About the Reading On Screen site

New to the site? Download our quick guide first [PDF].

Who this site is for

  • Anyone spending lots of time reading on screen
  • Anyone looking to ditch pen and paper
  • Anyone wanting to know how to get the most out of their mobile device

What we offer

  • A ‘cheat-sheet’ to get you started: Reading On Screen Handout [PDF]
  • Helpful tips and tricks for different devices and documents (search at top)
  • Links to guides and videos

What you can do

  • Rate the pages that work for you
  • Comment with your feedback and suggest other resources we should link
  • Complete the form below to help with our research

We’re really pleased to launch this site available in direct response to student feedback at the University of York.

More than ever before, students have such a vast amount of digital literature available to them via the University Library and resources their teaching staff have posted on the Yorkshare VLE to support their studies.

We find that the techniques used for paper-based study are different from those required to engage with digital resources. What we have found from discussions with students is that these techniques are not taught, and are often unknown. Annotation, as one example, is a different process using digital devices than with pen and paper. At first, digital annotation may seem laborious, but, as with all things, practising the skill makes it easier. Similarly, the way documents are presented on screen can be improved with a few simple tricks such as using full-screen view or reading views built into software.

Our aim is to help students discover these tricks, tell us which ones work, and encourage comments and contributions with your suggestions and approaches to reading on screen.

Happy reading!

Matt Cornock
Department of Social Policy and Social Work, University of York
@mattcornock

Blayn Parkinson
Elearning Development Team, University of York
@blaynparkinson

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New Evernote Widgit for Android

Evernote-logo-153x1731Making the most of Androids customisability Evernote have revamped their widgit for even greater functionality to the home screen. Previously the widgit has been a separate app, now it is baked into the Evernote App streamlining it’s functionality.

The widget comes in three flavours…

  • Action widget (1×1) – Quick access to a note, camera or search.
  • Action bar (4×1) – Choose from 11 different actions to be displayed
  • List Widgit (4×2) – Shortcuts to  key actions and a list of notes.

For more information read the post on the Evernote blog here.

Google Voice Typing

Microphone iconFor a while now Google has been perfecting voice recognition. You can now dictate instead of typing into any Google Doc from either a desktop or mobile device.

Voice typing supports 40 languages and to use this feature, open any document from Google Docs in the Chrome browser. Go to Tools and select Voice typing. Then click on the microphone and start speaking, Google will transcribe what you say.

Type with your voice (Guide)

 

Using Voice on Android

Google Voice Typing on Your Android Phone

 

Evernote Web Clipper now works better with Gmail, Youtube and Amazon

We have mentioned Evernote’s Web Clipper several times on this site. Along with the Evernote Clearly app for making web page’s it’s probably one of my most often used applications and an invaluable part of my daily Knowledge Managment routine.

The Evernote Clipper now works better with applications such as Gmail, Youtube and amazon allowing you to clip and save exactly the content that you want. Evernote Web Clipper even allows you to Clip email attachments from Gmail.

 

Updates to the site: Chromebooks and Note-taking

The start of term is coming upon us again soon, so I thought I’d update the advice on our Devices and Note-taking pages to cover Chromebooks.

Chromebooks are hybrids of tablets and laptops, offering the perks and flaws of both. However, they are not to be overlooked when choosing a device to bring to university. Certainly, if you are needing to use any form of specialist software (i.e. more than a web-browser and basic office-type programs), then Chromebooks are not for you. Yet, some of the newer models coming out boast battery life that is double that of a laptop, increasingly important if you want to bring your device to use in lecture rooms ill-equipped for charging laptops.

I’ve managed to get my hands on a Chromebook for testing and recently debated with myself whether I would buy that or a netbook-type laptop. Chromebooks are ideal for Google Docs – the cloud-based way of creating and managing files. In-class, Chromebooks have been used to facilitate collaborative working, sharing documents and doing on-screen analysis of data with add ons like the Fusion tables (see this video on Fusion tables). I tend to use Google Docs a lot, particularly when I’m creating documents or spreadsheets just for my admin, note-taking, or deliberately as ‘work in progress’ collaborative docs.

The limitation comes when you want to do photo editing, create complex documents or utilise specialist statistical analysis software – i.e. you want a real computer. As such, Chromebooks may be adequate for in-class use, but not as a general workstation computer. That informed my decision, so I got a netbook. Though low-powered, and not as much battery life, I’m not attending many lectures these days so for my use case it was more suited.

Anyway, I hope the new guidance and some of my thoughts will help inform your decision making:

Printing PDF documents with Comments

Adobe Reader X LogoPDF documents are a very popular document format for everything from Assignment submissions, papers, to minutes from meetings. Just like word documents comments can be added to PDF documents for example feedback on your essay submission.

A common problem faced is when the document is printed out. For example, students like to be able to see both their submission text and the comments made on the same page this guide shows what preferences you need to have in Adobe Reader and print settings selected at the point you send the document to print to be able to achieve this.

Printing PDF documents with Comments Guide (HTML)