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The Learning Institute

The Learning Institute

Pre-course tasks (Level 4)

Hello, and welcome to The Learning Institute! 

These pre-course tasks will link to your early modules, and will give you an opportunity to test your ICT skills.  If you need any help accessing these materials, please contact library@learninginstitute.co.uk.

You can chat with fellow students via our Facebook group for 2021 applicants, and once you have registered with the University, via their virtual learning environment (VLE).

Activity 1 - Check your hardware/software 

As the foundation degrees are delivered using a blended learning approach, with a combination of face-to-face and live online teaching, it's important that you have suitable ICT equipment.  Use the links within this folder to check if your current equipment is adequate, and to view suggested technical specifications. 

We also recommend that you are able to bring a laptop (or tablet) with you to face-to-face sessions.

 

Internet speed

To function properly, Blackboard requires a high-speed Internet connection. The minimum Internet connection speed to access Blackboard is a consistent 1.5 Mbps (megabits per second) or higher.  You can check your internet speed here.

 

Internet browser

The first step to see if your computer is set up for Blackboard is to check your browser compatibility.  We strongly recommend that students use the latest version of Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox for Windows or Mac because it is the most compatible with our current Blackboard system.  You can check which browser you are using here.

Generally, it is a good idea to have multiple browsers installed on your system for a couple of reasons. First, you always want a plan B. If you are trying to perform time sensitive tasks in Blackboard, you don’t want to waste time troubleshooting your browser or downloading a new browser. Having multiple browsers already installed allows you to quickly switch to a different browser when you have a browser related issue.

Second, it helps to rule out browser related issues. If you are having problems in one browser and not another, then you know there is something going on with your browser or its settings. If you are having the same problem in multiple browsers, then you’ll know that it is either a system issue or something related to Blackboard.

Contact ict@learninginstitute.co.uk for more guidance on downloading alternative browsers.

 

Technical specifications

If your current ICT equipment is not adequate, or you are choosing to purchase a new laptop to use during your studies, here are our recommended technical specifications.

Activity 2 - Meet your course leader 

FdA Early Years Professional - Suzy Bell

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FdA Inclusive Education - Mel Feek

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FdA Learning and Education - John Butcher

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FdSc Mental Health and Wellbeing of Children and Young People

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Activity 3 - Writing 

Writing a paragraph

Write a single paragraph, with a word limit of 250 words or less, about something related to your work place, which you believe has a positive impact on the babies/children/young people/adults that you work with.

e.g. the use of visits to support education or wellbeing

You will be asked to email this to your personal academic tutor (PAT) before the first taught session, so please ensure that you have saved this paragraph in a Word document.  Please use Arial, font size 12, with double line spacing, and save the file with the filename structured as follows:

FDLI1001 - Surname, First name

e.g. FDLI1001 - Bloggs, Joseph

Activity 4 - Reading 

Task 4a: The study skills handbook by Stella Cottrell

To support your studies, you will be asked to purchase key texts throughout your foundation degree. There will be a reading list for each module, which will contain details of books and other resources that can be accessed via the University of Worcester online library.  It will also detail any titles that you will need to buy.

The key text for your first module, FDLI1001 Supporting academic skills, is The study skills handbook by Stella Cottrell. In this instance, we would recommend that you buy the most up-to-date (fifth) edition as this particular content is different, updated and therefore more relevant.

Harvard Reference: Cottrell, S. (2019) The study skills handbook. 5th edn. London: Red Globe Press.

Read pages 213-220, which are about reading effectively, identifying suitable reading material and and improving comprehension.

  • Now you have read this, consider the difference between reading for a foundation degree and reading a novel in your leisure time.
  • Make a few notes on this, and be prepared to discuss this in your induction session.

Please bring your copy of The study skills handbook with you to your first taught session.

 

Task 4b: study skills advice from the University of Worcester

Have a look at the study skills area on the University of Worcester (UW) website.  There is lots of useful information here - have a look at the section on Reading for your assignments for top tips on finding resources to support your studies.

Then, download and read the Reading efficiently advice sheet. Make some notes in response to the following questions:

  • What is the difference between active and passive reading?
  • What different reading styles are outlined?
  • When might you use each of them?

We will build on these during induction and the first sessions of FDLI1001. Please bring the advice sheet and your notes to both sessions.

Activity 5 - Thinking about thinking 

A quick quiz...

