Sean’s Random Encounters – Edge Hill Applicant Day and the Catalyst building

Seans Random Encounters Text


So, on the way back from a driving lesson I wandered into an Applicant Visit Day that was taking place in the Hub, central to the university campus. Among the many stands that were providing information to students like yourself was Kerry from Student Services hosting a stall with information about the new building that is set to be unveiled on campus later this year.

The catalyst is a new and exciting central building is a £26 million pound investment in all our educations. I spoke to Kerry about what this building would become and how it would be used by the average student who steps inside.


 

This video gives an overview of exactly what this 8000 square meter project will look like. Located just to the central east of the campus it is a stones throw from the hub and much of the main on site accommodation. This is useful, as it houses the brand new library. If you are like me and enjoy late nights you will be able to head over and get that book about vintage computers, photography or just a good read in general.


” Modern, Central and Connected “

– Kerry, Edge Hill University

I asked Kerry if she could describe exactly what the new Catalyst would mean to her. She said it was ‘Modern, Central and Connected’. She went on to mention how it would ‘take the existing student services and unify them together, in one central place.’


So all these buzz words sound good, and we have lots of numbers like 8000 square meters and 26 million pounds, but what exactly is the Catalyst and why should you be excited to be the first year of students to use it?

The Catalyst is the new home for the university library, student services, help desks and most teams who will help you in everyday life. It is going to be a one stop shop for you to discuss anything that you need help with. It is the new central point for everything Edge Hill.

So that’s it, get excited folks because the Catalyst is going to change everything.


If you want to find out more about the new Catalyst building you can find information here, or if you want to find out more about applicant days check out here.

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!


 

Preparing for continuous assessment at Edge Hill – You won’t have to cram the night before!


If you are a student of an education system that relies on exams for assessment you may have never even come across the term ‘Continuous Assessment’. This method of assessment is commonly used in courses throughout Edge Hill University so it is a good idea to get to know what it is and practice before you start under this type of education.


Continuous Assessment is the practice of giving you a grade based on your coursework that is submitted over the length of your course. For example you may be given an assignment every week for two months, each representing a certain percentage of your final grade. This means that you are already stacking up points towards your grade as soon as you submit work. Meaning you don’t have to worry about remembering everything at once on one particular day. If you are already prepared for this type of assessment you will slip right into the swing of things. However if you, like me, are from an education background where everything is based on exams it might take some time to adjust.


Clock with time on notepadTime management is a very important aspect of this method of study. If you don’t manage your time correctly you will miss deadlines. Unlike missing your homework, missing your deadline for coursework results in your grade being affected. You have to manage your time well in order to maximize your grade.


Notes on a4 paperKeeping notes simple and brief is also important. Unlike taking notes for something that you will not review for weeks, months or even years, continuous assessment is set on a much shorter time range. Your notes should be short but clear so that you get everything down and quickly refer to them later. Your brain will do most of the work remembering.


Concept lifestyle image of balance.Balance is possibly the most important. You need to make time and put the same amount of effort into all your coursework. You will like some more than others, and as such its easy to dismiss pieces you don’t want to complete. Work hard at it and keep your head down. Remember, it is your grade at stake.

 


Follow these steps and try to practice these skills in your every day life. A good example is taking homework as serious as your exams for a week or two to get used to putting your best into something on a weekly basis.

While not all courses at Edge Hill are fully coursework based most have elements of continuous assessment. Remember to prepare for any exams you might have also.

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!

Third Year Film and Television Production: First Semester Summary!

So here I am again, back talking to you about my modules. Today’s post is all about my first semester of my third year in Film and Television Production!

Currently, I’m in my last semester ever on uni which is very weird, but also exciting at the same time! So quite a bit has changed over this last semester, and I’ve learnt so much about university life which I can’t wait to share with you over the next couple of months! Anyway, as I did before in my first and second-year semester posts, I will be going through the modules, giving my opinion on each one, enjoy!
(Disclaimer: modules on this course are always changing so might be different or non-existent by the time you’re reading this blog post.)


Independent Film Production (Compulsory)
Short version: Great module, however, it’s a lot of work!

Independent Film Production enables you to work independently to produce a film of a professional standard. The Independent film genre gives students the experience of working within industry guidelines, producing a digital and HD film within the confines of a limited budget, with a larger production team and within a restricted timescale.”

Behind the scenes.

Long version: As the quote suggests, film production is all about creating a 10 to 15-minute short film. The module is marked in two parts: a production folder with trailer and the film itself. The folder is full of all your paperwork that you have completed while creating the film and includes important pieces of paperwork such as release forms and location scouting. This folder is submitted with a short trailer for your film and is worth 30% of your overall mark, as the film makes up the rest.

