Category Archives: Multimedia

Students struggle with university moving online amid Coronavirus outbreak and here is how

As a result of the Coronavirus rapidly spreading and impacting the education system, thousands of institutions in the country have shut their doors, and schools have officially cancelled GCSE, AS and A level exams and awarded students with mock examination results and previous coursework grades instead.

However, this is not the case for most university students, as instead of having their exams and coursework cancelled, several universities have adapted to still deliver their content online so that students can finish the semester from home during the lockdown and receive their final grades.

Most universities within the UK are carrying out lectures and seminars via an online classroom within the university’s corresponding system software and assisting students’ queries via emails. Some universities are also offering students one-to-one scheduled Skype tutorials.

“I just want everything to be back to normal. I certainly didn’t sign up to pay nine grand a year to be taught online” – Miriam Croitoru, student at the University of Bournemouth

Several students from universities across the country give their views on how they feel about attending class from their own homes and how they remain efficient whilst going through quarantine.

Emmanuel Dario, Maths and Economics Foundation student at Brunel University London, Miriam Croitoru, Journalism second-year student at the University of Bournemouth, and Ella Frankcom, Computer Network Security first-year student at the University of Westminster express how working from home isn’t ideal.

They explain how distractions around them won’t allow them to get on with their work as they normally would when they were able to be within a student environment, and how not having direct face-to-face interaction with lecturers is also making it more difficult despite universities’ efforts to make classes online as viable as possible.

Hassan Ubaide, an undergraduate Medicine student at Kings College London says how although his university cancelling placements have enabled him to focus more on his exam revision, he also finds it harder to study from home.

“My university has cancelled all physical teaching and placements and has resorted to online teaching. I quite like that I don’t have to go placements, as I can focus more on exam revision. I use my old notes to study now and watch YouTube videos”

“Although, I find it harder to study at home as it’s easier to become complacent. I upturn my bed when I wake up to force myself to study and put it back to normal at night.”

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Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

COVID-19 has also affected how many final year students will complete their degrees, as the rapid spread has caused the facilities of certain universities to be shut down, leaving many students in the dark and unable to access essential material to help with dissertations and final year projects.

Due to the pandemic leading to lockdown, some third-year students seem to be finding it very difficult to get their final projects done and being forced to find alternatives and working their way around completing their practical work, leaving some struggling to create a good portfolio.

“I’m kind of stuck in the mud. I can’t really do much, everything is up in the air” – Adam Kudur, student at the University of Westminster, London

Adam Kudur, a third-year Contemporary Media Practice student at the University of Westminster, expresses how the lockdown has deeply affected his final year project due to it consisting of a live show event, presenting visual and audio experiences which would have taken place at a club but which he had to cancel due to the circumstances of the pandemic.

“I’m kind of stuck in the mud. I can’t really do much, everything is up in the air as we also just got announced that there will be a lockdown in the UK, so stricter measures are being made and it looks like it’s just getting worse. It has affected everything and my projects and portfolio have suffered.”

“My final project was meant to be my golden ticket to the industry, which was meant to be me hosting my own event and putting on a really good production of visuals and music but I won’t even be able to make that happen properly.”

“For example, for my final project, I wanted to use the green screen room and even that was taken away. So now I’m going to have to buy a green screen with my own money, and even if I buy the equipment I need, I’m going to have to get people from different areas to come to wherever I can set up the green screen and try to film it which I don’t think will be possible anyway.”

“We are very understanding to the issues students face in accessing experts, contacts, and restrictions on doing any fieldwork or filming outside.” – Anastasia Denisova, professor and Journalism course leader at the University of Westminster

Despite the difficulty for many students to complete their work during the lockdown, some universities have informed that they will be lenient with their marking considering the circumstances, which should help some students feel more at ease.

Anastasia Denisova, professor and Journalism course leader at the University of Westminster expresses how it is important for content to still be delivered despite the pandemic so that students are able to complete the modules they have been working on for the previous weeks of the semester. She also tells WNOL how university staff is being understanding with current issues students are facing due to the pandemic.

