Your Digital Identity Checklist: 5 Do’s and Don’ts 💼

Blogpost by Noel Czempik (Student Digital Champion)

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Taking charge of your digital identity is now more crucial than ever. Safeguard your privacy, strengthen your security, and unlock potential professional opportunities with the short guide below.

1. Review Your Privacy Settings

Take advantage of tools that allow you to display your content as it’s visible to your audience, customise privacy settings for individual posts or modify what information can be used to search your profile. You can read this article for more information on the privacy settings available on the most popular social media sites.

2. Share Thoughtfully

Don’t solely rely on privacy settings. Think before posting, considering the potential impact on your reputation and safety. Be cautious of content that could be misinterpreted or taken out of context, and don’t share sensitive personal information unnecessarily.

3. Monitor Your Digital Footprint

Regularly search your name online to assess available information. Consider setting up alerts for new mentions or content associated with your name.

4. Curate Your Content

Align shared content with your desired digital image. Remove or update outdated or irrelevant information.

5. Build a Professional Online Presence

Showcase skills and achievements on professional platforms, maintaining a professional tone and image in your communication. For example, you can add certificate of completions for LinkedIn Learning courses on your personal LinkedIn account. For multi-purpose platforms, consider creating separate profiles for personal and professional use. If you are interested in building a LinkedIn profile, a recording of the Careers Services’ LinkedIn session is available here.

For further information about managing your digital identity, you can watch the Careers Services’ session on this topic from the Digital Skills Festival.

Digital Decluttering: A Student Guide To Organising your Digital Spaces

Blogpost by Noel Czempik (Student Digital Champion)

Most of us engage with digital devices daily, and just like our physical spaces, they often become home to clutter, affecting our wellbeing and productivity. In this blog post, I will share the most effective strategies for reclaiming my digital spaces.

Preparing For Your Decluttering Journey

  1. Try approaching your clutter with curiosity rather than judgment. This will help you stay positive and better understand your digital habits. Visualise the positive impact decluttering will have on your wellbeing.
  2. Expect this process to take time. Sorting through years of accumulated digital content can be daunting, but sizing up the challenge and allocating the right time and space can make it more manageable.
  3. Start with the quick wins that will make the most immense impact with minimal effort. This will allow you to build up momentum and approach the more difficult tasks with empowerment.
  4. Consider any upcoming longer journeys as opportunities to make progress on your decluttering adventure.
  5. Deciding what to keep and what to delete may be challenging. Ask yourself what would happen if everything were to disappear?

Quick Wins: Small Actions Can Yield Big Results

Each of these 5-10 minute tasks is beneficial alone, but as you progress through the list, their impact compounds for greater effect.

  • Cleaning your desktop: Delete unnecessary files and find a home for the rest to achieve the bliss of an empty virtual desk.
  • Decluttering your apps: You might be surprised at the number of apps on your phone or desktop that you no longer notice. Uninstall any apps you don’t use to free up space and minimise distractions.
  • Customising your home screen: Make apps that you want to use often more accessible and hide ones that are likely to distract you by using folders. Consider adding shortcuts to quickly access lists such as shopping, gift ideas or business ideas lists, preventing you from adding to the clutter with every stroke of genius.
  • Reviewing your notification settings: Disable unhelpful notifications to avoid overloading your lockscreen.
  • Customising your taskbar and quick access bars: Delete or unpin features you don’t find useful to implement your organisational systems.
  • Cleaning your downloads folder: Eliminate unnecessary files and duplicates to free up space.
  • Decluttering your browser: Remove unused extensions and bookmarks to streamline your browsing experience and pin the tools you’d like to use more often. Consider clearing your cookies and cache to protect your privacy, keeping in mind you might get signed out or remove saved preferences on some sites.
  • Clearing your screenshots: The screenshot folder is often a catch-all for single-use files.

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Join us for the Student Digital Champions’ Winter Break Challenge! ❄

Blogpost by Joel Williams (Student Digital Champion)

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Welcome to this year’s Winter Break Challenge, created by the Student Digital Champions. We’ve created nine challenges for you to complete while taking a study break over the Christmas holidays.

We’ve also created a LinkedIn Learning collection, which you’re welcome to use for days 3, 5 and 7 of the challenge. Or, please feel free to choose other courses from LinkedIn Learning.

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Digital Detox: Rebooting My Digital Lifestyle 📵

Blogpost by Noel Czempik (Student Digital Champion)

In my journey to digital wellbeing, I found myself at a crossroads, dissatisfied with the evolving relationship between technology and me. Once a source of joy for facilitating connections and enriching experiences, it gradually became a frustrating and anxiety-inducing presence. Attempting various strategies, from greyscale displays to setting reminders, proved futile; my devices continued to dominate my time, now laced with guilt and a sense of personal failure, far from the fascination of my early experiences with technology. What had changed?