Jot down your answers to these questions:

  1. A man buys a new car and goes home to tell his wife. He goes the wrong way up a one-way street, nearly runs into 7 people, goes onto the sidewalk, and takes a shortcut through a park. A policeman sees all this and still doesn’t arrest him. Why not?
     
  2. If you had a machine that could generate one million dollars a day, what would you be willing to pay for it?
     
  3. Why is it against the law for a person living in New York to be buried in California?
     
  4. One house is made of red bricks, one of blue bricks, one of yellow bricks, and one of purple bricks. What is the green house made of?
     
  5. A little girl kicks a soccer ball. It goes 10 feet and comes back to her. How is this possible?
     
  6. In South Africa you can’t take a picture of a man with a wooden leg. Why not?
     
  7. You drive past a bus stop and see 3 people waiting for the bus: an old lady who is about to die, an old friend who saved your life, and your perfect partner. Knowing you can only have one passenger in your car, what would you do?
     
  8. How much dirt is there in a hole 3 feet deep, 6 feet long, and 4 feet wide?
     
  9. If it took 8 men 10 hours to build a wall, how long would it take 4 men to build the same wall?
     
  10. How far can you walk into the woods?
     
  11. How many books can you put in an empty backpack?
     
  12. Your friend says he can predict the exact score of every football game before it begins. He's right every time. How is that possible?

 

Questions taken from:

Global digital citizen foundation (no date) The critical thinking workbook: games and activities for developing critical thinking skills. Available at: https://www.schrockguide.net/uploads/3/9/2/2/392267/critical-thinking-workbook.pdf (Accessed: 28th July 2021).

 

Check your answers

How did you get on?

  1. A man buys a new car and goes home to tell his wife. He goes the wrong way up a one-way street, nearly runs into 7 people, goes onto the sidewalk, and takes a shortcut through a park. A policeman sees all this and still doesn’t arrest him. Why not?
    The man was walking.
     
  2. If you had a machine that could generate one million dollars a day, what would you be willing to pay for it?
    Why pay for the machine if you already have it?
     
  3. Why is it against the law for a person living in New York to be buried in California?
    Burying people who are still alive is a crime.
     
  4. One house is made of red bricks, one of blue bricks, one of yellow bricks, and one of purple bricks. What is the green house made of?
    Glass panels.
     
  5. A little girl kicks a soccer ball. It goes 10 feet and comes back to her. How is this possible?
    She kicked it straight up into the air.
     
  6. In South Africa you can’t take a picture of a man with a wooden leg. Why not?
    You can’t take a picture with a wooden leg; you have to use a camera.
     
  7. You drive past a bus stop and see 3 people waiting for the bus: an old lady who is about to die, an old friend who saved your life, and your perfect partner. Knowing you can only have one passenger in your car, what would you do?
    Give the car keys to your friend, and let him take the old woman to the hospital. Then stay behind and wait for the bus with your perfect partner.
     
  8. How much dirt is there in a hole 3 feet deep, 6 feet long, and 4 feet wide?
    None—otherwise it wouldn’t be a hole.
     
  9. If it took 8 men 10 hours to build a wall, how long would it take 4 men to build the same wall?
    The wall is already built; no need for anyone to build it again.
     
  10. How far can you walk into the woods?
    Halfway—after that, you’re walking out of the woods.
     
  11. How many books can you put in an empty backpack?
    You only need one; then the backpack isn’t empty.
     
  12. Your friend says he can predict the exact score of every football game before it begins. He's right every time. How is that possible?
    The score before any football game begins is 0-0.

 

An explanation

The purpose behind these random questions, aside from a bit of fun, is a reminder that not everything we read is true and sometimes things are not as simple or straightforward as they seem. Nin (no date) quoted in Robinson and Aronica (2014, no page) once commented “I don’t see the world as it is: I see it as I am”. This implies that everything we experience, including our beliefs, culture and values will always colour how we interpret the things we read and the social interactions we have. 

Engaging out thinking and asking questions of ourselves such as:

  • What else could be going on here?
  • Is this true?
  • How do I know this?  
  • Is this reliable?

can support a more critical approach to what we read and believe to be true.

Robinson, K. and Aronica, L. (2014) Finding your element: how to discover your talents and passions and transform your life. Colchester: Penguin.