“It is an unprecedented time for everyone, and people in all jobs and roles find it hard to concentrate and adapt to the new routine. It is important to follow the rhythm of the academic year so that students can complete the assessments that they have been learning hard for and apply the skills they have achieved in the previous 9 weeks before the lockdown and the ones they learn now, under new provisions.”

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Image from PublicDomainPictures.net

“Cancelling all coursework could have resulted in a psychological bummer – as people would have struggled with the interruption of the structure of the semester and not getting the sense of achievement – hence we decided to proceed with online provision and offer plenty of online support, including Skype tutorials and interactive classes.”

“We are very understanding to the issues students face in accessing experts, contacts, and restrictions on doing any fieldwork or filming outside – hence we have eased the requirements for original material and interviews, research methodology, we ask students to reflect in the supporting documents to their coursework on the difficulties they faced due to the pandemic, and we will be much more lenient in marking. Students can also apply for an extension to the deadline if they have been affected by self-isolation.”

Theatre capital of the world goes dark

The Society of London Theatre this week made the extremely difficult decision to close all West End theatres, effective immediately for the foreseeable future. 

The news came after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced tighter regulations on social distancing amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Johnson stated that members of the public should now avoid public places unless essential, the advice specifically stating theatres are to be avoided.

Theatre fans, as well as those working within the theatre industry, are understandably devastated by the news of their livelihoods being temporarily taken away. But the news resembled that of a ticking time bomb, with many people expecting it to happen. After the West End’s cousins on Broadway went dark only four days prior, it was simply a waiting game for London’s theatres to follow suit.

Society of London Theatre – 16/03/2020

A closure of this magnitude has already put droves of performers and other theatre professionals out of work for at least the next month, with no concrete date in place as to when theatres will be allowed to reopen. While businesses affiliated with theatre, including box offices, are likely to require longer to recover from financial blows resulting from a loss of ticket sales.

Despite the closures however, the theatre community have banded together in an attempt to show solidarity for those losing their jobs. With a number of theatre organisations currently in talks to introduce subscription paid live streams where actors can perform and fans can tune in to watch.

Others are taking to social media to ask for followers to give support to Acting for Others, a charity that works to provide financial and emotional support to theatre workers in times of need. As well as encouraging fans to increase their support for the West End as and when shows resume.

As industries across the country are being struck down as a result of the virus. Many working in theatre have been faced with the realisation that the prospect of what many refer to as “muggle jobs” are probably not an option. This harsh reality has left a number of theatre professionals with little to do but wait until their beloved shows return to the West End.

In the meantime however, many have taken to social media to offer their services to the community in whatever way they can. Offers of help with audition reps, singing, acting and social media dance classes have become increasingly popular over the past few days. While others are offering one to one chats over Skype in an attempt to keep up the morale of fellow performers.

Ambassador Theatre Group

Though many performers are likely to be worried about the weeks ahead with no guarantee of when they can return to their careers, it’s clear the solidarity of the community is not going anywhere in a hurry.

Chloe Rose

Love at first swipe: the age of online dating

Before Millennials and Generation Z’s made swiping left and right niche, conversations of online dating would only be spoken about in hushed tones in loud bars all across the world.

So when did online dating become so popular? And more importantly, does it even work?

According to a study published in September 2018, online dating is completely reinventing what it means to date in the 21st century.

But don’t expect a You’ve Got Mail romance immediately.

The start of most interactions online nowadays is seldom without a short gallery of each person’s best photos and a short biography incorporating witty taglines or relatable likes and dislikes.

The addictive nature of apps like Tinder, Bumble, Hinge and Grindr are making it easy for the younger generation to take advantage of this dating method – often referring to it as a dating version of Pokémon GO.

Finding love is possible. It might have been easier for Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, but there’s a lesson here – don’t let your jealousy of other people overshadow your own journey.

Speaking with university students from all over the world, the balance between successful relationships and people still looking was about equal.

The online dating industry is quickly becoming a massive market. Research firm IBISWorld predicted that dating services would be a $3 billion (approximately £2.3 billion) industry in 2018.

