Saturday, 29 December 2012

DD203 - Power, Dissent, Equality : Week 12

29 Dec
  • ActivityAudio Feature 5, 'The politics of power'; Book 3: Chapter 4, 'Interest groups and interest representation in UK politics'

    Still trying to finish Chapter 2......

Friday, 28 December 2012

DD203 - Power, Dissent, Equality :TMA02 Marked and Returned

Just returned from a few days away without access to the internet to find that my TMA has been returned over the Christmas period. A couple more marks than last time so just slipped in to the Pass1 bracket. Doesn't make a lot of difference at the end of the course, but a couple of marks one way or the other does make a big difference to the motivation for the next TMA.

So with the next TMA due on the 17th January best get caught up with the reading to answer the next question,

"To what extent is politics in the United Kingdom ‘completely dominated’ by the government of the day?"

Saturday, 22 December 2012

DD203 - Power, Dissent, Equality : Christmas break and Santa is delivering the TMA results

The study schedule says from now until 29th December is the Christmas break..... but back in the real world it is called a 'catch-up week'.

And whoever thought it was a good idea to resume study 2 days prior to Hogmanay needs their head examined, we will have to get over the celebrations and mandatory recovery period before any meaningful study can resume.

The good news is however that we now have a date that the TMAs will be returned on, and along with everything else he has to do, Santa will be sending our results out on his busiest day of the year....... Good olde Santa...

Friday, 21 December 2012

DD203 - Power, Dissent, Equality : We appear to have survived another doomsday prophesy.....

...... well better get on with life until the next one comes along.

I haven't picked up a book since last weekend's tutorial. I would like to blame it on waiting for an outcome, one way or another, from the Mayan  'end of the world' prediction. However, in reality it has been a mixture of ill health (well man-flu), being extremely busy and lack of motivation as I am STILL waiting on the results from TMA02.

So the weeks break next week can catch the slack.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

DD203 - Power, Dissent, Equality : Tutorial 3

Today's tutorial was not particularly well attended, but I suppose that is down to the rotten weather and being close to Christmas.

We had a good chat through aspects of chapter 1, which was interesting and brought some of the aspects of the discussions more to life.

However, the down side of the timing of the tutorials means there is not much of this section of the course to discuss, and so there was not much discussion about the TMA. It was mentioned that the book may be out of touch with the current politics in Britain today and so it may be necessary to find better examples than are in the book.

It also appears that most of the TMA may be in chapter 1, but until I have read the rest of the book it is a bit difficult to per-judge.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

DD203 - Power, Dissent, Equality : Week 11

15 Dec
  • Activity: Book 3: Chapter 2, ‘Centre–periphery relations’; Chapter 3, 'Citizens and politics'

    The course has finally taken off and is both a easier read than the last book and far more interesting. We have the third tutorial tomorrow (I couldn't make the second one) so it will be interesting to see what the attendance is and hopefully a bit more help for the TMA.

    I was rushing the last TMA a bit, and a great bit of explanation about one of my examples came to me as I was relaxing one evening, but it came too late as the deadline had passed. This is why I much prefer to finish the TMA and keep it a couple of days to think about it with the pressure off and see if anything else comes to mind. Hopefully, that will be returned shortly.....

    It also appears that the course forum has gone completely quiet and the tutor group is also silent, so just as well the Facebook group is active.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

DD203 - Power, Dissent, Equality : More interesting week - shame about the forum

At last we seem to be getting in to 'proper' politics, the Audio Feature 4: Explaining the prime minister was actually a good listen so I'm motivated to launch myself into Chapter 1..... motivated but somehow not yet started.

I had another look at the Open University Forum again and it is just depressing. Either the discussion on the bit I am currently reading seems to have already taken place (obviously some people either have a lot of time on their hands or are quick readers because they are well ahead of the suggested schedule) or the forum is cluttered with extremely lengthy, and IMHO bordering on pretentious, discussions  between the 'usual suspects'.

The Open University MUST surely wonder why so few of the course members participate on the forum. It would be useful if mid-course they asked why this was and what could be improved. 

I would suggest that,
1. The Forum was split into sections which did not open until the appropriately scheduled part of the course.
2. That the Forum discussions were slightly better directed by Tutors.
3. That people have a limit to the number of times that they can post.

It would be useful it this could be trialled for Book 4 of this course, and of course if this this does not work and improve the situation it can revert back to what it is now.

As an alternative Forum, the Facebook group seems far more friendly and accessible, and so I will continue to engage with and be a part of that.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

DD203 - Power, Dissent, Equality : Week 10

8 Dec
  • Module Part 3: Politics and Power in the UK
  • Activity: Discussion Audio C, 'Introduction to Part 3'; Book 3: Introduction; Chapter 1, 'Governing at the centre'; Audio Feature 4, 'Explaining the prime minister'

    So, on to Part 3 and this is getting pretty relentless. I didn't really read Chapter 4 at all in the last book, so I need to find time to try and fit reading that in. Meanwhile, at least there is a week's break over Christmas, so need to get some cramming and catch-up in over that week.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

DD203 - Power, Dissent, Equality : Stay on track

After a fairly good start with an introduction and some definitions, I then started writing about the comparative study of different electoral systems, and if that had been the question it would have been a great paragraph or two towards the essay.

However, the essay is not asking you to critique the examples you use to explain the advantages of using a comparative, but just stick to the advantages of a comparative approach...... it has been very easy to stray off track.

I also wasted some time over analysing the question and worrying if the use of the phrase 'empirical examples' would exclude certain examples or tie up with inductive or deductive methods - but I'm sure this is not the case and that was just further wasted time.

I keep having to check the date..... we have until tomorrow night..... so that is a late end tonight, early start, lunch hour and no evening meal until it is finished.......

Oh, and I'm doing this course for 'fun', I must keep reminding myself of this.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

DD203 - Power, Dissent, Equality : Need to find some motivation

Too many far more exciting things happening elsewhere to be motivated to write this TMA.

This has been a real drudge, partly because it appears to be a fairly pedestrian exercise of ploughing through the set text and identifying the advantages and disadvantages of two examples using the competitive approach.

So to pull out some quotes and references for the definition of the comparative approach to politics, and the choose two examples and sprinkle with more references regarding functionalism and institutionalism, and inductive / deductive. I suppose the only part of it that allows you to add your own thoughts and personality is what you choose as advantages and disadvantages and why you feel this is so.

As I wrote previously, the bones of this are in Chapter 5 - it is the key.

The task tonight is to get about 1200 words down in a rough skeleton of an essay, and then to refine it tomorrow into something that reads properly.

This is a real wake up that I need to get further ahead in the next Chapter and quickly.