The Misconceptions of a Geography Student – it’s more than you think!

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“I’ve got my full set of colouring pencils ready!”

This is the first thing a friend of mine on another course said to me after selecting an optional geography module.

It was said in a joking manner, but it reminded me of just how wrong the stereotypes of geography at university are. It’s something I want to clear up on behalf of all the geography students!

There are three stereotypes I often hear:

1. “Do you have fun playing with rocks?”

2. “Let me test you on world capital cities!”

3. “I bet you’re really good at colouring in!”

But geography is just not just a mix of the three.  In all honesty, I cannot name many world capital cities and would suck in the ‘geography’ section of a pub quiz, and I’ve only made a few maps since the start of my course! There are a couple of modules that focus on the study of geology, but that is only two out of many choices! (I didn’t actually choose them either).

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Having now studied a module titled Applying Geography, I’ve been considering why such stereotypes of the geography discipline exist.

The subject is said to have one of the most drastic differences between a level and higher level study, and over the years its scope has spread to include…well, almost everything.

We no longer live in the era of cartography (map making!) and discovery, so where are we now?

Geography studies different systems and processes within the world, and the responses to those systems of both human and physical beings.

With both human and physical geographies to consider, we could now say that the subject involves lots of other disciplines, from sociology, health studies and economics, right the way through to ecology, meteorology and natural hazards.

We study a diverse range of topics, learning how to use a variety of research methods and skills that can be utilised in many career paths.

Some scholars also describe the research in the discipline as ‘a conversation’ between different people.

If you consider my independent study topic, then even the unexpected can be made into geography!

In conclusion:

GEOGRAPHY MAKES THE WORLD GO ROUND!

A student’s view of Worcester University’s facilities!

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Hello all!

For this post, I thought it may be helpful for some of you to find out a little more about the  facilities that the University offers us, students.

If you are a future student that doesn’t know much about the available facilities, didn’t get a chance to visit them on open days and would like to know a bit more, or are a current student that has been living under a rock… then read on!

For the first (and largest) facility…

The Hive

The Hive is a massive library that is just the other side of the river from the University’s main campus.
It’s pretty hard to miss. It’s a ginormous gold and bizzarre looking building that is supposed to look like the Malvern Hills.

There is an easy route from the Hive to both the city centre and St Johns campus, so it is relatively straight forward to get to, no matter what student accommodation you have been placed in.

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It’s also Britain’s first ever joint library for both University students and members of the public. The great thing about The Hive is that although anyone can use it, there are different floors for different purposes. For example, the very top floor is a silent floor for students only. A great area to get through a stack load of work.

It’s also rammed with every book that you could ever want, for pleasure and for assignments, has plenty of space to work both individually and in groups and has a nice little cafe.
A great little extra for us teachers as well, is the ground floor area that is full of teaching resources and lesson plan ideas!

Next up..

The Riverside Building

The location of this particular Worcester facility is pretty self explanatory… and is directly next door to the Worcester Arena.

This is a facility that is full of rooms and halls for lectures, but also has quiet communal areas full of computers for students to do their work. Its main purpose is for Sporting students doing Performance analysis, but is open to all students.

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I’ve never had much of a reason to visit this building before, but it is a facility that I have recently discovered. It’s never too busy, and has beautiful views of the river because of the ceiling-to-floor windows all around the building.

It’s a great place to go if you need to meet up for group tasks, or use any of the computers or work space. It’s only a short walk to the city centre and also the University campus, and is also down the road from Mcdonald’s, (but that’s just an extra bonus!)

Last but not least…

The Peirson Building

The Peirson Building is very similar to the Riverside facility, as it is also a facility for students, full of computers and work space. But luckily for a lot of us, it is smack bang in the middle of the University campus.

It’s a good place to go to in-between lectures if you have time to spare, and is a nice place to work in the evenings as well. It does get quite busy, but there is plenty of space spread across the two floors, to use the computers and your own laptops. It also has seperate rooms that you can use if you have group presentations that you want to practice.

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My close friend James is a regular at this facility. For some unknown reason, he is the Peirson’s biggest fan. When I asked him to describe the Peirson to me in one sentence, his reply was..
“Other than frozen ready meals and poundland, it’s a students best friend!”
(He spends a socially unacceptable amount of time at the Peirson, but… it is a pretty great place to work!)

I hope that you have found this a little helpful and will begin to use some of Worcester’s finest facilities when you join us at Worcester University!

FREE Student SPSS Package.

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For those on courses such as Psychology, Sociology, Geography, Sport, Biology, to be honest any degree that needs to analyse any form of numerical data, students will know about SPSS.

For those who don’t know or haven’t come across it, SPSS is a software package used for statistical analysis. It is used for a variety of statistical analysis methods and is vital for anyone doing a dissertation that uses numerical data!

