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

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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!

 

The faces of Edge Hill University – Unsung Heros

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The people who spend every working day at Edge Hill university have alot on their plate. Everyone from the canteen staff in the hub to facilities management technicians work tirelessly to make Edge Hill the best university that it can be. Because there is so many it is often easy to over look staff on the ground. In this blog I want to pay tirbute to three staff groups that I feel often go unnoticed in their daily duties.


Site Services – Housekeepers

135 house keepers work five days a week to clean flat kitchens and accomadation halls. These are the people who literally pick up after you. They are first on this list because they have a demanding job. They have my thanks.


Facilities Management – Post

Working in the durning center from early in the morning to late in the evening the postal team deal with not only staff mail but student mail too. Some of the friendlies faces you will ever see in there. Big thank you to all of them for their hard work.


Respective Departments – Admin Staff

Each department provides administration staff to answer questions from students. I have to give my thanks especially to Sally and Sharon from EHU Computing. Always there to help, no matter what the problem. A tough job, done right.


These three groups of staff work to make this university amazing, thank you to all of them. If you see them please do the same, without their hard work that sometimes goes unoticed, we would be alot worse off. Thats 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!

Tackling those pesky assignments! 💪🏽📝

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After just handing in one of the hardest assignments of this year, I feel like I didn’t do too badly. If you put in the prep and don’t leave it until last minute you’ll be surprised how much better you’ll do. I’m going to give you an insight on what our assignments are like on Primary Ed , they differ per course, and some tips that have helped me stay a little ahead of the workload.

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Start early and get to the library! 📚
This year we have eight assignments that roll one after another, so you’ll always have your head in at least one assignment. Some people overlap the assignments and can do two at a time, those people are magicians. When I start a new assignment I get a gist of what it’s about and head to the library to get as many books out as I can on the topic. They want you to show wider reading so using books and journal articles are the best way to prove this, and also get a better understanding of what’s going on.

Know what you have to do before you start note taking. 📝
There’s no point taking notes without knowing exactly what you need to do. For example, the assignment title I’ve just submitted asked us to ‘evaluate’, meaning we need to find the strengths, weaknesses and any contrasting perspectives. I do two things. Either, take notes on different books and articles then grab four highlights and assign a topic to each colour like strengths are highlighted in pink, weaknesses in yellow etc. Then if you need to find any strengths you can look through all your pink highlighting. Or, the second thing I’ve discovered helps kill some time is to write all the strengths together (with the reference at the end so you don’t forget who said it) and just flick through those points when writing. I’ve used both of these methods and they both help speed up my actual writing of the assignment. It may feel like a lot of preparation but it helps if you know exactly what you want/need to say so you can write the assignment a lot quicker. 

Be disciplined, overlap if you can. 🔮
Like I said before, magicians. It’s hard for me to overlap assignments but it’s not impossible. I like to focus all my attention on one thing but if I absolutely had to I would work on another at the same time. Fortunately, they given you enough time between them, but only if you’re on the ball. If you leave everything to last minute you’ll be pulling all-nighters in the library, so try and be disciplined with your time management. Know how much time you can have to yourself but put time aside to get work your work done.

Write when you are ready. 🤓
Sometimes I’ve said to myself, just write your introduction then it feels like you’ve done something, but then it ends up being that much waffle you could pour syrup on it. It’s much better, like I said before, to write when you know exactly what you want to say.

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Edge Hill University offer workshops and services for students that are struggling with writing, referencing, note-taking and many more academic skills. They’re always around the library ready to answer questions. There’s a huge support system here at Edge Hill and I’m very grateful to be here.

Thanks for reading! Don’t hesitate to leave any questions ☺️

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Staying on course – Keeping your sights set on University

Staying On Course


Reminding yourself time and time again that every social event or 8 hour sleep that you miss is going to be worthwhile can be exhausting. Trust me. Keeping your eyes on the prize for months on end really can become a futile task, but there are a few ways that you can keep your sanity and almost live to tell the tale of how you got the grades you wanted, made your first choice and finally exited the vicious circle that is education before University.


