Eglė Written by
from Lithuania

2019/2020

MA 3D Computer Animation

At the beginning…..

The breakthrough of COVID-19 caught many off-guard. The sudden restrictions and changes to everyday life were unexpected. Whilst watching the fireworks in the sky and welcoming 2020 on the 1st of January, I did not expect such drastic changes that would reach us in a mere three months. The reality of isolation, stockpiling, furlough and country-level lockdowns has touched everyone. Since the closure of Bournemouth University, many students felt uneasy and anxious about the progression of their course, especially final year and MA students.

Access for all…..

To mitigate the potential damage to the learning process, Bournemouth University implemented an excellent solution to ensure students have a satisfactory learning experience outside of campus. Since BU utilizes the “AppsAnywhere” platform throughout the courses, students can use many applications and programs to continue with their work. It is also beneficial that students are given access to the “Office 365” package throughout their studies, so they can use crucial programs like “Microsoft Word” on their personal computers. Although such a variety of programs are appropriate for many, students from more technical courses require specific licensed software, which usually cannot be accessed off campus, even while using “AppsAnywhere”. Therefore, BU distributed keys and licenses for such programs like “Substance Painter” or “Nuke”, to use on personal devices. Furthermore, since not all students have powerful hardware that would run intense processes, BU distributed a VMware called “Horizon”, which allows students to connect to workstations on campus remotely. “Horizon” allows a student or staff member to remotely log onto a computer located on campus whilst using their personal devices. This requires only a stable internet connection and the specs of the computer used do not matter.

Working on my major project online…..

When the whole situation was unfolding in March at BU, I was especially anxious of the unknown, since the preparations for the Final Major Project for the MA 3D Computer Animation course were bound to start in April. I am part of a 3-person team that are set to create a short-animated film and, given the fact that campus is closed and I am no longer in the UK, not only hardware but communication can be a struggle. But that is expected when distance and the unknown is in the equation, so it is important to catch up with the new pace and move forward.

My team found balance quite quickly and we fell into the comfortable routine of having group calls numerous times per week and working, sometimes in silence and sometimes just rambling about “Animal Crossing” and discussing what is happening all over the world. Also, the lecturers provide constant support through online tutorial sessions and private emails. The most frustrating part is not having to see our course mates work and progress on campus and not being able to hang out with them in Bournemouth. This can be a gloomy perspective, but it is important to enjoy the small things in life, whether that be communicating with course mates through a computer or any other device.

Our silver lining….

Even though this period of time is a struggle for many, and we will face many challenges influenced by COVID-19 in the future, it is important to remind ourselves that living during such circumstances allows us to prosper – we gain and improve various abilities, such as a hardened work ethic, the ability to complete tasks with subpar hardware and maintaining friendships with colleagues over social media. Every cloud has a silver lining and I am sure that students, during these unprecedented times, will find the positive in their ability to prosper.