Study with others in our Online Writing Retreats

Studying at home and finding it hard to concentrate? Writing retreats are used by writers, academics and students all over the world as they provide a supportive environment, accountability and protected time to focus on your work.

We are running two-hour retreats on 18, 19 and 21 October for any undergraduate or masters level student to join. The times are:

Dubai: 1pm – 3.10pm

Malaysia: 5pm – 7.10pm

UK: 10am – 12.10pm

Hosted by the Global Effective Learning Service, all you need to do is come prepared with some tasks you want to work on (and they don’t have to be focused on writing). We recommend trying to set SMART* goals for yourself, but the most important thing is to have an idea of what you want to achieve by the end of the retreat. This could relate to an assignment, revising for exams or another study goal. Some examples include:

  • Reading and making notes on x number of articles
  • Revising for an exam
  • Planning an assignment
  • Analysing results from an experiment
  • Working on maths problems
  • Writing a first draft of part of an assignment.
  • Editing your first draft

Book your place

Monday 18 October: https://hw.ac.libcal.com/event/3795788

Tuesday 19 October: https://hw.ac.libcal.com/event/3795789

Thursday 21 October: https://hw.ac.libcal.com/event/3795790

For more information on writing retreats and how to organise your own, visit the Skills Hub Guide.

*SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timed.

Staff training workshops from Information Services – book your place now.

Information Services will be running a number of training workshops for staff in the coming months.
To view the full calendar and book your place on any of the sessions, visit https://bit.ly/infoservicestraining

Workshops topics include:

  •  Introduction to Collaborate Ultra
  • Stream – Managing your content
  • Teams – The latest updates
  • Video and podcast creation
  • An introduction to Padlet
  • An introduction to using Turning Point
  • SharePoint Hub administrator


We look forward to welcoming you to these sessions.

IS has also created a new SharePoint site which is packed with lots of useful guidance on Collaborate, Stream, E-books, Office 365 and much more.
Click here to access the IS Training site

Multi Factor Authentication for Staff

Setting up Multi-Factor Authentication

1. Download the Microsoft Authenticator App to your mobile phone.
You can get the Microsoft Authenticator App for Apple iPhones here https://apps.apple.com/gb/app/microsoft-authenticator/id983156458
and for Android phones (e.g., Samsung/Google/Motorola/OnePlus/Huawei etc) https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.azure.authenticator

2.  Multi-Factor Authentication has been enabled on your account.
You will be prompted to set up MFA next time you authenticate to any Office 365 services. On your PC or laptop device, once you’ve entered your username and password as usual, you’ll see the following screen:

Click ‘Next’ and the Additional security verification screen will appear. In the drop-down box, select ‘Mobile App’ and ‘Receive notifications for verification’ as in the image below.

Now click ‘Set up’ – you’ll see the next screen:

3. On your mobile phone, start the Microsoft Authenticator App.

Once in the App, you need to:

  • Click on the 3 dots in the top right-hand corner of the screen
  • Click ‘Add account’
  • Select ‘Work or school account’
  • Select ‘Scan a QR code’
  • Allow any permissions for your app to use the phone camera
  • Scan the QR code on your screen using your phone. The account is now linked to your App.

4. On your PC, click ‘Next’ and you should see a message indicating that the App has been set up. You can click Next again – at this point you will be asked to respond to a pop-up notification on your phone from the Authenticator App – this is how you will be prompted every time you access your account on an unknown device.

Once the setup is complete, you’ll be prompted to enter a phone number. Please provide this: it will help if, for some reason, you lose access through the App. The phone number will not be used for marketing purposes.

Click ‘Finish’.  Your account is secured with Microsoft Multi-Factor Authentication. Nobody can access your HWU account without being in possession of your username, password, and – most importantly – your unlocked mobile phone.

Collaborate Ultra update – how to run large scale sessions with more than 250 participants in Collaborate Ultra.

Collaborate Ultra has a limit of 250 attendees. Staff can increase this limit to 500 attendees by following these simple steps:

How to set up a large scale session:

1) Create the session as you normally would.

2) Click on the cog to enter the session settings menu.
3) Scroll down until the bottom of the page, where you will see the ‘Large scale session 250+’ option. Tick the box to enable 250+ attendees.

Please note: If a live session has more than 250 attendees in it, the option of breakout groups is unavailable.

For events larger than 500 attendees, Information Services recommends scheduling a Teams Live Event.

For more information on using Collaborate Ultra, visit
https://heriotwatt.sharepoint.com/sites/istraining/SitePages/Collaborate-Ultra.aspx

For more information on how to schedule a Teams Live Event visit
https://heriotwatt.sharepoint.com/sites/is-audiovisual/SitePages/User-Guides.aspx#microsoft-teams-live-events-user-guides

To book onto live training on Collaborate Ultra and other applications, please visit the IS Training Calendar
https://bit.ly/infoservicestraining

Heriot-Watt Nameserver Upgrades 29 May 2021

Information Services is performing a software upgrade to the main campus nameserver service, this weekend Sat 29th May 2021

There will be an ‘at risk’ period of 4 hours from 3pm BST which will affect all UK and global campuses.