Meet your deadlines

Deadlines exist for a reason. We all hate them, I actually think that if we didn’t have deadlines we would probably get our work done sooner, and better. The fact is, however, that we are usually given deadlines for our work. These deadlines are there to keep us in check, and as much as we hate them they cannot be ignored. Get your work done, and you won’t have to stress over it. Start things with plenty of time to spare, and finish up as soon as you can.


Study as much as you can

Exams are a killer. In fact if you study in the UK count yourself lucky. Some places, like my own Ireland, don’t use coursework based assessment and students have between 6 and 10 exams at the end of their final year that will determine what university they get into. Exams are great though. As much as you might protest about them don’t think of exams as a test of memory, think of them as a test of knowledge. If you are confident, and understand your course exams won’t be a problem. Finally, study how you learn. Youtube videos count as study if they are on the topic!


Relax, dont stress

Alright. So if you are meeting your deadlines, getting your work done well and on time and keeping up on your revision you have the whole assessment covered. But you cant let yourself burn out. If you end up feeling like the whole world is pushing down on you all you will be thinking about is how much you hate learning and that’s not what you hate. You hate feeling like you are learning for someone else. Take plenty of breaks, get good sleep and don’t put yourself out there for anyone else. Do your thing, for you.


That’s everything. If you want to learn more about dealing with stress you can check out my other blog post here.

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

And 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!

Navigating the Limbo Between Christmas and New Years

Hello everyone, hope you all had a good Christmas and didn’t eat too much. Who am I kidding, who cares? For me that’s one of the highlights of the period, eating and drinking too much, which is easily done when there’s so much of it. Some of you might be feeling a bit lethargic or bored after the last few days so here’s a few ways to at least attempt to put a spring in your step coming into the new year.

Excercise: I know i know, not everyone’s gonna be feeling this and that’s fair enough but there’s plenty to be said for getting in the gym after all that over-indulgence, for one, it can help get rid of that lethargic feeling and two, it can give you a head start going into any fitness based new years resolutions if that’s what you may have had in mind. Some gym’s do promotions around this time of year to indulge all the people who say they will start going to the gym in the new year with discounted memberships and free weeks etc. If you get going now you will have a better chance of being one of the people who actually keeps their resolution for longer than a week!

Getting ahead of coursework/ revision: Again I know, a lot easier said than done but hear me out, even if you do a bit of work or revision before the New Year rolls around you will feel a lot better come early January when most other people will only have started. This is the perfect time to get work done as generally we have more free time around now after the Christmas rush so why not? If you have coursework due and maybe not in the mood to delve deep into a 2500 word essay yet, it might be an idea to research what you are going to write and plan it out even if you don’t feel like writing it yet, same goes for exam’s you could plan your revision if you don’t want to start it yet.

Whatever you choose to do coming up to New Years have a good one!

Jordan

Setting Goals for 2019 – Making the most at Edge Hill

New Year Goals


With the first semester over at university you may be thinking back over the times during when things didn’t really follow your plan. That might be that you never got the job you were looking for, or never got the grades you expected. It happens to all of us but in this blog post I want to talk about three ways that you can turn yourself around, and not give up hope on the goals you wanted to achieve.


Don’t forget your old goals

It might be tempting to simply write off those things that you just had to achieve in your first few months at university because you haven’t yet accomplished them. But don’t. Remember that perseverance in the face of extreme doubt is the only  way to get where you want. I personally wanted to have my driving test passed before Christmas. When I didn’t, I came back after the new year with a positive attitude. I wasn’t bogged down with the fact I hadn’t passed, and shortly after the new year I got my full license. So don’t forget your goals.


Make positive changes

I’m not even batting around the bush with this one. Coursework. If you left it to the last moment last year, that might be in university or college, then don’t. Get your coursework down as quickly as possible and use all of the time given to you. Not doing so is a massive mistake. Apart from that make a list of things that you know you want to change. Maybe its going to the gym more, or maybe its simply learning a new skill. Whatever it is, if you want it then go for it.