The pros of this module are: by the end of the process you have a finished product which you can add to your showreel, you learn a lot of new skills on set, working with new people can be fun and engaging as ideas of how to make the film can be formed over casual conversations, you can be as creative as you want as you’re writing the script, and it’s another chance to explore the technical role you’re most interested in, whether that be editing, writing or directing!  

However, this module does have cons, one of which is that it’s based on group work and some people in your group may not pull their own weight (an issue I found occurring within my own production) and unfortunately there is no way for you to change that as you can’t force people to work when they do not want to. Additionally, I personally did not find the lectures useful for myself, as I would have prefered to be filming instead of sitting through a lecture about making a film. Finally, it can be a bit of a juggling act with other modules as you have to work on all of them at once, and it’s sometimes hard to find the time to do that. Overall though, this module has taught me a lot about teamwork and what roles I enjoy doing in productions. Because of this production, I realised that I really enjoy directing, which I didn’t know beforehand, which has now led to me being the director of my TV show I am currently creating, so overall it worked out!  


Media Futures: (Optional)
Short version: I didn’t really like this module.

Media Futures involves the study of contemporary media practices, the impact of technology on creative industries, developments in global and local media, and changing paradigms of media production and audience consumption. You will develop a critical awareness of a number of key themes including social experience and shaping of media forms, access, participation and engagement, and the relationship between public and private spheres. By considering these themes through a range of different theories and research, you will discover a variety of approaches to gaining understanding of what is a rapidly expanding frontier of creative and cultural practice and media knowledge.

Long version: As I’ve said before on these posts: “Theory isn’t for everyone, and I am the everyone in this situation.” And that has not changed one bit I am sorry to report, theory is still not my cup of tea. I can appreciate that essays are needed to make the degree legitimate, but at the same time I would much rather be doing practical work in all honesty, as I feel that suits my skill set much more. However, one thing that can be said is that the people teaching this module are passionate about what they are saying.

The module is marked with a 3000-word essay, worth 70% and a group debate, worth 30%. The debate was a good exercise in public speaking which is always a good skill to have no matter where you work. It was also a nice change from essays as what was reached could be used later on to defend your point when someone tries to counteract. Overall all though, I just didn’t really connect with this module as I did with the next one.


Cult Cinema (Optional)
Short version: I loved this module!

Cult Cinema introduces you to films that are often marginalised in academic film discourse as a consequence of their modes of production, content or manner of consumption. The module theoretically explores the interrelated concepts of ‘cult’, ‘trash’ and ‘exploitation’ cinema.

Long version: Okay, so you know I said I didn’t like essays, that still stands, but I did enjoy the lesson. The module is marked on two essays: a 1500 word essay and a 2500 word essay.

 Okay so let’s just jump straight into the Pros: If you enjoy learning about film history, especially the weird side of it, this class is for you! Every week we’d sit and watch weird clips from old films and then analyzes them! And honestly, what other lesson lets you openly talk about all the bad movies you’ve watched free of judgment. Additionally, the teacher is amazing, having Andrea Wright as your teacher is so much fun, as she’s not afraid to throw her class into the deep end when it comes to the weird films made in the past. We also got to do movie quizzes where there were prizes and even if you didn’t win a tub of sweets was always being passed around the class. The biggest con, however, is, of course, the essays. And yes, I may have not written the best essays in that class, but I did have a lot of fun!


I hope you learned something from this post or at least found it interesting. There is a lot of other modules that I have not discussed as unfortunately, you can’t study them all, so please feel free to check out the website for the rest of them. Again thanks for reading, it means a lot to me.
Until next time!

Film/Show of the day: The End of the F***ing World (2017)

Assignment Writing Tips!

Happy new year!

Now I am back at university, I have a lot of coursework ahead of me…yey! Writing assignments can be a difficult task for everyone and it is often hard to know where to start. Here are a few handy tips I wish I knew as a fresher…

  1. Visit the library 
Edge Hill Library

After reading all of the notes provided by your tutors, you should have a clear picture of what the assignment question wants from you. Edge Hill’s library is stocked with thousands of books and journals for every course. By accessing the online library system, you can search for any specific books appropriate for your assignment question. The library codes provided will then allow you to easily find your book. They are automatically renewed every 2 weeks, unless it is reserved by other students. However, if you know a lot of students are also searching for similar topics, I advise you reserve them in advance! I really recommend referring to books or journals when writing assignments because websites are often unreliable. Although, Google Scholar is a useful tool to use.

