Computing at Edge Hill – Three skills to prepare you for Uni

Image result for computing edge hill


Computing is a broad and vast topic. It’s hard to know where to start, what to learn and when it becomes relevant. Having just finished my first year of Computing at Edge Hill I want to provide some advice on topics, languages and areas to focus on before you arrive to make your first year as easy as possible and give you time to focus on your specialisation. Please bear in mind that first year is a shared year, so even if you are on a Networking course you will be expected to study Web Development in your first year.


Basic HTML

Knowing basic HTML will help you in all aspects of your course and your future. Most projects require a web page, and modern applications are usually controlled by some form of website. Learning basic HTML along with bits of CSS, JavaScript and even PHP will ensure that you are ahead of the curve when it comes to your first year, especially in the Web Development module.


Java

While personally I am not a fan of Java knowing it before you arrive for University is a massive help. For your Programming module in year one you will be focusing on Java programming. Programs such as Alice can help you learn how to use Java, there are a plethora of books available also. Java is an interesting language, being object orientated using ‘classes’ it can be a challenge if you are more accustom to functional languages such as Python, PHP or BAT/BASH.


Networking Basics

Networking is another module that you will undertake in your first year. Knowing how IP’s, MAC addresses and packets are transmitted will help you understand the content of the module. Using your home network you could try setup static IP addresses, change your DNS server or just poke around and see how things work.


All of this might sound daunting, but this is an entirely extra credit task. You will be taught and supported fully throughout your first year, but if you have a passion for computing maybe you will take it upon yourself to look at these things. That’s all from me.

If you want more free and great advice email think@edgehill.ac.uk or leave a comment below and I will get back to you. If you want to suggest something to write about or want to be interviewed leave a comment below also and I will get back to you personally!

 

Linking Education and Life – 5 Real Skills from EHU Computing


With the summer coming to a close, and a week before I move back to Ormskirk, I thought it might be a good idea to share 5 skills that my first year in computing have taught me. Before coming to university I had run m9Networks for about 4 years. I have always had an interest in computing, all aspects of it. Finally starting a specialised course really gave me some skills that I had been overlooking and EHU have influenced my professional career even before graduating. So here are 5 skills that 1st year computing at EHU have taught me and how I used them this summer.


Organization

In my first year of computing, and university in general, I was exposed to a need for organization. I have always been a mixed bag when it came to being well prepared. I have two modes, 100% ready for anything and absolutely nothing done. For the most part I would be the latter. University gave me a chance to really explore my organizational style and see how it makes life easier for me. This summer while working I was able to use this when working on projects with deadlines.


Determination

Something I pride my work on is my determination to get the job done. If I don’t know the answer to a question I will go out of my way to find the answer. Once again, starting university has helped me improve this skill massively. While working at one client site this summer I faced several serious problems that resulted in setbacks. The determination that I had gained while doing reports and attempting to understand more complex coursework in first year gave me the confidence to push through and surpass these problems that came in my way.


Planning and Drafting

One of my modules in my first year of computing was Digital World: Information Systems and Design. The code for this course if you want to check it out is CIS1108. This course focused around designing and implementing IT systems for businesses and customers. One of our tasks included designing a database and network system for a local business. During the summer I was tasked with something similar and was able to almost replay the design process piece for piece.


Networking

Networking is one of my main fields of interest and study. This summer I was involved in some large networking projects with several ISP’s in Ireland that I had previously been involved with. My first year module named Computer Architecture and Networks gave me some valuable information regarding standards and implementation of networks. While some of the information presented to me in this course was not new it does mean that other students who have not experienced networking before we’re covered. So if you’re worried about it being too complicated, don’t.


Security

Finally, the last skill that I was able to take away from University and apply it to my work in the real world this summer was Security. Being security conscious in the every more connected world is important. Very important. In my first year I was taught about basic security and how it relates to threats in the real world. While it is easy to understand and implement very secure passwords, encryptions and physical security the basics are often overlooked. In one of my installs this summer I thought back to my lectures regarding security and included a pamphlet regarding social engineering to the client.


These five skills; Organization, Determination, Planning and Design, Networking and Security that I learned in my first year and I can honestly say they have been a great help.

If you want to check out some of my work you can read about a UniFi network install at a large home in Donegal, Ireland here:

https://community.ubnt.com/t5/UniFi-Stories/UniFi-and-FTTH-Rethinking-LAN-s-in-Ireland/cns-p/2473683

And if you want more free and great information on any topic email think@edgehill.ac.uk or leave a comment below and I will get back to you. If you want to suggest something to write about or want to be interviewed leave a comment below also and I will get back to you personally!

