IT Learning Programme Advent Learning: Week 4

christmas-1015348_1920In our last post before Christmas, we highlight a few short videos focusing on the  creative use of technology.

Be inspired to design a logo, create a game character using Blender, or find out about the process behind special effect make up!

Or simply sit back and relax and watch one of the many online documentaries in featuring the stories of creative companies, leaders, entrepreneurs, inventors, experts, and innovators.

And here are some suggestions of videos to help you learn something new, at home or at work. You can even share this particular collection with your family and friends – you don’t need an SSO login!

Happy Holidays!

Remember that you can download videos from for offline viewing.  If you’re planning a Christmas trip and worried about a long stay in a departure lounge, or concerned you may get snowed in somewhere (!), how about downloading some interesting videos to your handheld device? Read our guidance on using on your mobile device.

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IT Learning Programme Advent Learning: Week 3

christmas-1015346_1920As the nights draw in and Christmas comes ever closer, our third advent blog post brings you a collection of videos which will help you record your Christmas memories.

We kick off with this excellent introduction to photography.

And once you have taken those special snaps, learn how to get your photos organised and how to keep them safe. You can share them with family and friends using Google Photos.

Of course, you can also manage your images on your mobile device.

And if you are lucky enough to get a new Android phone for Christmas…

Watch a great video for anyone getting their first Android:

Note: to watch these videos you will need to sign up to our new lynda learning resource. It’s free to sign up using your Oxford single sign (SSO) credentials.

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IT Learning Programme – Advent Learning: Week 2

christmas-1015342_1920The second week of Advent already, and our blog turns its attention to making your seasonal greetings more fun and creative. Our hand-picked videos this week focus on how to make greetings cards, labels and videos.

There are so many tools to help you design your own Christmas cards, so you can create something really individual to share. We’ve picked out two videos which show how to create and design cards.

Or find out how to personalize that round robin letter using mail merge!

And to add the final touch make your labels stand out by adding an image to a label.

This year, how about filming your own greeting to send to family and friends? has a range of quick video tips to get you started with creating your own video. Find out how to make a good impression on camera? We found the part about covering up tattoos very useful!

Note: to watch these videos you will need to sign up to our new lynda learning resource. It’s free to sign up using your Oxford single sign (SSO) credentials.

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IT Learning Programme – Advent Learning: Week 1

christmas-1015352_1920As we come into the season of Advent, counting down to Christmas, the IT Learning Programme team has picked out some seasonal videos that can help you get in the mood. Look out for our weekly blog up until Christmas. In our first week we’ll help you plan your time and hopefully carve out some quiet time over Christmas!

Learn to keep track of your time, with your work commitments, preparations at home and all those festivities, using a calendar as simple as Outlook. Keep aside some thinking space amongst the excitement and fun, to ponder what Christmas means to you.

Get some quick tips on how to organise meetings using Outlook

Or use more of Outlook’s tools to manage your own time.

Hear from a time management expert with some simple tips to becoming more intentional about the way you spend your time.

And if the holiday spending seems to be getting away from you, learn to create a simple budget using Excel.

Note: to watch these videos you will need to sign up to our new lynda learning resource. It’s free to sign up using your Oxford single sign (SSO) credentials.

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Are you one of the 2,535 University members signed up to

Since the launch at the end of September 2,535 people have signed up to our new lynda learning resource. If you’re not one of them you are missing out on high quality, free, any time any place, training. Over 22,000 videos have been watched, with the top ranking IT skills development courses being Programming Fundamentals, Matlab, R, Python, Excel and Illustrator.

If you are using lynda already, you will start to see some changes to the course page navigation design over the coming weeks.

If you’re not using lynda – you can sign up using your single sign (SSO) credentials.

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Learn more about lynda!

The IT Learning Programme has recently introduced access to, a huge library of video-based, online learning resources covering IT and Design skills and more.

From September 2015 all current University members have been able to access these resources for free to enhance their IT skills and their personal development. Access is by Single Sign On at

To date, over 2000 individuals have logged into the system and are making use of the high quality videos delivered by leading industry experts. However, we want to reach many more. The IT Learning Programme is working to blend these video resources with its classroom-based IT courses. Other UK Universities have started to integrate the learning resources into their taught programmes for both undergraduates and postgraduates, and their staff development initiatives.

Would you like to explore what is possible?
The IT Learning Programme is delighted to be hosting Silke Prodinger-Leong from Silke will give a one-hour talk on Friday 6th November to show how to create playlists and how other UK Universities have used within their programmes of study and training programmes.

The session will run twice, so please book on to the one that best suits you:

Venue: IT Services, 13 Banbury Rd

Friday 6th November, 11 am-Noon
Friday 6th November, 2-3 pm

Please book your place at:

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Show: A new series of lunchtime talks

show: is a series of lunchtime talks celebrating the intersection between art and technology in digital media. The series is an expansion and replacement of the successful Digital Media User Group that has run termly for the last 6 years. show: will cover music, film, still imagery and technologies such as 3D printing in the context of Oxford. Talks will address university business, research and creative uses of these technologies, providing a platform for university members and others to share the contributions they are making in this fast-changing arena.

This term we have four show: talks lined up (with a few more to follow):

show: Billy Jackson: Spare time filmmaker
2nd November – 12:30-13:30
Billy Jackson works for the University full time, but in his spare time he likes to make films. In this session Billy will talk about his work, which range from music videos to short dramas to one stop motion animation pieces, one of which was shortlisted for a BBC short film competition. He will talk about how anybody can make a film and will cover the self-taught aspect and provide a brief overview of the tools he uses, such as Final Cut.
Book a place

show: From Ferret Brains to Fashion – Creative Applications of 3D Printing
9th November – 12:30-13:30
For the last year the Radcliffe Science Library has run a 3D printing service. In this presentation we will provide examples of the creative applications the printer has been put to and highlight some of the useful design tools and practical pitfalls we have encountered.
Book a place

show: Pure Data – a musical programming show and tell!
16th November – 12:30-13:30
Pure Data is a flexible and accessible programming language widely used by musician because of its friendly “patching” interface. This talk will demo some entry level projects and give an overview of how the program is used to control and make sounds.
Book a place

show: Drawing and the Digital Ground
23rd November – 12:30-13:30
In recent years drawing has met with renewed critical scrutiny. New 3D printing technologies are joining the more established media of film and video to offer novel insights into the field. I will present a handful of my recent artworks to suggest some intersections between paper, screen, lens and modelling software as grounds for the figures they support.
Book a place

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Presentation Zen: Developing your story – Garr Reynolds

Presentation Zen: Developing your story – Garr Reynolds
Tuesday 20 October
17:30 – 18:30

Garr Reynolds, an internationally acclaimed design and presentations expert, returns to Oxford to give another lecture here at Oxford. His approach challenges the conventional wisdom of making slide presentations and encourages you to think differently and more creatively about the preparation, design, and delivery of your presentations. Garr will share lessons and perspectives that will help you make remarkable presentations that are simpler, more visual, and far more compelling, engaging, and memorable.

This will be a repeat of his session from last year. For those who did not have the chance to attend last time don’t miss out this time!

Garr is currently Associate Professor of Management at Kansai Gaidai University where he teaches Marketing, Global Marketing and Multimedia Presentation Design. He is probably best known for his book ‘Presentation Zen’. Presentation Zen challenges the conventional wisdom of making “slide presentations” in today’s world and encourages you to think differently and more creatively about the preparation, design, and delivery of your presentations. Garr draws upon practical advice from the fields of communication and business, combining solid principles of design with the tenets of Zen simplicity. This session will help you along the path to simpler, more effective presentation and designs.

The session is free you can book through the usual course booking system at:

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Online IT courses? You need to meet lynda… provides a vast online library of instructional videos covering the latest software. Taught by accomplished teachers and recognized industry experts, it is a high-quality resource for students, academics, and staff looking to develop skills in Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Suite, social media, and a wide range of other topics including data analysis, programming and web development.

There are new courses each week and the option to watch a complete course or bite-sized videos as you need them. sits alongside our classroom-based courses; it will enable us to reach more people and cover those topics for which we don’t have in-house expertise. It’s also available 24/7!

And it’s FREE to all University members!

You can sign up up to – all you need are your Oxford Single Sign On credentials.

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Open Toolkit

Last week we held another successful Skills Toolkit event here in the IT Learning Programme. This is where we give research students the opportunity to try out a collection of tools that they might find useful in their research and studies.

The tools were a mix of open source and commercial. It set me thinking as to what a personal toolbox of open source applications might contain. Here’s my list:

7-zip: for file compression

Audacity: for sound recording and editing

Blender: 3D animation

Chromium: the browser behind Google Chrome

Filezilla: for FTP uploading and downloading

Freemind: for mind-mapping

GIMP: the GNU Image Manipulation Program for image editing

Inkscape: for illustrations

LibreOffice: the office productivity suite that contains Writer (documents), Calc (spreadsheets), Impress (presentations), Draw (diagrams), Base (databases), Math (equations)

Scribus: for desk top publishing, such as posters and leaflets

Texmaker: a LaTeX editor

Thunderbird: for email

All of these are available cross-platform.

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