“When you enjoy something, the brain has an amazing way of retaining so much knowledge about it, which comes in very handy when you’re lacking motivation and have some major exams coming up,” she said.
“One thing I would warn against is completely cutting out distractions like Netflix or sports for the entirety of the exam period, but rather using them as a break and relaxation.
“After each exam, come home and watch an episode or go do an activity that requires little to no brain power so you can supply yourself a well-needed rest. Prioritise your own wellbeing.”
Hens said she felt it didn’t matter what she got in the HSC because the skills for life she developed throughout her HSC journey was what real-world employers look for, and it would provide many career opportunities.
“The plans you make yourself in Year 12 about your future career or life goals will most likely change as soon as you’re finished anyway,” she said. “I’ve changed my mind 1000 times since graduating; from uni to moving states and so on.
“I took a year off to work out what I really wanted to do. Now I’m studying to be a veterinary nurse at TAFE. I bought myself a horse [which was a childhood dream] and have had some irreplaceable experiences in various jobs that I’d never previously imagined myself doing.”
Ami Morrow, Teaching Quality Advisor, Science Faculty, Merewether High School
Working scientific skills are a vital component of the Biology syllabus. Key skills to practise include:
Many HSC exam questions will require you to apply your knowledge, understanding and skills to unfamiliar situations. Questions often provide stimulus material in the form of diagrams, flow charts, tables, graphs, scenarios or examples that you are not familiar with. Don’t panic! Take the time to pick apart the stimulus and think carefully about what information or conclusions you can draw from it.
For written questions with stimulus, rather than regurgitating the knowledge that you have on the topic, think about how you can apply what you know to the scenario being presented. Be sure to support your response with specific information or data from the stimulus material.
2. Support your answer where appropriate using:
Kathy Barbeler, head teacher science, Gosford High School
Know the meaning of the following terms and how to apply them to your investigations and procedures:
This answer clearly shows all steps in the calculation. The answers throughout this multi-step calculation have the correct units and a balanced chemical equation is provided, as per the question.
Millions of people around the world take drugs known as statins, which have been shown to reduce the incidence of heart attacks and strokes in vulnerable patients. However, up to 20 per cent of people stop taking statins due to side effects such as muscle aches, fatigue, feeling sick and joint pain.
A exact study at a public hospital focused on 60 patients who had all stopped taking statins in the past due to severe side effects. Patients took statin tablets for four months, placebo tablets for four months and no tablets for four months.
Every day for the year the patients scored, from zero to 100, how bad their symptoms were. The results are shown.
Evaluate this study and its results.
The results seem to suggest the statin tablets have little effect in increasing symptoms compared to placebo tablets, and only slightly more than no tablets.
Taking statin results in a score of 16.3, whereas placebo tablets resulted in 15.4. These are very similar and so potentially suggest the statin tablets have no real impact on the symptoms. However, the ‘no tablets’ only scored 8.0, which suggests the tablets/placebo do have a negative effect on the symptoms or at least the idea of taking them do, when compared to past experience.
However, this study is largely invalid. It uses a trial size of only 60 people (all likely from similar location of near the hospital), which means the results could be largely swayed by outliers. Ideally thousands of people should participate in epidemiological studies.
Also, the study was only over a very short period of four months, so you cannot draw conclusive results from it as the effect could be more long-term.
Finally, the method of data collection (patients self-scoring symptoms) is very invalid as every person feels and rates symptoms differently, so that cannot accurately provide data about the effects of each treatment. Therefore, the study is very invalid and so the results drawn from it are not representative of the whole population.
The response interprets the data supplied in the table to evaluate the validity of the design of this study of statins and associated side effects. The judgment quite correctly challenges the validity of this study by demonstrating an understanding of the principles behind a valid scientific study.
Bohr, de Broglie and Schrödinger each proposed a model for the structure of the atom.
How does the nature of the electron proposed in each of the three models differ?
Bohr: planetary model proposed electrons orbiting a dense nucleus in fixed shells, stationary states. He did not explain why they orbited like this, but on observing hydrogen atoms, found electrons dropping from a higher orbit to a lower orbit emitted a photon with E = hf, utilising Planck’s quantisation of energy. Similarly, when they moved to higher shells, they absorb a photon. In Bohr’s model, the electron was a particle.
de Broglie: standing wave orbitals used to explain why electrons only orbited in Bohr’s stationary states. He also combined classical physics and quantum mechanics by linking momentum and waves with his wave equation, λ = h/mv. He showed the wave nature of electrons in orbit while still having momentum like a particle.
Schrodinger: suggested electron cloud orbitals in the shape of dumbbells which fully embraced the quantum mechanical properties of electrons. Upon measuring their velocity or position, one can only measure one accurately. Thus, his wave equation gave insight into the probabilities of where an electron was likely to be.
Bohr → de Broglie → Schrodinger’s atomic models suggested an increasing quantum nature to the electron.
