Saturday, 20 September 2014

DD309 : Doing economics: people, markets and policy - 2 Weeks to Go

I don't like moaning, no really I don't, but I am going to.

I think it is ridiculous and inexcusable that with two week to go until the course starts and by past experience 3 or 4, maybe 5 weeks until the first tutorial that the dates of the tutorials are still not available.

I have contacted the 'Student Support Team' who sent me a very pleasantly worded but completely unhelpful email saying the information would be available shortly, and no - they don't know when that will be, but to look out for messages on the course forum from my tutor. And no - they don't know who my tutor is yet, and are unable to tell me when I will find out, but perhaps look out for updates on the course website for information on the tutorial dates and that will tell me who my tutor is. I'm now getting dizzy from going round in circles, while getting nowhere.

The reason I am so exercised about this is that having put off planning my work and family life for as long as possible, which has inconvenienced my colleagues and family who have been as understanding and flexible as possible, yesterday I had to commit to certain dates and so flights have now been booked, meetings have been arranged and reservations have been made. 

I have made a guess at when the tutorials may be, I have assumed a weekend, and kept two weekends clear out for the next six weekends. I am now committed. Three of them are effectively set in stone, one I may be able to change with some disruption to others. 

I signed up for this course in May. I cannot understand why at this late stage the OU are unable to tell me when the first tutorial will be, and when they eventually do I may already be unable to attend. It is extremely unsatisfactory.

This does however go some way to explain why past attendance at tutorials has been so poor, I can not be the only person who has to plan ahead. 

Rant Over.

The online Future Learn course on tackling Research Projects has been quite interesting so far. It talked a bit about transferable skills, and I had no idea I had so many, so I must update my CV while this is still fresh in my mind. They also took you through a fairly simple but very useful tool to help you focus on your choice of a Research Question. This seemed very useful and is one of the things most worrying me about this years EMA. If you don't start off with a good question and/or idea of what you are investigating you will never really get the project off the ground.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

DD309 : Doing economics: people, markets and policy - 3 Weeks to Go

Three weeks to go and I am still afloat on the inland waterways of Great Britain, so little access to fast internet and no further reading done.

I have managed to have a squint at the course website though, and I think I have spotted the jump to level 3 courses, the first two TMAs look like a considerable body of work, so this course is going to be a new level of difficult I feel.

The study planner does look really comprehensive and well thought out, so hopefully that will keep us on track and on schedule. It also looks sensible that there is a review week before the TMA week, so a good chance to catch up.

I can't wait to get home and explore this site properly.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

DD309 : Doing economics: people, markets and policy - The Course Website Opens

The course website is open and looks a pretty familiar setup which is good. As this is a fairly mature course there will hopefully not be some of the problems we came across in DD209's first year.

No news yet on my tutor or tutorial dates, but hopefully that will come soon.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

DD309 : Doing economics: people, markets and policy - 4 Weeks to Go

It has been a very leisurely week. A wedding in Cornwall followed by a trip out on Britain's canal network. 

 Near Yelvertoft

Welford Arm

 Foxton Bottom Lock pound

So all in all not a huge amount of reading completed on Chapter 2 last week, and not a lot more expected this week either.

The reading that has been done has been interesting and not too difficult to understand, although remembering it may be a different matter as there are an awful lot of terms to get to grips with.

The book doesn't help in this respect and does it's best to confuse the reader (or at least me) by using the variables F & G to represent chocolate and crisps on page 55, and then on page 67 it changes and drink is represented by F and food by G. Why couldn't food have been represented by F, and drink by D? Surely that could only aid the reader fathom out what is going on, rather than have to keep flicking back to previous pages to remember what axis has been assigned what good. Its as though the OU is having a little joke at our expense.

This is the part of economics that should be the most interesting, determining what decisions consumers make and why so I am looking forward to getting further into the book. Also looking  forward to the website opening this week and finding out who my tutor is - it's a bit like waiting for Christmas.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

DD309 : Doing economics: people, markets and policy - 5 Weeks to Go

The Bank Holiday weekend, followed by making up at work for the work not done on the Bank Holiday Monday, then trying to get ahead of work as I took a short week to go on vacation on Friday, meant that fitting a five day week into the three days available had a predicable effect on the amount of time I had available to read Chapter 2.

Chapter 2 remains unread, or to be more accurate not even started.

Though with 5 weeks to go, it feels good to get at least one chapter read. The website opens in about two weeks and it will all begin to feel very real then, especially when the tutorial dates and tutor are revealed. Fingers crossed for a good tutor and tutorials that are not a million miles away.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

New Open University Blogs

I  don't often trawl the internet looking for other OU student blogs because life is too busy and you can lose hours and hours looking for, and then reading through, these things when there are arguably more pressing tasks on the horizon.

However, having said that, I noticed from the visitor stats that a blog I hadn't seen before was pushing some traffic in this direction. Well, you've got to have a look haven't you....

OU Student Life will travel with its author on his journey towards a degree in Psychology. I thought the look of the blog was good and looked clean and uncluttered, and the posts were well written and potentially very useful to others following on. I think this will certainly be one I'll dip into now and again.

Surviving The OU came to me via twitter. This appears very much in its embryonic stage of development, as the website structure is there but as yet no content - so one to check back on.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

DD309 : Doing economics: people, markets and policy - 6 Weeks to Go

Look at what worrying about the end of year project has prompted me to do.......

I've signed up for a Future Learn Course, only 1 hour a week they say, for 8 weeks, on ....

                    Developing Your Research Project

I have no idea of this is going to be of use or not, but as its free and potentially won't take up too much time I thought I may as well give it a go.

FutureLearn - Developing Your Research Project link

I think I am developing a serious paranoia about this end of course assessment

As to the text book, The rest of chapter 1 of Book 1, got a lot more in-depth and I had to re-read and then read very slowly some bits to make sure I did actually understand what they were talking about.

Neoclassical versus Austrian/Evolutionary/Behavioral Economics and then Game Theory which still causes nightmares since the exam. I am sort of getting the pros and cons and why one may be better than the others in certain circumstances, but remembering it all is a challenge.... by brain may have taken a holiday without me.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

DD309 : Doing economics: people, markets and policy - 7 Weeks to Go

I have made a start on Book 1 Chapter 1.

My first impression of the physical nature of the book is that is quite a heavy book and it is not at all easy to find a comfortable position in which to read it, except for having it flat on a table which is not that convenient. So I will have to man-up, get the the gym and bulk up a bit in order to better support this tome.

My first impression of the contents is that it is going to be an interesting read. I am half way through Chapter 1 and so far nothing too mind boggling but enough of interest to keep my attention. I think the last couple of section in this chapter get a bit more involved, so I'll try and wade through that before next weekend.

It feels a bit like being in limbo, having the books but no tutor, website or study planner - maybe I should enjoy this while I have the chance, reading without any TMA pressure at all :-)