Filed under: Uncategorized | Leave a comment »
First of all… welcome to TU100! The module officially starts today so this marks the beginning of the next 8 months’ worth of fun!
What I like to do is to try to produce a little newsletter each week which I email to everyone. Some weeks it may not happen – normally because my head is down and doing marking – but most weeks it will. The aim is to just review what we’ve done, think about what’s next and to flag anything else I think you might be interested in along the way.
This week’s studying…
So… where are we at now? Well, the start! Block 1 (out of 6), part 1… and it’s available in print or online which is great if you want to have more flexibility about where and how you study the materials. This week looks at a range of things – from an overview of computers and their role in society to thinking about netiquette and online security. Lots to get through, but all relevant and related to your own experience of using ICT, so I’m sure that you’ll enjoy reading it.
Tutor Group Forum activity
One of the things you’re asked to do during the week’s studying is to Google yourself (http://learn.open.ac.uk/mod/oucontent/view.php?id=560451§ion=4.5) in section 4.5 and then share the results with the rest of our tutor group forum. Have a go – I’ll be interested to see the results and what they reveal.
Do also take the opportunity to have a look at TMA01. It’ll come sooner than you think and is available online at http://learn.open.ac.uk/mod/oucontent/view.php?id=622091 – read through the guidance and you can probably already make a start on Question 1a) which asks you how you take notes… and making a start on a TMA ahead of time always feels good so I thoroughly recommend it. If you’re not sure about note-taking then head on over to http://learn.open.ac.uk/mod/resourcepage/view.php?id=560457&direct=1 where you’ll find a link to the excellent ‘Reading and Taking Notes’ pdf which is well worth downloading.
I’ll be posting the slides from today’s tutorial in our online tutor group as well as the handouts and ICT timeline activity which we worked through – keep your eyes peeled for that! If you haven’t replied to my introductory email, then I’d love to hear from you – and if you haven’t popped into the tutor group forum, then please do. There’s a virtual cup of tea waiting!
Right. That’s me done for this week’s newsletter! Have a great first week and I’ll look forward to seeing what your Googling results bring!
Filed under: Uncategorized | Leave a comment »
Just a quick reminder for my TU100 tutor group that our first face-to-face tutorial is tomorrow at the Nottingham Regional Centre starting at 10:30 and lasting until approx 12:30. It’s very easy to find, the address is:
The Open University, in the East Midlands, Clarendon Park, Clumber Avenue, Sherwood Rise, Nottingham NG5 1AH
… and there’s some parking available either next to the building or very near by.
We’ll be looking over the module as a whole, there will be chance to ask questions and an opportunity to look ahead to TMA01. If you can bring a pen and paper that would be great and if you want to bring a laptop or other device to take notes as well, please do. Don’t worry about bringing the TU100 books with you unless you’ve got a specific question which you’d like to ask about. Because we won’t have time to take a break, if you’d like to bring a drink / snack with you – again, feel free.
Look forward to seeing you there tomorrow if you can make it.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Leave a comment »
I hope you all had a good Easter break and have enjoyed the online tutorial discussion / chat sessions over the past week. There were some really interesting points being made and I’d be really interested to see a comparison of the chat sessions’ outcomes – where do virtual worlds fit in your lives? What importance do they have? It would be great to share those ideas!
The main thing to get done this week is CMA41. This is the first computer marked assignment you’ll have come across (or not if you’ve done other courses with CMAs!). Completing them is very straightforward, but my main piece of advice is read the instructions. Carefully! They need to be completed in a particular way and because they’re marked by computer, you don’t have someone else going ‘hmmmm, I think they may have actually meant to say x’ and making judgement calls on your answer. There’s nothing too tricky to watch out for in the CMA itself. The calculations should be okay – but if you do find them difficult, give me a yell and I can give you some pointers.
After that, we head straight into TMA02, so… some hints and tips…
Q1 – this one is fairly straight forward. Re-read the feedback I gave you for TMA01. If you can’t see my feedback for some reason… or if there was something which didn’t make sense – let me know *now* and I can sort it out this week rather than there being a panic next week! Also, make sure you provide *exact* quotations of feedback examples rather than paraphrasing. Then, make sure that cover both the ‘why’ and ‘how’ bit of part b) – I’d suggest leaving this part of the question until last, because you may find that something becomes useful as you’re attempting, for example, Q4… and if you’d already answered 1b) it would be a wasted effort!
Q2 – do pay attention to the process words. I want you to ‘explain’ – not discuss, not summarise, not compare! You may find this resource: http://www.open.ac.uk/skillsforstudy/activity-process-words.php helps clarify why this is important, and there’s a quick exercise there which helps brush up your skills. Don’t worry too much about the need for this to be an HTML page. We’re not after anything fancy at all. Just put into practice what you did in Block 2, Part 1, Sections 8.3 and 8.4 (Activity 31) and you’ll be fine! Any problems though – again, I’m here to help, so do ask either to my mailbox or in our tutor group forum.
