Monday, 27 April 2015

DD309 : Doing economics: people, markets and policy - TMA05 Marked and Returned

Really good job by my tutor in turning round the TMA inside a week. They mark in order of submission and I can't believe many could have submitted later than me without an extension.

The mark equaled the highest mark I have had this course, so I am unbelievably pleased with this result and probably deserve it ina  way considering the amount of effort and hard work - not to mention frustration - that went into this TMA.

It does however leave me with a quandary regarding econometrics. I  am never really that confident in my answers, even though I go over everything and double check what I can, so I must be over thinking the whole thing.

The example econometric project that they give you as an example of what you should submit doesn't seem 100 miles from what we have just done. Obviously, the literature review is a massive part of the EMA, which is really TMA06, so I guess I need to get that started.

This was really what I needed after a couple of months struggling with competing work and family commitments combined with a bit of poor health. So this mark has been really motivating.

Just five and a bit weeks to go........

Saturday, 25 April 2015

DD309 : Doing economics: people, markets and policy - Week 27

Week 27 – Block 6: Project work

Project work            Project work

I have been data sorting on my quest to prove the obvious statement that the more qualifications that you have, the more money that you are likely to be paid.

There is quite a lot of data sorting to be done....... from an initial data set of over 30,000 entries, by the time I have removed those not between 16 and 65, and those not in full time employment, and indeed several other variables, I now have less than 9,000 entries to work with.

Results so far are basically what you would expect, it would be nice to find an anomaly to investigate.

Need to get the literature research under-way to underpin this project.

TMA06 next on agenda for 12th May, but really need TMA05 back in order to move on with any confidence.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

DD309 : Doing economics: people, markets and policy - TMA05 Submitted

TMA05 submitted...... a real struggle this one, both motivationally and in understanding what was required. However there is nothing I can do now so except wait on the thing being marked, and I have great doubts about the mark on this one, it really could go either way.

It is now frighteningly close to the end of the course and the EMA is not something that can be left until the last minute and bluffed, so the challenge is going to be to keep the work rate up.

At least I think I have a half decent dataset and project question, although that will be confirmed on return of the TMA. With any luck the data won't go too astray and will broadly support the theory, although one anomalous variable would be go to add a bit of interest and 'mild peril' to the proceedings.

Lets hope for a speedy TMA turn around, and some confirmation that my econometrics understanding - such as it is - is basically sound, as it is pretty much to late to change the project method.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

DD309 : Doing economics: people, markets and policy - Week 26

Week 26 – Block 6: Project work

Project work            Project work

Hang on there Mr. Overly Optimistic Study Timetable...... we will be working on the TMA until pretty much the submission deadline and then having a couple of days brain rest.

Project Panic will recommence at the weekend....

DD306 Living political ideas : Registered for my last course........

I first registered for the OU in November 2010, started studying in Feb 2011 and have now registered for my last course due to start October 2015 and end in June 2016.

It feels like a milestone of some sort, and 2011 seems an awful long time ago now. Between one thing and another it is difficult to remember a time when I wasn't looking forward to a course starting or worrying about an impending TMA deadline.

I wonder what I will do with myself when I am not studying, I suppose I'd better find a hobby :-) I certainly won't be doing another OU course, not because I wouldn't like to but because the costs of the courses these days are just to expensive. If I wasn't lucky enough to have started this prior to the change in fees and have been able to enjoy the traditional fees arrangement my study would have stopped some time ago.

You never know, a new government with a social concious might reduce or scrap tuition fees, maybe this would be an ideal issue for Labour and the SNP to unite on.....

There has been a number of decisions regarding the choice for the last module.

I did at one point think about Philosophy and A333, but the A222 philosophy was at times a real drag and I'm not sure I could go through that again.

DU301 - A world of whose making? is no longer being run, so this left me with the choice between the older and established DD306 Living Political Ideas and the relatively new DD313 International Relations, continuity and change.

After a bit of research on the Facebook groups, I have plumped for DD306.