2. Plan, plan, plan!

An obvious aspect which is important for writing assignments is the planning involved. I find it difficult to start writing without an initial outline. Even if it is a small or messy plan, it is necessary to have something to guide you and jot down your ideas. I usually take the time to gather any queries I may have to ask the appropriate tutor. However, there is usually all the information you need available on Black Board.

  1. Take breaks

Often, the most difficut part of writing an essay is thinking about how to start it. I find that once you get started, you begin to feel more confident. BUT, remember to have breaks. It depends on the person, but I personally cannot work hours straight without procrastinating! Grab a coffee, phone a friend or get some fresh air.

  1. Proof-read

I cannot stress enough how important it is to proof-read. A simple spelling mistake can affect your mark based on the grading criteria. It took me a long time after submission to realise I wrote ‘practioners’ instead of ‘practitioners’ 10 times in one essay. Try to proof-read when you’re not too tired because that is when mistakes can be easily looked over!

  1. Take advantage of Edge Hill’s resources

Edge Hill offer a wide range of student support including help with academia. Uni Skills hold regular workshops to advise on academic writing, as well as organising one-to-one support. These learning services are always there, so don’t panic and don’t be afraid to ask for help!

I hope these few tips will be useful to you and I wish you the best of luck for your coursework and exams! Feel free to ask any questions, until next time! 🙂

It’s Christmas! 6 Winter ways to relax

Merry Christmas to you all- and to those who don’t celebrate- I hope you’re having a wondeful winter break!

Following on from last weeks blog on wellbeing (linked here), this week is all about ways to take a step back and chill out over the break – wether you’re on or off campus.

1. Layer up and go for a walk- you’ll see some pretty sights, and it counts as exercise for the day! (If on campus, I recommend taking a stroll around the lakes and saying hello to the ducks!)

2. Read a book- and not a text book! Take some time out to cozy up and immerse yourself in a good story. Libraries on and off campus are a great place to discover something new.

Christmas tree in the SU shop

3. Meet up with friends old and new. Share stories of the first few months of the academic year- show off your Edge Hill merch and exchange gifts.

Flat mates that buy you Edge Hill Christmas jumpers are keepers

4. Have a bath! If you’ve come home from shower-only halls, coming home to a house with a bath feels like the biggest luxury. Grab yourself a bath bomb and soak away!

5. Food! Christmas time means there will be all sorts of food to go around- and it certainly makes a change from a student diet of instant noodles, pasta and toast!

6. Get any course work done early. There’s nothing worse than trying to relax with the weight of unfinished assignments hanging over your head. Knuckle down and get them done so you can have a guilt-free rest of the break! For those of you with exams coming up in January- make yourself a time table of what you’re doing over Christmas- and slot in time to revise and stick to it, so you can feel prepared and not be worrying when you should be enjoying time with family and friends. 

For other tips and takes on the Christmas period at Edge Hill, see Anna and Ellie’s blogs about celebrating Hanukkah at uni and tips for studying over the break.

That’s all from me for now, I hope you all have a wonderful day and rest of the break!

A Short Guide To Presentations

Many courses at Edge Hill University require you to present as part of your coursework. I don’t particularly enjoy presenting to an audience, but then again, I doubt many people do. However, one thing about presentations I do enjoy is the creation of the visual medium you present from. Microsoft PowerPoint, Apple Keynote, Google Slides – these are the tools of the trade. Although my experience is primarily from scientific presentations, hopefully, these tips can transcend course boundaries and aid people from any discipline!

Text

The most common mistake when creating a presentation is to fill it to the brim with words. When this happens, you run the risk of reading directly off the screen and overloading your audience with information. I’d suggest minimal words on the slides, relying more on visual information like pictures and diagrams. However, words are still very much necessary to convey key information. Any statistics, unfamiliar names, or important facts should be highlighted by having them on screen – preferably with a related image.

Theme

An important part of a presentation is the theme. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, as long as it’s consistent. All of the previously mentioned programs have built in themes, with more available to download. I’ve found that most of the time, simple is best.

Here, the theme revolves around three main colours, orange, lime and cyan. Not exactly harmonious colours, but the contrast allows me to get the point across visually in graphs and diagrams.
A simple theme of just orange and white, but making use of bolding to highlight key points, as well as images to provide further understanding and make the slides visually interesting.

Graphics

Equally as important as the theme are the graphics in a presentation. Use of pictures to engage the audience helps break up any lengthy sections of the presentation and provide further visual information. In my two examples here, you can see how the images of four different habitats become the background of the next slide detailing the environments, and the use of a full-slide map that was used to provide context to the presentation.