In the age of laborious “swiping”, surviving the highs and lows is your sole initiation into the dating game.

We all get through it, usually with lots of great stories to tell.  

Creative courses: can you get a job out of it?

Students who take creative courses such as Interior design, photography, art, music and dance are often asked this question: can you get a job out of it? I wanted to explore the negative connotations surrounding this question and how it makes creative students feel when they are constantly asked it.

The first student I interviewed is named Amaal, and she studies international business. Although she does not do a creative course, she has a passion for art and chose not to take a course on it at university. I chose to interview her and she mentioned taking a creative course is something she always saw herself pursuing, but due to reasons she changed her mind and took business instead. As I am researching creative courses and the jobs you can get out of it, I asked her why she decided to not take art.

You mentioned that you have a passion for art and judging by your images, you’re amazing at it. Is there a reason why you didn’t take a course on it at University?

There are many reasons why I didn’t take art as a course. Main reason being that my parents want me to get a degree that would guarantee me that I’ll have a job in the future. At first I was mad at them for saying that but after I understood the importance of stability and having future career plans. Having a degree in international business gives me a higher chance of having a career compared to art. So with the in put of my family and listening to my heart, I decided to take business. However art is still a passion of mine and as a hobby I draw and paint in my free time, so who knows perhaps in the future I can show off my work and do it full time.

Another student I had the pleasure of interviewing is Fatima. Fatima studies interior design at Kingston University and gave her thoughts on this question in this audio interview.

I asked her about her future career plans, how university is prepping her for life after graduation and whether studying interior design was something she has always wanted. With her perspective on this subject, perhaps most creative students share the same views.

Images of Fatima’s recent project that involved ergonomics.
A shot from a site trip Fatima that she describes as an “interesting shot”.

Are we living healthy lifestyles?

If you’re looking to lose weight fast, then the diets mentioned below may be the ones for you. But if you are like me, and want to live healthily, then these diets are not recommended as they can result in long-term health risks.

 

 

The following infographic shows us what the diets mentioned in the audio are and how they make you lose weight.

leading a healthy lifestyle

 

History of Londons’ Markets

Welcome to the markets. 

With a rise in demand for organic produce, a boom in lifestyles such as Veganism and the want for pesticide and chemical free produce, there have been a huge increase in people attending markets across the nation for their produce. The Veganism society claims that it was the biggest food trend in 2018, and many people are lookingthwards a healthier lifestyle with an array of fresh fruit and vegetables. With more and more farmers markets popping up every day, let’s look at some of London’s most famous market place and discover why they’re having such a powerful comeback. 

The oldest surviving market in London and arguably the whole of Britain was first mentioned in historical texts in 1276, but is thought to have been around from as early as 1014. We are talking about the famous borough market which sits in Southwark under the London Bridge stretching down the side of the Thames. In the 19th century it became one of Londons most important food markets. 

The market first established itself on the London Bridge and acted as a hub to sell to travellers who crossed the bridge from the city of London to Southwark town. A larger market was then set up which sold a wider range of produce near the foot of the bridge which was known as Guildable Manor. In the 1270’s, the City of London forbade its citizens to go to the markets as they began to undercut the cities traders by buying produce and reselling it for their own value.

As the time passed into the 16th and 17th century, Southwark was absorbed into the city of London and the authorities did it’s best to maintain order around the markets. They were supervised to maintain price control and inspected goods and were also required to set up fixed stalls as unlicensed trading was a big problem of the era. 

In 1666, the Great fire of London burned down the main market house and a large portion of the bridge and it’s markets, and in 1756, nearly 100 year later, the government ceased trading on the market as it was taking away from the high street shops which were part of Londons growing economy. Outraged, the residents began petitioning to be allowed to begin a new market, independent to the city, away from the high street in order to not interfere with their business.

They quickly raised £6,000 (£1mil) and bought an area called the triangle and within two years the place was enlarged and a market house was built. The modern borough market was born. 

Over the years, with the rise of national supermarkets which killed off the small grocery and market business, the market developed a niche for speciality meat and cheese. It has become  great tourist attraction, with around 16 million people visiting Londons oldest fruit and veg market every year. 