You will have been taught to use the package in your lectures predominantly using the university computers, as they have the package downloaded onto all machines.

The chance to use SPSS on the university computers is vital for many students but can be a bit of a pain having to walk to and from uni to use the package and only being to open it on university computers! One way to overcome this is to have it available on your laptop at home – but you won’t want to pay the fee to download it straight from the website so university have a way to help!

If you go to the IT support desk upstairs in Pierson Study and Guidance Centre they will give you a slip that provides all the information you need to download it absolutely FREE as the university have a licence that allows students to download it too.

You go to http://worc.ac.onthehub.com and simply use your student details to log on and receive access to the software downloads, key, and installation guide.

FREE Student SPSS Package.

It takes a while to download but if you leave it running it shouldn’t be too long! You simply follow the instructions as they pop up on your screen then input the authentication code that is shown then you finish your order.

It has been very useful for me when doing my dissertation as I have been able to do all my statistics analysis in the comfort of my own home, and work on it whenever I want! For those using it for their dissertations this year, GOOD LUCK!

10 ridiculous photos of a drama student.

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You’ve all heard of the stereotypical drama geek at high school – The kid who generates exuberant eccentricity, the kid who has an overactive imagination and – of course – the kid who has a flair for le théâtre.

Pretty much like that at uni, to be honest. I was scrolling through photos I was tagged in throughout my fresher’s year and what I found, absolutely befuddled me.

This wonderful originality will be sure to come through in any photo you get tagged in on Facebook.

I’ll show you some of my most shocking, random… confusing pictures from last year.

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I may be 19 in this photo, but…

“There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.”

So yeah… I’ll just keep unleashing that youthful dramatic creativity.

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I actually remember what this photo was about.

As I said in my other blog, I love to take part in films and I was acting alongside a little girl who had this pink…err…moose?

Thought I’d grab it off her and pose for a picture. Nah, didn’t really.

A thing I’ve noticed about drama students is whenever the see a camera they run to it and do the weirdest things or make the weirdest faces.

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Parents usually give their struggling student children  groceries or a spare tenner when visiting.

Mine gave me a tree from Ikea.

Blame the parents!

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Especially if you’re a drama student, you’ll change your style like no tomorrow!

Guys not so much. But I had to nurture a huge beard for the web series I was in.

But now I look back at it, I do look proper Spanish. My Dad will be so proud.

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He wouldn’t be so proud about this one. Looks like I have one leg and the fashion sense was purposely abysmal (I hope).

You’d definitely know how to spot a drama student around campus – They’d wear ridiculous costumes around with complete confidence, like it’s so casual to walk down the corridor with a fancy, flamboyant, feathery Victorian hat.

I remember the guys in our group had to come in dressed as girls for a feminism lecture – Your average Joe wouldn’t do that.

Takes someone who’s rather ‘unique’.

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Some people like to dress up for Halloween, drama students go that extra mile

That’s not the only time I’d be wearing make-up – I’d have to wear it on stage to stop the stage lights reflecting.

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I honestly haven’t got the foggiest clue – What on earth was I thinking?!

It’s like taking Necknominations to a whole new level.

As I said before – Drama Student + Camera = Craziness

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It’s a fast car lifestyle! When I was filming the web show, I got the opportunity to ride the classic Sinclair C5.

The ‘I-don’t-give-a-monkey’ attitude allows these wild drama undergraduates into many different adventures.

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GO COMPARE! As I said, new styles all the time. I do drama, but I don’t do opera…

 

After this post, my employability skills will increase by 20%.

My journey to become a teacher – The Education Show

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I had a wonderful day last Saturday (the 22d March,) at The Education show in Birmingham, and I want to tell you all about it! I know so many people that would benefit from visiting this show, that have probably never been before.

The Education show runs for a couple of days, every year, at the NEC in Birmingham.
It’s super easy to get to on the train, especially for those of us at  University of Worcester.
It’s FREE entry (a sentence that we all love to hear,) and it’s a great opportunity to meet like-minded people, collect a stack load of freebees and buy lots of teaching resources.

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As the show guide that you receive on your entry states “whether you are a classroom teacher, trainee teacher, business manager or teaching assistant” the show has a variety of things to offer you.

Edu 1What did it offer me and my three friends? Well, we are all enthusiastic trainee teachers and secretly… nothing excites us more than a room full of resources, (don’t pretend you’re not the same.)

What does The Education Show have? 

The Education show was dominated by an array of different stalls that were full of teaching resources, books and catalogues.

As trainee teachers, we were simply enjoying being able to have a look at all of these resources, whilst being attacked by stall workers and their leaflets.

We left the show with our arms and bags full of catalogues, leaflets and samples that no doubt will become of great use in our future careers when we are searching for new and interesting resources and lesson ideas.