Swipe Wars: The Smartphone Menace

In the early days of social media, logging in required a ritual—turning on the family PC, navigating through desktop layers, and patiently awaiting the slow progression of the digital world. That world could disappear at the press of a button at dinnertime or the first signs of an oncoming thunderstorm. Fast forward to today, and our devices are ever-present, always in our pockets, ready for instant engagement. The ease with which we unlock our phones without a clear purpose has turned habitual, a craving for the dopamine reward that digital interaction brings.

Initially confined to finite feeds, social media has evolved into expansive content platforms crafted to hold our attention endlessly. In today’s consumer-centric landscape, our devices are not neutral tools but deliberately designed to encourage frequent and prolonged use. While we seek engaging technology, the allure that captures our interest can sometimes work against our best intentions.

From Whoville to Screensville: How the Smartphone Stole Christmas

While invaluable in connecting us during lockdowns and holidays spent at a distance, our devices have also altered the nature of our in-person interactions. I vividly recall the post-pandemic Christmas spent with family, surrounded by screens, each of us engrossed in our digital worlds. It was a far cry from the planned festivities but a reality shaped by the omnipresence of technology.

My once-positive relationship with technology has now turned toxic, and breaking free from my phone’s grasp requires more than just free will.

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Eyes on the Prize: A Student’s Guide to Defeating Computer Eyestrain 👁

Blogpost by Joel Williams (Student Digital Champion)

Whilst computers can be excellent tools to increase and streamline a student’s productivity, staring at a screen all day can have several adverse effects. Through this post, and accompanying infographic, I hope to impart several tips which I’ve used to help make using computers a more enjoyable experience throughout my degree. In this post, I will discuss one common computer-related ailment, Eyestrain. Eyestrain can occur after extended periods of looking at the same monitor or by using a computer in a poorly lit environment.   

20-20-20 Rule  

One of the approaches I’ve found easiest to implement into my studies is the 20-20-20 rule; this approach involves taking a break every 20 minutes, looking at an object 20 feet away (don’t worry, this doesn’t need to be precise), for 20 seconds. Blinking often during this is also suggested, as this can help relax the eye muscles and further reduce the likelihood of strain.  

You can find out more about this via this LinkedIn Learning course

Reducing Blue Light  

Another method to reduce eye strain is to limit your exposure to blue light; this is because the blue light produced by screens can limit the production of melatonin (the sleep hormone), which can disturb our natural sleep cycles and result in our eyes feeling strained at the end of the day. This topic is still up for scientific debate, and you can read more about it here. This is easier to setup on personal machines but with some tweaking can be used on almost any computer at the University. 

There are two main approaches to managing this: 

  • Firstly, you can use software to reduce blue light exposure; MacOS and Windows have built-in settings, Night Shift and Nightlight respectively; you can even enable Nightlight on university computers.  
  • Secondly, most monitors and laptop screens have options which enable you to control brightness and contrast, enabling you to achieve a similar result. However, if you are looking for more customisation, you can use free programs like f.lux which works on MacOS, Windows & Linux, and can provide far greater control over the tone of the screen (shown below).  

Finally, blue light glasses can also be used to filter light not only from your screen but also from the surrounding environment and can be purchased cheaply from several retailers.   

Enabling Dark Mode  

Finally, another strategy which works well on many of the programs I’ve used during my course to reduce eye strain is to enable dark mode; this can be done within both MacOS and Windows and both are designed to aid working in environments with poor ambient lighting.   

However, programs like the office suite and some internet browsers will require additional steps to change. Steps to switch Office to dark mode can be found here, and you can convert any Chromium-based browser to dark mode using extensions found in the Chrome Web Store.  

More information can be found within the Digital Ergonomics LinkedIn Learning collection, click on the image above or use the link here

Top tips for Mastering your Schedule 📅

Blogpost by Joel Williams (Student Digital Champion)

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To accompany a blogpost that I published last week on how you can use time management tools to help you master your schedule, I’ve created an infographic (text version below) which summarises some of the key strategies and tools that have worked for me.

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Navigating Digital Wellbeing: A Personal Journey in the Digital Age

Blogpost by Noel Czempik (Student Digital Champion)

As a Student Digital Champion, I embarked on a quest to better understand our digital world and its impact on our lives. Despite acquiring knowledge about the tools and resources it offers, I was discontent with my relationship with technology. This discontent prompted deeper introspection and a lot of research, leading to a profound realisation: Digital Wellbeing isn’t a fixed destination but an ongoing journey demanding a diverse set of skills for navigation.

The Digital Revolution: Embracing Change Through History

Technological progress in recent decades has reshaped our lives. We’ve transitioned from clunky landlines to sleek, multifunctional devices that fit snugly in our pockets. This shift isn’t solely about convenience; it’s a fundamental change that has redefined how we communicate, learn, work and unwind. It has also brought concerns – digital reliance, information overload, and the impact on the health and wellbeing of digital natives.

Although not entirely novel, our current experiences echo past technological revolutions. Similar anxieties existed during historical milestones, such as the reading panic caused by the printing press; back then, the world grappled with an information explosion, much like we face today. Understanding this historical perspective sheds light on our contemporary challenges.

