A333 – week 4 – The paradox of painful art

This week we were looking at the paradox of painful art – why some people deliberately seek out art which they know will cause negative emotions in them such as tearjerkers, horror films, etc. As this is the topic that the first assignment will be on I took the time to complete both of the independent study options and the optional additional study, which meant that my study time rolled over onto a second day. I’m still not convinced by any one ‘solution’ to the paradox, preferring to pick and choose a little bit from one and a little bit from another, but then I personally tend to avoid painful art anyway so it’s all a bit of a mystery why anyone other than a teenage girl might deliberately seek it out.

DSE212 – Exploring Psychology – exam breakdown

The OU have now provided a breakdown of the exam part of the course result, so I can compare how I did against the other students taking the exam on the questions I chose. There were 863 of us who sat the exam, and all of us were required to complete 5 short answer questions (worth 25% of the total), and 3 long answer questions (each worth 25%) – 2 from part 2 and 1 from part 3.

Looking at the breakdown across all students, of the 863 who sat the exam, 3 people didn’t complete part 1 – the short answer questions where 8 words from a pre-set list were given and you had to write on 5 of them. I came down in the 70-84% grade, along with 166 other students.

For the long answer questions I chose a question on the behaviourist perspective to learning, one on the study of attention and perception, and one on how teaching language to apes has increased (or not) the understanding of its evolutionary basis.

The behaviourist perspective question was popular, with 590 students attempting it. It was a straightforward discussion of its contribution, which might explain its popularity. I got a 70-84% grade along with 211 other students.

The attention and perception question was less popular with only 335 students giving that a bash. I got another 70-84% grade, as did 83 other students.

The question on the evolutionary basis of language was the least popular of all with only 192 of us having a go. This one I got an 85-100% grade on, along with 13 other students, even though I had a minor panic with my pen running out of ink and not liking the new cartridge until I remembered the tweezers I had included in my pencil case for just such an eventuality (of the cartridge not being broken open properly).

Looking at the numbers, 10 students didn’t complete a question from the 3rd part of the exam, which is 25% gone right there. Time management presumably being an issue there.


It was back to almost full fitness and back to the Monday morning run with added zombies. A few more cyclists that dog walkers today and only one other runner. Nice and mild and I got round before the threatening clouds did their worst.


Ashton Court parkrun – 25th October 2014

I had been fighting off a cold all week, so wasn’t expecting great things this week. The weather looked a little chilly so I took a light rain jacket and was glad of it when it started drizzling walking between the car park and the run start. It stopped for the actual run though and resulted in a partial rainbow visible at the 1.25km turning point.

I was pretty happy to come home sub 25 minutes given the circumstances, though there were a fair few regulars missing (potentially competing in the cross-country races also at Ashton Court this weekend).

I finished 82nd out of 244 parkrunners, was 8th lady and 2nd in my age category. I am now back up to second in the points table (as Jane wasn’t running this week), but won’t be running next week as I will be at a funeral so will inevitably drop back down again.

DSE212 – Exploring psychology – course result

OU course results are calculated by looking at two different marks, based on two different forms of assessment with your course result being the lower of the two marks. This might be continuous assessment and a final exam, continuous assessment and a final extended essay, etc. In the case of DSE212 – Exploring psychology it was continuous assessment and a final exam. I already knew my score for the continuous assessment which was 79, but was waiting to see how the exam I sat back in September went to find out my overall course result. The 79 from continuous assessment meant that the best I could achieve was a grade 2 pass (aka a 2:1 in old money), but if the exam mark was a grade lower then that is the grade I would receive.

The mark for my exam was a nice round 80, so a grade 2 pass it is, to match my grade 2 pass for my level 2 philosophy course.

For my level 2 philosophy course I was given a breakdown of my exam marks, with details about how that compared to other people sitting it, but this time I have only (so far) been given a breakdown of the continuous assessment score (which I already knew).

The level 2 course results will be weighted together with my level 3 course results to give my final degree classification with level 2 results being multiplied by the number of credits the courses are worth, whilst level 3 courses are multiplied by the number of credits and 2. The lower your overall points total, the higher the degree classification. So far I have 120 credits at grade 2, giving me 240 points. A first requires 630 points or less, a 2:1 631-900 points, a 2:2 901-1,170 points (and let’s not go any lower than that). There’s also some quality assurance calculations where your best level 3 course needs to be of the top grade indicated by the calculation. So, to get a first I would need to get at least one first and one 2:1 in my remaining 60 credit level 3 courses which would give me 600 points total (60x1x2)+(60x2x2)+240 = 600.

