Sunday, 31 May 2015

DD309 : Doing economics: people, markets and policy - F I N I S H E D ! ! !

Well that's that then.

5494 words - I could have done with another 250 words to finish it how I really wanted, but at pretty much the maximum I can do no more.

It is now ready to be taken round some printers tomorrow to be printed and bound, and if that fails I'll print it off at work and stick it in ring binders, as one way or another it is going in the post on Tuesday with guaranteed next day delivery.

This EMA has pretty much dominated the last 4 weeks of my life, and if I come up short it is not due to a lack of effort - lack of direction or understanding possibly - but not lack of effort.

And it looks good, even if I do say so myself, it is neat and tidy and where necessary colourful, hopefully that is worth a mark or two.

Day off tomorrow, hopefully I can get the printing sorted by lunch time and then get on with the rest of my life.......

Saturday, 30 May 2015

DD309 : Doing economics: people, markets and policy - Week 32

End-of-Module Assessment


  • Assessment: PROJECT (EMA) (cut-off date 5 Jun)

Pretty much there now, right on the 5500 word count, need to do a couple of reads through for typos - then leave it for tomorrow for a last read, then it is finished and need I need to PDF it for the printers.

OK, the end is really in sight now........

Friday, 29 May 2015

DD309 : Doing economics: people, markets and policy - The things you do to avoid doing the things you should be doing.....

With apologies to fans of Frank Sinatra, this is what I have been doing to avoid doing that I should be doing........

I Study My Way

And now, the deadline's near; 

And so I face a final flurry,
My friend, I'll say it clear, 
I'm in a state of fear and worry.

I've lived life like a fool,
I've pushed my essays to the deadline,
And more, much more than that,
The fault is all mine.

Extensions, I've had a few; 
But then again, it's my intention,
To do what I had to do,
And avoid resorting to substitution.

I planned each essay well
Each careful phrase, commit to paper
upload my work, Press send, it's gone,
it's now consigned within the ether

Yes, there were times, I'm sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew.
But through it all, when there was doubt, 
I ate it up and spit it out.
I faced it all and I stood tall; 
And did it my way.

I studied hard, God how I tried,
My project was econometric,
And now, as tears subside, 
Confusion reigns, I'm apoplectic,

To think I wrote all that; 
And some of it may even make sense, 
and now the wait begins, 
the markers have me in suspense

So why do we study, what is the point?
We try so hard not to disappoint,
To strive for knowledge, it is our quest; 
We do our best, to pass the test,.
But now its done, my summers free,
all of this for my PPE! 

Thursday, 28 May 2015

DD309 : Doing economics: people, markets and policy - Regrets, I've had a few.....

Frank and I are in perfect harmony at the minute.......

      "Regrets, I've had a few..........."

Regrets.....mainly about committing to carrying out a mind boggling amount of regressions in order to try and prove a point that may or may not be valid.

I'm obviously hoping it is.

To be blunt my EMA sort of rests on it being so.....

"Second thoughts, I've had a few......"

but unlike Frank too many to even start mentioning, 'cos we'd be here all day and I've still got plots to draw, and some to re-draw because my OCD brain has spotted minor and to be honest completely unimportant labeling issues and I must fix them or I will not sleep..... ever !

As a result, Microsoft Excel and I are, if not good friends, then certainly worthy advisories.

..... and with each plot my appendixes grow, the EMA gets thicker and more expensive to print - in triplicate - and deliver. I'd better warn the Post Office they are gonna need extra help on Tuesday - my EMA package will be a two man lift.

Seem to have resorted to gibbering, and gibbering in written form, mental breakdown on the horizon if I wasn't doing this for fun!

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

DD309 : Doing economics: people, markets and policy - Advancing economic theory doesn't come cheap......

Being reasonably organised I decided to contact my local Staples to see how much it would cost to print and wire bind my EMA.

Three copies of a 50 page, colour printed and wire bound project is going to cost me around £100, so basically my appendices are costing me £50, I hope they are worth it.

This is somewhat of an unexpected disappointment, there are many things I could do with £100 and sending the OU part of a forest, in triplicate, is not high on that list.

If only there was some sort of electronic internet based method of sharing information, wouldn't that make things so much easier, and when I say easier what I mean is cheaper.

Mental Note To Self : Purchase Staples shares next year in late May sell in early June, repeat annually.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

DD309 : Doing economics: people, markets and policy - The last push......

So, a busy couple of days, 4,700 words or so written, findings and conclusions to be finished, References and Appendices to be checked, but I've pretty much broken the back of this and expect to be making a valuable contribution to the field of economics shortly.

I will be right on the 5500 maximum work count and I also have appendices in abundance, but that is really so they can check the numbers if they so wish.

I would have preferred to have a couple of more weeks to keep reading and refining, but the timings of the tutorials and late return of TMA06 have not made this possible.

I have spent a huge amount of time and effort on this, so I am pretty happy that as far as effort is concerned I could not have done much more - time will tell if this has been worth it or not.

Need to print and bind on Monday, so time is pressing.

Saturday, 23 May 2015

DD309 : Doing economics: people, markets and policy - Week 31

Week 31 – Block 6: Project work

Project work               Project work

It's gonna be a busy bank holiday.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

DD309 : Doing economics: people, markets and policy - TMA06 Marked and Returned

Not particularly happy that this TMA has taken so long to get marked, especially as my tutor seems now to be questioning the complexity of what I am doing and has suggested a far less interesting adjustment. This is especially odd as I pretty much laid out exactly my plan at the last tutorial and no concerns were raised then..... 

Also my lowest mark so far by quite a bit, although still a Pass1, which sort of reflects my running out of steam and enthusiasm for the EMA. Also I submitted early after a particularly mind-numbing spirit-crushing tutorial dominated by somebody to whom brevity is a stranger, so not surprised by the mark really.

Graham, who runs the Econometrics Forum, has been far more enthusiastic (although to be fair this appears to be his default position on almost everything), and so I will crack on against tutorial advice rather than have an extremely simple and mundane project. I must say however, that this has been my undoing in these sorts of projects in the past so the outcome will either be that the odds were that I would come good eventually or that I never learn.

I have no doubt that I could submit what I have done already and get a pass, but I need a Pass1 from this course in order to stand a chance at a 1st Class Honours - so I am afraid that the pressure is on.

I have to say that Graham is doing an excellent job on the econometrics forum, he appears to be there almost all the time and has been extremely helpful and patient, I'm not really sure any of us could have asked for more from him.

So, time for a big push over the next 10 days, as not only is the end in sight, it appears to be careering towards me !

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

DD309 : Doing economics: people, markets and policy - Still no TMA06

Less than a fortnight to go before the EMA has to be posted and TMA06 is still conspicuous by its absence.

Not happy about this at all - so I guess I press ahead and hope there is no need to make any changes.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

DD309 : Doing economics: people, markets and policy - Week 30

Week 30 – Block 6: Project work

Project work              Project work

What I really need is TMA06 back sometime today.

There would seem to be little point having this TMA as a necessary check and balance on your direction and ideas for the EMA if it gets back to you so close to the EMA deadline that altering course at that late stage is pretty much impossible.

What makes it worse is that it was submitted early..........

I am currently wasting my time checking the website every 15 mins to half an hour in the hope it will arrive.

Maybe a beer and the football will calm me down....... But it won't write the EMA.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

DD309 : Doing economics: people, markets and policy - TMA06 NOT Marked and Returned yet.

A huge downside of submitting the TMA early is that you want it back even sooner and life just doesn't work like that.

It has been well over 24 hours since the TMA deadline and still nothing from my tutor.......

But am I bored, no not at all - GRETL has seen to that.

For my EMA I wish to graphically illustrate the points I am trying to make regarding the correlation between education and wages. Unfortunately, due to some bug or other between the GRETL econometric application and the graph drawing application it is not possible to draw more than one line or indeed add a different line to the one GRETL wants you to add. I have therefore been on a  crash course in EXCEL scatter plotting, which sounds easy but can be very frustrating.

I have about 20 different scatter plots to produce, I am halfway through, my eyes were going skelly last night with the repetitive mundane task of copy - paste - scatter - adjust - title - save - check -save again - next!

I also have some sort of OCD condition in that I am unable to concentrate on writing text until this task is complete and all the graphs look perfect, same font, size, layout, colours - and I'm sure that the marker wouldn't really care if it was a hand drawn scatter - it is the information it conveys that is important not the presentation - but that is not how my brain works.

Also after several emails from the Open University, arriving with increasing regularity, I have done as asked-ordered-threatened and paid for my last course DD306. They hadn't reached the level of threat you'd associate with a crack-addled loan shark, but it was heading that way.

So, the end to my years of study for this BA PPE is not quite in sight, but it is just over this EMA shaped horizon.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

DD309 : Doing economics: people, markets and policy - TMA06 Submitted

TMA06 submitted over TWO DAYS EARLY.

That is the first time I've managed that on this course. I'm sure the experience would be one to savour if the EMA wasn't hunting me down - I think I can feel its breath on the back of my neck.

Quick cup of coffee then back to Gretl......

Saturday, 9 May 2015

DD309 : Doing economics: people, markets and policy - Week 29

Week 29 – Block 6: Project work

Project work             Project work

I am feeling happier about my EMA project which is loosely based around the wage advantages of acquiring human capital. It would seem that I am far from alone in choosing this general area of investigation, but as there is no way to discuss the project with others I'm sure we are all doing something slightly different.

The data I am working with seems to be doing what it should in most areas but my main theoretical model isn't working properly..... it will need altered and a 'improved' model postulated.

TMA06 is falling into place, so at present things seem to be on track.

I have put an enormous amount of effort into the TMAs for this course in the hope that I can get a Pass1, 'cos I don't think that will be possible in my last course which is now Politics (could have been Philosophy). I have made the grade on the TMAs, so this is putting a huge amount of pressure on the EMA. 

I think I may come up short on this.......

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

DD309 : Doing economics: people, markets and policy - EMA Submission - 28

OK, its time to get timetable serious and stop messing about......

As of now, the important dates are :

Target Date
Literature Review / Tutorial Presentation Now
TUTORIAL Project Presentation  9th May
TMA 6 12th May
Finish EMA Econometric Modelling 1 week 19th May
Fishing Conclusion and Suggestions 1 week 26th May
Proof Reading and Minor Tweeks 30th/31st May
Declair Project Finished Evening  1st June
Print Project and check all documentation Afternoon  2nd June
Have Project Bound Evening  2nd June
Send Project Recorded Delivery  Morning 3rd June

So, really only 3 weeks to go, a lot sooner than you think and an awful lot to do :-(

Saturday, 2 May 2015

DD309 : Doing economics: people, markets and policy - Week 28

Week 28 – Block 6: TMA week

1.1 Block 6 TMA week                 Complete TMA 06

There is a tutorial this weekend at which we are expected to make a presentation of our EMA project so far. Then fast on its heels is TMA 6 which is basically our literature review.

Having ahead a great bank holiday weekend on the canal, no project work has been done for some days, so this week and the weekend is going to be pretty full on.

The econometrics side of things seems to be falling into place, and it certainly helps that the econometric forum tutor, Graham Stark, is incredibly active, informative and encouraging. I have seen some complaints of inactivity on the projects forum for primary and secondary data, well that is certainly not the case for econometrics, and between the help from my tutor and Graham I really have no excuse not to do pretty well - I just have to apply myself.

I think once the literature review is out of the way and I can really examine the data and draw conclusions I may actually enjoy this......