This response is clearly structured and provides a detailed description of the electron in each model. The response also shows how the nature of the proposed electron differs in each model. The use of simple diagrams complements the answer.
Exam workbooks from the 2020 HSC, which include more examples from top-scoring students, are available from the NESA Shop.
Teachers College, Columbia University is the largest graduate school of education in the United States, spearheading programs in health, education, leadership, and psychology. Our accredited Master of Science (MS) Program in Community Health Education, within the Department of Health and Behavior Studies, brings together the interdisciplinary expertise of our faculty—spanning research and practice in public health, clinical psychology, epidemiology, health policy, and school health. Our rigorous curriculum prepares students for leadership in public health education and community health education. Graduates are equipped to address the needs of the most vulnerable populations, contemporary health care challenges, public health crises and epidemics, and disparities in health. The rich internship and community-based experiences students engage in via their fieldwork directly complement their coursework. Our diverse student body brings a breadth of experience to their coursework, while enjoying the option of participating in not only in-person classes, but also a broad selection of online classes.
Our process of receiving accreditation from the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) involved our submitting a Final Self-Study Report in February 2017—which you can download here
After our CEPH site visit in March 2017, we responded to concerns with an August 2017 Response to Site Visitors Report—which you can download here.
CEPH approved our program for accreditation at its October 2017 meeting, and sent us their Final report (Review for Accreditation of the Public Health Program at Teachers College, Columbia University)—which you can download here.
In the year 2022, our program is undergoing an accreditation review by CEPH.
The MS Program honors their Outstanding MS Graduates each May at their end of year Annual Celebration (pre-pandemic—will resume post-pandemic). The photographs and bio of the Outstanding MS Graduates appear along the program’s Hall of Fame located in the program’s main building location.
As shown in the photographs above, from left to right, Prof. Barbara Wallace honored Choumika Simonis for 2015; Prof. John Allegrante honored Stephane Labossiere for 2016; Prof. Sonali Rajan honored Haley Nelson for 2016—with Wallace at center, as the Program Director who led the CEPH accreditation process.
The program of study leading to the Master of Science (M.S.) in Health Education is a 42 point (aka credit) degree, two-year program designed for those who wish to develop the skills necessary to plan and implement health education programs for a variety of populations and in a range of practice settings, as well as in-depth preparation in an area of specialization or in one of the behavioral and social sciences underlying the practice of health education. Thus, the program of study enables students to prepare, through the selection of courses in required areas and through elective course work, for professional practice as a health education specialist in community, hospital, school or workplace settings. The M.S. degree may serve as an entry-level professional credential for a career in health education or may serve to prepare qualified students to go on for more advanced professional study in health education or other health-related fields. Completion of the degree program makes graduates eligible to qualify for certification as a Certified Health Education Specialist through the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc
I. MAJOR - PUBLIC HEALTH CORE KNOWLEDGE [21 Points]
1. HBSS4100 Behavioral and Social Science Foundations of Health Education (3)
- Offered Fall In-person and Online
2. HBSS4102 Principles of Epidemiology in Health Promotion (3)
- Offered Fall and Summer Session (B) Online
3. HBSS4118 Principles of Health-Related Behavioral & Social Change:Initiation to
Maintenance to Maintenance (3)
- Offered Fall Online/In-Person & Summer Session (A-B) Online
4. HBSS4160 Introduction to Biostatistics for Community Health Educators (3)
- Offered Fall Online/In-Person
5. HBSS4161 Environmental Health (3)
- Offered Spring Online/In-Person
6. HBSS 4112 Social Policy and Prevention (3)
- Offered Spring Online/Fall In-Person
7. HBSS6100 Program Evaluation (3)
- Offered Spring & Summer A
II. COMMUNITY HEALTH CORE KNOWLEDGE [9 Points]
8. HBSS4114 Competency with Multicultural Populations: Research & Practice (3)
- Offered Spring Online/In-Person & Summer Session (A-B) Online
9. HBSS5111 Planning Health Education Programs (3)
- Offered Fall Online, Spring Online
10. HBSS5112 Social Marketing and Health Communications (3)
- Offered Fall Online/In-Person, and Summer Session (A) Online/In-Person
III. BROAD AND BASIC AREAS OF PROFESSIONAL SCHOLARSHIP
AND PRACTICE [6 Points]
11. Any Non-HBSS Course Out of Department/Program (3)
12. Any Non-HBSS Course Out of Department/Program (3)
- Select 2 NON-HBSS courses or 2 out-of-department courses for 3 points each.
- Several Non-HBSS courses are offered in the Fall, Spring, & Summer Online/In Person.
IV. ELECTIVE COURSE [3 Points]
13. HBSS Elective (3)
- Select 1 course for 3 points from among the options listed in the M.S. Program of Study Guide.
- Offered Spring Online/Fall In-Person
- Several HBSS courses that satisfy this requirement are offered in the Fall, Spring, & Summer Online/In-Person.