All around us there were current, qualified teachers with trolly loads of new stuff. Lucky children!

There was also many local businesses being promoted, that can be easily and effectively used in schools.
My personal favourites were the Guide Dogs company that (unsuprisingly) had guide dogs with them.

We spent a good chunk of time sitting with and admiring the dogs, whilst chatting to the lovely helpers who explained all about how they come into schools and teach young children about how these dogs support the blind.

Another company that was a little less cute and a lot more creepy was The Animal Man. At this stall, we got to hold tarantulas and snakes and look at a variety of other animals. Edu6

Yet again, I left the stall with a bunch of leaflets that I hope to make use of in the future when my pupils are learning all about creepy crawlies. (I don’t think I want to touch that tarantula again though..)

Now they were the easiest two examples for me to write about, because I’m crazy obsessed with animals. But there were stacks of other businesses that were offering great rates and ideas for school trips, school visits and resources.

Another great thing at The Education Show were the various seminar talks and workshops.

A few examples of the different talks that we came across were “Successfully implementing the new 2014 curriculum,” “How do I bring the world into my classroom?,” and “Primary English and Maths implemented in the new curriculum.”

There were way too many talks for me to be able to list them all, and unfortunately we didn’t get to go to them all either.

We did however, attend the Primary English and Maths workshop that was so interesting. It was ran by two very passionate English and Maths subject leaders, telling us all about how to creatively teach these subjects using the new curriculum.
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For many of you, that may sound a little dreary. But for anyone that is even slightly interested in Education, I guarantee that there is a workshop that would benefit you.

Unfortunately The Education Show is over for this year, but if it sounds like something you would enjoy then please go for it in 2015! It’s  seriously worth it.
Keep an eye out for the 2015 show and put your name down when registry opens!

Future Learn: making our seminars really exciting

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What I’ve always liked about my course at the University of Worcester is the approach to the seminar activities – very interactive and a lot like the ‘real’ business cases, understanding  theory at its best and evaluating its practical application.

What I really appreciate is that our tutors are continuously looking for ways to ‘upgrade’ the seminars and the self-study activities by adding extra value to them.

This semester I am doing a module called Contemporary Marketing Strategy and what we do for our seminars is something we’ve never done before. I think it is very innovative and can be very beneficial as it gives us many new ideas and points of view on the subject.

Alongside with the wide range of interesting and engaging case studies, written by Graham Cooper, one of two lecturers who lead the module, we were advised to sign up to Future Learn. So what is Future Learn all about?

Future Learn is a system where anyone can register for free and start different online courses – business, programming, dentistry, psychology, sustainability, forensics and many, many others.

It is really easy to sing up to it and even easier to use.  They are about 6-10 weeks long, pretty much the equivalent to a university module.l

All of us who are on the Contemporary Marketing Strategy module this semester are doing a Future Learn course on Branding – each week there is an online session, which includes either a case study, a presentation or a short clip, which discuss different topics in branding.

Even if I can’t watch the new content on the day it is uploaded, I can always catch-up in my own time, making it very convenient.

This gives us not only food for thought, but it also connects us to learners with different experience from all around the world outside the lecture room, which makes it even more exciting.

What’s really great is that at the end of the online course, if we have competed everything, we will receive a certificate to confirm that we’ve completed it successfully, adding even more value to what we’ve learnt in the module! 

This week is the first one that we will be discussing what we’ve learnt from Future Learn in our seminar, discussing questions such as are Online and Social Media are relevant to today’s brands and businesses and is a climate of innovation encouraging creative improvement, rather than conformity.

I can’t wait to see what the other students in my class have learnt about brands and what are their views on the subject. I wish we’ve done more things like Future Learn in other modules before, yet it’s better to do it late than never! :)

Thanks to the University, I’m now a paid touring actor!

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I’m very proud to say that during my time at Worcester I have done a lot as a Drama student and as an Ambassador. I co-run weekly drama workshops at The Hive, I assist in drama open events, I’ve assisted with youth theatre and the National Theatre Connections project and I’m also employed as an actor!

It sounds so weird writing that down and probably makes me seem quite pretentious but it’s true, I’m a paid touring actor! AND I haven’t even graduated!

10152095_10151942663242167_300394727_oFor me, the arts are a crucial part of being a human being and the work that I do through the University has allowed me to give something back to young people, prospective students and to the community. The outreach and communication team are, in a way, investing in imagination and I’m grateful to be a part of that.

In March 2013 I was employed as an actor for a University of Worcester commissioned Theatre in Education piece called ‘It’s Up To You!’ A team of four actors, including myself, and one stage manager were asked to devise an hour long performance/workshop aimed at 13/14 year olds choosing their GCSE options. We incorporated a high level music and six strong (often multi-rolled) characters that experience first-hand the trials and tribulations of balancing friendships, relationships and school work.

