Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Jeremy Corbyn for Labour Leader : Q & A in Luton

Well it wasn't easy getting there, 90 mins of heavy traffic, changed road layouts, confused TomTom and road works diversions which took me to parts of Luton I don't expect I'll ever see again, but I eventually got to the Luton venue just in time.

The venue was full and the crowd were a lot younger than I had imagined. Jeremy Corbyn spoke for about 40 mins on various things such as how 0.5% Corporation Tax could make further education free for all, and preferable to the impending possibility of removing fee caps whereby Oxbridge universities can price all but the very rich from their courses, on stopping  multinationals such as Boots from avoiding paying tax on UK based profits, on protecting social and council housing from being sold off, on a sensible minimum wage, on scrapping Trident and various other topics.

It would appear from media reports that there is a real momentum behind #Corbyn4Leader, and I really hope this is maintained all the way through to the ballot. This could be the start of a popular movement for social responsibility, it could be exciting times ahead.

DD306 : Living Political Ideas - Time to walk the walk.......

I have always lived in parliamentary constituencies in which my vote, on its own, has been pretty insignificant. It has never stopped me voting, and I have always voted, but I have always lived in very safe Labour seat or as now an extremely safe Conservative seat, and therefore it has meant that I have never felt the need to get involved.

Working for the expected Labour landslide in the past, or in the last couple of elections, campaigning against the inevitable Tory win has seemed a bit of a waste of time. What could I possibly do that would make a difference?

So what has changed.

Jeremy Corbyn appears to me to have the honesty and integrity that has been missing in politics since John Smith sadly passed away. John Smith was surely the greatest Prime Minister we never had, and somebody who could communicate to everybody with a credibility and sincerity sadly lacking from many of today's professional politicians.

So what sort of country do I want to live in....... a country where,
Benefits are a safety net, not a way of life, but benefits at a level that allow people to live with dignity
Where those who cannot look after themselves are cared for properly,
Where a suitable minimum wage means working a 40hr week means you earn enough to live on,
Where those who earn more, contribute more (and I say this as somebody who is fortunate enough to pay 40% tax on some earnings)
There is a Re-nationalisation of industries that do not have proper market competition (and that never should have been sold), such as Railways and utilities.
There is a 'National Bank' to stop people having to use loan sharks and pay day loan companies.
Where there is social mobility, inequality is reduced not increased and those that govern are a true representation of those they govern.

..... Yes it is all a bit utopian and will probably never happen, but if the Conservatives get another election win then it may be too late for the NHS, the disabled and the elderly, unless of course you happen to come from money.

So enthused by #Corbyn4Leader I have not only joined the Labour Party, I will also be going along to his Q&A in Luton Tuesday 28th. I will let you know how that goes.......

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

DD306 : Living Political Ideas - I have the book !!!

It has not been easy to find, but having trawled the internet I eventually managed to find this book on a second hand book site. So some light summer reading before the course starts proper.

Strangely I am missing the imposed study discipline that impending deadlines bring, but I am also aware that this is my last course and with the course fees having moved from effectively being a decision on how to spend hobby money, to now being a serious family effecting financial decision, and as my last course I'd really like to enjoy it.

The pressure is off slightly as the aim for this course is a Pass2 or better, but I doubt that I will be able to change gear at this stage so it will pretty much be 100% effort unless I get seriously disillusioned.

So, lets see what this book is all about then........

Friday, 10 July 2015

DD309 : Doing economics: people, markets and policy - Feedback of sorts

Had I looked harder yesterday, rather than being blinded by the result, I would have seen a link to view your performance in the examinable component.

It shows the assessment criteria and how each section could be rated.

Assessment criteria
Scale: Excellent, Good, Clear Pass, Bare Pass, Bare Fail, Fail

Criteria :
i. Research question: clarity and relevance to the module
ii. Literature review and economic theory: clarity and relevance to the module
iii. Selection/collection of data/evidence: effectiveness in addressing the question
iv. Analysis & research method: effectiveness in integrating theory, data & evidence
v. Aptness of conclusions in drawing threads of argument together
vi. Evidence of independent thought and initiative
vii. Standard of presentation and referencing

I was glad to see that I was marked either Excellent or Good in the above criteria, and especially that for 'evidence of independent thought' it was Excellent, given that I had taken a far from easy course in this project, and pressed on in this direction against the advice from my tutor to simplify the project.

The other information on the site was the performance of all students in the EMA, which was a pretty standard bell curve sort of distribution.

It would be nice to get some more detailed feedback though - but I'm not sure if this is available.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

DD309 : Doing economics: people, markets and policy - Course result out.

The waiting has finally ended, if only I could have been patient for another couple of minutes - see previous post :-)

There is not a lot I can say about this except that I delighted with the result, and I think it is fair to say that the amount of time and effort expended on the EMA has been rewarded.

Also, I am really pleased that my decision to carry on with quite a complicated project, against the recommendation by my tutor to simplify the project and concentrate on just one regression, has been vindicated, and the project received a Pass 1 which I don't think would have been possible with a simple project.

So with one course left my target is Pass2 or better in DD306 Politics - Living Political Ideas, and a 1st Class Honours could be mine, which always seemed like a laudable if somewhat unrealistic target, but it now looks possible.

Well that has taken the pressure off a bit, would love to see some sort of feedback on the EMA - maybe that will come later, but for now, I'll enjoy the result, read for fun for a change and get study-rested ready to resume in October.

Unless I do get some feedback on the EMA this is probably the last blog entry until the DD306 course website opens or the books arrive.

DD309 : Doing economics: people, markets and policy - Impatiently waiting on result

Waiting on the EMA and overall course result is now having a significantly adverse effect on my life.

My concentration level has fallen significantly, and productivity of any task is hampered by the continual refreshing of the OU Course Website results page.

The OU play their own part in this my sending out random and completely unrelated emails which cause a mixture of excitement, trepidation and ultimately (well so far anyway) disappointment.

The accepted wisdom with regard to course results is that they come out the week before the week of the deadline, so that leaves them the rest of today and tomorrow before leaving us with a terrible weekend of anticipation to conquer before this all starts again on Monday.

This is torture. Give me my result.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Open University Blogs

One new blog to mention (well new to me) and one blog revived and back in the game.

New one first. Serendipity, history and me is a blog from Leanne covering many things, one of which is her study with the OU. I haven't read a lot on this yet but she seems fairly active on the surviving the OU website.

The old blog was from Damien at oustudentlife , which was a good read until he appears to have become completely disillusioned with DD102 (which I can see is possible) and he disappeared. Well the good news is that months on he has completed DD102 and ready to crack on in pursuit of a Psychology degree. If nothing else, I remember Damien from uncovering the strange case of the plagiarised blog. Look forward to more from him soon.

And just in......

GlamChem from Amy King who describes herself as Cockney Chemist. Studying Chemistry via the OU, teacherSTEM education consultant, educational ambassador & ukfechat contributor

DD309 : Doing economics: people, markets and policy - Two weeks to go.......

It has been a really strange time overe the last month, I seem to be able to forget about the impending EMA mark for days on end, and then something will happen and I start obsessing again. The website says that the mark will be available by the 17th July, but anecdotal posts seem to suggest the mark can come through 2 weeks, 10 days, one week before the deadline, consequently I have been visiting the OU website, more in hope than realistic hope, to see if there is any news.

There is no news.

I guess when there is news Facebook will go mental and that will be the cue to visit the website.