V. PRACTICAL SKILLS (FIELDWORK) [3 Points]
14. HBSS5410 Practicum in Health Education (3)
- Offered Fall Online/In-Person (Fieldwork placement, internship)
VI. CULMINATING PROJECT FOR RESEARCH, SCHOLARSHIP AND
INQUIRY [0 Points]
15. NOT A COURSE Culminating Project for Research, Scholarship and Inquiry (0)
- This involves an opportunity for students to work closely with their advisor and to integrate what they have learned throughout the program (e.g. major research paper; community health education curriculum; design a health promotion, disease prevention, or health education program; research project; grant application; or, an approved alternative).
VII. CAPSTONE PORTFOLIO [0 Points]
16. NOT A COURSE Submission of Capstone Portfolio as a requirement for
- As the very last requirement for the 42 point MS Program in Community Health Education, students must compile and submit a Capstone Portfolio (0 points) in order to be eligible for graduation. Students are to create a digital compilation of the following materials: Capstone Portfolio Introduction (1-2 pages) that provides an overview of the materials in the portfolio, being placed at the beginning of their digital portfolio; all of the student's Course Competency Evaluation Projects associated with every HBSS course they have taken during their 42 point degree program-'"including their out-of-program coursework's final/major projects; all of the student's Course Competency Evaluation Project Scoring Rubrics completed by faculty to evaluate/grade each of their Course Competency Evaluation Projects; a copy of their Culminating Project for Research Scholarship and Inquiry; a copy of their Advisor's Evaluation of the Culminating Project for Research Scholarship and Inquiry; and, finally, a Capstone Portfolio Conclusion (3-4 pages) that summarizes and synthesizes their materials, including an analysis of what they feel they have personally accomplished through their degree studies. Finally, students are to include a Resume updated to the month before graduation. Students should place all materials in sequential order from the first to last semester. It is recommended that students work closely with their advisor to ensure that they have followed all of the above instructions.
Minimum Required Total = 42 Points
Register By: August 20 Classes Start: August 22
Meet the growing demand for project leaders and couple your MBA with a project management concentration with the Master of Business Administration in Project Management from Southern New Hampshire University. Learn what it takes to plan, monitor, measure and adapt a project from start to finish, and earn an MBA that fits right into your life.
A Project Manager's job is to keep projects and people on track, and the field of project management is growing as more companies move to project team-based business models. Our MBA is all about understanding and optimizing the functions of a business. The project management MBA builds a strong foundation of management skills, and you can apply these skills to leadership roles across a variety of industries, including construction, healthcare, IT development, manufacturing and more.
Students who take QSO-645: Project Management for Project Management Professional (PMP)® Certification course as part of their concentration can satisfy the educational requirement of the PMP exam. This industry-recognized credential demonstrates proven project management skills and could help boost career growth and earning potential.
Learn how to:
SNHU’s MBA in Project Management is one of the most affordable MBAs in the nation and can be completed in just over a year.
With an MBA in Project Management online from SNHU, you can develop the skills and experience you need to capitalize on the growing demand for qualified project managers.
PMI® expects project management jobs to grow by more than 31% through 2027, creating a total of 22 million new project management jobs.1 Earning potential for project management workers is also strong – particularly for workers with the PMP certification. A 2020 PMI survey found that PMP-certified workers earned 22% more than those without certification.2
The project management MBA offers a unique mix of project management skills and broad-based business knowledge that can help you stand out in this growing field.
“This degree will not only prepare you to carry a project management certification but it provides you the business acumen to put those project skills to work with any industry and any project model environment,” said Gina Cravedi '18, SNHU’s director of marketing operations, an MBA graduate and certified Project Management Professional (PMP).
Project managers can work in a variety of industries, including:
Throughout these fields, project managers play an important role in the process of moving projects, organizations and entire industries forward. Supply chain management, for example, relies on the expertise of project managers to run its processes smoothly and maintain availability of essential goods and services.
A project management MBA can teach you the in-demand skills needed to succeed in one of these critical project management jobs:
Job growth and earning potential for project management careers will vary depending on the career you pursue with your project management MBA.
Construction managers, for example, earned a median salary of $95,260 in May 2019. Jobs for construction managers are projected to grow 8% through 2029. General and operations management jobs are projected to grow 6% through 2029. The median annual wage for these positions was reportedly $100,780 in 2019.3
Your project management MBA can also help you prepare for a career as an operations research analyst, using data to drive better business decisions. Jobs in this field are projected to grow 25% through 2029 with a reported median salary of $84,810 in 2019.3
Not sure you want to work as a project manager? The skills gained in a project management MBA can help you develop key leadership and career skills that enhance any business management position.
Earning an MBA in Project Management gave Dara Edge '15 new tools to support her career in social media. As a social media community manager for SNHU, Edge manages engagement on the university’s social media channels and works with teams from across the organization to analyze community engagement data.
