Whether you’ve been at Sheffield Hallam for a year or two, or have only just got through your first few weeks at uni, hopefully by now you’ve worked out how to access your emails through shuspace. The SHU email system is powered by Google, which means you can also benefit from some other tools created by this internet giant.
When you are logged into your email account, have a look at the bar across the top of the screen. You may have never noticed before, but located here is a whole range of online tools to help enhance and coordinate your studying. As well as a number of apps which have been available to students at SHU for a while (such as Calendar and Google Docs), there are also now a few extra tools which are available through your email login for the first time. Here is a quick introduction to all of these clever gadgets.
Store and share your important documents in the Google Docs ‘MyDrive’. Create or upload documents such as spreadsheets and text files, edit them yourself or collaboratively with other users (individuals or Groups – see heading below), and keep them safe in the cloud before downloading on any other computer.
Accessible through the shuGo app’s ‘My Schedule’ icon, as well as alongside your emails in a web browser, Google Calendar can help keep you organised by allowing you to create different overlays for a the range of activities in your schedule (e.g. study, work, social, sport). You can link with friends’ calendars and even subscribe to a range of slightly random ‘Interesting Calendars’ which include league fixtures for your favourite football team and sunrise and sunset times for Sheffield. Google Calendar is soon to be integrated with the SHU Timetable system, making your schedule blend even more seamlessly. Watch this space!
This tool allows you to create groups for discussions which can include text formatting and images. Set privileges that range from invitation-only, to a group that anyone at Hallam can join – see what’s out there already by selecting ‘Browse All’. When you’ve created a group, you can easily invite your course-mates and friends as this tool is integrated with the SHU email directory.
The following tools are new to SHU, so have fun trying them out. Just be aware that, unlike the ones above, the content of these are not shared only within the university. For example, when using YouTube through your SHU account you could choose to share a video with the entire world, a group you have set up using Google Groups, or keep it private and accessible by URL only.
Most of us will be all too familiar with YouTube as a way of catching up with snippets of unmissable TV or the world’s favourite viral videos. However, when used alongside your SHU Google account, it could be a way to enhance your learning. Add your favourite TedTalks or VSauce videos to a playlist, or upload videos that could contribute to your studying such as a record of a work placement or a media assignment. It’s the perfect opportunity to be creative!
Google Reader allows you to keep all of your favourite internet content in one place by subscribing to feeds. Snippets of each of your subscriptions will appear when the host website is updated, so you will see real-time developments of your favourite content such as news, blogs and reviews. Feeds are easy to manage through the side menu, and you can highlight items of particular interest. Google even uses clever algorithms to come up with recommended content based on your subscriptions, so you might find it is the perfect place to expose yourself to even more resources for your study.
This tool allows you to create a profile and start your own blogspot.com blog. This could be an original way to document a work placement or other aspects of your course, or to develop writing and journalism skills. Alternatively you can use the tool to add others’ blogs to a reading list. If you develop a knack for blogging you could even turn it into a money-spinner, with gadgets, cars and fashion being some of the top themes to generate cash from advertising.
So give them a try and let us know how you could use these tools to enhance your experience at SHU!