The rise in demand for vegetable produce is doing wonders for markets across Britain. 

Another famous market which is sometimes forgotten, is the beauty and uniqueness of Columbia Road Flower Market. Named in honour of the heiress and philanthropist Angela Burnett Couts who built the Original Columbia Market in the 19th century. It was her aim to bring cheap and good quality produce to the poorest of East London, so in 1868, she built a huge market building with over 400 stalls and apartments for the traders built above. 

Unfortunately, due to limited transport connections and with big markets such as borough and convent garden which were closer to the centre of the city, the market couldn’t thrive. So, in 1871, the market hall was gifted to the city of London and was used for workshops and workhouses for 80 years till it was demolished in the 1950’s to make way for new housing opportunities. You can still see the gates and lion statues which sit outside a local primary school. The market continued on Columbia Road but with a swift change in produce from food to mostly bright, beautiful flowers helped the market survive.

The market suffered in WW2 due to rules regarding food rationing and part of the market received significant damage during the blitz, but in the 1960’s new rules meant traders had to attend regularly and with a resurgence in gardening, the market gained popularity. The changing of opening days to a Sunday instead of a Saturday also meant local jewish traders could bulk up numbers. Traders from other markets began flocking to the market selling left overs from the week, such as convent garden, but over time the market specialised in flowers.

  Columbia Road Flower Market sound clip

One of the youngest but possibly one of the most globally famous markets is Camden Market. Although time wise, Camden market is only 50 years old, it remains one of the busiest, well known and popular destinations for tourists and residents of London. 

Camden Market officially begun on the 30th March 1974, with a brand new Saturday market which housed a total of 16 stalls which sold antiques, jewellery and arts and crafts. However, previous to this the history of the famous Camden Locks has been slowly forgotten. 

Famous scenes from the early 20th Century are recreated in TV productions such as ‘Peaky Blinders’ which shows the locks being a big import and export place for beverages such as whiskey and gin. Distilleries and warehouses would sit along the locks, all dedicated to the booze. 

As the towns market developed, this art slowly depleted, lost and forgotten until 2014, when the tradition was reborn when Mark Holdsworth created ‘Half Hitch Gin’ which is distilled in Camden Town. The alcoholic drink can now be found in prestigious London hotels like the Hilton, St James and in establishments like The Shard and Selfridges. 

It’s fame can be reflected in the numbers – over 28 million people visit the markets every year. In 1973 a wine merchant called John Armit and his business partner Tony Mackintosh were responsible for turning the ‘run-down packaging warehouse’ beside the canal into Dingwalls Dance Hall and the venue was soon a notorious place for punk-rockers. There have also been many famous faces walking the streets such as David Bowie, Lady Gaga, and is also where Amy Winehouse worked pre-fame as a teenager. 

Nowadays, even though some of it’s traditional areas have been lost (the old lock keepers cottage is now a Starbucks) and the authorities have had a major push to eradicate the drug culture that had remained since the 80’s, the general vibe of the market makes it unique. It feels stuck in a period of punk rock with a tad of ibiza markets with the rage of counterfeit products making their name on the market alongside niche food products such as halloumi fries, vegan burgers and the infamous Cereal Killer cafe, which offers the widest range of breakfast cereals from across the globe, with an amazing collection of memorabilia.

Markets once were the entire economy in the UK, but with a rise in convenience stores and the demand for fresh, high quality produce, people are now looking for more substantial, economic sources. This has meant the market world which was once in a crippling decline, is being resurrected to supply those who are wishing to live a healthier lifestyle. In the future we could g straight back to markets and our local supermarket could be a desolate wasteland. 

FM Final

The science of relaxation: learn to de-stress using your senses

Whether it’s running late for work, revising for exams, or something bigger concerning family or friends, stress occurs on a daily basis for the majority of adults in the UK. But learning how to deal with it is important for mental and physical wellbeing.

 

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One of the most common relaxation methods is visualisation, picturing a scene and focusing on the smallest of details using all of your senses.