Edge said her MBA program helped develop the strong critical analysis and communication skills needed for this role.
“You have the ability to use the degree in so many different ways,” said Edge. “Whether you want to work in the project management field, work in management, or if you want to learn how to manage projects in general. You’ll always be able to use the skills and knowledge that you’ll learn in the program.”
The MBA in Project Management online combines theory with practical application. You can graduate with a set of tools that complement today's tech-intensive workplace. In the updated curriculum, you'll engage in scenario-base learning opportunities, allowing you to complete activities and individually graded group work based on solving real-world business problems. This type of learning offers hands-on learning experience in your online classroom that mimics real-world work settings and challenges.
Taught by professors with many years of business experience, your courses will focus on how to lead a project from start to finish – smoothly. You’ll learn how to define the scope of a project, develop a project timeline, and identify costs and resources.
Project management learning will be supported by the MBA core curriculum, which focuses on all aspects of business leadership, including:
Your project management degree courses will focus on the tools, processes and strategies used to successfully hit the goals of any big project.
You’ll learn how factors like scope, time, cost, quality, risk, resources and communication impact a project. You can apply this learning to real-world case studies to gain key decision-making experience. And you’ll get hands-on practice using manual and technology-based tools to start, plan and control projects.
If you’re interested in seeking the PMP certification, you have the option to take QSO-645: Project Management for PMP Certification as part of your MBA program. In this course, you'll explore the professional and social responsibilities of project management. You can also get a deeper understanding of the tools and techniques you can use to plan and manage projects.
This course satisfies the education requirement of 35 hours needed to take the PMP exam. It does not guarantee certification or passage of the certification exam, but does get you closer to earning this key credential. You must meet all other PMP requirements, including work experience hours, in order to sit for the exam.
No matter what your goals are, an MBA in Project Management offers key leadership and career skills you can use to be successful as a project manager or business leader. These skills include:
Students with non-business academic backgrounds may be required to take foundation courses. As an add-on to your degree with minimal additional courses required, MBA students can also pursue a graduate certificate beyond the standard degree program, including a project management graduate certificate. This allows you to list another significant credential on your resume with minimal additional coursework.
Don't have a business background? No problem. Our MBA is accessible to everyone. Interested students must have a conferred undergraduate degree for acceptance, but it can be in any field. Those without an undergraduate degree in business or a related field may be asked to complete up to 2 foundation courses to get started. These foundations cover essential business skill sets and can be used to satisfy elective requirements for the general-track MBA. With foundations, the maximum length of your online MBA would be 36 credits.
Attend full time or part time. Students in the MBA have the option to enroll full time (at 2 classes per term) or part time (with 1 class per term). Full-time students should be able to complete the program in about 1 year, while part-time students could finish in about 2 years. Our SNHU students are busy, often juggling jobs, family and other obligations, so you may want to work with your academic advisor to identify the course plan that works for you. The good news is, you can switch from full time to part time and back again as often as you want.
In accordance with SNHU’s relationship with the Project Management Institute (PMI) and the ability to offer Project Management Professional (PMP)® exam content, SNHU instructors completed the PMI®’s Authorized Training Partner Train the Trainer – PMP® exam Prep Program. This program equips SNHU faculty with the authority to deliver PMP® exam prep and training content to PMI’s quality standards for the revised exam, which went into effect in January 2021. This designation is essential to allowing SNHU to offer PMP® preparatory content though QSO-645: Project Management for PMP Certification, which also offers students the 35 hours of project management education required to sit for the exam. Students who choose to pursue their PMP® certification may find that this industry-recognized credential offers proven project management skills and could help boost career growth and earning potential.
Tuition rates for SNHU's online degree programs are among the lowest in the nation. We offer a 25% tuition discount for U.S. service members, both full and part time, and the spouses of those on active duty.
|Online Graduate Programs||Per Course||Per Credit Hour||Annual Cost for 15 credits|
(U.S. service members, both full and part time, and the spouses of those on active duty)*
Tuition rates are subject to change and are reviewed annually.
*Note: students receiving this rate are not eligible for additional discounts.
$150 Graduation Fee, Course Materials ($ varies by course)
SNHU has provided additional information for programs that educationally prepare students for professional licensure or certification. Learn more about what that means for your program on our licensure and certification disclosure page.
The Project Management Professional (PMP) is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.
The PMI Authorized Training Partner seal is a mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.
The graduate program in cybersecurity from Drexel Engineering prepares professionals for applying deepened technical skillsets that will further their career.
A cybersecurity master of science degree educates professionals to take on the rapid changes in the field of computer and digital security that are critical to the functions of modern society. Those with backgrounds in computer engineering, computer science, electrical engineering and related areas of expertise receive deep technical training that delivers the ability to understand, adapt and develop new techniques in order to confront emerging threats in information technology security, cybersecurity, hardware security and related areas of concern. As a student, you will gain knowledge of theoretical foundations in computer networking and security and find a focus to become a specialist in your chosen technical area.
