For followers of the IT Services Twitter feed, you will have seen regular announcements for Training sessions on the Microsoft Office suite of applications and other such wonders.

An interesting set of questions came round via the UCISA (Universities and Colleges Information Systems Association) Windows mail list last week which this put us to thinking about what we offer for Student IT Training here at the University and so here are the questions with our answers.


Q: How you provide student IT Training, is this on a one to one basis or do you run scheduled or drop-in sessions?

A: We provide both scheduled and drop-in sessions.


Q: How do you deliver the sessions, work from on-line resources or paper based resources, etc?

A: We work from paper based resources although these are also available online on our website as pdfs.


Q: How often do you offer the sessions?

A: We offer betwen 5-6 scheduled sessions a week and 3 drop-in sesions a week during term-time.


Q: What type of sessions do you offer, which applications, etc?

A: We offer sessions on the main Office applications, i.e. Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Access, and at different levels (essential/basic, intermediate and advanced). We also offer sessions on Using the Office Drawing Tools and Creating a Personal Web Page using Word.


Q: How do you go about overcoming obstacles such as users never having used a computer before or not getting anyone turning up at the sessions?

A: For users who have never used a computer before, we would probably recommend coming to a drop-in session though one of the Essential classes might also be manageable. This term we introduced an online course booking form and this has been very well used, but we still find that many students don’t turn up on the day even with email¬†reminders (the day before) and the possibility of cancelling.


Q: Any suggestions to ensure the success of the sessions and what to avoid to stop failure of the sessions?

A: Be prepared to adapt the materials to the trainees and time/network constraints. Have a plan B even if this may be abandoning the class if the network is down!


For more information on IT Training at the University of Reading, please see

For more information on UCISA, please see their website

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