When Glamlife is broken

Over the past year, the Glamlife server has failed a handful of times. This can be annoying and quite disruptive. However, it does not have to interrupt your learning: many services linked to from Glamlife are on different servers.

So we decided to publish this blog post with a list of direct links you can use on those (hopefully rare) occasions when Glamlife fails to work. We’ll then publish links to this posting on Facebook and Twitter.

Ideally, of course, the Glamlife server would never fail, but we hope this set of links limits the disruption you experience when it does.

Edited to add: if you’re experiencing problems with any part of Glamlife, you can contact the IT Services team for assistance.

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Trouble finding something on Glamlife?

We’ve been blogging about popular search terms a few times now, and we’ve been working on making things easier to find on Glamlife. When students provide us with feedback, we respond – have a look at our Feedback Report for last year if you want to see all the changes we’ve made as result of student suggestions.

We get occasional emails from students, telling us about specific bits of information and specific tools that are still a little awkward to get to. We’re looking into fixing those. In the meantime, we’d like to invite comments, so we can prioritise the things that need improving:

What things are not easy enough to get to on Glamlife, or hard to find at all? Please let us know, so we can try to improve matters. You can comment below or email glamlife@glam.ac.uk with your comments.

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Update to Glamlife events system

If you’re observant you may already have noticed that the way events are handled by Glamlife has changed recently. The system has been further integrated with Google calendar and personalized, so that the information you see should be more relevant to you and easier to make use of.

Screenshot of Glamlife homepage showing changes to events system.

On the Glamlife home page the ‘Your Events’ box on the left hand side now only shows events from channels you’re subscribed to (you can modify your subscriptions on your account settings’ News Subscriptions page).

For each event there’s a link to more information about it, and a button to add the event to your Google calendar. Note that adding an event to your calendar doesn’t book you a place at that event, you’ll still need to follow any instructions in the event listing about how to do that.

You can still find out about events on channels you’re not currently subscribed to using the completely new ‘Events’ link on the navigation bar near the top of the screen. This leads to a list of all events on all channels.

The system has been tested but if you do find a problem please let us know. We always aim to improve things.

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What you’ve been searching for on Glamlife – 6th edition

Term has started, Freshers’ week / fortnight is over and done with, teaching is under way, and you’ve probably settled into university life. So it’s no surprise that the things students are looking for on Glamlife are slowly changing. Timetables and Blackboard are still popular, but the terms below are rapidly growing in popularity:

  • Council Tax (also Council Tax exemption) – There was a hiccup last week: the Council Tax letters were being held up on a server. If you requested one and did not receive it in your email inbox instantly, these should have come through by now. Sorry for the disruption!
  • findit (or find it) – FINDit is the University’s gateway to online journals, databases and other resources that are vital for coursework and learning.
  • term dates – term has barely started, and already some people seem to be thinking about the next holidays! 😮
  • Harvard referencing – it’s important you reference correctly, to avoid the risk of inadvertently producing work that plagiarises.

Whatever information you’ve been looking for, we hope you found it. If there’s anything that’s not as easy to find on Glamlife as it should be, let us know! We always aim to improve things.

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New categories for Glamlife Marketplace: accommodation and books

Last year, we ran a competition asking students to suggest improvements to Glamlife. Several students suggested improvements to Glamlife Marketplace, and the most popular suggestion was that adverts about flatshares should have their own category. The same suggestion has also been made by students using the Glamlife Feedback form, and we can see from the number of Marketplace ads that these would be popular categories.

So we took the suggestion to heart. Glamlife Marketplace now has four more categories:

After looking at the most frequently posted advert types, we thought books would be the other obvious choice to get their own categories.

We’ve manually moved a small handful of very recent ads into the new categories, to test things, but if you’ve posted an ad lately that would better fit into one of the new categories (and if the advert is still valid), we recommend that you find your advert and change it.

As with the previous three categories, if you are looking for something, you can filter Marketplace items by the drop-down menu on the right of the Marketplace listings feed:

New categories in Glamlife Marketplace

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New on Glamlife: you can now pay library fines online

Library fines are never happy news, but the University has made it easier for you to pay them if you do incur one. From this academic year, you can pay them online through Glamlife, in the “Your Account” area. If you go to “Your Library Account“, you will see your Account Balance.

