Thursday, 29 March 2007

The OU Madness Continues

With TMA 03 looming for M263, and TMA 01 Part 2 due for M255 and having just handed in TMA 30 for M253 I almost forgot about TMA 03 due for MST121.

I think the moral of this story is do not do four concurrent courses - it is too much. Luckily M253 is now finished, and both MST 121 and M263 are coming to an end (at least I don't have an exam for MST 121!) and I think I will slip down to 2 courses a year - one starting in Feb and one starting in October - that amount of overlap I can manage!

Anyway - I didn't forget MST 121 and sent off TMA 03 - dreaded calculus. As usual it was marked in extra quick time, and I got the result in the post yesterday - 99%!!!! How cool is that - this is much better than I thought I would do (suppose it is a question of confidence, and past experiences having struggled with calculus at A-Level). It is nice to be lifted by a positive learning experience after the disappointment of M253.

Tuesday, 27 March 2007

M253 - RIP

Wow, who thought I would have been so busy at my new job that it would be 22 days between posts on my blog.....

M253 officially finished yesterday at 12 noon and frankly I am glad to see the back of it. Susannah Relf, if you ever read this, take solace in being the only person in the 'team' who I would ever trust to work on anything with my name attached to it in the real world, and thank you very much for all your hard work.

The final 'team' project was the result of Susannah's hard work - there was very little team effort, and all in all I find it difficult to find something positive to say about the entire M253 debacle. It was a frustrating and largely negative experience. I don't feel it represents a 'real-world' situation, as is the dogma of the course tutors, and I don't feel that I have learned anything of lasting value from taking the course. This is likely to be reflected in my mark for the final TMA - but I really don't care. As long as I pass, and as far as I can see as long as you hand something in with your name on you will pass, I couldn't care less if it was with 41% or 99%/.

The entire M253 experience has left me somewhat jaded with the OU. I have found myself with a lack of motivation for the other courses I am currently undertaking, and am not sure how I will move forward when the courses I am currently studying come to an end. Has it put me off study - to a degree yes. It was so much hassle, entirely negative and when you have to balance this with other aspects of living and working it is something that is not needed. The fact that the course team recognise that M253 can be, and is, a really negative experience for a lot of students (I have the e-mails from the course team!!) and aren't really bothered by that is, for me, another nail in its coffin.

OU you may have lost yourself a customer - perhaps you should sort this course out.

Monday, 5 March 2007


It would appear that the marine tank has settled down enough to introduce some of the clean up crew into the environment.
To this end I am the very prod owner of two new turbo snails - who are speeding around the tank munching on the algae that has built up - hopefully things will continue to go in the right direction and I can add some nassirus snails, some hermit crabs and a shrimp over the next couple of weeks. I would love a starfish - but am not sure that I would be able to look after it well enough at the moment.....we will have to see.

M253 - Is the ECA doomed?

Now, I haven't spent an awfully long time on this particular Milestone, mainly because I have been busy with work outside of the OU, but alarm bells are starting to ring.

We have until the 24th March to finish this thing, but the communication in the team appears to have stalled. The girl coordinating the group effort this time has done her best to rally around individuals - perhaps by emailing them outside of the conference - but it leaves the impression that the conference itself has stagnated.

Also of the two people that have been assigned to work in pairs with me, only one of them has contacted me. We had what I felt was some useful initial discussion but this too has dried up - worryingly without a resolution to the problem we were set. I send e-mails but don't have the time to spend chasing them up any more.

I am not sure what this means, but I don't think it bodes well for the team-generated component of the ECA. Perhaps I will have to rely on my individual response (a 1000 word essay covering 24 weeks of work - which is a bit rubbish!) to get me through the final hurdle.

Friday, 2 March 2007

New Month New Job

So I started my new job yesterday - how stressful is that. I had forgotten just how much hard work it is trying to fit into a new team.....

So far so good - have finally managed to get my computers working at least - am sure that my impact will be more significant next week after I have had chance to find my feet.