What can you expect from IT Services at the University of Sussex?

Sep

03

It’s not long since the phones were ringing loud and often over at Clearing HQ and the air was generally abuzz with sounds of students celebrating getting into their university of choice, and it’s not long until you future freshers will start arriving on campus. There are all sorts of unknowns for you to deal with – who your flatmates might be, how much you’re going to have to read, and those things called washing machines – but we’ve decided to lay down in black and white what you can expect of IT Services here at Sussex.

The truth is, we’re all around you. That’s not meant to be creepy, it’s meant to be supportive and as if we’re super, super helpful (we are). From 1st September you can register online and once you’ve done that, you’ll get your IT username and password. Then you are truly one of us.

You might want to download the SussexMobile app before you come – it will have information about your welcome activities and all sorts on it. In fact it’s a very useful thing to use throughout your time at Sussex – it has your timetable, your email, information about your library account and your printing account, and other good things like news updates and finding a computer that’s available for use in a cluster room. Download it from the App Store or the Play Store by searching SussexMobile.

If you’re living on campus you’ll have wi-fi in your bedroom, however we recommend that you use the wired connection (using the cable provided) as you’ll get faster internet that way. You’ll find information in your room about how to connect but it’s also online. There’s also a new free wi-fi service for visitors on campus which is provided by O2. This is great, and it means your parents or whoever is dropping you off can hop online if they need to while they’re here, but as O2 are essentially the admins of it we can’t be of too much help if it’s not working for you as all support is provided by O2. Something that is a bit of an unknown is whether any games consoles or eReaders you might bring along will work on our system because of the authentication required. Because we’re often asked this, we’ve made FAQs about both consoles and eReaders for you already.

Now, outside of the residences there are over 800 student PCs available for use across campus, as well as printers and scanners. Even if you’ve brought your own laptop with you, you still might find these useful as they have lots of software installed on them that you can use, like the whole Adobe Creative Suite, for example. There’s also more specialist software and hardware for different subjects so make sure you familiarise yourself with what’s available. Other software you can download onto your own computer, such as Office 365 through which you can download apps like Word, Excel and PowerPoint. When you login to this online, you’ll also see that you’ve got 1 terabyte of cloud storage through OneDrive, which is in addition to the 50 gigabytes of storage you get via the student PCs.

You should also get acquainted with Sussex Direct and Study Direct. They sound similar but they do different things.  Sussex Direct is a kind of control panel for your time at university. It’s where your personal details can be viewed and edited, you can add money to your printing account and you can view information about your degree such as your module results and online feedback.

Study Direct is a Virtual Learning Environment (or a VLE) and it’s really where information about your courses in the here and now is stored. Each of your courses will appear there and it’s up to the tutor of that course how much information is then uploaded to it. You’ll find information about when and where the teaching sessions are taking place, a course outline, maybe some background information to the lectures or teaching sessions week by week, and some reading suggestions. There might be downloadable information and an interactive forum. It will also be where you upload any e-Submissions (any assignments that can be dealt with entirely electronically).

If you’re a bit worried that your IT skills might be slightly lagging behind, don’t worry – we offer plenty of free training courses at differing levels so you’re sure to learn some new skills. Whilst our friends in Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) predominantly support teaching staff in learning new tricks to aid their sessions, it’s really worth staying in touch with them as students too as they have really good tips for helpful technology that can help with your studies and also make any presentations you have to do really pop.

Now lastly, we’re always here if you need help. You can reach our support team online or come into see us in Shawcross (this will make more sense when you get here and you see how all our buildings have nice names) – the support desk is manned from 9am until 7pm weekdays during term time, and until 5.30pm during the holidays. Follow us on Facebook, like us on Twitter and stay in touch with our blog. We’re looking forward to having you here on our big happy IT network.

PS: Download our IT at Sussex booklet too, but you’ll get a copy at your IT induction session as well.

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