Hillcroft LRC

Archive for April 2016

rottweiler-outline-800pxLast week was Depression Awareness Week. To help raise awareness we would like to share information and resources about emotional disorders and mental health.

In an article for The Guardian, Tim Lott describes depression as a curse. Tim recounts what it feels like to be depressed. Depressed people have more persuasive, bleak imagination and a deep-rooted sense of the meaninglessness of modern life.

There is a secret feeling most people enjoy that everything, at a fundamental level, is basically OK. Depressives suffer the withdrawal of that feeling, and it is frightening not only to experience but to witness.

The MIND charity has information online on depression. In addition, we have a number of books that look at depression, its symptoms, causes and treatments.

Freeman and Freeman’s ‘Know Your Mind’ (2009) draws on sound advice from across a great variety of authoritative sources on maintaining and improving psychological health.

They have also written ‘The stressed sex’ (2013) looking at why more women suffer from depression than men.

Johnston’s  ‘Living with a black dog’ (2008) uses a visual expression of depression as a black dog to give an insight into what depression and living with a depressed person feels like and what can be done to improve the situations.

There is a Dawsonera e-book available through the VLE eresouces, Brier’s ‘Brilliant Cognitive Behavioural Therapy’ that looks at boosting self-esteem and grappling with negative thinking.

It’s a changing field of study but the stigma against depressed people is persistent, it will take us all to lift the curse.

Shakespeare and theatreSaturday 23 April marks 400 years since the death of William Shakespeare. We’ve been adding new material to our reference section to compliment the bard covering not only Shakespeare himself but his plays, sonnets and the theatre.

To start off we have William Shakespeare: a Very Short Introduction by Stanley Wells which is one from our favourite Oxford University Press series. It’s a great introduction to Shakespeare’s life, work and the different types of plays he wrote from comedies to tragicomedies and tragedies. Next we have The Shakespeare Book edited by Satu Fox. This one is a Dorling Kindersley book listing each play with a plot summary, a timeline outlining the key parts of the plot and dramatis personae (list of characters) and an ‘in Context’ section exploring themes, origins of the material and the impact of the play. The Oxford Companion to Shakespeare by Michael Dobson and Stanley Wells is an alphabetical listing of the plays and characters, themes, plots and famous actors who played the roles. Lastly The Oxford Handbook of Shakespeare By Albert F Kinney is for the more serious student of Shakespeare and holds chapters dedicated to issues in Shakespearean studies from the versions of the text, to interpretation of the works, issues within them and transfer of the material from stage to film and television.

You cannot study Shakespeare without looking at theatre so we have Theatre: a Very Short Introduction by Marvin Carlson to help you put the history plays and others into context. In addition we have the Oxford Guide to Plays by Michael Patterson which acts like a dictionary listing the plays alphabetically. Each entry summarises the plot, gives you the playwright’s name, when it was written, when and where it was first performed, categorises them by genre and tells you when and where it is set. There is also an index of playwrights and characters. Last but not least the Oxford Dictionary of Plays by Michael Patterson lists plays from around the world alphabetically and organises them by country and historical period. Basically a larger version of Oxford Guide to Plays.

There is a special Saturday night on television  Shakespeare Live! From the RSC on 23 April at 2030 which will be available on the iPlayer after the broadcast. A host of stars perform snippets from Shakespeare. Find out more on the BBC Shakespeare Special page about other programmes celebrating the anniversary.

Interested in studying more about Shakespeare? How about joining one of these Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) I found on the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s website. If you don’t fancy that there’s a free exhibition of primary sources you can examine on Shakespeare Documented. Great for students and teachers!


i newspapersSadly The Independent newspaper is no longer available in print. It is still available online which means searching for relevant articles is easy. However, in the LRC alongside The Guardian we now also receive the newspaper. Why the i? The news is broken down into short sections at the beginning to provide an overview of today’s news. You can browse very quickly. It’s designed for readers with little time but who want more than a tweet or a free paper. Will there be print editions of newspapers much longer? Make use of them or lose them entirely.

