Mopping up week

There’s nothing like an OUPS revision weekend to reignite my enthusiasm for psychology and focus my mind on the task in hand – the exam on the afternoon of 13th October. When I got home on Sunday evening, I decided that this week needed to be ‘mopping up week’. My list of tasks was/is as follows:

1. Decide which three of the four blocks from the course I’m going to revise. That task was easy and I’d already come to the conclusion that the block on social selves (2) was going to have to go, as it has four chapters and there was too much (i.e. any at all!) social psychoanalytical stuff in it. So my revision from now is going to be focussed on block 3 – social judgement, block 5 – group processes and block 6 – production of knowledge.

2. Turn into a useful and readable format my handwritten scribbles and markings on the chapters where I hadn’t already done so. There were five of these, two of which I’ve now finished:

Book 1 Chapter 7 – Embodiment

Book 2 Chapter 4 – The fundamental attribution error

… which leaves another three to sort out this week. I’m currently working on  I’ve just finished (8th September) Book 2, Chapter 7 on bystander intervention, which leaves chapters 6 and 8 of the same book to cover. However, these were also covered to some extent by TMA05 and TMA06 respectively. A question on individual differences has never come up on the exam so far, so I may decide not to bother too much more with chapter 8. I’ll see how much time I have and how well the rest of the material starts to sink in.

3. Most important of all, get rid of the SD226 EMA!!! That’s going to be this weekend’s task and I’m not going to watch the Italian F1 Grand Prix until I have finished the bits I got bored with first time around, checked it, tidied it up and submitted it. So please, no-one tell me the result!

Mission improbable – the end of the beginning

My attempt to complete DD307 TMA06 and the SD226 EMA in a bank holiday weekend has now finished. Strictly speaking, it’s ended in failure, but only just. At the end of the weekend I now have a complete DD307 TMA06, a complete Q1 for the SD226 EMA, as well as draft answers and notes for the remaining two questions and experimental project writeup. A couple more evenings work this week should get me there I think.

Which should leave me in a more relaxed mood for the OUPS DD307 revision weekend at Warwick University on Friday and give me a clear run to the DD307 exam on 13th October.

Mission improbable – day 2 progress report

Setting stretch targets(*) obviously works for me!

While I don’t think I will have completed both the DD307 TMA06 and the SD226 EMA by the end of tomorrow in a form I can submit, I do at least now have a complete draft of TMA06 and a set of notes for the first question of the EMA.

My TMA has turned into a bit of a rant at the end and it’s also too long at the moment (2,273 words). I think I therefore need to take some calm down tablets and then, just like Procrustes, lop some bits off to make it fit within the constraints of the word limit. Except that I won’t be mutilating my essay – I’m hoping that surgery will make it better!

The rant I’ve developed wasn’t the one I said I was going to use a couple of days ago, but I’ve chickened out. Instead, I’ve turned into a postmodernist loving, cognitive hating fanboi.

Unfortunately, this conversion has come far too late to rescue any hope of a pass 1 on this module, but it won’t jeopardise my chances of a pass 2. It’s only messing up the exam that will do that, but I’m hopeful that next weekend’s OUPS revision bash at Warwick University will help me avoid that fate.

I hope to see some of you there.

(*) and, of course, if the person was too short for the bed, setting stretch targets is what Procrustes did too 🙂

Mission improbable – day 1 progress report

Not great, if I’m honest. I have around one-third of my DD307 TMA06 essay in the bag, plus loads of random paragraphs that I need to organise in such a way that the rest of it forms a coherent whole. No progress on the SD226 EMA to report.

I have resolved to get up really early tomorrow morning (well, really early for a Sunday!) and make more progress. I will prevail!

But now, it’s time for an Indian takeaway. Nom nom nom, etc.

Mission improbable – DD307 TMA06 and the SD226 EMA in one weekend

One of the things we’re encouraged to do at work is set ourselves stretch targets. Originally, I decided I was going to aim for completing the final DD307 TMA this weekend, but as I’ve been sat at St. Pancras waiting for my train to Derby to arrive, I’ve hatched a mad plan. Why shouldn’t I attempt to do both the TMA and the EMA for SD226 over what looks like a pretty soggy bank holiday weekend?

The positive aspects of such a plan is that it will give me more time to revise for the DD307 exam on 13th October and could also mean that I’m in a far less stressed and narky mood at home over the next few weeks. I’ve been rather difficult to live with recently – but that’s not solely down to the OU, of course.

The potential downside? I don’t see one at the moment. It may mean that I score a few marks lower on both assignments, but that won’t affect my overall degree classification.

*thinks for all of 30 seconds*

I’m going to go for it!

… and as it’s also the last DD307 TMA, I have a rant that I want to include, which I think I can justify in terms of the arguments I’m going to make. I obviously can’t share it here yet, but if it works out, I promise I will do later on in the year.

Such fun!

The SD226 TMA04 scavenger hunt is over!

Although I made a brief foray into the final TMA for SD226 while I was on holiday, it’s only really been today that I’ve finally managed to get my teeth into it. I think it’s gone all right – I’ve managed to complete both questions and submit my responses to the eTMA system as well! That’s definitely a record for me – starting, finishing and submitting a TMA in a single day.

The TMAs for SD226 have certainly been much more straightforward than for DD307. I need just 71% on this final TMA to ensure a continuous assessment (OCAS) score for the module of 85% and a distinction. My final mark for the course is all down to what I manage to achieve on the end of module assessment (EMA) now. I haven’t looked at it yet, although I’ve printed it off and it’s in my laptop bag to read through on the train tomorrow.

