Saturday, 3 October 2015

DD306 : Living Political Ideas - Week 1 - Official start to the course.

At last the course starts proper.... DD309 seems a lifetime ago and apart from couple of aborted attempts to read the course text book "On Violence", I haven't done anything remotely related to studying all summer.

Well it is time for a gear change....... Luckily, the course leads us quite gently through the first week - at least the bits I have done - after all it is still only Saturday morning, and the online learning environment seems to work and be a mature concept.

My tutor continues to be active in the forum and I am really looking forward to the first tutorial in about two weeks time to meet him and other students

Monday, 21 September 2015

DD306 : Living Political Ideas - Pro-active tutor - a great start

My new tutor has already been in touch and seems very pro-active, posting the tutorial dates (still unavailable on the OU Course website) and making all the right noises about the course and his role in supporting students through the experience.

Now looking forward to the first tutorial - now that I know when it is........

Saturday, 19 September 2015

DD306 : Living Political Ideas - Unallocated my first tutor, then re-allocated a different tutor, but still no tutorial dates

I was informed by email that my first tutor had been allocated to me, but less than 4 hours later he was un-allocated and I was allocated a different tutor.

I signed up and paid for this course over 4 months ago, at the earliest opportunity to do so, so it is frankly baffling that the allocation of tutors is so last minute and apparently haphazard.

This current tutor is not quite so 'distinguished', he's not a Doctor, but he is slightly closer to me for tutorials, however still quite a distance if the university he lectures at is anything to go by. I would have preferred the tutor I had for the level 2 Politics, but maybe he doesn't do level 3 or perhaps he gets a say in what students he's prepared to teach :-)

Considering that the Open University claim that their courses teach transferable skills such as forward planning and organisational skills, you'd be forgiven for wondering why the allocation of tutors and tutorial dates appears such a shambles.

As paying customers I think we deserve better..........

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

DD306 : Living Political Ideas - Allocated a tutor, but still no tutorial dates

My tutor seems fairly distinguished, but works at a University miles away which makes me think that the tutorials might be a bit of a trek - although obviously so close to the start of the course I have no idea when or where they are.

Why is it so difficult for the OU to provide advanced details of the tutorial dates and location.

It would be nice to be able to try and plan my social and work life to accommodate the tutorial, but without the dates that is a bit difficult. 

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Corbyn wins Labour leadership contest !

Tom Watson, deputy Labour leader, and Jeremy Corbyn, Labour leader. Photograph: Andy Rain/EPA

I watched the BBC coverage of the labour leadership results this morning and was really pleased that not only did Jeremy Corbyn win the leadership contest on the first round of voting, but to take it with 60% of the vote must surely cement his legitimacy as the grass root choice for the Labour leader to an extent that Ed Miliband never achieved.

And with Tom Watson (not the golfer) voted in as deputy leader, I was 2 for 2 in this election and that hasn't happened or quit a while.

So a great start, but the challenge now is for Corbyn to delivery in a way that meets everybody's expectations while taking the Labour MPs with him - and that is going to mean negotiation and compromise, which will be a real tightrope walk.

Hopefully, this could be the start of wrestling political power from the extremely wealthy who send their children to Eton then Oxbridge Universities in order to maintain their seats at the top table and ensure that those that 'have', continue to 'have' and indeed if the inequality can be increased then its all to their good.

So with the start of DD306 imminent, then if nothing else Corbyn's win will certainly give us something to talk about in Room 1.

Room 1: Representing the People
This room looks at politics as the relationship between the elite and the people. It investigates the idea of representation, tracing some of the history and developments of the idea, and considers whether representative politics is in crisis.
The week titles are:
·         Political Leadership and the People
·         The Idea of Representation
·         A Crisis of Representation? 

I can't wait for the course to start, but still no news on my tutor or tutorial dates...... come on OU, get your arse in gear.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

DD306 : Living Political Ideas - Course Website Opens

Yeah....... at long last, lets see what this is all about.

Well it looks pretty similar to other course websites at the moment, TMA01 seems a pretty clear question and there is loads of advice on how to tackle it and what you need to consider and take account of.

However, yet again no information on my tutor or tutorial dates.

Why can the OU not get its act together and publish tutorial dates when the course website opens - they must surely have already booked the venues, they have had all summer to allocate students to tutors, they know this happens every year.........

The OU is not cheap, and I see the tutorials as being a huge part of the learning experience offered on the course, otherwise is it just reading the books and the website on your own which any institution offering distance learning can provide. But yet again we run the risk of missing the first, and arguably most important, tutorial because the date has not been released and yet for the students life goes on and commitments to work and family have to be made.

So for now I am guessing that the first tutorial will be on 10th or 17th, October, given that the first TMA is due in on the 26th Oct, but who knows?

Monday, 7 September 2015

DD306 : Living Political Ideas - Course Website Opens on the 10th (Thursday)

I am really looking forward to the course website opening, probably more for this course than for any previous course, as so much of the course structure and learning appear to be based around the online 'rooms'.

I also want to know who my tutor is and when the tutorials will be. October is already looking pretty busy at the weekends - the NFL is coming to Wembley - so that is three Sundays pretty much written off of any other activity.

As far as the tutor goes, I would be really pleased if I had the same tutor as I had for the Level 2 Politics course. Admittedly, the time he took to return marked TMAs was less than stellar, but he ran engaging tutorials and he was quite a hard marker on the TMAs which certainly helped me improve and I think I benefited from this on the two economics courses.

Can't wait to get going on this course, October can't come quick enough.

Friday, 28 August 2015

DD306 : Living Political Ideas - the Readings Book has arrived

It appears at first glance to be quite a thick book, but the printing is large which will help.

It also sets out what the Rooms are about and some of the topics that will be covered. Looking forward to Room 5 if for no other reason than I have been in Sierra Leone, and in Yugoslavia before the break up and Serbia, Bosnia and Kosovo since. It will be interesting to get other people's take on those situations.

Room 3, Religion and Politics is going to be a massive struggle try and see both sides of an obviously one sided argument. Superstition and the 2000 year old philosophies of  desert dwelling peoples have no place in modern life, let alone modern politics.