Essential Tools

This page of the Prorgramme Handbook contains information on Essential Tools you will need for all of your courses


        • Microsoft Teams

        • Portfolio (WordPress Student Tool)

        • Miro

        • EndNote Web & Cite while you Write

        • Media Hopper Replay


By the end of Semester 1, Week 1, you will have had the opportunity to:

  • Engage with the key e-learning environments and e-tools that we use on the CAT Programme
  • Make your first contributions to the two MS Teams Channels you are subscribed to
  • Set up, and familiarise yourself with how to use Miro
  • Start your own Portfolios (LEARN>WordPress Student Tool) for individual reflection on both courses
  • Introduce yourself in the CAT community in MS Teams
  • Reply to other CATs’ introduction posts in in MS Teams
  • Create a Miro Educational Account account
  • Set up your two Portfolios (LEARN>WordPress Student Tool) in both courses

Microsoft Teams

All course communications with your peers and with academic faculty are via the: MS Teams Channel
Administrative Staff (SAAS) and Academic Staff (the Theme tutors) on this course do not use email!
MS Teams is part of a free suite of software that you get from Microsoft as a University of Edinburgh student (MS Office 365).
Teams is quite simple to use. If you have any issues with it, there are lots of videos and online forums that will resolve your problem.
If you want to know more about how it works then watch this short video.

Portfolio (WordPress Student Tool in LEARN)

Each course that you complete on the MA CAT requires that you create a Portfolio using WordPress.
For each course each semester,  you are required to post all of your work-in-progress to your own individual Portfolio.

More than the minimum?
Open Learning (20 Credits) You must post at the end of each Sprint.
You also must leave feedback for your peers at the end of each Sprint.
See the Assessment Requirements for Open Learning (20 Credits). Remember to post in your Open Learning Portfolio (a separate WordPress Blog)

It’s in your own interests to go beyond the minimum requirement.

Making regular blog posts helps to track, evidence and monitor your learning over the whole duration of each course.
Themes (40 Credits) You must post at the end of each Sprint.
You also must leave feedback for your peers at the end of each Sprint.
See the Assessment Requirements for Themes (40 Credits). Remember to post in your Themes Portfolio (a separate WordPress Blog)
It is common (albeit not neccessary) to post twice per week, once in relation to each Assignment you have for each course.

If you wish to post more frequently than this, you certainly can.

Quality vs. Quantity?
A short post is typically 250-500 words.

You may write more than this in a post if you wish, but remember that posts that are longer than 500 words risk becoming unwieldy

The quality of your posts is more important than the quantity of your posts.

Try to be clear and focused.

Remember that the Portfolio is a form of hypermedia so you aren’t just expected to write – post images, sound, video, diagrams, etc…..

Integrate other digital platforms, apps and media into your Portfolio (e.g. Miro, hyperlinks to other websites…)

Mandatory End-of-Sprint posts are the exception to this rule – they are 500 or 1,000 words long (see Course Handbooks for details.)

Give visual examples of what you are looking and and creating.

You can post everything that you do as you work on each Class Assignment, including your notes, and your pre-Theme and post-Theme tests.



Reflecting on your Learning: What to post on in your Portfolio?

In particular, your posts should not only document but, also, reflect how you are working and learning.



It’s important to provide evidence of what you are learning and of how your Summative Assignments are  developing as a result of this practice of reflecting on learning.

Reflective posts will give your readers insight into critical moments and challenging experiences as you develop over the duration of each course.
Posting your thoughts on each of the Class assignments can help here.

Your blog posts should provide a context and critical rationale for your major challenges, decisions and insights.

Your Portfolio is for documenting and reflecting on your own learning during each course.



 IAD logo


Edinburgh University’s Institute for Academic Development has created a number of excellent resources that will help you reflect on your learning.


Please follow the links here to access them:



Thinking about Successful Learning (PDF)

Reflection: what is it and why is it helpful? (PDF)

Effective reflection tips (PDF)

Reflection: getting started (PDF)

Reflection: dialogue prompts for getting perspective (PDF)

Keeping a reflective journal (PDF)

Sharing reflections (PDF)



How to Create your Portfolio


Your Portfolio is built in the UoE WordPress Student Tool (also know as

This is accessed via LEARN > Portfolio (WordPress Student Tool)

WP Student Tool

Click on the link in

LEARN > Learning Tools > Portfolio (WordPress Student Tool)

to start building your Portfolio.

The current design is merely functional. Your blog can be repurposed and redesigned if you don’t like how it looks, but, remember, we are only using it as a way of capturing what you are doing on this particular course.