The trick for me now is to make sure the EMA doesn’t interfere too much with the final DD307 TMA and the revision I need to do for its exam in mid October. I really need to make more notes on the DD307 chapters over the next couple of weeks if I’m to stand a chance of doing reasonably well. You can tell by the lack of updates to the DD307 notes page on here that I’m some way behind where I need to be at the moment. I apologise to everyone that likes to read my notes, but it’s going to be a while yet before I catch up I’m afraid.

Researching and writing TMAs for SD226 has felt rather like going on a scavenger hunt. The relevant material and learning outcomes have been well signposted on every question, even if some of them take a few readings before the penny finally drops. It’s then been a case of reading the material with the TMA in mind and putting post-it notes or highlights on things that will be useful to answer the questions! I don’t actually feel that I’ve retained very much of what I’ve read because of the ‘scavenger hunt’ strategy I’ve been using and I’m glad there’s no exam for this module. While it seems to have worked well in terms of marks achieved, it’s certainly not a strategy that could be used on examinable modules and in some ways, I feel a little sad that I’ve ended up using such an outcome driven approach on this course.

Maybe next year when I’m not studying SD226 for real I’ll go back through the course materials just for fun, to see what I’ve missed.

Nearly there

I didn’t manage to get DD307 TMA05 done before I set off on holiday, so my laptop and books all came with me. It somehow felt appropriate though to be writing about intergroup conflict while I was watching the news from home. I hope everyone who reads this blog has managed to stay safe.

In the end, I managed to write what I hope is a half decent essay. Billig’s criticism of SIT is quite a slippery one to get to grips with. I’m just concerned that my essay really wasn’t critical enough and rather repetitive in some places. Actually, come to think of it, rather like Billig’s critique of Tajfel to be honest. If he’s still at Loughborough University, I might just pop down the M1 to thank him 🙂

Anyway, I’m now cracking on with my final SD226 TMA and drafting an essay on how classical conditioning and the extent to which all other forms of learning can be explained by synaptic changes. I’d better not let my DD307 tutor see it!

I’m also starting to think about the final DD307 TMA which I’ve realised has to be in on 7th September. I’ve still got nearly all of the reading for that one to do and I’m also miles behind in my note making. At least there’s a decent gap between it and the exam on 13th October. Something tells me revision is going to be a little fraught this year with the SD226 EMA to fit in as well. I’m hoping that the OUPS revision weekend at Warwick will help me focus on what I need to cover. If anyone reading this is going too, it would be nice to say hello – I don’t bite, even if I’m a little grumpy at times. I also promise not to take my leg warmers to the disco with me this year!

But after the exam my OU journey will be over.

I’m not sure what I’m going to find to occupy my time next year. I’ve decided to try to get fit and play more with my vintage computers that are collecting dust in the attic and garage. I’m also going to spend more time doing fun things with my wife! She complains that she’s barely seen me over the last 5 years because of the OU and work … Lots of walks in the Peak District are called for, or perhaps making more use of our NT membership.

I’m not sure if I’ll carry on blogging after the end of my degree, or at least not here anyway. Somehow I think may just about reach a natural end by the time the results are out.

For those of you that are awaiting the results of the caption competition, I’ve decided to keep it open until Sunday at which point I’ll announce the winner of the very small prize! So there’s still time to have a go.

DD307 TMA05 – first thoughts

I suppose that I should be all right with TMA05. It’s on a topic I’ve studied before (Tajfel and Turner’s theories of intergroup conflict) not only from the perspective of psychology, but when I did the OU’s “Effective Manager” course way back in 1990. The criticism (from Billig) is a discursive psychological one, which is the perspective I chose to use for my project.

All things being equal, that doesn’t seem like too bad an assignment.

But all things aren’t equal. This is DD307 we’re talking about, after all. Sigh.

I’d really like to get it out of the way before I go on holiday, as then I won’t have to take my laptop with me, just my Jobsian Fondleslab. So having read through the three chapters in block 5 on group processes already, I’m going to see if I can’t get this essay sorted over the next few evenings. That way, I can use the time on my holiday to make notes on all of the chapters I’ve read but haven’t done so far (that’s four I think) while I’m sat by the pool, sipping a Keo beer or two.

That feels like motivation enough …

Well, that was easy…

It’s 0126 on July 6th. Deadline day for the DD307 project (TMA04) and SD226 TMA03. I’m glad to say that despite asking for my first ever extension on an OU TMA (for SD226), I haven’t had to use it after all. Even so, submitting an assignment with only around 11 hours to go to the formal deadline is the finest I’ve ever cut a submission since the era of electronic TMAs made it into the psychology faculty.

DD307 was slightly less close to the deadline. As this had to go by post (and I still can’t quite figure out why this was insisted upon, as I could have submitted the marked up transcripts as colour scanned PDFs) this was sent off last Thursday. I know it’s got there, as my tutor has emailed me to let me know that it has.

That leaves me with a pile of reading and note making to do for the rest of the week on DD307 as I need to get TMA05 sorted before I go on holiday at the start of August, even though the actual deadline isn’t until the 10th. My DD307 tutor doesn’t appear to like giving extensions without a good reason. I’m not sure she’d accept being on holiday as being a good enough reason!

Three more TMAs, an EMA and an exam to go before I finish my degree. Not that I’m counting the days and hours at all …