Sunday, 29 September 2013

On your marks, get set. . .

Right on cue, on Friday September 20th, my S141 OU course materials arrived. Exciting stuff! Having said that, excitement was dampened somewhat when I opened my package to find two vital items missing - the 'mugmat' (a piece of plastic to be used in an experiment) and the pH paper. An email and phone call followed to 'dispatch' to get the missing bits posted. Well they are going to have to get their skates on because the 'mugmat exercise'  takes place on Week 1, as a sort of ice-breaker exercise to get us using the tutorial technology and communicating with fellow students online. So without this piece of plastic I am going to struggle a bit!

Anyway, no panic just yet, I will trust in the OU to sort it out. Meanwhile, my tutor is called Dr Victoria Nicholas, who will hopefully prove as good as the excellent Gordon Woodhead who was my tutor for S104. I've already made a start on the 'Maths for Science' book by whizzing  through the first couple of chapters of basic maths skills revision. Nothing too demanding there but useful revision nevertheless. 

Today, around lunchtime I joined a 'drop-in session' designed to check that the technology involved in the on-line tutorial sessions was working and that we were okay with using it. From my perspective, I had no experience of the OU's previous online tutorial system, which apparently has more than a few glitches associated with it. The new system, 'OU Online' seems pretty good if today's short taster is anything to go by. How things go with about ten students and a tutor all trying to converse at once, I'll find out on October 8th. Should be fun, provided of course that I receive a bloody mugmat!

I intend to use this next week to work through a chapter or two of Understanding the Weather and try to get ahead a bit. I found when doing S104 and also the short ten point courses, that it is always a good idea to give yourself a bit of a buffer just in case life throws a spanner in the works, stopping you studying for a week or two. 

So initial impressions are very good. I've taken a couple of years break from OU study and while a multitude of changes have taken place and are indeed still ongoing, my instinct says that ultimately things are going to be just fine. I find myself really excited about study and testing myself. There's nothing riding on it really. I will be studying stuff that excites me and I am studying because I want to and that ladies and gentlemen, is what education should be all about!

See you next time,

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