Aura CDT students adapt to learning under lockdown

24 April 2020

We asked our first cohort of Aura CDT students for feedback on how they were adapting to studies during lockdown and received this fabulous blog post from Hannah Marsden. Hannah is currently completing her PG Diploma studies and moving on to her PhD research into the use of textile waste to create advanced carbon materials for wind turbine blade manufacturing.


“For me, the biggest change during working from home has been moving back to my family house. With my sister finishing off her MEng, and both parents working from home, the house has become a tad chaotic! I haven’t struggled with the technical side of transitioning to home working as due to the remote access and VPN it has been seamless.

I have managed to keep working through the assignments that have been set, as well as continuing work on my literature review in preparation of starting my PhD in September. The biggest difficulty was that we had been set a presentation as a group task. We had to adapt due to social distancing guidelines, which led to recording a video presentation from all over the country! Communication from module leaders has been, on the whole, timely and clear with new assignments being explained over various communication approaches.

The support from the Aura CDT team, in particular Danielle, has been brilliant, we have a WhatsApp chat which she messages us on regularly to check we are ok. We are also having regular zoom calls with Stuart Mclelland, who runs our PG Diploma course.

Unfortunately, we have had to cancel a trip to Sheffield to carry out lab work and it looks like we won’t be returning to university for the third trimester. To keep sane whilst I have moved home, I have been taking advantage of being in the countryside and enjoying my daily walk. I am also part of the powerlifting team at university and have missed being able to use the gym, so I have created a home gym using 2×4, bags of compost, a ladder and two concrete blocks.

My home working space isn’t quite as organised as my university desk especially having a laptop stand made out of my old chemistry textbooks! (Not pictured are the regular cups of tea).”


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