Activity 6 - University of Worcester online resources 

The student portal

As a University of Worcester (UW) student, you will use a range of different online resources, which will be available through the student portal, MyDay.

To access this:

  • Go to www.worcester.ac.uk
  • Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on Students
  • Click on Login
  • Enter your UW email address and password - you will receive these details as part of a welcome letter from the University once you have accepted your offer

You can also download a MyDay app for Apple and Android.

It is possible to customise this screen using the Personalise button on the top right, so that you can remove shortcuts that are not relevant (e.g. the print and copy portal, as this is a facility for students based on the UW campus).

If you have any problems with your login details at any point, you will need to contact the UW ICT Service Desk direct on 01905 857500 (open Monday to Friday, between 8.30am and 5.30pm). You can also access support via the live chat facility here.

 

University of Worcester emails

Once the foundation degrees have started, we will only contact students via their University of Worcester (UW) email accounts

You will receive a welcome pack from the University, and this will include details of your ICT account (a username and password).  Once you have used this to log in to the student portal, you will be able to access your UW emails.

It is important to check your UW email account regularly, so that you are aware of any communication from your PAT, module tutors and other Learning Institute staff.  You will also receive emails direct from the University.  It is possible to set up 'rules' to filter out some of these emails if they are not relevant (e.g. information about campus-specific things such as car parking).

You can also sync these emails to a mobile device (e.g. a smartphone) using your usual Email app, or by downloading the Outlook app.

 

SOLE

SOLE is the Student Online Environment used by the University of Worcester.  You will access SOLE for a range of different reasons, including (but not limited to):

  • to register with the University
  • to update your personal details
  • to access module grades
  • to apply for mitigating circumstances 

Use this PowerPoint for a demonstration of the SOLE page - you will need to click on the Slide Show tab at the top, and then click From Beginning.

Scroll over the screen. Wherever a hand symbol appears, you can explore the SOLE area.

First of all, try out the Register tab to see what will happen when you register on the course. You will then be able to do this once the University of Worcester have confirmed your username and password for online services.

Following this the show will finish - click on the link again to try out other tabs and links such as Course information and Assessments.

 

Blackboard

Blackboard is the primary virtual learning environment (VLE) used by the University of Worcester.  You will use it to access:

  • learning materials for every module on the foundation degree
  • reading lists
  • sessions delivered live online via Collaborate
  • course specific documents (e.g. course handbooks, timetables)
  • additional support materials

You will also use it to:

  • participate in discussion boards with fellow students
  • upload assignments to Turnitin

You will receive printed copies of key materials (e.g. module outlines) in face-to-face sessions.  However, if a document needs to be updated for any reason, these changes will be made to the version stored on Blackboard and the materials will generally not be reprinted, so it is important to check the materials on Blackboard if you have any queries.  The module leader will send an announcement to all students informing you of any major changes.

 

Turnitin

Turnitin can help to detect potential plagiarism in your assignments and will also be used as a method of assignment submission.

You will receive further guidance on Turnitin during the first two modules of the foundation degree, including a demonstration of how to upload an assignment and advice on how to interpret the similarity report that is generated.

 

Office 365

As a UW student, you will have access to a number of the Microsoft Office 365 apps, including:

  • Word - program for word processing
  • Excel - program for creating spreadsheets 
  • PowerPoint - program for creating presentations
  • OneDrive - cloud storage, so you can access files on any device with an internet connection
  • Teams - cloud-based software that allows you to collaborate with other people
  • Forms - create online forms/surveys

 

Library services

As a UW student, you will have access to a huge number of resources such as e-books and journal articles via the online library.  Detailed guidance on accessing these resources will be provided during the first module.  You can contact The Learning Institute Academic Librarian for help and support at any point during your time on the course by emailing library@learninginstitute.co.uk.  Support is also provided by the Academic Liaison Librarians at the University.

Activity 7 - Meet your PAT 

During the first couple of weeks of September, you will be invited to an online ‘Meet your PAT’ session.  You will receive an email with a link to this online session, so you will need to keep an eye on the email account that you gave us, and your University of Worcester account if it has been set up. 

You will need internet access and a laptop/PC for this. 

This will be an informal opportunity to meet your PAT and some of your fellow students in the online environment (also known as the virtual classroom) prior to the first session, and should take no more than an hour.  It will also give you another opportunity to test your access to Collaborate, the system that we will be using to deliver live online sessions.