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UG CamGuides: What skills will I develop as an undergraduate?

Generic academic skills useful to all students

man with phone, coffee cup and notepadYou will be expected to engage with academics, peers, college and departmental administrators, and others in an online environment. 

It is important to make the distinction between your personal and professional digital presence. The tone, materials you share and forums you use should be different depending on who you are communicating with.


With thanks to:

Eloise (English)

Jessica (Human, Social, and Political Sciences)


lots of white and cream envelopesYou will be issued with a University of Cambridge email address. This will comprise your initials and some numbers followed by:  These letters and numbers at the start of your address are your CRSiD, your unique identifier at the University. 

This email address will be the main way that your college and department/faculty keep in touch with you. You must check it regularly and respond in a timely fashion to emails that you receive. Even if you choose to have emails forwarded on to another email address, you should still respond from your email address so that staff can easily identify you.

Your Exchange Online email account is part of your University of Cambridge Microsoft account. You can get your @cam email either by using the webmail interface in your browser or by setting up an email app on your personal device(s). For more information, visit the UIS pages on email.

Email etiquette

neon sign saying helloPlease consider the tone and content of your emails to peers and staff alike. If you're not sure how to address your DoS or supervisor, at first use their title (check this on their college or departmental profile) and surname until invited to do otherwise, or implicitly invited by the way they sign off their emails.

Be courteous and polite in the way that you send emails not just how you write them. Don't expect immediate responses in the day or at all at the weekend or in the evenings. You may receive responses then, but they are not guaranteed. If you haven't had a response after a few days, don't blank resend an email. Instead, politely enquire whether someone has had the opportunity to read the original. If you have a problem, it may be helpful to think about a reasonable solution and propose that, rather than just complaining.

Social media

Phone showing Twitter iconYou won't just be using email to communicate online. Clubs and societies may use social media to advertise events or you may set up group chats with students taking the same papers as you to ask questions about the work you have been set. You'll obviously use a different tone and language for these types of communication.

However, if you decide not use social media, that is fine. You'll see people around college and in lectures all the time. Cambridge is also famous for having railings covered with posters of events happening across the university and wider city, so you definitely won't miss out!

More information

Find out more about learning online and IT at Cambridge, including the university's Virtual Learning Environment - Moodle -  in the How will I learn? section of this site.

CamGuides for Masters students has lots more information about Managing your digital presence.

Image credits

CC0 by Yura Fresh via Unsplash, CC0 by Joanna Kosinska via Unsplash, CC0 by Drew Beamer via Unsplash, CC0 by Sara Kurfess via Unsplash

Film credits

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