12 Apps of Christmas: Vision/Blackboard Mobile

bbappToday’s app is Blackboard Mobile Learn. It allows you to access Vision on-the-go using any Android or iOS phone or tablet.

It’s free, easy to use and gives you the best viewing experience on a range of devices.

Features of the app include:

  • Announcements – keep updated from all your courses and modules
  • Content – access learning materials and course information
  • Discussions – read and post to discussions
  • Grades – view grades
  • More – access to tests, blogs, wikis and journals when active in a course.

To get the app search for Blackboard Mobile Learn in the app store, or follow the links below:

Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.blackboard.android&hl=en

iOS: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/blackboard-mobile-learn-for/id376413870?mt=8


Seats and food and drink in the Library #edincampuslib

The Library at our Edinburgh Campus is very busy at the moment due to the revision and exam period.  On an average day we have a footfall of over 3,000 people coming into the library building and an occupancy of over 600 in the middle of the day.
Therefore we have to ‘make the most of the space’ in order that all students who need to study can do so in a suitable environment. This can be done by avoiding leaving unattended items at study tables as this stops other students from being able to use the space.  Also making sure that the space is kept clean and tidy by putting rubbish in bins and only eating food on the main entrance floor (floor 1 ) of the library.  Drinks can be taken to other floors to consume while studying, but food should be eaten in the cafe area.
We appreciate your help with this, it does make a difference to everyone.


12 Apps of Christmas: Instapaper

Welcome to our countdown to Christmas!

From now until the end of semester we’ll be posting about a different app every weekday. The apps have been selected from thousands that are available and are ones that you might find useful for study, revision or just student life in general.

If you have an app that you think we should feature let us know – otherwise we’ll suggest ones that we think you might like to take a look at.

Come back and investigate what’s new every day, or save the webpages to look at later using our first app!


instapaperInstapaper allows you to save webpages from your computer or mobile device to read offline later. It’s available as a browser bookmark, Chrome extension and app for Android and iOS. It’s owned by Pinterest and as of 1 November all premium features were made available to all users, including:

  • Full text searching of articles you’ve saved
  • The option of saving as text-only reading
  • Add notes to your saved articles
  • Send to Kindle option

For more information, go to: https://www.instapaper.com/

To download, go to:


Goodbye & best wishes to Elaine Gillespie, Customer Services Supervisor

Friends and colleagues from across the university gathered to wish Elaine well at her leaving party in the Edinburgh Campus library.


Elaine joined HWU in February 1978 where she was based at the Computer Centre, 37 Grassmarket, Edinburgh, next to the former Mountbatten Building (now the Apex Hotel).

Elaine’s first post was Job Reception and Dispatch Assistant in the computer centre (which was then part of the Department of Computer Science)  where she processed programs submitted by students and staff. The University’s mainframe computer was a state of the art Burroughs 5700!

By the end of 1979 the computer centre staff were separated from the Department of Computer Science and became the university Computer Centre with Allen McTernan as the first Director.

In 1981 Elaine took on the role of Computer Operator.

In late 1982 the Computer Centre staff and equipment moved to Riccarton into a new building now known as the Allen McTernan Building. David Rundell had become director and the service became Computing Services.

Elaine’s role continued to develop and in 1997, as a HelpDesk Officer, she established the Helpdesk service with ex-colleague George Cormack. In 2008 she became an IT HelpDesk Specialist.

In 2011 the IT and Library services were integrated into the Information Services Directorate with Mike Roch as the director.

The IT Helpdesk, as part of Academic and Learner Services, became part of the ‘forward facing’ services of the former IT and Library areas with Elaine providing specialist IT support for the changing service.

Most recently in 2016 Elaine became a Customer  Services Supervisor and has assisted with the relocation of the service into the Library building. She has actively participated in discussions about service improvements for the future.

Elaine has been an integral part of the IT Helpdesk service and has provided expert help on new systems and applications for many thousands of students and staff not only at the Edinburgh Campus but at the other HWU campuses.

More than thirty eight years’ service is a remarkable achievement, and we wish Elaine well in all she chooses to do in the future.

Exam stress drop in sessions

examstressHaving a last minute panic?  Feeling worried and anxious?

The Student Support Service are offering drop in sessions to anyone who is having a crisis or struggling with exam anxiety or stress.


Student Support and Accommodation Office, Hugh Nisbet Building (Edinburgh campus)


Monday-Friday throughout the exam period (5 – 16 December):  1400 – 1500

No appointment needed – just pop in for a chat!

ECDL – prove you can do it!

It’ll soon be PDR/FJP time for HWU staff – and a time for new year resolutions for everyone.

ECDLIf you’re planning to improve your IT user skills (or benchmark the ones you have) you could consider working toward ECDL certification.  Success in this helps you demonstrate your skill level in the most commonly used business applications – to current or future employers.

We have: –

  • 28 people currently working towards BCS Level 2 Certificate in IT User Skills (ECDL Core)
  • 7 successful completions this year
  • Over 100 diagnostic/certification tests carried out over the last year

Heriot-Watt University (Edinburgh campus) is an A-rated test centre for both ECDL and ECDL Advanced – see http://www.hw.ac.uk/is/skills-development/ecdladvanced-ecdl.htm for more information.