Q3 – okay, this one is a bit more meaty. You are writing your answer from the notes you’ve taken (which we saw in TMA01) – so this would be an ideal opportunity to look back once again at the note-taking question in TMA01 and my feedback for this area. The structure for your answer has been provided. Use the sub-headings to guide you and to ensure that your writing remains your own. You are writing this from *your* notes – and not from the website directly – so I need to see that happening! If you need to use a quote, then make sure it is referenced properly. If you want to brush up your skills where searching and referencing are concerned, then http://learn.open.ac.uk/course/view.php?id=3548&m=3 is an excellent resource – and the quiz where you get to rate your own information finding / referencing skills is well worth attempting!
Q4 – here you’re entering the home straight! You’ve had the last two weeks to participate in the discussion in our tutor group forum – look for the sub-forum called ‘Online Tutorial’ and make your contribution there. You should also have had the opportunity to participate in one of our three groups – Circus, Windmill or Campsite – for the live chat task. Make sure that the transcript for your chat session has been posted so that anyone who wasn’t able to make it (for logistical, technical or whatever reason!) is able to answer part b). You’ve already done the hard work by participating in the activity for this question, so here you get the chance just to think about how it went. What you learnt and consider what worked for you in terms of the technologies used.
Overall – watch out for word counts and make sure that your spelling, grammar and punctuation are as good as you can make them. There are marks available for the latter and mark deductions which apply for not adhering to the former… so proof-read, proof-read, proof-read! There are lots of ways of doing this… getting someone else to read it through, reading it out loud to yourself, giving yourself a couple of days break then going back to read it again etc. Choose the one that suits you, but do make sure that you proof-read! I’ve one final resource you might find useful: http://www.open.ac.uk/skillsforstudy/activities/english/revising_your_written_work.htm
Okay… a long one this week! It’s all those assignments, I guess. Ah well… just think… in two weeks’ time you’ll have submitted both pieces of work… and I’ll be slaving away marking them whilst you put your feet up! 🙂
Another week, another newsletter! We’re now into week 8 and I hope that you’ve enjoyed the past weeks’ study. I’m sorry that I didn’t get a newsletter out to you last week… as I said about marking your assignments, I was ill for a lot longer than I anticipated and it threw everything off track somewhat – and I hope that the slight delay in the return of your work didn’t cause you too many concerns. What I’d like to do in this Newsletter is just to highlight some general feedback for the assignment and then to start looking forward again.
Overall, I was really impressed with everyone’s assignments. It was great to see the note taking handled so well by so many and there was a really strong understanding demonstrated of the topics we covered during Block 1. Some issues kept on recurring and I’ll quickly run through these.
1. Spelling and grammar. It can seems like a minor thing when you’ve managed to convey the essence of a topic, but if the person reading your work finds errors in spelling, punctuation etc then this diminishes the quality of your academic writing – no matter the quality of the content. Watch out for tiny typos. Keep an eye on errant apostrophes and if it helps, get someone else to proofread your work as not all errors will be picked up by the spellchecker.
2. Proofreading. Well, this one is related to the one above really. However, there were a few moments in several people’s assignments where it took me a few reads to try to make sense of what I was reading. I’m 99.9% certain that these errors would get picked up through effective proofreading – either by you or a third party. If I can impress anything on you in this Newsletter it’s this. Check your work… and then check it *again* before you send it in. I know time can be very short when it comes to assignment preparation but that final check though makes a world of difference – not just here, but in any type of written communication. You might like to work through http://www.open.ac.uk/skillsforstudy/activities/english/confusable_words.htm and the ‘test yourself’ activities on that page – and elsewhere on that site as it just gets you thinking about your own writing a little.
3. Note-taking style – generally this was absolutely fine, but it crept into several people’s work and this is the problem of slipping out of note-taking mode and falling into writing full sentences. Notes are notes – they’re prompts to remember what you read, to highlight key points and to give an overall sense of an article. As soon as they start replicating the article itself, they’re no longer notes – so do be careful!
4. Word counts. At this early stage of the course, no deduction is made for exceeding the word limits… but this will happen so take care where they’re concerned as they can cost you marks unnecessarily. I think the most (not of this batch) I’ve ever had any anyone exceed the word count was someone who went over by 1000%! Please don’t try to break that record! Writing concisely is a bit of an art form, but it really makes a difference and helps to eliminate waffle / material which isn’t fully focused on addressing the question. So, do highlight the word counts as you go and make sure that you’re not way under them or way over and all should be well!
As you can see – the above aren’t points about the content of what you were writing. People’s technical knowledge was generally of a solid standard… but the mistakes above kept on creeping in and I think it’s useful for all of us to stop and think about our writing style from time to time, as I’m no better than anyone else where this is concerned – and I find that useful for me too!
Studywise this week we’re still looking at ‘People to People’ in Block 2. From databases to Voice over IP and viruses / malware – there’s things I think you’ll find interesting on both an academic level and a personal level, so I hope you enjoy it! The web 2.0 materials look really good and if you want to explore some of those services, then let us know in the tutor group which ones you’ll be looking at and what you think of them! For example, I use Flickr a lot (I also work on T189, the Digital Photography course so it’s an interest of mine – you can see what I’ve shared at http://www.flickr.com/photos/horrigans if you like) – and it would be nice for us to bring together a few examples of our use of these services in our online tutor group forum!
After that – it’s Easter! So, I’m sure a few of you are going away / taking time out from study – and I hope that you have a lovely break no matter how long or short before that next hurdle, the CMA, starts to loom! These last couple of months have whizzed by and I’ve really enjoyed working with you.