Computing at Edge Hill – Turning Education into Cash

education to cash


First year at university is great. You get to meet new people, do new things and have a real sense of freedom. But what if I told you, and brace yourself for this, that your education can make you some extra cash even if you’re only in first year. In this blog I will focus on my own course, computing. So here are 3 ways you can turn your 1st year at EHU into cold hard cash.


Website Design

In your first year of EHU computing you will be exposed to several modules. Everything from Networking to Security. But a module that you can take and turn into real world cash with little to no previous experience is Web Design. Everyone needs a website. If you have the ambition and drive you can very easily start designing websites for local companies and enterprises for cash. Not only will this make you richer but it will build on your knowledge. It’s like getting paid to study.


Server hosting

Servers run the internet and much more beside it that we use every day. In your first year of university you will learn how they are used and networked to provide services like file storage, websites and even game hosting. It may seem daunting but to get started you can use any computer and install some basic software. If you want to host a website check out Apache. If you want to try a file server google “FTP Server”. Before long you could be hosting servers for websites across the globe.


Admin and office work

Office work can be a pain but small businesses are always looking out for someone with a keen eye for detail and style. In my first year at university I have worked with many small companies who cannot find anyone to draft and create documents like invoices and receipts and even type out emails. It might be boring work but it usually pays well and anybody can do it. So get out there and do it.


That’s all for this weeks blog. If you want to find out more about EHU computing and more information on different courses you can check out here!

And if you want more free and great information on any topic email think@edgehill.ac.uk or leave a comment below and I will get back to you. If you want to suggest something to write about or want to be interviewed leave a comment below also and I will get back to you personally!

Edge Hill University Exams – Checking 6+5 on a calculator just to be sure

Edge Hill Exams and Thoughts

Edge Hill Exams and Thoughts


Last Friday (12th of May 2018) I had the first and last of my exams for my year at University. I thought, even though its going to be far off for all you first years starting in September, it would be a good idea to share some facts and thoughts of mine regarding the exams.

The exam I undertook was for Computing and the 40 question multiple choice exam was underwhelming for me coming straight out of the Irish Education system where my entire grade was based on a set of written exams over one week, but the examination conditions themselves were still very daunting. So without rambling on here are they things that I.


The exam setup was straight forward. We were given a time and a place. Wilson Gym at 14:30. Turning up 10 minutes before was a good idea, and most of the other students had the same idea. We were given our seat numbers by means of a list suck to the wall outside the gym hall itself. Everybody was a bit nervous. It was our first exam of the year and for most the first exam we have ever taken at university.

 


The RulesFinally settled in and in our seats it was time to hear from our exam invigilators the rules of the exam. This helped, again many of us sitting our first university exam had us stressed. The rules were basic.

  • No phones or electronics
  • No talking or discussion
  • Stay for the first 30 mins
  • Stay for the last 30 mins
  • Jackets and bags at the back
  • Uni card on the desk

Simple as that really.


The examAnd finally the exam itself came around. We started slightly late but we were given access to a clock clearly displayed in the hall so keep track of our own time and ensure we managed it correctly.

My exam consisted of 40 multiple choice questions. We were given the exam sheet and a separate answer booklet to mark our answers into. The university also uses an anonymous marking system so our names were covered up when we finished.


All and all the exam went well. It was slightly stressful trying to study the material we were given for it and I recommend reading these blogs if you are worried about stress at University:

Dealing with Stress at University – Stress is like the flu, everyone usually gets it

Exam time- how to have a stress free exam period

But we all made it through and finished our exams in good time but here are a few tips I can give you to make you look like an exam pro:

  • Read the booklet and exam carefully. Fill out everything
  • Don’t be afraid to ask if there is a problem
  • Get more paper if you need it. It’s free!
  • Bring your Uni card! Otherwise you will have to wait for the exam to be completely finished to be identified by someone from the academic registry.
  • Breath and chill out. The real exam is life.


That’s all from me, but if you want to find out more about EHU exams, how they are run and even corrected you can check out this link for more info!

And if you want more free and great information email think@edgehill.ac.uk or leave a comment below and I will get back to you. If you want to suggest something to write about or want to be interviewed leave a comment below also and I will get back to you personally!

