets (like Aldi and Lidl) if possible, as this will save you a lot of money in the long-run.

For more information on budgeting, check out our Budgeting Guide.

notepad and pen

Reading and note-taking: top tips

Having located, bookmarked and borrowed (from the library) a range of useful and relevant sources, you are now ready to extract the information you need through effective reading and note-taking.

Effective reading

 You can’t read everything on your subject. The following process will help you to locate and select specific information you need for your assignment, quickly and efficiently.

  • Be clear what you need to find out about

Identify key words or terms connected to the information you need from your assignment question or task.

  • Skim read to identify useful sections of text

Read fast, looking for key words in contents pages, abstracts, introductions, conclusions, headings and index pages to identify chapters or sections of text that are most likely to contain the information you need.

  • Scan selected sections to locate the specific text you need

Let your eyes wander around the page searching for the key words or terms, concepts, data, figures, dates and events that you need to learn about. Mark selected passages of text (e.g. using mini post-it notes) for detailed reading later.

  • Read in detail using ‘active reading’

Read your chosen texts carefully, line for line, aware of what you need to understand and analyse e.g. background information, facts, theories and ideas.

Note-taking

Notes are a written summary of the academic information that you read or listen to on your course. You will need to refer to your notes as you undertake assignments, revise for exams, prepare for presentations or seminars. To ensure that your notes work well:

  • Find a note-taking style that works for you, then stick with it

– There are many different note-taking techniques – from writing bullet point lists to drawing spidergrams. For advice and examples go to the SLAS website.

  • Ensure your notes contain key ingredients

Reference details of the source you are using (author, date, title etc)

– Summary of key facts, terms, theories, points made by the author

– Key evidence/examples used by the author to support their ideas

– Your observations about the strengths/weaknesses (critical analysis) of the arguments or ideas contained in the text

  • Write notes mostly in your own words (paraphrased*), but also…

– Jot down short quotations from the author to use later as evidence, or to emphasise key points (noting the page number on which they appear)

– To avoid confusion later, use quotation marks or a highlighter pen to clearly distinguish an author’s exact words from your own in your notes

  • Make sure your notes are legible, for future use

– Use readable fonts/clear handwriting

– Tidy up your notes or redraft, as necessary, to make them easy to follow

  • Ensure your notes are clearly titled (module/topic/title of publication), dated (when you made the notes), and filed with other related materials e.g. assignment brief, for easy retrieval

 

Resources

For guidance on all the topics mentioned above – including Understanding the question, Effective reading, Note-taking, Referencing and Critical analysis – the Student Learning Advisory Service (SLAS) provides 1-1 appointments, workshops and study guides.