This is the first phase an ongoing refresh cycle to replace our existing appliances. Users may experience a short delay in resolving internet names during this time.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused. Please contact the ISHelp@hw.ac.uk with any questions.

Security issue – Android Device users Scam Alert

There have been widespread reports of a new scam affecting Android users called “Flubot”

This is a text-message scam that infects Android phones and is spreading across the UK. The message – which pretends to be from a package delivery firm, prompts users to install a tracking app – but is actually a malicious piece of spyware.

Crucially, it can take over devices and spy on phones to gather confidential data, including things such as sensitive work information or online banking details.

It has been reported on BBC news https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-56859091

If you receive a text message that looks like the one below:
IGNORE: Do not click any links.
DELETE: Remove the text from your phone

British Summer Time and Vision

The clocks in the UK move forward by 1 hour on Sunday 28th March 2021, from GMT to BST (GMT+1). This is how the move to BST will affect Vision.


Blackboard Collaborate Ultra
The time is taken from the end user’s computer’s local time zone for session start and end times. So the times should not be affected by the change to BST.


Turnitin Assignments
Turnitin will move to GMT+1 when the UK moves to BST so deadlines set in Turnitin in the UK should not be affected. Colleagues in Dubai and Malaysia may wish to check as Turnitin Assignments will use GMT+1 instead of GMT after Sunday.


Vision (Blackboard) Assignments, Tests, Adaptive Release
Vision is set to GMT and remains so for the whole year, even when the UK moves to BST. This will affect Tests, Standard Vision (not Turnitin Assignments), and Adaptive Release settings. Therefore an assignment, test or adaptive release rule set for say 10:00am (BST) should be set on Vision for 9:00am (GMT).


Please remind students of the change to UK time from Sunday. If they are outwith the UK, their country of residence may not practice Daylight Saving Time (or the dates may vary from the UK).

Be vigilant for phishing and scam emails

Be vigilant for phishing and scam emails

We regularly receive reports from staff and students of suspicious emails e.g. false vaccination appointments, bogus HMRC tax refunds etc.
These can appear to be very believable and sophisticated and sometimes scammers can take names from university or company websites and then create other email accounts so the sender details look correct.

What to do:
If you think you have received a phishing email to your @hw.ac.uk account
Do not click on any links
Do not open any attachments
Don’t reply to the message

Information Services Help:
To notify Information Services of a phishing email, or you have concerns about whether an email is real or not,  please forward it to phishing@hw.ac.uk  and then delete it.


If you have received a phishing email, accidently clicked the link in it and provided your university credentials (username and password), please send an email to ishelp.hw.ac.uk for assistance.

Accounts that are suspected to be compromised will be blocked automatically for security purposes. 
If your account has been blocked because of this, please send an email to ishelp.hw.ac.uk for assistance.

Information Services are constantly working to make systems including emails as safe and secure as possible.
Planning is underway to implement Multi Factor Authentication for staff and then students to improve staff and student security and their data.

Top tips to help you spot phishing emails

(phishing is the attempt to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details (and sometimes, indirectly, money) by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication).

  • Be suspicious of any urgent requests for personal or financial information
  • Be aware: Phishing scams are common at main instalment payment dates or connected to newsworthy events
  • Check that you’re using a secure website when submitting credit card or other sensitive information.
  • Prevention: Your email details may have been taken from a social networking site so avoid disclosing your email address or make sure you hide it on your page
  • Look for tell-tale signs of phishing: Check the quality of the communication. Misspelling, poor punctuation and bad grammar are often good indicators

Warning regarding Sci-Hub website and phishing attacks

Sci-Hub is an illegal website which poses serious security risks and should be avoided by University students and staff.
Police have warned against using websites, and Sci-Hub, in particular that allow users to illegally access scientific research papers. 

The Sci-Hub website will be blocked for accessing on campus but it is important that students and staff do not access the site from home or off campus.

Sci-Hub obtains the papers through a variety of malicious means, such as the use of phishing emails to trick university staff and students into divulging their login credentials. 
Sci Hub then use this to compromise the university’s network and download the research papers” 
The City of London Police’s Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) press release

Click & Collect service resuming

We are pleased to be able to reinstate click & collect services for print books at the Edinburgh and Scottish Borders Campuses. We know that this service is very helpful for students this year and apologise for any inconvenience caused while the review of its safety was carried out by the University. This week we are working through the backlog of requests received and revising our service in  the libraries. Further information of the full reinstatement and new process will be communicated early next week.

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