A graduate program in cybersecurity should provide an understanding of the forces governing industry, a global viewpoint, and the entrepreneurial, teambuilding and managerial abilities needed to advance careers in industry and research or as preparation for entry into a PhD program in computer engineering or related fields.
The MS in Cybersecurity offers flexibility to customize your plan of study, or students can elect to concentrate in these areas by following the study tracks:
The master’s degree program in cybersecurity utilizes computer science and engineering interdisciplinary coursework to deepen knowledge of the fundamentals through rigorous analysis and exploration. You will pinpoint security vulnerabilities, identify attacks and design methods for protecting data and computer systems. As a graduate you will be prepared to take on the demands of this continuously changing industry or go on to study in a doctoral program.
The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) delivers this comprehensive program collaboratively with Drexel’s College of Computing and Informatics. You will emerge as a well-rounded technical professional that understands that solutions are individual to the project or threat at-hand. At Drexel you are encouraged to be innovative and imaginative in identifying the problem, analyzing and then embarking on the quest for a solution. The focus of our programs is to equip you with the tools for finding sustainable and achievable outcomes to solve for society’s biggest challenges while making them relevant to your career goals.
Drexel places a high value on industry connections and experience at every level. Teaching faculty in your program are experts with industry experience or are at the forefront of research and teaching.
The city of Philadelphia is our campus – a diverse urban environment with a variety of social, cultural and learning opportunities that will enrich your educational experience. Philadelphia is also a draw for talented instructors and researchers, meaning you will engage with some of the best minds in engineering and other disciplines. Learn more.
Graduate co-op is an optional three or six-month work experience woven into academic studies for full-time master’s students. Drexel University co-op provides the opportunity to apply theory learned in class to a work experience before graduating. The insights help to direct the vision you have for your career and provide context for the remainder of your learning. You will take advantage of resources from the Steinbright Career Development Center, including programming that enhances your professionalism and resume writing and provides resources for your job search.
For more information, visit the Steinbright Career Development Center.
|Information Security (INFO)||6 credits|
|Security Engineering (SE)||3 credits|
|Cybersecurity Track Electives||27 credits|
|Non-Tech elective courses||9 credits|
The master’s in cybersecurity requires a total of 45 credits; 9 credits in core courses (INFO, SE); 27 credits of track electives in the departments of Computer Science, Computing and Security Technology, and Electrical and Computer Engineering; and the remaining 9 credits in electives from these departments and/or the Department of Mathematics.
Although not required, students interested in research are encouraged to complete a master’s thesis as part of their study. Graduate advisors are available to guide your course selection and scheduling of core and elective courses.
Dual graduate degrees are possible. Popular programs to combine with the MS in Cybersecurity is the MS in Electrical Engineering, MS in Computer Engineering, MS in Machine Learning Engineering or MS in Engineering Management.
Visit the Drexel Catalog for more information and trial study plans for areas of specialization or learn more about our admissions requirements.
While not a requirement, all students in the master’s in cybersecurity program are welcome to engage in research as part of their degree or as extra-curricular participation. Full-time master’s degree candidates or those interested in pursuing a PhD are encouraged to pursue a master’s thesis and based on some aspect of faculty research.
Specific to the MS in Cybersecurity program, students have the option to take part in research rotations that provides insight into sub-disciplines before making a selection for a project or thesis topic. Inspired by medical clinical rotations, the experience cuts across conventional departmental barriers and research groups. Students participate in the research activities from two labs for three credits of research credits. Read more about your options for graduate student-initiated courses and discuss with your graduate advisor if interested.
Current research in the ECE Department is conducted by our world-renowned faculty, funded by the U.S. Department of Defense, Transportation, Health and Human Services, Commerce and Homeland Security as well as with many notable industry partners.
Cybersecurity research covers areas such as:
Visit research areas for more about other research activity at the College of Engineering.
Cybersecurity graduate programs prepare you for a career path that could include continuing your education in a PhD program or pursuing advanced technical, research or management positions in industries such as defense, telecommunications, finance, information technology, utilities, systems design, automation or robotics and many others.
Overall, employees with graduate degrees can earn up to 28 percent more than bachelor’s degree holders over the course of their career. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the outlook for information security jobs is growing at a rate of 31%, which is significantly higher than average for all occupations. Workers in this field are also among the highest earners of all engineering disciplines. They further report a wage premium of 18 percent for workers with a master’s degree in this field.
Apply Now Graduate Admissions Department Page
Project Mara is one of the most mysterious upcoming Xbox Series X games. In development at Ninja Theory – the studio responsible for Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice, DMC: Devil May Cry, and Heavenly Sword – Project: Mara remains shrouded in mystery, although we have been able to pick apart a few details about this new experimental psychological horror experience.