Global Game Jam 2018 – 48 Hours of Madness!

So, I (along with the rest of my team) have finally recovered from the Global Game Jam this last weekend.

“But, Caleb!” I hear you say at your screen, “This is a blog about University stuff!”

Well, the Global Game Jam is officially supported by the University, and is open to any Computer Science and Creative Writing students.

It’s a 48-hour event where teams of students have to make a game, where digital or tabletop, based on a specific theme each year. This year, the theme was Transmission. Previous years have had themes like Waves, Extinction, an Ouroboros or a heartbeat. You literally don’t know the theme until it’s announced in your area.

With such a wide theme as Transmission, of course most of the games involved some form of virus or zombies. The group I was in went on a slightly different path. Our game (called Hero Chronicle) involves a group of heroes fighting against an evil god and his Plague. The theme of “Transmission” revolved around the heroes’ powers rather than the Plague seen in the game. As the theme was left so open, teams were able to come up with any ideas.

The Game Jam also gave special diversifiers to work with as extra “challenges”. One of these diversifiers, Final Countdown, requires you to make a completely seperate game in the last hour of the Game Jam. So, being the lunatic I am, I made a new game (called VIRUS.exe) which relies on transmitting commands to characters in order to take control of a computer network.

If the two games I was involved in doesn’t show the variety of games, you can find the full list of games made here. If you want just the games made at Edge Hill, the full list is here. You can find the specific page for Hero Chronicle here and VIRUS.exe here.

This is one of the events that show that, should you take every opportunity you can, you can take part in many events you wouldn’t otherwise! To anyone who’s interested, I’ll see you at Global Game Jam 2019!

Computer Science and Edge Hill – If you leave Windows open your computer will get cold

Computer Science Students at Edge Hill


Computer Science is a wonderful, broad subject that covers every aspect of computing. It can range from database design all the way to systems administration. I am a first year student in Computer Science (Network, Security and Forensics) and there is a few things that I would have liked to have been told before I started the course. If any of you are thinking about taking this pathway in higher education then these might just help you along the way


Computer Science students have a joint first year

No matter what you specialise in, if you are a computer science student (Without Math) then you are lumped into a joint first year. That means that although I am taking Networking, Security and Forensics as my specialisations within computing science I will still be exposed to other elements of computing such as web design and computing with business.


Edge hill has just got a new tech hub

The £13 million tech hub was opened with the idea of bringing state of the art technology to the computing students of Edge Hill. It features the UK’s first super immersive 3D virtual environment (C.A.V.E) and computer labs spread throughout its 3 floors. It also houses the staff of the computing department.


All computing courses are BSC accredited

Edge Hill computing courses are accredited by the British Society of Computing aswell as The Chartered Institute of IT. They meet all the latest requirements of employers and are ever expanding to keep up with the fast changing environment of Computing.


These are just some of the things that make studying computing science at Edge Hill amazing and enjoyable. If you want to learn more about computing send a email to think@edgehill.ac.uk for advice or leave a comment bellow and I will get back to you personally.

First Year Computing: What Should I Expect?

With September rapidly approaching, summer quickly heating up and time flying by, you’ll be starting university before you even know it. Welcome Sunday will be a blur of moving in, meeting new people, making friends and most likely getting drunk throughout Fresher’s week. But once all of the partying has settled down and your lectures start, what should you expect and be expected to do in Computing?

When you start, you’ll be given a set programme for the first year where everyone studies the same modules before you all split off into pathways and module choices in second and third year. The modules that you’ll do will include learning programming, web, foundations of computer science and digital world which covers topics like operating systems and networking.

In programming, you’ll start off using the Alice drag-and-drop software (which is free to download so you can practice over summer before starting!) before moving on to using Java hand-coding to make some software and then using Lego robots to program for different challenges.

For the web module, you’ll learn HTML code, Javascript and some other basics that will help you be able to build a website. Over the course of the year, it will build up and by the end you’ll be able to make some pretty impressive stuff!

Foundations of Computer Science is a new module which covers more of the decision making and maths involved with Computing.

Finally, digital world covers a wide range of computing including databases, networking, operating systems and physical components like taking the PC to pieces and understanding the components.

If you’d like more information, everything is listed on the website here and you can find out some of the things you’ll be involved in with your modules next September.

