Penny Sparkes

Hi, I am reading Biology at Sussex University. I used the grant from the OW Trustees to upgrade my laptop. As I haven’t been on a field trip yet I thought I would describe how important a computer is to modern day University study. I remember my dad telling me that when he was at university the computer needed half a building to house it. These days of course we’ve all got our own; a necessity not a luxury.

The University has its own website which contains all the information one needs to access, such as the timetable, marked work, progress in the course and assessment deadlines. This makes it very easy for a student to know what is going on in terms of lectures, exams and other events and is a very efficient way to be able to access reams of information when you need it instead of having to store it all in your head or have tons of paperwork cluttering your bedroom – the floor is for clothes after all.

It also allows for efficient communication between students and staff so tutorials and other meetings can be arranged by email. Queries can be answered directly in writing which saves times on both parts and avoids accidentally interrupting the lecturer during their lunchbreak (potentially dangerous) or timing your visit perfectly with their absence. There is also a section of the website dedicated to your personal studies with a page for each course you are currently studying where the tutors post material such as assignments and reading. For example in my case as a Biology student, there is many a scientific paper for me to read. We also have a system installed in the lecture theatres which videos the lectures and posts them online- this is very useful for revision but also if you miss the lecture because you are ill, you can easily catch up. While there might appear to be a downside in that some people might use this as an excuse to have the odd cheeky lie-in, most students who take their studies seriously appear to still see the benefit in attending lectures in person.

Due to the importance of the internet for organization and communication at the university (and also equally importantly for social-networking, which is particularly useful in my case as I help run the Rock Society) it means that when you move off campus in Year 2 to live in town, your first question when choosing a house is likely to be- does it have the internet?

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