Top ten courses on LinkedIn Learning

Screenshot of a PowerPoint Quick Tips course on LinkedIn Learning.All staff and students at Heriot-Watt now have access to LinkedIn Learning, a collection of 12,000+ digital courses on business, creative and management topics.  LinkedIn Learning provides personalised course recommendations based on your interests, skillset, experience and goals, delivered by industry experts with real-world experience.

The current top ten courses at Heriot-Watt are:

  1. Learning C#
  2. How to use LinkedIn Learning
  3. Learning Java
  4. Learning Python
  5. Python for Data Science Essential Training
  6. Communication within Teams
  7. Developing Your Emotional Intelligence
  8. Project Management Foundations
  9. Strategic Thinking
  10. Python Essential Training

LinkedIn Learning covers a huge range of topics, such as app development; Microsoft Office; entrepreneurship; social media marketing; photography and many more.  You can access LinkedIn Learning online or via the Heriot-Watt portal.

Skype, Phones and Videoconferencing

Our successful transition earlier this year from on-campus email, calendars and address-books to Microsoft’s cloud-based Office365 system was intended to ensure that these critical services are available to HWU students and staff globally, from any device, 24 x 365.

Additionally, access to web-based versions of Word, Excel and Powerpoint, and the right to install full versions of these on our own devices, ensures that all HWU students and staff can create, view and share documents globally. See our Summer 2016 Power Hours programme for more information about getting the best from these applications.

New applications are also bundled into Office365, with new additions planned by Microsoft all the time – see  for details. The application which has seen the fastest take-up across HWU is Skype-for-Business, an enterprise-strength version of the free application we’ve used for years to keep in touch with distant friends and relatives.

Skype-for-Business’s potential for learning, teaching, research and administration across our global University is immense, but there are practical limits which emerge most commonly when communicating with people who are not on HWU campuses, with their high-speed connections to the Internet.

Internet Links June 2016

We find that each device in a Skype-for-Business videoconference needs at least 1mb/s of download and upload bandwidth to each and every other device in the call. This is particularly challenging for mobile phones, whether on 3G/4G or shared WIFI connections, and even more so when more than 2 nodes are connected.

Skype bandwidth 2

I’ve just checked the download and upload bandwidth available to my mobile phone, sitting in the Edinburgh Campus Library, out of Semester on a sunny Friday afternoon:

Mobile Bandwidth

As you can see, participating in more than a 1:1 videoconference would be impossible, and even that is marginal.

Turning on my phone’s WIFI and connecting to the global Eduroam service, with very few people about I can get 37mb/s download and 7mb/s upload, so I could potentially participate in the following teleconference:

Skype bandwidth 3

However, new devices connecting to WIFI near to me, or additional participants joining the meeting, would reduce (and could exhaust) the bandwidth available to me,  causing me problems.

Please note that these practical limits are nothing to do with Office365 or Skype-for-Business. Whichever software you use to videoconference between PCs, tablets and mobile phones, you’ll need these amounts of bandwidth available for reliable participation. As mentioned above, problems between on-campus participants are relatively rare.

So, what can you do to ensure that videoconferences using Skype-for-Business are always successful and productive?

  • Use wired connections rather than WIFI whenever possible, but if impossible, use WIFI rather than 3G/4G mobile broadband.
  • Prepare and practise well before any crucial conference:
    • Ensure that all participants have the correct software installed, have read its instructions and practised making calls and being called
    • Check that all participants have Internet connections that are reliable and fast enough.
    • Check that every camera, microphone and loudspeaker (or headset) are correctly adjusted
  • Work out your “Plan B” in advance, and share it with all participants. This might include:
    • Agreeing to blank cameras and mute microphones whenever possible if network capacity is problematic for any participant.
    • Having a conventional telephone/speakerphone available, with its dial-in number known to all.
    • Sharing all participant email addresses to allow asynchronous communication and content sharing.
  • Speak to the Information Services Audio Visual team who, with many years of videoconferencing experience, will be able to give you expert advice on getting the best possible results.

Presidion (SPSS) Academic Portal

The Presidion Academic Portal a newly launched tool for both students and lecturers.

The portal provides training, videos, tutorials, faqs etc to help you get started using SPSS.


To register to access the portal (students and lecturers)

  1. Go to
  2. Click on “Not a member? Register
  3. Fill out the form using your HWU email address
  • An email will be sent to the email address entered allowing you to verify your account
  1. Click on the link provided to verify the email and you will be sent your registration details

You are automatically (regardless of whether you registered as a student or a lecturer) granted student access

For students, the registration process ends here.


If you are a lecturer, you need to provide proof that you are a lecturer before being granted lecturer access.

This can be anything from a link to the HWU website with your information displayed on it, to an email from your Head of Department confirming that you are indeed a lecturer.

Once Presidion receive this information they will change your user status to lecturer (but in the meantime you can log in with student access).


There is a feedback area in the portal so that you can let Presidion know what you think of the service, suggest improvements etc.

We would also be interested to hear any comments that you have about the portal – let us know by emailing

We hope you find it useful.

Trick or treat…5 Word tips…

Everyone can use Word – right?

But Word is a huge application – with lots of powerful features – and quite a few shortcuts that can help make all of our lives easier when using it.