In terms of what you are expected to do, you should be attending all of your sessions to get the most out of the experience and to meet your friends who can also help, but also undertake some outside study. You should be aiming to spend roughly the same amount of time outside of lessons as you are in lessons, for example if you have 4hours contact time a week with tutors, you should aim to do 4hours outside of class as well.

Good luck with your first year!

Technology at Uni

Okay, so at uni there is the Library and the Linc Building which have plenty of computers for you to access throughout the day/night. However in halls, do not underestimate how much you will benefit from technology i.e. a laptop, as I’m sure some nights getting out of bed to access a computer is a no go! So if you have a birthday coming up or you’re working I would highly recommend that you save up for a good laptop (if you don’t have one or it’s on its last legs!) as it’ll be the best thing you ever do!

Most assignments will require you to use a computer, therefore it is essential that you have a good laptop that you can rely on throughout uni! I also can’t emphasize enough how important it is to back up your work, either online or a memory pen (be careful as a USB is NOT indestructible!) I know my friends have had instances where their laptop has broken and they have lost their work, and believe me using this excuse to ask for an extension for work does not go down well!

YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!

Also with technology on the rise in all aspects of life, courses will keep you up to date with the newest advances where appropriate. So as I am doing teaching, my course sometimes covers the use of apps/websites that are currently available to enhance learning in the classroom. Having this knowledge gives us future teachers an advantage in the classroom and lets us keep up-to-date with the best ways to teach and interact with the pupils.

So all I can say for now is make sure you’re technology ready for September- you won’t regret it… and who can’t say they love a new gadget!

 

What’s Developing on Campus?

As a student at Edge Hill for the last 3 years, I can honestly say I’ve never been in an environment that has changed so much so quickly in all my life. In these three short years so much development has gone on in and around the campus, and it really nice to see that the campus is constantly being invested in and being improved and expanded for the students. Since I started the campus has grown so much with the development of Creative Edge, Sport and Chancellors South and Palatine Court, and the future holds a lot more developments to come which I thought I would share briefly in this post!

The Technology Hub
At present the computing students are bunched in with the media students in Creative Edge. However, the university has just been given the green light to develop a new £13million technology hub to be home to the University’s Department of Computing and will provide classrooms, offices and a new lecture theatre. This will be absolutely fantastic for our vast array of computing degrees and will give the student even more space and opportunities to get the very most out of their computing degree while also giving the media department more space! Having this kind of space really does make a difference to the university experience, as I feel that the different departments have different buzzes and vibes about them, which make them unique and creates excitement and enthusiasm around the specialisms something in particular I have found with the media department.

aerial-ANNOTATED1

Accommodation
As you would expect, Edge Hill are constantly developing new blocks of Halls to keep up with the vast amount of applicants applying to the university and hoping to stay on campus! The new Halls of Residences will provide 168 new single-study en-suite bedrooms, bringing the total number of students that can live on campus to 2,259. These Halls should be very similar to the likes of Palatine Court!

Both theses developments are currently underway and due to be complete for the start of the 2016/17 academic year in September, so should be ready for anyone hoping to start this year!

 

Last Minute Guide… Choosing the Right Course!

Oh how depressing that Christmas is over and there’s only a few days until the new year! This means it’s nearly the year of intense revision, exams and results- but boy is it worth it! Hopefully you’ve submitted your UCAS application, but if not and you’re unsure of what course to choose I’ve decided to help you out a bit…

I first found my course looking through the Edge Hill prospectus when I wasn’t 100% sure what degree I wanted to pursue. This page of the prospectus broke down the course into the main things I needed to know, such as what content was covered and what grades I needed amongst loads of other useful information. The prospectus is definitely worth a look as it has information on every course at Edge Hill, if you’d like a copy you can order one online, to do so please look here.

However if you can’t wait and want more information on the vast array of courses available look here on our website!

You should ensure that you’re happy with every aspect of your course, such as what you will be learning and also how it is assessed! The worst thing would be to choose a course that is mainly exams when you love coursework or the opposite way round!

My specific course involves exams, some in January and April, and also coursework, essays, portfolios, placements and presentations! Phew! It sounds a lot and honestly it can be overwhelming at times but when you manage your time effectively and organise yourself it isn’t bad!

If I could advise anything it would be to create a check list ranked on the most important aspects of a course for you. Therefore you can make an informed decision, and if you’re missing anything that you need to know you can reach out to us so we can help you!

Feel free to comment if you have anything you’d like to ask!

Now, best of luck and have a fantastic New Year!