If the Account Balance is larger than £3, you will be able to use the “Please Pay Now” button to pay the fine. For smaller fines, you will still have to visit the library in person.

Here is a screenshot of the button:
Library fine payment button screenshot

You can pay library fines by Visa Card, Mastercard or Maestro.

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What you’ve been searching for on Glamlife

Things have stayed quite steady over the past few weeks, with timetable and enrolment being searched for quite regularly.

The big climbers over the past week have been:

  • induction, induction week and induction timetable. When we checked the results you get when you search, we realised that for “induction timetable”, they weren’t good. So we created a new page on Glamlife that has an overview of the relevant links, which whill hopefully mean that students searching for induction timetables in future get better results.
  • map – We’ve been doing quite a bit of work on our campus map page lately. Yes, you still have to click on a link to download the actual map, but the page itself lists the buildings, and now also has an overview of which rooms are in which building in Glyntaff. (Things are a bit easier on other campuses, where each building has a letter). We hope this makes the page easier to find, and the information on the page more useful to you.
  • council tax – If you’re looking for an exemption letter, these will become available soon, for eligible students. The online tool producing the letters starts working in the first week of teaching term (i.e. next week) for most students who are eligible for council tax exemption.

Meanwhile, we’re getting a few messages from students who are trying to enrol. The online enrolment service has been working for most students, but if, for any reason, you have been unable to enrol online, you need to contact your faculty. They will help you. There’s a contact form on our enrolment and induction page, or the email addresses you can use directly.

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New on Glamlife: the Students’ Union channel

Last year, we ran a competition asking for suggestions on how we could improve Glamlife. One suggestion made by several students was that the Students’ Union should post news and events to Glamlife. We passed on the message, and are happy to report that the Students’ Union now has a fledgling Glamlife channel!

Glamlife channels are small websites that include one or more pages of information, and that can post news items, events and, in some cases, important announcements. Students can choose whether to subscribe to a channel, or not. If you subscribe to a channel, its news items will appear on your Glamlife home page. Later this year, the same is expected to be true of events.

Meanwhile you can visit the new Students’ Union channel and, if you want to get Union news delivered to your Glamlife homepage (and soon, events), you can subscribe to the Students’ Union on Glamlife.

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Making Glamlife easier to navigate

We’re always looking to improve Glamlife. One of the areas where we occasionally hear constructive criticism from students (and staff) is that it can sometimes be a bit tricky to find information on Glamlife. Over the past years, things have been improving: our search is better than ever (though by no means perfect yet), we’ve been looking into the titles of pages to make them easier to find, and we’ve been blogging about the phrases our students use when searching for information – and the most in-demand pages each week.

For those of you who prefer to browse for information, we’ve been working on summing up the different topics and information categories that are covered by Glamlife. Rather than having to go through a huge A-Z, you can now find links by information category at the top of the Glamlife Directory.

Here is a screenshot showing the new categories:
Screenshot of the Glamlife Directory

Each category then lists relevant Glamlife channels, followed by links to individual pages that cover specific topics.

We’re hoping that this will give students a better idea of what sort of topics are covered on Glamlife. The number of University web services and websites can sometimes be a bit confusing, especially for new students. As a guideline, all the learning materials for your modules and course should be on Blackboard. All other information about being a student should be on some part of Glamlife.

Let us know what you think – are things a bit easier to find now? Are there any other improvements you’d like to suggest?

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What you’ve been searching for on Glamlife – 4th edition

September is fast approaching. There aren’t too many weeks of summer holidays left. Here’s what’s been on your minds this week:

  1. timetable – The draft 2012/13 teaching timetable will be available from the 3rd September 2012 after 10am.
  2. resit results – The results of resits are determined by the September Assessment Boards, and will become available on Tuesday, 12th September 2012.
  3. term dates – If you’re trying to find out when you have to be back on campus (or plan your Christmas and Easter holidays), the “Term dates” page is in the Glamlife Directory.
  4. enrol – Many of you have already (re-)enrolled. If you haven’t seen any enrolment banners on Glamlife, have a look at the Online Enrolment Guide to see if that explains why.
  5. accommodation Accommodation Services manage the University-owned student halls. They can also offer advice about finding and living in house shares and private sector accommodation.

Other popular search topics included induction and everything to do with freshers. We’re waiting for the Students’ Union to publish their Freshers events – once these are online, we’ll be able to link to them. Shouldn’t be too long now!

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