Ninja Theory is working on this new game alongside Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2, so it's likely to be a little while before we see more of Project Mara. But if you keep practicing you'll find the first teaser trailer, development updates, story details, and insight into the impressive tech behind this new-gen experiment. So let's get into it, here's everything we know so far about Project Mara for Xbox Series X.
Project Mara is an in-development experimental game from Ninja Theory with a focus on recreating the terror of mental health issues and it will be “based on real lived experience accounts and in-depth research.” You may know Ninja Theory from their work on games like DMC: Devil May Cry, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice and Bleeding Edge.
After the success of Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, the studio revealed a research and development effort known as The Insight Project (opens in new tab), which is a collaboration between Ninja Theory and a series of experts, psychiatrists, and professors. The project aims to create “self-contained, individualized and absorbing game experiences” to help people control things like fear and anxiety. Ninja Theory wants to “deliver a mainstream solution to help treat mental suffering and encourage mental well being.” An ambitious endeavour to say the least, and whilst it hasn’t been confirmed, it’s fair to say Project Mara is something of an offshoot of this research push.
The focus appears to be recreating “the horrors of the mind as accurately and realistically as possible” to usher in some kind of new approach to storytelling in games. Let’s just hope it's respectful of mental health issues and those suffering from them whilst trying to shine a necessary spotlight on something stigmatized. Gamifying something like anxiety or fear is ambitious, but also cause for concern - it has to be done with an as of yet unseen level of tact.
The game was revealed in January of this year following the reveal of Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 at The Game Awards 2019. Given that Hellblade II is yet to receive a release date, it’s safe to say that Project Mara’s launch window is even more out of the way. Considering that the studio was acquired by Xbox Game Studios in 2018, We can readily assume that the game will come to Microsoft’s flagship platforms whenever it’s ready, which means Xbox Series X and PC for the time being.
Upon its reveal, the game received a terrifying teaser trailer which appears to feature award-winning Hellblade actor Melina Juergens in the titular role as Mara. The teaser shows off some impeccably rendered slices of what looks like a research facility, soundtracked by heavy breathing and close-ups of documents detailing a study of Mara’s brain function and mental health progress. The trailer tagline is “I can't tell what’s real anymore” and at the end of the trailer, we can see Mara turn to face some sort of antagonistic force in the darkness.
It’s very hard to grasp what the premise of the game is from this disorienting trailer, but it seems to follow a mental health patient struggling with her illness. The game presents the facility in a somewhat antagonistic way but it’s yet to be revealed whether this is the reality of the situation or not.
Alongside the teaser trailer, Ninja Theory released a development diary for players to follow the progress of their upcoming projects. They’re focusing on small-scope development similar to their approach with Hellblade, which was made by a small team of 20 developers. This is what they’re calling the Dreadnought approach, where the company is splitting into a set of small teams to work on their upcoming titles, each even combined not totalling the scale of a typical AAA development project. This is so that they can take more creative risks and drill into their ideas.
Co-founder Tameem Antoniades talks a little bit about The Insight Project, which seeks to use the environmental control of game design and adapt it into a push towards mental wellbeing for players by allowing users to engage with and overcome their fears. There are a couple of short scenes where we see clips from projects tied to this, including a person in a rowboat with a heart monitor, somebody running on a treadmill whilst being tracked and a VR project where the player interacts with an avatar. Ninja Theory want to explore the “new control interfaces and the psychology of play,” which has much to do with the forthcoming Project Mara.
Antoniades notes that the game has only one character (Mara, probably) and one location (what looks to be a mental health facility) and if successful, the team plan to expand upon this new medium for storytelling in games.
Project Mara remains one of the most anticipated new games of 2022 and beyond from Xbox Game Studios, and we hope to learn more information on it soon.
Small in size and with distinctive, rounded dorsal fin, Māui dolphins are one of the rarest and most threatened dolphins in the sea, with a known population of just 54. Decades of fishing practices, such as gillnetting off the west coast of New Zealand in the South Pacific have pushed this sub-species to near extinction.
Now scientists and conservationists are using a combination of drones, AI and cloud technologies to learn more about these rare marine mammals. They say the solution can also be applied to study other species fighting for survival in the world’s oceans.
The effort is part of a growing trend toward using AI and other technologies to more effectively collect and analyze data for environmental conservation. For example, Microsoft AI for Earth’s partner, Conservation Metrics, combines machine learning, remote sensing and scientific expertise to increase the scale and effectiveness of wildlife surveys. NatureServe, another partner organization, leverages Esri ArcGIS tools and Microsoft cloud computing to generate high-resolution habitat maps for imperiled species.
The scientists and conservationists with the not-for-profit group MAUI63 are using AI and other tools to support the conservation of the Māui dolphins, named after the Polynesian demigod, Māui.
Māui dolphins play an important part of the ecological and spiritual fabric of Aotearoa — the Māori name for New Zealand. They inhabit the waters off the west coast of the country’s North Island — also known as Te Ika-a-Māui, which translates to “the Fish of Māui.”