If you haven’t used WordPress before, this short video explains how to….

Create a new post (link)

You can learn more about how WP works here:

WordPress 4 Essential Training (link) in LinkedINLearning

As a University of Edinburgh student, you have a free subscription to LinkedINLearning

Find out more about how to access LinkedINLearning here.

Please be careful when you post; choose to make things public only if you feel they are fit for the public to view.

You can keep things visible only to course peers or tutors only.

Portfolio Examples?

Two quick examples of Portfolios made in the WordPress Student Tool that you are all using:
The examples here show how you can change the template to work better for you.
The examples are from different courses so they are in no way exemplars of what you are expected to produce for this course.


This MA CAT programme makes extensive use of Miro. In each course, you will work in Miro to some extent.

What is Miro and how do we use it?

Miro is, basically, a whiteboard that you use online. It has many bells and whistles that real whiteboards can’t have. You can scribble on it, rub out your scribbles and rewrite, just like on a real whiteboard. You can also add post-it notes, video, images, files, etc.

The main advantage for you is that you, and your peers, can access it from anywhere.

We are going to use Miro because it allows us to scribble, erase and re-scribble as a group over distance and time.

You will use Miro both for your own individual research and for group work.

Miro for group work:

Each course has its own Miro boards – you are automatically enrolled in them.
For each course you take, you are sometimes required to post to group Miro boards established for your Basho.

Create a Miro Educational Account

You will need to establish a sandbox that you can use to play with Miro. To do this, you will need to set up a (free) student Miro account to complete some of your coursework (Educational Account).

You will be able to keep this for two years and can use it to complete some of your coursework. Remember the account is free – do not pay for a subscription!

Please sign up for your account using your email address. Here is the link you need to use to sign-up: (link)

You will add some of the Miro whiteboards you work on and build to your Portfolio.

More on Miro?

Here’s a short overview of Miro for beginners that walks through how it works for collaboration: (link)

EndNote Web

It’s vitally important that you use a citation / reference manager for your Research Project. The University recommend and support EndNote Web, Endnote X9 and Endnote Cite While You Write.

How EndNote works:

💡You need to use EndNoteWeb for this course.

You can train yourself how to use this by working with LinkedInLearning, here.

Or follow this tutorial>>>

How to use Endnote 20 in 7 minutes


Cite While You Write

To use Cite While You Write, you need a full desktop version of EndNote X9. You can get that free here: You then need a plugin for MS Word or Apple Pages (both free).

EndNote really is an essential tool. Set up an EndNote account even if you do not intend to use Cite While You Write. Once you have set it up, add some references relating to you project. Add your supervisor’s email address: ( with permissions to view and add to your collection.

Once you have done this, learn how to directly import references from JSTOR and DiscoverEd using RIS files or via linking yourDiscoverEd account to your EndNote Web account. Keep all of your references and sources in EndNote (no exceptions). You should also deposit your any PDFs you download into EndNote Desktop and annotate them in the EndNote Desktop application. This means your PDFs are easily searchable (indexed) and that they are interlinked (networked). This assists greatly in mapping out your field.

We will continue to use EndNote to build your archive. You can keep this when you graduate and keep working on it within EndNote Web. EndNote Cite-as-you-Write tutorials are on LinkedINLearning (free access from University of Edinburgh) and on the EndNote website.

Endnote – Tips


Endnote Training delivered by Digital Skills


Webinar recording for ‘EndNote for Managing References‘ webinar (22 Apr 21).
If you would like to attend a training event, you can find dates and book here: EndNote training events

Citing and avoiding plagiarism

 IAD logo

See the University of Edinburgh’s Institute for Academic Development’s (IAD) guide:

IAD – Referencing and avoiding plagiarism


LibSmart logo

LibSmart provides advice and activities on using Library tools to help you manage your information and use correct citation and referencing, including:

  • Cite Them Right
  • Using ‘My Favourites’ and the quick citation tool in DiscoverEd
  • Using Resource lists to create a bibliography

To find out more and self-enrol: Libsmart


Cite Them Right Online explains and demonstrates how to cite, both in-text and in a reference list or bibliography, a wide range of material types: books, journal articles, lecture notes, law reports, web pages, computer games, live performances…

Harvard (author-date) is shown throughout but many material types are demonstrated in other citation styles too: APA, Chicago, MHRA, MLA, OSCOLA, Vancouver.

General information on referencing and plagiarism is also presented.

Media Hopper Replay

Media Hopper Replay item options

Media Hopper Replay is where live streams and recordings of classes are kept.
Media Hopper Replay is also a tool you can use to store and edit audio and video.


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