In the biological sciences, graphs are very useful to display key numerical information in a visually appealing way. When using graphs, colour coding is key – as are labels. If your graph is up to scratch, then no other written information should be necessary on the slide and any further clarification should be made verbally.

I hope these tips serve you well, and I wish you luck on any future presentations you make!

Biology Semester Two Highlights

My exams are over. Second semester is over. Second year is over. So it’s about time I take a look at my personal highlights from this term’s modules, Research Methods, Biochemistry & Metabolism, and Biogeography.

Facilities
The Biosciences building at Edge Hill

Research Methods:

Oddly enough, one of the highlights of research methods for me was the stats portfolio. This coursework section of the module tasked us to analyse datasets using the program “R” and usually produce a graphical representation of the data, as well as an explanation of the results. This piece of coursework relied on knowledge acquired from the taught sessions on statistics throughout the year. Although coding in “R” was tedious at times, especially when one singular spelling mistake threw off the whole script, it was very rewarding to have a complete portfolio of work – particularly the graphs and charts.

Another highlight was definitely research week which, if you’re a regular here, you should know about – as I wrote a whole post dedicated to it.

Biochemistry and Metabolism:

This module was a complex one, being filled to the brim with technical knowledge but featuring a highly unusual assessment – a collaboration between animators and biologists to produce a short video on a metabolic process. As well as the bio-animation, there was also an exam. This was a challenging module, since it is very content heavy and also required you to work in a team with non-biologists – a vital skill however, that practically all scientists need. There were a number of experiments – some of them stretching across a good few hours – that introduced us to more lab techniques and the practical side of biochem. Bio-animation Evening, compete with food and wine, was a nice conclusion to the module; seeing everyone else’s hard work and the different animation styles was satisfying.

Biogeography:

As well as a typical examination, the assessment for biogeography was a ~15 minute presentation on a scientific paper – randomly assigned. This was challenging, as we had two weeks to read and digest our assigned paper, create a presentation, and memorise the script for our presentations. That said, it was also a very rewarding assignment. I was particularly proud of my presentation, and although delivering the talk was stressful, the creation of the presentation itself was enjoyable (on reflection, it seems I enjoy creating visual aids, maybe I should work on my illustration skills!)

Western Campus – Partially showing the GeoSciences building

To see highlights from my first semester, click here. Also, the other modules available for second semester biology can be found on the university website. Also of interest may be my outline of this year’s marine biology field trip.

What’s So Special About Edge Hill’s Library?

The Library is an integral part of any university. It’s where the students spend hours upon hours (often in the middle of the night) studying. So, I thought, why not give you a bit of an insight into Edge Hill’s own library? Here I will tell you all about what the library has to offer and how to best use your time there. Think of this as your own virtual library tour, onwards…

The Library Catalogue

When I first came to Edge Hill I was amazed at how many books they had in the library and thought “how in the world am I going to find what I want?” You see, that’s where the library catalogue comes in. There are computers stationed around the uni dedicated solely to the catalogue (though It can be accessed from any computer or device). You go on, search the book you want, note down the number and go searching for it. The catalogue even tells you what floor the book can be found on! That’s not it though, you can also reserve items, renew them and look up ebooks. The library has so many online and hardcopy resources available and this is the best way to access them.

Study Spaces

The library has three floors of study spaces for Edge Hill Students and each have a varying degree of privacy. The ground floor has a huge open plan area with computers, tables and sofas where you can engage in work discussion without worrying about distracting others who need to work silently. On this floor, there are also group rooms, these are rooms you book out and can work privately in a group with less distractions. These are ideal for discussions or even rehearsing for a presentation as there are whiteboards and computers in these rooms. The second floor is more of a quiet study area with computers and quiet study booths where talking is limited. The top floor consists of a quiet study area with desks you can work at with your own laptop or areas with computers, as well as a silent study area. There are also individual silent study rooms that you can book the same way as group rooms if you need even less of a distraction.

Media Equipment

If you are studying a degree where you require specialist media equipment or you have a project that requires a camera or other resources, then the library has your back. You can borrow media equipment as much as you can borrow books at Edge Hill so there is no need to worry about purchasing expensive technology to complete an assignment. For more information speak to the library reception area and they can guide you and help you find the equipment you require.

Printing

There are printing and photocopying services dotted around the entire library. They are all connected to one network so as soon as you click print you can log into any printer and print from there, minimising the queues of students waiting to use one printer. Printing only costs a small amount and you can easily top up your printed credits via the university’s Go portal online, or if you prefer at the reception desk.

