First Class!

It’s been quite a day!

I’d woken up at around 6.30 this morning and the first thing I did (after giving Jane a kiss, of course!) was to check my StudentHome page. iPads are wonderful for furtive internet browsing in bed while still half asleep. No change. So I’d started to get up to go swimming and noticed that someone had posted a message on the DD307 facebook forum – RESULTS ARE IN!

Heart in mouth moment. I made sure that nothing breakable or valuable was nearby. I checked – and sure enough, just after 7am this morning I had my results.

A distinction for SD226 and a pass 2 for DD307. Yay!

Just now (at 18:16:04 to be precise) I’ve also been able to accept my degree. A first class honours in psychology. A great end to my five year journey with the OU. That sounds a bit Star Trek, doesn’t it? Sorry!

I rarely get over emotional, but accepting my qualification has made my day.

Thank you to everyone who’s sent me a message of congratulations. They’ve made me even more emotional. I had no idea before I started with the OU quite how challenging the process of part-time study for a social science degree was going to be. If I’d have known, I might not have bothered and stuck in my computing and science comfort zone instead! But I’m so pleased that I didn’t.

My congratulations to you if you’re celebrating success too. I also know that some of my OU friends may be disappointed with their results. If you are, you have my best wishes. I hope you recover from your disappointment quickly and are able to move on.

So that’s it – nearly. I still have a graduation ceremony to book and attend and a decision to make on what, where and when I study next. I’d have loved to have gone on with the OU but sadly that’s not possible. Sign the petition if you haven’t done so already!

Congratulations to us all!

The beginning of the end and new beginnings

Today has seen me attend my final tutorial for DD307 and press the “submit” button on my SD226 EMA. It really is the beginning of the end now, with just the DD307 exam to go in less than three weeks.

I’m sure that at some point in the future I’ll be able to reflect properly on my Open University journey over the last five years. It’s been a lot of fun and I feel that it’s helped me to improve at work too. When I write sales proposals now I think that they make a lot more sense than they used to, because if nothing else, writing so many essays and assignments makes you think about the way you express yourself on paper!

But the focus for the next three weeks is the exam, so I may not be blogging too much between now and then. I still don’t feel my revision has kicked in properly yet, though I was pleasantly surprised by how much did seem familiar at my tutorial this morning. I’ve decided to take a few days off work to help with my revision efforts, so I hope that should increase my chances.

Tomorrow though, I’ll be spending the day driving to Camarthen and back to see my youngest daughter off onto her university adventure. I’ve all of the audio I recorded at the Warwick revision weekend to keep me company in the eight hours or so I’ll be spending by myself in the car.

I’m not sure that I properly appreciated the chances that university gave me when I was 18. I was the first in my family to go, so I really had no idea what to expect. But, judging by the way her sister has approached university, I’m sure she’s far better prepared than I ever was. Here’s to new beginnings.

Bulk email SNAFU

Imagine my delight when I woke up to this email from the OU today:

Dear Tim
Personal Identifier: ********

You will have received a message about an updated version of the
Examination Arrangements booklet for October Examinations.
As the module you are studying does not conclude with an examination
please ignore the message sent to you regarding the
Examination Arrangements booklet. It was sent to you in error. 

I am sorry for any confusion this may have caused you.    

M Bell
Senior Manager, Examination Operations

Please do not reply directly to this message as this mailbox
is not monitored. We will have included one or more specific
methods of contact in the body of our message.

I thought for one wonderful moment that the OU had decided as we’d all been such good students on DD307 this year they were going to give us all distinctions!

But no.

I suspect I received this email as I’m also taking SD266 (which has no exam in October) and over the weekend everyone on that course appears to have received the original examination booklet email in error. However, it would appear that the OUs systems can’t take account of people like me, who are taking two modules simultaneously – one with and one without examinations.

The last paragraph of the email is particularly confusing – no direct way to contact the OU was included in the body of the email. If I get a spare moment later on today I’ll navigate through the website to find the “general contact” form to let them know. I wonder if they’ll send out another bulk email in response?

Still, it was (almost) a nice surprise.

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!