Unravelling the Intricacies of Digital Wellbeing

Digital wellbeing encompasses all facets of life affected by technology. Its complexity is fueled by the pace of digital evolution, individual differences in how we respond to technology and diverse circumstances. Thriving in the digital world demands a nuanced and continually adaptive approach. It’s not solely about restricting screen time; in fact, challenging the superficiality of such limitations might prompt us to engage with our devices mindfully and with empowerment.

Our Digital Wellbeing Matters

In a world where screens are omnipresent and connectivity is perpetual, our digital habits can profoundly impact our mental, emotional, and physical health. Harnessing the advantages of living in a digital era with healthy boundaries ensures technology enriches rather than overwhelms our lives. Prioritising digital wellbeing is an investment in our overall quality of life, empowering us to navigate the digital landscape with resilience, mindfulness, and a sense of control.

Exploring Digital Wellbeing Together

This blog post initiates a series focused on digital wellbeing. In the upcoming blogposts, we’ll delve into specific aspects, including maintaining ergonomic practices while using devices, understanding the impact of technology on mental and emotional health, and strategies for enhancing productivity in a digitally driven world. Our aim is to equip you with insights and tools to navigate your personal journey.

We hope to inspire you to identify the areas where improvements are possible and those where you find contentment. Let’s navigate this digital landscape together!

Mastering Your Schedule: A Student’s Guide to Time Management Tools ⌚

Blogpost by Joel Williams (Student Digital Champion)

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As module handbooks are released, work and deadlines can quickly feel overwhelming. In this post, I will show you some of the programs I’ve used to help take back control of my studies, which should aid you when managing your workload.

The first two programs, Microsoft–To-Do & Google Tasks, are relatively comparable and easy to use. However, this does sacrifice some of the features found in more complicated programs like notion.

Microsoft To Do

One of the most accessible programs to integrate into your studies is Microsoft-To-Do; at its most basic, it allows you to create tasks and then group these as needed. However, the reason this is usually my go-to is that you can also use it in conjunction with the Office 365 suite of programs, making it especially useful as the University already provides these (You can download these here).

I’ve found this especially useful during my studies as it shows any emails I’ve flagged, preventing me from forgetting about them. Therefore, I recommend creating an account with your university email, which helps keep it all interconnected. It is available on the Google Play Store, Apple App Store, and as a website.

Google Tasks

Another popular alternative is Google Tasks, which, as I stated earlier, is comparable to Microsoft’s offering. However, I’ve found it helpful because of its integration with Google Assistant, making it especially easy to set reminders and tasks quickly while working on something else.

Additionally, if you prefer using the Google suite of software over Microsoft or work on an Apple device, this program will likely be the best option. It is available on the Google Play Store, Apple App Store; you can access it within Google software on the Internet or as a Chrome plugin.

Other Helpful Programs

There are many alternative programs which can help with scheduling; one of the better-known ones is Notion, whilst it is worth mentioning there is a slight learning curve. However, the elements which make Notion hard to use result from the sheer breadth of options and customisation within the program, allowing you to tailor your own experience.

If you’re looking to plan out group work (but don’t want to use Notion), Microsoft Teams is likely one of your best options. Alongside being able to communicate as a group, you can also create a task tab, which allows you to set tasks to complete together as well as divide up tasks by person if needed.

Creating your own system

The critical aspect of using all of these programs is to find the one which can best integrate into your workflow, making sure that whatever option you choose is assisting, not hindering. For those who would like to view more detailed information about some of these programs, you can find a LinkedIn Learning collection here.

AU Graduates Digital Skills Profile Series – Week 4 (Physics Graduate)

Our last profile for this semester is a recent Physics graduate who has had an exciting career since leaving Aberystwyth University in 2002 and is now teaching himself computer programming and is hoping to find a new career in that field.

At AU we have lots of resources to help you learn new things such as computer programming, including the new CoderPad challenges in LinkedIn Learning. In addition to this, next week we will be posting a follow-up blog detailing all the resources available to you to enhance your digital skills so keep a lookout for that!

*Please click here to read all of the other posts in our AU Graduate Digital Skills Profile Series*

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The Power of Digital Wellness: Introducing our Digital Wellbeing Series  

Blogpost by Joel Williams (Student Digital Champion)

One focus for the Student Digital Champions this year is to explore strategies and programs we’ve used to increase our digital wellbeing. This series will explore what digital wellbeing is and will consist of posts and infographics discussing reducing eyestrain, digital detox, working environment and much more!   

This information will be posted throughout the year with several seasonal posts, including challenges for Christmas and Easter. You can also use the LinkedIn Learning collections we’ve curated if you want to find out more in between posts, and you can stay up to date with all new posts within this series through this page on our Digital Skills blog

To accompany this introductory blogpost, we’ve created A student’s guide to defeating computer eyestrain! (text version and clickable links below visual)

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