Weighing 50 kilograms and measuring up to 1.7 meters when fully grown, Māui dolphins are one of the smallest members of the marine dolphin family and among the most elusive. They have white, grey and black markings and black rounded dorsal fins. Unlike human facial features, the markings don’t vary between animals, meaning individuals can’t be identified with the naked eye. Conventional ways of monitoring and studying these fast-moving animals at sea have proved problematic and costly. Researchers admit relatively little is known about their behavior, particularly in winter when weather conditions deteriorate.
Now, MAUI63 believes it has a solution: an AI-powered drone that can efficiently find, track and identify dolphins. The aim of their work, according to co-founder and marine biologist, Professor Rochelle Constantine, is to “give certainty to our uncertainty.”
“Currently everything we know about them is from summer. We know virtually nothing about them in winter,” she says.
Constantine, together with technology and innovation specialist Tane van der Boon and drone enthusiast Willy Wang, formed MAUI63 in 2018. At the time, the Māui dolphin population was estimated at 63 individuals. That figure has since dropped to 54.
Over drinks at a pub, Van der Boon, who is the group’s CEO, and Wang came up with the idea of leveraging drones, machine learning and cloud computing to study the dolphins. “I was getting interested in computer learning — I really saw how teaching computers to see is quite an amazing thing. All the things that we could start to solve and do really intrigued me,” he says.
The Māui dolphins’ rounded fins differ from the more pointed-shaped fins of other dolphins. That meant existing computer vision models were not fit for identifying Māui dolphins. So, van der Boon spent “a couple of months of nights and weekends” teaching himself how to build a model. He then painstakingly tagged Māui dolphin images from internet footage to train it to identify them.
It was the first challenge of many. Four years of development, testing and fundraising followed. The team also had to gain specialist qualifications to fly their 4.5 meter-wingspan drone out to sea. They spotted their first Māui dolphins earlier this year.
“It was pretty exciting. We were sitting in the van, the drone was 16 kilometers down the coast, and we could see the AI detecting dolphins as we were doing circles around them,” van der Boon says.
Development has been helped along by funding under New Zealand’s Cloud and AI Country plan, which includes funding for projects with sustainable societal impact, as well as support from Microsoft Philanthropies ANZ. The solution combines an 8K ultra high-definition still camera and a full HD gimbal camera with an object detection model for spotting dolphins, and an open-source algorithm originally developed for facial recognition. Hosted on Microsoft Azure, it gathers data that will be used to identify individual animals by the shape and size of their dorsal fins and any scratches and marks on them.
MAUI63 is also developing an app called Sea Spotter, funded by Microsoft, which uses Azure Functions to allow people to upload photos of Māui sightings and use an AI algorithm to learn which individual they saw. Being able to pinpoint the Māui dolphin’s habitat is crucial for understanding how to protect them against threats, according to the conservationists.
Constantine says the risk of Māui dolphins being caught as bycatch in the nets of fishing boats is now “extremely low” thanks to a marine sanctuary that was put in place around their known habitat in 2008 and expanded in 2020. Nonetheless, they may stray outside these protected areas. That is why MAUI63 is working on an integration project with fishing companies to ultimately notify their crews of sightings made by the drone in real time.
Another threat is toxoplasmosis, a disease caused by a parasite that lives in cat feces. It enters the marine food chain through runoff from the land, causing stillbirths and death in marine mammals. “If you understand where dolphins are on a regular basis, you can start to look at the areas where toxoplasmosis might be entering the water and maybe something can be done about that,” says van der Boon.
MAUI63’s aim is to provide scientifically robust information to conservation decision-makers. “We’re just trying to collect the data and make it available to anyone who needs it. We’re not here to make decisions on how they should or shouldn’t be protected. That’s key to us because everyone has quite different views on it,” says van der Boon. At this stage, he says, it is far from certain that MAUI63’s work will help prevent extinction, but what everyone can agree on is that it is worth trying.
Māui dolphins hold a special significance for many indigenous Māori — they are considered to be kaitiaki (guardians) that helped guide the waka (canoes) of their ancestors when they first came to Aotearoa hundreds of years ago.
Environmental scientist Dr. Aroha Spinks says protecting them is essential to increasing the mauri, or life force, of the environment. “From a Māori point of view — which is also backed up by science — the health of the environment affects the health and wellbeing of the people,” she says.
MAUI63 plans to make its learnings and technology available to people working with other marine species, such as a potential project in Antarctica with the European Union Environmental Council. Constantine hopes the high-tech approach will be as game changing for other researchers as it has been for her. “It makes such a huge difference to my world and the conversations I can have, and the information we can supply to governments and the public about how to make conservation decisions that really matter.”
Top image: MAUI63 uses a combination of drones, AI and cloud technologies to learn more about Maui dolphins. Video courtesy of MAUI63.