So, DD306 Living Political Ideas, in six months we will meet again......

Saturday, 11 April 2015

DD309 : Doing economics: people, markets and policy - Week 25

Week 25 – Block 5: TMA week

1.1 Block 5 TMA week
Read DYEP: Econometrics, Sections 6–8
Complete TMA 05

Complete TMA05...... easier said than done. In my opinion, considering the difficulty that a great deal of people seem to be having with econometrics, the questions for TMA05 is less than helpful and left me questioning both the results and theory before my tutor confirmed I was heading in the right direction.

Tackling this TMA has been a case of back to basics, in that the TMAs 02 and 04 have been re-visited along with the econometric tutorials and examples from this module and I think I have enough to be getting on with. It feels like a bit of a re-hash of the previous econometrics TMAs with a bit of theory thrown in, but if that is what they want then........ I'll get re-hashing.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

DD309 : Doing economics: people, markets and policy: Doing TMA05 and thinking about the EMA

I have not been blogging recently as I have found the whole DD309 experience since getting TMA04 back extremely frustrating.

So much so, that I did at one point consider jacking in the entire course and effectively this degree. I have been doing this for fun and out of my own interest and it has gotten to the point of being neither fun nor interesting, but I think I have come through that just in time.

The problem was that my first EMA proposal which I would have been really interested in did not quite pass muster with the course team. They sort of said I could do it but would be unlikely to get a good mark as it was interesting but as far as theory went fairly light.

My second proposal met with some disagreement regarding the stance I was going to take regarding unskilled labour, in that some of the course team seem to think having a media studies degree constitutes therefore having a skill - of course I make this comment fairly tongue in cheek, the situation was way more complicated than that.

My third proposal fell at the fact it was specific and there was no readily available dataset the OU could provide. The two professional bodies who could provide the data have decided that they won't.

My fourth proposal, not hugely different from my third, but involving a professional body that I am a member of and pay a significant amount of money a year for the privilege have not provided any answer on whether they will or won't provide the data. There has been email communication but none of a suitably significant nature and it seems nobody is able to make a decision, either yes or no, ever, and so this has been kicked well into the long grass.

My current fifth and I'm not changing this again, is a far more mainstream and arguably less interesting project for which I am assured there is data.

The first dataset I examined looked really hopeful, and after the best part of two days refining the categories to what I  require, it became obvious that of the 10s of thousands of entries that there were, very few, and I mean very few, entries had all questions asked which meant that this dataset was useless and I'd wasted a further two days of frustration.

Finally, I found a useful dataset.

Looked at it in GRTL, and exported it as a CSV file. opened it in Microsoft EXCEL and started the process of removing unnecessary categories. In order to track changes I documented each change and started a new EXCEL tab with each iteration of the data. I felt quite p[leased with this idea - fully trackable and accountable record of how the data was refined. Took an entire evening.

The next day I opened the Excel file and all the Tabs have gone except the first one. I assumed that I had not saved it properly, or saved an old file with the name name over the new one, so I spent the next evening doing exactly the same, and was very careful to save the file with a new name and even a backup name. It was very late by now and I went to bed.

The next day I opened the Excel file and all the Tabs have gone except the first one. You can only imagine how I felt. I then realised that because I'd opened the file as a CSV and then tried to save it as a CSV, apparently a CSV file does support tabs when saved - who knew - obviously not me.

I spent another evening, replicating what i had done the previous two evening, but by now I was getting faster doing it )after all practice makes perfect) and I have saved the file as a XLS and even tested I could re-open it. I could :-)

So, I think I have the skeleton of an EMA question, the pressing problem now is TMA05.

Again, I have not helped myself by (on advice from the course forum) updating GRTL. The new version looks very different to the one I have used in the past, so I think I will have to uninstall the new one and go back ton the old one for the TMA.

Am I enjoying myself....... not just now, no I am not..... but hopefully there is some light ahead.

But if you take anything away from this, please remember........