The programme also includes an interactive voting system and during the performance, it is the students who have the final say in the decisions the characters make. By using voting software (very high-tech!) the students votes appear on an interactive whiteboard and the majority votes determine how the performance goes. It sounds more complicated than it is, but it does mean we, as actors, are kept completely on our toes because votes are separately casted three times and you can never normally tell which route the students want the characters to take!

10149968_10151942682972167_1476816315_nChoosing GCSE options is probably the first time that anyone has to make an important educational decision; and quite often these decisions affect your future. I know when I chose my options, I wanted to do Psychology purely because my friends were doing it and we got to go to our local Sixth Form College every week, not because I had any interest in Psychology! In hindsight I should have chosen History at GCSE and who knows, maybe I’d be doing something drama and history based now!

Our T.I.E programme encourages students to focus on what they’re good at, what they enjoy and addresses other decisions young people make on a daily basis but also addresses the fact that these decisions aren’t the be all and end all and it’s okay to change your mind.

 

As a group, we started by looking at our own personal experiences from school, revisiting memories and having a lot of laughs along the way! In reality, we were at school not too long ago and although fashions and music tastes have changed, relationships, family matters and friendships haven’t and these were what we found fundamentally important and therefore wanted to explore.

After the performance, if we have time, we talk to the students about our own personal experiences and, in turn, they can ask us questions. This lets the students know, I hope, that we understand what they’re going through because not too long ago, it was us making these decisions.10168412_10151942663477167_271546574_n

After weeks of rehearsal, we began touring the programme every school day to secondary schools across the Midlands (and even Wales!) between the 10th of June and the 5th of July. We performed in classrooms to group of up to 30 children three times a day, five days a week. We also performed a couple of times for staff members at the university and I think it’s safe to say the performance was very well received! In fact, it was so well received that we were asked to tour again at the end of January this year and also this summer. It was a bit of whirlwind, to be quite honest, and it was very tiring but also great fun.

The whole team really have been great. The programme has been directed by one of our Drama and Performance lecturers Alison Reeves, who specializes in educational theatre (as far as I’m aware) and Julie Fisher who does tons of youth theatre work and is 1796605_809806049046659_1850771991_ncurrently studying for her MA in Drama at the university whilst working in the Outreach and Communications departments! It’s all go!

We also found late last year that the university had put us forward for a prestigious HELOA (Higher Education Liaison Officers Association) award, which we were shortlisted for! A team from the Outreach department went on to present the programme in January at the annual conference and we only went and won!

 

So I can now turn around and say that I’m an Award-Winning Actor! We’ve now been asked to tour the programme again this summer for four weeks and we’re also taking it to the Natural History Museum in London for a week in June as part of Universities week 2014 – all expenses paid!

One of the best things about this programme for me has been the friendships formed between the group (as cheesy as it sounds). When you’re working every single day with a small group of people, it’s fair to say you become pretty close.

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Driving for miles around the country, laughing (sometimes bickering) and performing every day, doing something we all feel very passionate about is the most amazing feeling and I cannot thank the university enough for this experience. Bring on the summer!

Independent Study – Ideas and progress

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It’s approaching that time of year when campus is buzzing with tension, third years the human embodiment of stress.

Currently, I am one of those third years. And yes, I am stressed. It’s almost as if my life revolves around my dissertation right now!

Therefore, that is what this blog post will entail. If you’re a first or second year you might find it interesting to ask around for the topics that some third years are writing about for their independent studies – they can vary greatly, and include some bizarre titles that you might not yet have thought possible. I think it’s really useful to find inspiration early on – I chose my topic late and I’ve found it much more difficult this way.

Let’s see what you think of mine, huh?

‘Identity in virtual space: the experience and perceptions of women on Tumblr.’

I’ve had many people respond with a surprised expression when I tell them my topic. Especially coming from a geography student! The question of how is that geography? comes up a lot, and it honestly makes me laugh. Everything is geography! Ah…that reminds me, I should make a post about the misconceptions of geography soon.

Whilst physical geography dissertations will revolve more around world landscapes and processes (with topics such as river ecology, natural hazard processes), human geography is all about…well humans!

Pretty much anything topical, or that you’re passionate about can be adapted into an independent study question. I even saw that once someone studied the geographies of beer in Worcester!

My topic actually involves several areas of human geographical study. Internet geographies, geographies of the body, as well as gender geographies make up a large part of my literature review. The internet revolution is something I’m somewhat passionate about, so it made perfect sense to me to utilize it in my independent study!

Right now I’m conducting the final part of my research, which is a focus group! I hope I can get my dissertation finished soon so that I can go out and have fun in celebration!! The deadline is May 1st, which thankfully means that I’ll be dissertation free on my birthday!!

 

Good luck to all those of you working away like me! We can do it!!