New to Ara? Top ten tips to get set up for study


Here are ten tips to get you started with study using My Ara.

  1. Download the My Ara app to make it easy for you to access all your resources from any device.
  2. Choose Courses and Moodle to see the information and assignments for your courses.
  3. Choose Mail and set up forwarding to your preferred email address. That way you won’t accidentally miss information from your tutor. If you scan documents on an Ara computer they also go to your Ara Mail address. So, forwarding means scans go to your personal email also.
  4. Choose Office 365 to access 1 TB of storage in OneDrive or install Microsoft Office for free.
  5. Download a weekly planner and a yearly planner to organise your time smartly.
  6. Click on Primo Library Search to find books, ebooks and more for your assignments.
  7. The Library also has a range of How do I guides to using the Library and other Ara resources.
  8. Why not try our new Ask Live online chat service for those quick questions. It will save you time ringing or looking up our contact details in My Day.
  9. Checkout learning resources , the research subject guide and the information skills subject guide for ideas to tackle your  assignments smartly.
  10. Not found the answer to your question here? The Library is open seven days for contact by phone, email, Ask Live and in person. Come and say hi.  Our job is to help you.

Weekend studying is the best

IMG_0654Ara Christchurch city campus is open in the weekends and this is a great time to study and get yourself sorted if you are new to Ara. The library is at its quietest and there are plenty of study rooms available for you to work collaboratively in. We even have a spanking new outdoor space for you to eat your lunch on and do some stretches, or basketball shots if you feel the need. Come and see us we are open from 10-5pm Saturdays and 12-5pm Sundays. If you feel like staying later the POD is open 24 hours, you  just have to bring your student card for swipe access into the room.

Exam help is on the way

Exams are looming but do not fret as Library and Learning Services have help on the way. Kickstarting the seminars off this coming friday (27th October) is a fabulous and timely session on doing better in exams.

All seminars are free and there is no need to book ahead, you can just come along on the day and go to as many seminars as you like.

Seminars 2017 term 4

Fantastic Friday

saying-1208974_1280Good news! From this Friday, 5th August, the City Campus library will be open until 8pm on Fridays. We’ve had a number of requests for this, and we’re happy we’re finally able to provide extended hours.

Student Assistants will be available after 5pm, to help with printing, copying, binding, access to computers, and all the library’s physical resources. You’ll also be able to borrow laptops and headphones to use in the library.


Access to the campus buildings is by swipe card only after 6pm on Fridays, so remember to bring your card.

You can find our full library hours here.

We look forward to seeing you on Friday – clear up all that study early, and enjoy your weekend!


School Holidays

It’s the school holidays. I can tell. There’s less traffic in the morning, the malls are mad, and there are more kids in the library.

I found an interesting article from a British newspaper, saying school holidays (particularly the summer one) were outdated and should be abolished. Originally, it said, school holidays were arranged to suit a farming calendar – children were on holiday over the summer, when farmers were busiest. In Scotland, October half-term week was known as the ‘tattie holiday’, when children would pick potatoes on local farms.

Children playing

Children may no longer work on farms during their holidays, but they are often far from idle. School holiday programmes, run by schools or community groups, keep children occupied with activities ranging from swimming to computer programming. Libraries run activities for all ages. Parents take time from work or study to make sure their children go back to school refreshed and ready to go.



For polytech students, ‘holidays’ are something of a myth – there’s no classes, to be sure, but the assignments and studying don’t stop. The library is a bit quieter at the moment, so pop in and see us if you want a bit of help or just somewhere to spread out and study.


Want to enhance your study methods? – Try Read & Write Gold 10

read write

This is assistive technology software developed by Texthelp Systems. I came across it when I wanted to format shift a PDF to Word to enable a blind student’s different assistive technology to access the information for audio delivery and Christine in Disability Services showed me how to use it.  (BTW Adobe Acrobat Pro installed in The Pod also performs the shift of PDF to Word but Read & Write in my opinion does it better). Anyway the upshot is that I discovered that Read & Write Gold can do so much more like:

  • Read electronic text such as PDF, ebooks, websites, and documents created in word processing programmes
  • Help writers with predictive spelling , word choice, dictionary and thesaurus features
  • Use voice dictation that also reads aloud what you write to help identify errors

Where do I find Read & Write Gold 10?

This software is available on every machine at CPIT. So make the most of its features if you think it will help in your study.

To find it :

  1. Click on the Windows Start button
  2. In the bottom left search box type “Read”
  3. Select “Read and Write 10” to launch the programme.


4. A ribbon of options is added to your screen

read write

Tutorials on how to use Read & Write Gold 10:

1. The PDF read aloud feature – I noticed a student using this to listen to a journal article we downloaded from a database for her assignment as she said she was an aural learner rather than visual.

How to use PDF aloud from the University of California website.

2. Changing a PDF document into a Word document

How to shift PDF to Word from the University of California website

3. Speechmaker converts any text you select into a sound file so if your tutor has given you a large amount of text to memorise and you are an aural learner you can then save the MP3 output to your preferred audio device and learn while you are out jogging!

How to use Speechmaker – Click the video help at the dropdown arrow next to the Speechmaker icon.


4. Speech input converts the words you speak into a Word document.

How to use Speech input – Click the video help at the dropdown arrow next to the Speech input icon.


5. Spelling is a fancy spellchecker that is cleverer than other spellcheckers I’ve seen.

How to use SpellingClick the video help at the dropdown arrow next to the Spelling icon.


Contact Disability Services at CPIT for more information or assistance with this technology otherwise dive in and teach yourself a  new skill today and enhance your study methods.

Where are we going?

…and how will we know when we get there?

Libraries as we know them, have changed over the past 10 years or so. In fact, theyhaven’t stopped changing since the first Mechanics Institute and Exchange Libraries were introduced in New Zealand in the mid 1800’s


Academic Libraries have evolved from silent hallowed halls, to the busy, vibrant, learning spaces that we all know and love…or not.  Libraries have become ‘blended spaces’.

At CPIT the Library is a place to meet, to study, to share ideas, to work with others on presentations, and discuss projects. The availability of pc’s, study rooms, laptops, t.v’s, photocopiers, printers, books, journals, and access to the support and expertise of Librarians and Learning Advisors, combine to make it a lively, and occasionally overwhelming, place to be. 

I recently read an interesting Blog by Stephen Bell, talking about academic Libraries, learning technologies and the user experience. He looks at the future of academic Libraries and the people who work in them.

Saltire Centre