Hillcroft LRC

Archive for September 2015

Calculating Ada from Radio TimesYou may have noticed the BBC is currently running a season programmes on everything digital.

We’ve just added BBC4’s Calculating Ada: the Countess of Computing from the season to our collection. Ada Lovelace was Lord Byron’s daughter and her mother ensured Ada learnt about mathematics so as to separate her from her father’s literary legacy. Ada recognised the value of Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine and tried to raise funds so it could progress. She published the first computer programme and influenced the work of Alan Turing. If you missed the programme you can catch up on BBC iPlayer.

We’ve not recorded all of the programmes for our college but you can find out about other programmes on the BBC Make It Digital page. There you’ll find programmes about women programming, game makers and how algorithms work. Plus there’s a chance to vote on who you think is the biggest digital influencer.


Moodle 2.9 HillcroftWe’re delighted we’ve had a successful upgrade to Moodle 2.9 for our Virtual Learning Environment and we’ve integrated it with Office 365 for Business over the summer.

Our LRC Manager has already given it a whirl and it’s really easy to attach your OneDrive for Business files if you’re creating a course or if you are a learner uploading an assignment document. Another added benefit is if you directly link your file as a shortcut to OneDrive you eliminate the file downloading  which clutters up your network drive!

We’ve also got Single Sign On for Moodle and Office 365 working with Shibboleth. This means the number of passwords are reduced for our students and so it’s easier to login at college and off site.

Ebook record on catalogue with direct linkOur LRC Manager has migrated all of our ebooks on Dawsonera and our eresources to Shibboleth. Now more than 160 ebooks on on the library Heritage catalogue have direct links to Dawsonera on them. Here’s an example of what it looks like. So if a student searches the catalogue they are merely one click away from the ebook. Again this has reduced the number of different usernames and passwords for accessing eresources for accounts which the LRC needed to create as each set of course students got access to ebooks.



Bookshop run haul

Bookshop run haul

We went on our annual bookshop run yesterday. We visited 2 independent bookshops and 2 big bookshops in central London, namely: Gay’s The Word, Housmans, Waterstones and Foyles. Plus we stopped by Fopp for DVDs. Our mission was to suss out the new books and DVDs and browse for the best resources to add to the LRC.

It was fun and illuminating to read the titles and summaries of the books across a range a subjects relevant to Hillcroft students. I was struck by how many there were on communism, lots of interesting topics on migration and critical thinking. Foyles was particularly good on study skills books. The self development section of Waterstones was huge and had a great range of topics from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to yoga. We would have liked to have seen more biographies by women of different races, although there are definitely some great ones available.

Here’s some gems of our book and DVD haul:

New books

Here We Stand (interviews with prominent feminists)

Fun House and Are you my Mother (graphic novels)

The Revolutionary Ideas of Karl Marx (introductory text)

Kwame Nkrumah (history)

The No-Nonsense Guide to Sexual Diversity (introductory text)




The Reader


Wild Thing

Stories We Tell

They’ll be catalogued and on the shelves as soon as possible.

Hello! We’re welcoming a new bunch of Hillcroftians this week as Access courses begin. Here’s a thought for when you’re new to a subject or want to build your knowledge base which I am sure everyone will be eager to do at this time of year 😉

Testing your knowledge is fun if…you think you’re quite knowledgeable on a subject. It is not so fun when you feel intimated by a subject. A while ago I read an article about a national survey along the lines of ‘how musical is your brain’. They concluded that British people had a very high musical aptitude based on their high scores on many questions and activities. What I think was more likely was that people who volunteered to fill in the survey felt themselves to be musical. While those people who weren’t confident with music ignored the survey to avoid highlighting their lack of musical ability. Often methodologies can skew the data.

In an everyday scenario, when you really don’t want to check your bank balance (for fear that it is so low) is precisely the time when you should check your bank balance. i.e. don’t bury your head in the sand. If we apply my father’s advice to our knowledge in academic subjects or workplace, we should be checking our knowledge banks in order to gauge where we are and where we need to go, especially when we are starting out or falling behind.

I found this really good resource called Being Digital by the Open University. It’s for self-assessing study skills, particularly when using online tools. They are only 5-10 mins long and most importantly they have lots of tips and activities to get you on the right track. Go on and try the Assess your skills pathway especially if you are not confident with studying online. Let us know what you think.

Creating your careers map

Creating your careers map

We have many new careers books in the Phoebe Walters room. There are also ebooks available through Dawson. They all have this piece of advice in common: to succeed in a career you have to set goals and plan your path. In What Color is Your Parachute, Richard Bolles likens career planning to organising a big trip. You wouldn’t just turn up at your destination with no phrase book, accommodation or knowledge of the sights or culture. You would research and build anticipation in planning your vacation to make the most out of it. If we are able to put that philosophy into practice in our leisure time we sure could do with adapting it to our professional development.

You can have the career that you want but you have to invest effort into it. You must match your interests and skills with the job and see where you must improve. A good way to do so is by reading around your subject, learning from others, getting on a course or degree or on the job training. The books we have cover all of these processes and more. They motivate you and support you so that even without a life coach or careers advisor you have help. This is so important at the beginning of your studies: thinking about progression to where you are happiest. Thinking about the long term. Why are you here at Hillcroft anyway? Where are you going?

To help you answer some of these questions, why not dip into these new books on careers:

The Careers Handbook

Career Coach

How to Get a Job You Love

So you want to go to Oxbridge?

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