Staff and students can register by completing the registration form.

SCONUL Access: Reduced access to Edinburgh University libraries during exams

During the University of Edinburgh exam period SCONUL Access reference members will have reduced access to the University of Edinburgh Main Library and Law Library.

Restrictions will apply between Thursday 1 December – Sunday 18 December 2016 inclusive.  SCONUL Reference Only users will not be able to access the Main Library between opening time and 5.30pm.

Normal access arrangements will resume on Monday 19 December 2016.

See Edinburgh University library page for more information.

SCONUL Access allows students to use other UK universities’ libraries. Undergraduates can use other libraries for studying, and postgraduates, staff and distance learners are often allowed to borrow a limited number of books (SCONUL Access does not give access to other universities’ computers or e-journals.).

If you’d like to join SCONUL Access you can find out more on our web pages and apply online.

Exam Techniques, Tips and Tricks

We know you’re busy – but take a couple of minutes to scan the following techniques, tips and tricks – then try any out that you think could help you with your revision and exams.

Preparing for an exam

Revise actively – don’t just read your notes. You could try …

  • Flash cards – with a question on one side of the card and the answer on the reverse
  • exam-prep5Making up poems and mnemonics
  • Summarising your notes – use colours and diagrams to help you learn
  • Setting them to music
  • Extracting key points and writing them down
  • Making up quizzes – and doing them
  • Writing limericks
  • Above all – do problems.  Make up your own if you run out.  Get active!

The last 24 hours

  • Don’t be tired, get a good night’s sleep
  • Eat protein before long exams…
  • Get the important facts into your short term memory
  • Exercise – get the blood pumping…

The exam itself

  • Plan your campaign
    • Allocate time to read the exam questions and to look over your work at the end
    • Subtract that time from the total exam length
    • Where questions are equally weighted, divide the remainding time by the number of questions. That is the time you have to answer each question
    • Where questions are unequally weighted, make a judgement on how long you plan to allow for each section of the paper
  • Do the easiest questions first
  • Aim to stick to the time you have allowed to answer each question. When the time’s up, move on to the next question. Using any remaining time towards the end of the exam to finish off incomplete answers.
  • Remember to check both sides of the exam paper – there may be a question on the reverse side of the paper
  • Use the marking scheme to guide you in how much to write
  • Take a bottle of water in with you – and sip throughout the exam
  • Use common sense
  • Always explain what you are doing
  • Never leave an exam early


If you’ve got time left at the end of the exam, think ACUTE – Assumptions, Calculations, Units, Truth, Explanations…

  • Assumptions – have you explained them all, even when not explicity asked
  • Calculations – have you checked them all – doing things different ways if possible and if time permits.  Did you press those calculator buttons right?  Do the answers to different parts of the question agree?  Check, and check again.
  • Units – have you written the units you’re using?  Do the units for all formulas make sense and agree – this is a very powerful technique for checking that your derivations are right and you’re using the right formula.
  • Truth – have you done all the parts of all the sections in the questions?  If asked to make a list and explain why, don’t just make a listRead the question and answer the question, the whole question, and nothing but the question.  Just like the truth in a court of law.
  • Explanations – have you explained what you’ve done at all stages – good explanations might get marks for method even if the answer is wrong; miss out the explanation and you could be throwing away easy method marks.

Adapted from



Study spaces (Edinburgh campus)

The following information supplements that already available on the Other Spaces tab at www.hw.ac.uk/studyspace

Rooms available for study during exam period.

05-16 December 2016: 09:15 – 22:15

Teaching rooms
 Teaching rooms
David Brewster

  • DB1.15

Edwin Chadwick

  • ECG.01
  • ECG.02

William Arrol

  • WA1.08
  • WA1.10
  • WA1.31
  • WA3.03

Mary Burton Building

  • 18:15 – 22:00 weekdays
  • 08:30 – 22:00 Saturday & Sunday

Ground Floor:
All ground floor teaching rooms and computer labs

First Floor: MB 1.47 and MB 1.62

Earl Mountbatten*

  • EMG61
  • EM101
  • EM336
  • EM3.02 (from 12/12)
  • EM3.03 (from 12/12)
  • EM3.06 (from 12/12)
  • EM3.07 (from 12/12)

James Nasmyth

  • JN1.01
  • JN1.02
  • JN1.03

PC Labs

  • Earl Mountbatten*: – EM2.52
  • Edwin Chadwick: – EC2.04
  • Mary Burton: – MBG.22


Earl Mountbatten is electronically locked around 7 pm (automated system) – no one can enter the building after this time.

Students already in EM can stay until 10 pm but they MUST sign the “out of hours” book at the North entrance/red canopy leading to the car park so that we know who is in. The North entrance is the only exit after 7 pm (please use exit release button).

Other teaching rooms may be available – you can check room availability at Online Timetables.

If you wish to enquire about making a room booking contact roombookings@hw.ac.uk

Wheesht gallery @HWUM

The Wheesht Gallery (in the Wheesht Room at our Malaysia campus library) was officially opened at the Discovery 2.0 event last week.

Students and staff had a busy and informative day exploring the support and resources we provide.

Thanks to everyone for joining in and making this such a successful event.