As I approach my final year at the University of Aberdeen, I feel the need to reflect upon my experience. While I reminisce, nostalgia washes over me, and I am hit with a wide array of emotions. What comes to mind are mostly positive memories from exploring a new city, to making lifelong friends and gaining important new life skills. However, I cannot forget the moments of negativity and struggle. Needing help with my dyslexia and not knowing where to go, due to being new to the university. This made me frustrated, confused and feel like a fish out of water.
These feelings spurred my need to find answers and started the beginning of my intense researching. I had decided that I needed to change this experience and became determined to find software for myself. While helping others in the same situation. Thus, after plenty of hours spent on my computer relentlessly searching and digging through University of Aberdeen resources. Fortunately, I found many useful sites already available.
Here are my recommendations:
Most students use this site for course delivery and specific features such as looking at announcements, submitting their coursework, and joining tutorial calls through Blackboard Collaborate. However, there are so many more resources on MyAberdeen that most students don’t know about. Leading to this resource being underutilised and if you are not in know, it can be frustrating to find halfway through your university career.
A clear example of this is Alternative Formats. Blackboard Ally is one of the greatest features on MyAberdeen, yet few people know about it. Alternative Formats are shown as a small A on the right-hand side of documents, helps download course work or documents on MyAberdeen in alterative formats. Do you prefer listening to documents instead of reading? The Alternative Formats has an option to download documents in a mp3 format. Do you struggle to remember where you are on the page? There is an alternative format option called Beeline reader, in which the writing colour on the page changes as you scroll down. I know for me this feature- has genuinely made a huge improvement to my reading and ability to complete course work. I cannot recommend to others enough. So, try it out!
A further resource on MyAberdeen that is advantageous is Achieve or Achieve+. Accessed through the organisation section on the left-hand side panel of MyAberdeen. Achieve is filled with useful advice, whether it be for maths, writing issues or online skills. There are also templates to help you organise and structure your studying time, which I still use to this day. Lastly there is tons of great resources linked and recommended throughout the page, which are incredibly beneficial.
Toolkit is slightly less well known, but equally as important and essential. Toolkit is a University of Aberdeen website filled with over 100 self-help resources that support you with most aspects of university life. In a rush and looking for a specific feature quickly? Do not worry, Toolkit displays information by user groups. Making for a more streamlined display which is easy to navigate. Feeling lost and need guidance on how to download and set up software? Toolkit can help through its’ tutorials and videos, which greatly helped remove my confusion and frustration. Lastly, the number of resources and software recommendations I have found on Toolkit, that I would not have found otherwise is staggering. For example, did you know any student who has specific learning differences can get support through the Assistive Technology service? They assist you with your studies using technology. I urge students to explore Toolkit resources.
A final note
This is only the tip of the iceberg! There are various other support resources available to all students. Want personal tutor help, information on UoA Student Helpline or guidance on Disability Services? Check out the University’s support and Wellbeing pages. Looking to access more information? Remember, both new and returning students should complete Orientation, which is packed with essential information on all support services available for students throughout their studies. These resources can help you in the long run, so please engage with these services as soon as possible!
I hope you found these recommendations useful and remember you do not have to struggle alone!
Useful resources to explore: