Fake News & Plagiarism: Stop the Spread! Part 1 – Foiling Fake News

Blog post by Jeffrey Clark (Student Digital Champion)

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Separating the wheat from the chaff
With millions of websites available to Internet users, it can be hard to tell which ones are legitimate. For every article on a topic that comes from a legitimate news source, there are many more articles on that same topic that are illegitimate. Sharing fake news too often can damage your online reputation, credibility, and negatively affect your academic standing. While studying at Aberystwyth University, it is important to be aware of fake news articles and how to use legitimate articles and sources correctly. This blog post will give you some useful tips on how to achieve both goals which will make your academic journey just that little bit easier. We will go over the basics of fake news, learn how to spot it, and what to do if we encounter it.

What is ‘fake news?’
There are many definitions of fake news but the most widely accepted definition is any news story that is factually incorrect or deliberately misleading. The main purposes of fake news are generating a reaction, pushing a political narrative, or for humorous purposes. It is easy to produce this kind of news on the Internet as anyone can publish anything they want regardless of its truthfulness or their individual qualifications. It is also becoming increasingly difficult to detect as it is easy to disguise a website as a legitimate news source and the rise in technology is making it easier to make other forms of news, such as live reports, appear legitimate.

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An opportunity to discuss digital capabilities at the LTEU’s Academy Forum

We are very pleased to have been welcomed by the Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit (LTEU) to lead two sessions on Digital Capabilities as part of their Academy Forum programme this academic year. The Academy Forum provides a platform for staff and students to share good practice in learning and teaching. For announcements and more information about upcoming sessions, you can follow LTEU’s Academy Forum Blog.

Part 1 will run on Wednesday 7 December (2-3:30pm), and during this session, staff will be invited to share the different practices they currently have to support their own students to feel confident and capable in using various digital technologies, in addition to the challenges this may entail and approaches to overcoming these.

Please visit the Staff Training Webpage for further details and to register your place. Please keep an eye out for details of Part 2, which will be published soon! For all enquiries, please contact the Digital Capabilities Team (digi@aber.ac.uk).

Top Tips and Technology to Support Students Living Independently

Blog post by Urvashi Verma (Student Digital Champion)

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As Welcome Week came to an end recently, I hope that you have all settled in comfortably and are getting to grips with your new schedules. This means changing some of your habits and lifestyle to accommodate your university schedule. For a student living independently for the first time, these changes can be even more difficult. From managing money to living with new people, it isn’t always plain sailing. For example, when I started living independently for the first time, I managed to turn all my white clothes into a bright shade of pink!

Through this blog post, I’m going to share with you some useful tips from my own experiences, and especially different apps and technologies that have helped me to feel more comfortable living independently.

Get enough Sleep

Trying to get enough sleep whilst also juggling your life between lectures, assignments and work can be very stressful, and it can take a long time to get used to it. Try maintaining a proper sleep cycle by going to sleep at the same time every night.

Technology: I would recommend a free app called Sleep Cycle: Sleep Recorded.This app will help you record your sleeping pattern, and you can use it to wake you up at just the right time by using an intelligent alarm clock.

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Catch up on our Panel Discussion – ‘Supporting the development of students’ digital capabilities’

Aberystwyth University’s 10th Annual Learning and Teaching Conference, which ran from 12-14 September 2022, brought together a community of teaching and learning practice from across the University, to celebrate, share, and showcase the exciting and innovative approaches that are taking place.

We held a panel discussion (Supporting the development of students’ digital capabilities) on the final day of the conference, with Saffron Passam (Department of Psychology), Megan Williams (Aberystwyth Business School) and Panna Karlinger (School of Education), the wonderful academic staff who were involved in our student pilot of the Digital Discovery Tool last year.

Panel Members: Megan Williams (top-left), Saffron Passam (top-right), Panna Karlinger (bottom-middle). Panel Facilitator: Sioned Llywelyn (bottom-left)

If you missed our panel discussion, you can watch a recording of it here. We gave on overview of the pilot and Saffron, Megan and Panna shared their valuable insights into what did and didn’t work well for them during the pilot, their top tips for helping students to use the Digital Discovery tool, and we also discussed the wider challenges and successes of embedding skills such as digital capabilities within the curriculum.

Further Resources & Support:

If you will be supporting students to use the Digital Discovery Tool this year, please see the new bank of Teaching Resources for Staff (staff login required). You can also book a consultation with a member of our team by emailing digi@aber.ac.uk.

Staying Safe Online: The Basics

Blog post by Jeffrey Clark (Student Digital Champion)

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The perils of the Internet 

 It’s no secret that the Internet is a part of our everyday lives. From work to social media, many of us find ourselves connected to the Internet in some form or another. Because it’s so commonplace, it’s all too easy to forget that our interactions with the Internet can damage our safety both online and offline. This blog post will go over some ways that you can stay safe while you are online at home or at Aberystwyth University.

Your Digital Footprint

Using social media is a terrific way of connecting with your friends and family. However, it is also important to remember that social media plays a key role in shaping your digital footprint. Your digital footprint refers to activities on the internet that can identify you. There are two main forms of digital footprint, the first being your active footprint, which is identifying data that you deliberately leave online. Actions like uploading a selfie are posting something using your real name all contribute to your active digital footprint. It is important to remember that even if you delete a post you’ve made to social media, it’s never truly gone. One of the best ways to stay safe online is to avoid ‘oversharing.’ Think of it this way, would you tell a stranger your debit card number? Your address? Definitely not! An effective way to remember not to overshare is to ask yourself ‘would I be comfortable giving this information to a stranger?’

On the other hand, you have your active digital footprint, which is data that you unintentionally leave behind. The most common form of this data are cookies, which are small blocks of data that identify your browsing habits. These blocks of data allow for companies to place tailor-made ads on the websites that you visit. While this data is normally harmless, they can reveal private information about you if you share your computer with anyone. Many websites now ask if you want to enable cookies, it is recommended that you disable them if you are using a shared computer or broadcasting your browser contents to an audience (such as in a Microsoft Teams meeting or a livestream.)

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What is Digital Wellbeing?

Blog post by Urvashi Verma (Student Digital Champion)

Digital wellbeing, in layman’s terms is the impact of technology on the overall human wellbeing. In more sophisticated terms, it is the capacity to look after personal safety, relationships, health and work-life balance in digital settings. In today’s world, we have become dependant on technology for our every need. While it is a good thing to utilise technology and its efficient utilisation does solve many problems, any kind of misuse or overuse will have consequences. According to some research, our overall wellbeing is impacted with issues of stress, comparison with others and time management. It leads to worsening of mental wellbeing, mainly in the youth aged 15-24. There are higher chances of mental health issues surfacing in the form of, ranging from but not limited to, loneliness, anxiety and depression.

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