How about:

Move sections in the Navigation Pane

navigationThis one works as long as you have used Heading Styles to format your document (see Using Styles in Word)

  1. Display the Navigation Pane (View, Navigation Pane)
  2. Drag the headings to where you want them

Other options are available when in the Navigation Pane – right click on a heading to see them

  • If headings are numbered, the numbering adjusts automatically

Move table rows up and down

Cut and paste would work fine – but try this next time you have rows to move – it’s really quick…

  1. Select the row(s) you want to move
  2. Move up: [Alt]-[Shift]–[UpArrow]
  3. Move down: [Alt]-[Shift]–[DownArrow]

Save All open documents

If, like me, you are often working on several documents at once, it can be handy to give one command to get Word to save them all (rather than have to save them individually)

If this appeals to you, add the Save All button saveall to the Quick Access Toolbar – then just click it when you want to save all open documents

  1. Open the Word Options dialog box (File, Options)
  2. Click Quick Access Toolbar
  3. Select Commands Not In The Ribbon from the Choose Commands From drop-down list
  4. Scroll down and select Save All
  5. Click the Add button and then click OK

Keyboard shortcuts for applying Heading styles

  • Heading 1: [Ctrl]-[Alt]-1
  • Heading 2: [Ctrl]-[Alt]-2
  • Heading 3: [Ctrl]-[Alt]-3

Insert Screen clips in Word

ScreenclipScreen clips will be inserted at the insertion point in your document.

If you want a complete Window

  1. On the Insert tab click Screenshot
  2. Click the Window required in the Available Windows list

If you want part of a Window

  1. Select the Window you want to create a screen clipping from
  2. Go back to your Word document and position the insertion point where you want the clipping to appear
  3. Click Screenshot and then click Screen Clipping
  • The Window you selected at 1 above will be displayed
  1. Drag around the area required



Excel order tricks…

In the lead up to Halloween, nothing too spooky – just a few tricks and treats you might like to try.

You all know how to sort data, but are you aware of some other features that you could use when you want to show how your data is placed within a range? If not, try these!

IF, MAX, MIN Function

Useful when you have a list of data and you want to be able to identify the highest and lowest value in the list (without sorting)

1.  Enter (or calculate) your list of values – see column B below

To display the message required e.g. Lowest Temperature/Highest Temperature

2.  Enter the formula
=IF(B3=MAX($B$3:$B$15),”Highest Temperature”,IF(B3=MIN($B$3:$B$15),”Lowest Temperature”,””)) – see  column C

3.  Copy the formula down the column – the appropriate message should display beside the maximum and minimum values


Conditional Formatting

Alternatively, rather than display a message, you might prefer to use formatting to indicate which values are highest and lowest.

The image above shows demonstrates the highest and lowest temperature cells formatted with a background colour to make them stand out (cells B6 and B8 above).

See Conditional Formatting – highlight highest and lowest values

Or you could follow the steps at

RANK Function

If you would prefer to be able to rank the data in a range e.g. 1, 2, 3, etc, use the RANK function.  In this example we are working in Column D.

  1. In cell D3 enter the function =RANK(B3,$B$3:$B$15) – where B3 is the cell you want evaluated, and B3:B15 is the range you want it ranked against
  2. Copy the formula down the column—the rank or relative position against the B3:B15 cell range—will be displayed.



Skills for Success

Skills for Success has been written to support undergraduate students at Heriot-Watt University and to help you develop key skills in information, IT and effective study.

The course contains 3 sections:


Skills for Success is available to all staff and students at Heriot-Watt University. It is not programme specific – and students on all campuses, studying full time, part time or by distance learning may find the content useful.

The material can help you:

  • Find high quality academic sources for your assignments – and use them appropriately in your coursework and assignments.
  • Use desktop software to prepare and present your work.
  • Develop good study and organisation skills.

You don’t need to work though the material from beginning to end – you can dip in and out as you wish and visit and revisit as often as you like.

We hope you find it useful – please feel free to provide feedback using the Feedback link, or by adding a comment to the map (in Where are you?)

To access Skills for Success you must self-enrol:

You can watch a screen cast at or follow the steps 1 – 5 below.

  1. Log in to Vision
  2. Select the Organisations tabsfs
  3. Search for Skills for Success
  4. Click the drop-down arrow under the Organisation ID,
    next to VIIASS
  5. Click Enrol, then click Submit, and finally click OK

Skills for Success will be available in the My Organisations module. pilot – Scottish Borders Campus from Jan 2014

A kiosk has been set up in the Scottish Borders Campus Library.lynda_logo1y-d_72x72

Students and staff can access the entire library of instructional videos at the kiosk. kiosk provides: –

    • over 2,000 courses on a wide variety of technology and disciplines
    • courses include AutoCad, Blackboard, Dreamweaver, InDesign, Moodle, Office 365, Photoshop, SketchUp, SPSS – and lots more that could help you with your studies and personal/professional development
    • short, concise videos that you can search or browse through
    • new courses throughout the year
    • training at beginner to advanced levels
Visit for a preview of the service – and come along and try it out in the library.
Please use a headset – either your own or ask to borrow one from the Service Desk in the library.

Information – Anywhere, Anytime!

HWU’s online services are readily available from your smart phone or mobile device.

Our website  is mobile-reponsive, so use your mobile’s browser to bookmark , or other pages that you often use.

Setting up Student and Staff Email, Contacts and Calendar will let you keep you in touch, wherever you are.

To work in the VISION Virtual Learning Environment or access your Library Services, whenever you need to, download the free Blackboard Mobile Learn or LibAnywhere apps from the i-Tunes App or Google Play Stores.

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