Here’s a selection of articles that may be of use to your studies or you may be interested in:

  • ‘Genes of ‘lucky’ 13 could provide disease resistance.’ (12 April 2016 p. 9)
  • ‘Mental health treatment denied to quarter of young.’ (11 April 2016 p. 6)
  • ‘Say goodbye to your private life.’ (11 April 2016 p. 13)
  • ‘Love is the drug.’ (11 April 2016 p. 30-31)
  • ‘No way to raise children: UN reprimands Britain over its record on reducing child poverty.’ (14 April 2016 p. 5)
  • ‘What’s the matter with mindfulness?’ (13 April 2016 p.27)
  • ‘Generation left behind: students stranded after leaving school early.’ (8 April 2016 p.8)
  • ‘Tax havens: the root of inequality.’ (6 April 2016 p. 15)
  • ‘The doctor can see you right now.’ (4 April 2016 p.30-31)

Find all our recent newspapers on the top of the fireplace in the LRC by the Red Bin.



Jean Rhys and Charlotte Bronte Wide Sargasso Sea and Jane Eyre DVD book and audio CDThis week our Access to Higher Education Humanities and Social Sciences students have started reading Jean Rhys’s novel the Wide Sargasso Sea. One of the students was asking me if there are any online literary criticism notes to help with novel. There are two free online from Shmoop and Spark Notes. We have a paper copy of Carl Plasa’s Jean Rhys: Wide Sargasso Sea in the Learning Resources Centre for students to borrow too.

Many of our students also find it useful to watch a DVD version of novels and plays they study. We have the Wide Sargasso Sea directed by Brendan Maher which was originally broadcast on BBC television. In addition there is a recording of a BBC Radio 3 broadcast from the 17 January 2016 which you can listen to on BBC iPlayer called the Sunday Feature, Literary Pursuits, Jean Rhys: Wide Sargasso Sea which uncovers the story behind the novel.

Our students read Rhys’s novel in tandem with Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre. Take a look at our 24 February blog post for more links on Jane Eyre material to match. Plus as this year marks the bicentenary of Charlotte Brontë’s birth there is the BBC programme Being the Brontës which was broadcast over Easter which you can rewind on the BBC iPlayer.


iPod in handOur colleague Andrew Checkley E-Learning Manger at Croydon College has been developing a Moodle Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) course with his Learning Resources (LRC) team which he talked about at the March 16 London FE Moodle Roundtable event. The course is on academic writing. Find out more about it on their E-Learning blog post.

As well as using material from the LRC on the course Andrew found some useful research material on the State Library of Victoria’s website. The resource covers:


  • working out what question you are trying to answer
  • finding the information
  • choosing the resources you use
  • making and organising notes
  • presenting your material
  • reflecting on your work.

There’s also some handy material on writing essays too which covers:

  • identifying the essay question
  • using quotations
  • writing
  • editing.

Plus there are tips on study skills:

  • stress management
  • dealing with exams.

Last but not least at this time of the year many of our students are doing GCSE examinations in English and maths so this BBC Bitesize app available on Android and iOS will help you. The app has flashcards which will help you revise and covers numerous GCSE subjects.

Many of us have family, friends or neighbours who have type 2 diabetes, in fact there are nearly 300 million people worldwide with the condition. ThDiabetes equipmente treatment for type 2 diabetes is progressive from diet and exercise, to drug treatment (metformin) to insulin injections.

A recent article in the New Scientist revealed a group of South Korean scientists who are developing a wearable device made from a relatively new material called graphene which is very thin, flexible and comfortable next to the skin. It will monitor blood glucose in a patient’s sweat and if this is high, will deliver a dose of metformin via a set of microneedles to return blood glucose to normal.

This technology is in its infancy with testing on mice. But hopefully in the next 10 years or so, costs will fall and ways will become apparent to deliver the human adult doses of diabetic treatment drugs required.

For further information in the LRC about diabetes, look at:

AS & A Level Biology through diagrams (2009) by Pickering

Ross and Wilson Anatomy and Physiology in Health and Illness 10th edn. (2006) by Waugh and Grant

Oxford Concise Colour Medical Dictionary 6th edn (2015) by Martin (ed)



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