But how do you visualise a calming atmosphere when you’re surrounded by office desks, traffic or road works?

Take this opportunity to learn, by listening to different sounds, learning about different scents, and watching different scenes, and discover how to unwind using all your senses.

Sounds

 

A study at the University of Sussex has scientifically proven that nature sounds help us relax, and Jo, a Londoner, agrees. “Just generally being outside is relaxing” she tells WNOL. Orfeu Buxton from Pennsylvania State University explains that when we sleep, we can hear threatening and non-threatening sounds, with water being considered the latter. It tells our brains not to worry, whereas harsher sounds, like alarms and thunder, can be considered threatening, and wake us up.

 

 

Most of the people WNOL spoke to mentioned “birds singing” as a calming sound. A study led by Dr. Daniel Cox found stress, depression and anxiety levels decreased when participants were watching birds. Listen to the clip and see how the bird calls make you feel.

 

 

For many people living in cities, traffic can be a trigger for stress. But compare it to the sound of waves crashing against rocks – it’s surprisingly similar. None of the people WNOL spoke to had ever considered this, but one man did say white noise, like car engines, is soothing, along with the ocean, so this visualisation is likely to help him destress.

 

Scents

 

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Many people rely on lavender to help them fall into a deep sleep (image by Alysia Georgiades)

Lavender is arguably the most popular scent for relaxation, with a range of pillow sprays being sold to improve sleep. But why does it work so well?

One suggestion from Christabel Majendie, a sleep therapist at Naturalmat, is that linalool, a part of lavender oil, acts as a sedative by affecting vital neurotransmitters that help us sleep.

Maybe it’s time to try one of those pillow sprays…

 

 

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There are hundreds of species of jasmine, but they all have a sweet, calming scent (image by Alysia Georgiades)

Jasmine is another scent that has been proven to combat stress, with its subtle, sweet smell helping participants of a study fall into a deeper sleep than if they were exposed to lavender.

A couple of Londoners mentioned jasmine when asked to list calming scents, which could act as an alternative for those who are not a fan of lavender.

 

 

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Pine will remind most people of Chrismas, but its scent is excellent for our mental wellbeing (image by Alysia Georgiades)

Finally, pine (aka Christmas trees) is proven to be a relaxing scent, with its essential oil being found in most health stores. A study from Kyoto University in Japan found that stressed participants who were taken for a 15 minute walk in a forest everyday, were considerably more relaxed afterwards, compared to a group who were not taken for walks. Burning the oil above a candle can fill a room with its aroma, helping you unwind after a long day.

 

Scenes

 

The University of Illinois found that the more trees in a scene, the less stress a person feels. It’s arguably one of the easiest to visualise, with trees scattered all around London, 8 million to be exact, and was a popular response among Londoners, who all said they enjoy watching the branches sway in the breeze.

 

 

For many people, watching a crackling fire can help them wind down, and this no coincidence.

Dr. Christopher Lynn explained to the Telegraph that watching a fire lowered blood pressure and increased relaxation the longer people were exposed to it. When Jo was asked what she thought she explained, “as long as it’s a cold winter’s night and I have a good book it’s relaxing”, which sounds like a pretty perfect moment.

 

 

You’ve already listened to water, but watching it is also proven to lower stress and anxiety levels. Professor Michael Depledge and environmental psychologist Mat White found that showing images of landscapes containing a water feature alongside greenery resulted in positive responses in the participants that significantly lowered stress levels.

The ocean was a popular response from Londoners, who all enjoy staring at the waves moving back and forth. “I like the waves crashing against the shore” said one person, who finds the British seaside and pebbled beaches more calming than ones with sand.

 

So how do you feel?

After watching the videos, listening to the sounds and imagining the different scents, have you been able to visualise the perfect, peaceful environment?

If you have, try picturing it whenever you’re stressed, or need a moment to yourself, focusing on everything from what you can see and hear, to how it makes you feel. Let your muscles grow heavy and your breath soften, and leave all your worries behind.

 

Audio and video recorded by Alysia Georgiades

 

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