Until next time! 🙂

Coping With Stress

Hey everyone!

Following a previous post on revision, exams and assignments this week I’m going to be offering some advice on how to cope with stress.

It’s easy to get stressed sometimes when you’re focused on work, but there are ways to minimise stress and ensure you don’t get overwhelmed.

Managing stress will keep you happy, healthy and productive, so it’s definitely worth taking the time to de-stress whenever possible.

Break Any Tasks into Small, Manageable Steps

One thing many students say they have to deal with often is procrastination, and that’s usually because they have so many things to do that they’re unsure of where to start.

Writing an essay may seem like a pretty daunting task to have on your To Do List, and may make you worried. But you can break this down into smaller steps: write an introduction, research theatre performances in Shakespeare’s day, edit conclusion.

Each day just pick one of the small steps off the list and work on it. Since you’re not trying to write an entire essay at once it will be easier to work through, and you won’t worry about trying to research, write and edit an essay all at the same time.

Be Active

Exercise has been linked to helping mental well-being, it can clear your thoughts and calm you down.

Even if you don’t exercise regularly, you can take up something simple like yoga. When I was at college a yoga class ran every week, aiming to reduce stress for students. It definitely helped me. Even now, if I’m feeling a little stressed out all I need to do is open Youtube, search for a quick yoga routine and relax.

It is super easy and it really works!

Relax

This one seems quite obvious, but it can be easy to forget to take care of yourself when you have a lot of work or are worrying about something.

Make time to do whatever relaxes you, whether that’s socialising with friends, curling up with a good book, going for a long walk or running a bath. You’ll definitely feel much better after taking care of yourself.

Work Smarter, Not Harder

You might have heard that advice before, but not really know what it means. It’s all about setting achievable goals with a clear time frame.

Recognise your strengths and weaknesses and work around them, give yourself enough time to complete everything you need to and make sure you’ve had enough sleep before attempting to work.

You can find some tips and more advice on dealing with stress through the Edge Hill website here.

I hope you all have another great week, and remember to relax!

Quote for the day: “I promise you nothing is as chaotic as it seems. Nothing is worth diminishing your health. Nothing is worth poisoning yourself into stress, anxiety, and fear.” Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience –Steve Maraboli

Until next time 🙂

-Becki

Exams!

Hey everyone!

Hope you all had a fantastic Easter, and although you were probably looking forward to all the chocolate you were going to get, the Easter holidays tend to mean one very important thing: exams are just around the corner!

If you have exams coming up this summer then this post is for you. I’m going to offer a little advice about how to prep for exams and tips for revision.

Even if you are lucky enough to have no exams on the horizon (like me) then you will probably have upcoming assignments, so these tips are for you too. They definitely help me stay on track with work, and I’m hoping they can work for you too!

1. Make a Revision Timetable (and stick to it)

It’s easy to imagine exams and assignment deadlines as things far off in the future, but time can slip away quicker than you realise. Every year I make sure I have a wall calendar or a planner, which I’ll update with any upcoming deadlines.

Having things in writing helps you keep things in perspective. And if you struggle to make yourself work drawing up a revision timetable will help you manage your workload (so you don’t have to worry about stress and pulling all-nighters the week before a deadline/exam.)

Be realistic about the amount of work you think you will do, and designate some days off to just relax, there is such a thing as too much work!

A realistic timetable that you can stick to definitely helps with stress too 🙂

2. Figure Out When You Work Best

Some people will tell you to never spend all night working in the library, and while that’s generally true the night before a major deadline, some people work best at night.

If you feel like you are most productive in the middle of the night, then take advantage of it. Edge Hill’s library is open 24 hours throughout a lot of the year, so you don’t even have to worry about not having access to a space to work or the books you need.

I work best in the morning, so when I make a timetable for work I tend to utilise that. A few early mornings, working for a few hours and having the evening off to rest always works for me, and I find the work I do in the mornings is better than when I try to work during the afternoon or evening.

3. Take Breaks Regularly

This doesn’t mean scrolling through Facebook every half an hour or checking your messages constantly (I’m very guilty of this.)

Try to create a workspace with minimal distractions. If you are working at home, turn off your phone so you’re not tempted to check it throughout the day.

However, it is important to take regular breaks.

If you attempt to spend several hours revising or writing an assignment, chances are your brain will start to drift and then you’ll take in less information.

So take a break every hour or two, go for a walk, get some study snacks or just pause to take in what you’ve already achieved that day. It will definitely pay off in the long run.

Quote for the day: “If you don’t study, you shall not pass.” -Unknown 

Until next time 🙂

-Becki