The sleepy streets of a small town in the south of Portugal seem an unlikely place for investigations into the way great European paintings were created. Yet patient research by a passionate and curious weaver, working from a modest studio in one of Odemira’s whitewashed lanes, is yielding important insights into the work of Spanish and Italian masters.
With help from conservators at the world’s top collections, Helena Loermans has studied a neglected aspect of painting in the 16th and 17th centuries. Underneath the brushstrokes, and largely hidden by them, are intricate linen canvases which are works of art in themselves and required enormous skill to weave. Ms Loermans uses digital x-ray images of the paintings to work out the “weave draft” (ie, the precise instructions) for the creation of the underlying canvas, and then sets about recreating the same dazzling mixture of lozenges, diamonds and floating selvedge on her own loom. In the process, she spots unexpected differences and similarities between the canvases used by various painters, or in discrete phases of a single artist’s life, and gains fresh clues about painters’ creative trajectories.
So far she has focused on two Italian masters, Titian and Caravaggio, and on Diego Velázquez of Spain (including his painting “The Education of the Virgin”, pictured). Above all, she has studied the intriguing figure of El Greco, who was born in Crete in 1541, trained in Venice and Rome, and flourished in Spain until his death in 1614. At least 250 extant works by Spanish and Italian masters from that period were produced on ornate canvases; to date Ms Loermans has worked out weave drafts for 30 of them and physically reproduced nine. Her aim is to create a database of patterns that will be available to researchers.
As a craft weaver who migrated to Portugal from her native Netherlands, Ms Loermans’s career took a dramatic turn when a curator from the Prado museum in Madrid visited her studio in 2015. It was this curator who mentioned that El Greco had used elaborate canvases. Ms Loermans then discovered that a weave draft had survived for one of El Greco’s best-known paintings, “The Burial of the Count of Orgaz”, and she set about reproducing the pattern. But this scrap of written evidence turned out to be almost unique: with every subsequent painting she has had to work out the draft from x-ray imagery.
In his Spanish phase, El Greco’s canvases were similar but not identical to those he favoured in Rome. Comparing two works by El Greco in middle life, Ms Loermans found they had the same warp—and may have come from the same loom—but different cross-threads, or weft. In the 1580s he and another Spanish painter, Alonso Sánchez Coello, were using identical canvases. In a well-known work towards the end of his life, “View and Plan of Toledo”, El Greco mysteriously reverts to a kind of canvas he had favoured 40 years earlier. For El Greco scholars, these titbits of information may open new lines of research.
According to Cleo Nisse, a doctoral student at Columbia University, there are several theories as to why painters used such sophisticated canvases. One is that beautiful underlying patterns created a more striking visual effect, albeit subtly; another is that complex canvases were more robust than plain ones, as some modern artists will attest. A third reason is that patrons insisted that canvases look seamless, as a visible seam was considered ugly, and detailed patterns were a way of ensuring that. A fourth theory is that artists simply reached for whatever was available, including second-hand tablecloths or altar cloths (although Ms Nisse considers that unlikely). And as is noted by Rocío Bruquetas Galán, a Madrid-based conservator, artists in the era of El Greco probably cherished the ideal of “hidden beauty”, or beauty visible only to God.
Ms Loermans’s work fills a gap in art-history research. Other forms of physical investigation—scrutinising pigments or dating wooden frames—have been diligently pursued, but the study of canvases has lagged behind. To correct this, the Getty Foundation, an American art institution, launched a drive in 2018 to advance and share knowledge about canvases. In late 2019 Getty helped organise a gathering of around 400 experts at Yale University, where Ms Loermans gave a well-received presentation and established many conservator contacts who then supplied her with digital data through two years of intermittent lockdowns.
One of her work’s keenest supporters is Adam Lowe of the Factum Foundation, which helped invent a pioneering 3d scanner that can scrutinise the brushwork, relief and pigments of a work of art, enabling its reproduction with virtually perfect accuracy. As it happens, both he and Ms Loermans are engaged in probing some of the mysteries posed by El Greco’s oeuvre. “He is penetrating the surface,” she says. “I am looking at the other side.”
Ms Loermans’s approach is by comparison low-tech—though not quite as low-tech as it initially appears. She uses a computer to guide her hand loom, but she could, if necessary, produce her patterns without its help, moving dexterously with hands and feet. That gives her an unusual empathy with the weavers of the past. As for the fabrics that roll off her loom, their appearance can be shared digitally, but they are also delightful to touch. For that experience, you have to travel to Odemira. ■
The Master of Advanced Studies (MAS) degree programs equip students with the research-informed training needed to serve in influential science, policy, communication and leadership positions. The accelerated, one-year MAS degree differs from a traditional two-year Master of Science (MS) degree in that it is extraordinarily interdisciplinary, skills-based and project-focused. Our programs are designed to propel graduates into satisfying, challenging positions immediately upon graduation.
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