Reward yourself

Don’t forget to relax. All work and no play is no good for you. Take the time out to get yourself something nice, take a break, go home and see family. Just chill out. If you push yourself too hard towards something then eventually you will burn out. You don’t want to start really excited to get what you want and end up not wanting it because you pushed too hard too early.


That’s everything. Take these three things and you will be praised, trust me. If you want to learn more about dealing with stress you can check out my other blog post here.

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

And 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!

A Biology Dissertation Proposal

One of the compulsory modules in third year on any biological sciences undergraduate degree is the dissertation. This module is worth twice the amount of a single third-year module – and with third-year being weighed more than second, this amounts to a hefty percentage overall!

Perhaps some books from the new library in The Catalyst will help with your references!

The first part of the dissertation that is currently due in late June is the proposal. Worth 15% of the overall dissertation grade, this piece of work is focused on designing a scientific project that suitably addresses an identified knowledge gap within a field, whether it be ecology, human biology, or microbiology. The proposal for the biology dissertations is very similar to the proposal made for the research projects in the second year module Research Methods.

Part A of the proposal is an overview including context – does this project build on previous works; why is it important; how does it fit into our current understanding? Included in this section must be the project aims and a list of references used in Part A. It’s very similar to an introduction of a scientific paper, which starts out broad then narrows its focus until it is focused on a concise issue.

The Gantt chart I used in my second-year Research Methods proposal

The following part of the dissertation proposal, Part B, is all about the implementation of the project. This includes a clear indication of the research questions being asked; the methodology; timescale; and data analysis. Things to think about for the methodology include the basic experimental design – what kind of sampling and measurements are being taken, how many replicates, etc – sampling strategy, and sites. The timescale is an obvious one, but it might be an idea to include a Gantt chart to illustrate this clearly. Data analysis and management cover the statistical tests that will feature in the project and the tables used to record the data. This section should also feature difficulties that might be faced along the way, for example, the problems I think I might face are identifying sampling sites with my target organism and learning new programs related to genetic analysis.

 

The final parts, D and E, are all about health, safety, and ethics. As well as completing these parts in the proposal, it’s vital that the separate ethics form is filled in to be assessed by the Biology Department Research Ethics Committee (BDREC)! Other additional forms that need to be attached to the proposal are, for example, an equipment list, lone working, and risk assessment.

There are a fair few documents that need submitting, but they’re all important and make sure you’re ready to really begin work on this big project. You need to be prepared for a module that makes up a third of your final year grade after all!

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!

Your Big Step to University

Hello everyone! I hope you’ve had a lovely weekend. I have just had reading week so have been back in Manchester visiting my family. Now that I’m back at uni, it’s back to work!

When we grow up we are always told how important the next step is – primary school, high school, GCSE’s, A-levels…and now University. So I hope I can take the pressure off a bit and help you with any worries you may have!

How will your university course be different to college/sixth form?

For most courses, your lecture and seminar hours will be a lot less than you had at A-level. Some course have as little as 4 hours a week, whilst other courses like mine (Primary Education) can have up to 18 hours a week. No matter the amount of time you have timetabled, it is about what you personally get out of it. Unlike A-level when you depend on your teachers a lot, university allows you to have more freedom and initiated learning during your own time.

How formal is university?

Personally, I found my sixth form to be a lot more formal than university life. At Edge Hill, I feel I can talk to the tutors on a more personal level, rather than referring to teachers’ second names like I have done throughout school!

How many exams will you have?

The number of exams you will have depends on your course, but I suggest finding this information out as it will help you feel prepared. The university decides what is included in your modules which makes all lesson content useful. I found that A-levels were mostly centred around remembering the specific mark schemes for your exams. However, at university I believe you are taught real-life skills and necessary information that will provide you with a foundation for your next step (which may be your chosen career).

If you have any more questions like these, feel free to comment below! Thank you for reading, looking forward to speaking soon!

Anna 🙂