Bristol Energy Cooperative 2014 AGM

I have just got back from the Bristol Energy Coop’s 2014 AGM. As a member of the coop thanks to the most recent share issue I was entitled to attend and vote on the various resolutions such as appointing new directors, approving interest payments, accepting accounts etc. There wasn’t a massive turnout, but then I had got off my sick-sofa to go and it may be half term at the moment. A lot of the attendees seemed to be new subscribers or current and past directors.

It was interesting to hear about how current projects were progressing, and to hear about exciting new potential projects. I’m not sure what I was quite expecting, but a fair few stereotypes were confirmed. The meeting ran over and I’d not eaten before leaving, so I skipped the pub afterwards but may see if I can get to any of their monthly reading groups over in Stokes Croft.

I’ve just got notification that my psychology course result is in…

Terrifying dream of academic failure, ish.

The course result for my level 2 psychology course is due out at the end of the month, and I have just started my first level 3 philosophy course (with my level 3 psychology course due to start in February). That, along with coming down with a cold and chatting with a fellow philosophy student on Saturday about them running out of time in their last exam and only completing two and a bit of their three questions appear to have combined today to wake me with a terrifying (and annoying) dream of academic failure.

In the dream I was completing the exam for my level 3 philosophy course (which, incidentally, does not have an exam component, there is an extended essay instead), but had only written answers for two of the questions instead of the required three. This would mean that the maximum grade I could obtain was 67%, dooming me to a Pass 3 maximum score from the course (instead of averaging ongoing assessments and final components the OU gives you whichever grade is lower from the two marks) and a lower overall degree result (there’s a complicated turning grades into points and giving them multipliers depending on whether they are level 2 or level 3). Worse, having handed in the paper (which was in a different format to the ones I have taken so far), I returned to a different classroom where the invigilator (who was Richard Osman) informed me that it would be worse than a 67% as I hadn’t completed the front of the booklet with which questions I had answered, but he let me fill in those boxes after the fact (which I got wrong the first time I tried and had to erase).

I then talked to the students in the other room who had done the same exam and found that many of the questions on the exam were about areas that hadn’t been covered or had only just been touched upon in the course. This lead to Andrew Graham-Dixon (Culture Show presenter) celebrating with his group of students about the fact that they had concentrated on Stalin’s beard, which was one of the question topics.

I decided that I would resit the exam at the earliest opportunity, banking the ongoing assessment scores, and woke up. I reassured myself that I had really completed the front of my psychology exam booklet correctly (it was checked in the actual exam, but not in the dream), and had completed the correct number of questions on it. I guess I will find out in a week or so when the results come out. Dreams – weird, aren’t they?

A333 – week 3 – The paradox of fictional emotion

The steady ramping up of the course continued into week 3, which now focused just on the paradox of fictional emotion (why people are emotionally invested in things they know are not real) and had to be spread over two days. On Monday I went through the book chapter which looked at the viewpoints of Charles Radford and Kendall Walton, neither of which provided satisfactory reasons for me. On Tuesday it was the independent and the optional study which wasn’t exactly independent (read exactly this), and which looked a bit more at Walton and hinted at the interesting idea of ‘alief’ which I might look into more at a later date (it would be hard to shoehorn into the marked assignment, so is probably best left for private perusal).


No zombies for me today as I needed to restore and re-download all of the season 3 missions after I had to restore my iphone which wiped them all. I just ran to music, though it was a little odd not to have story breaking in between each track. I had three opportunities to use my runbell (in its inverted position). The first was a young fellow with headphones in who appeared unmoved/unware. The second was two people each with a dog who were taking up the entire pavement: two pings and no recognition or movement, I had to stop and slowly walk around them (off the pavement). The third was a lady and her golden lab/retriever who both turned at the bell and moved to one side.

A333 – first tutorial

After a less than stellar experience with my previous philosophy tutor (who seemed more interested in tripping his students up and creating new imaginary hoops to jump through, than teaching and enthusing them about the subject), I was mildly concerned as to what my new philosophy tutor would be like. No need to have worried though, he seems much more responsive to engaging with his students than the last one, and whilst there were one or two majority voices in this first tutorial at least they were on topic (unlike previously when the tutor allowed one person to dominate with his near incoherent ramblings). Only one familiar face from my previous philosophy course tutor group (we exchanged war stories). I shall have to see if my positive feelings towards the style of this tutor remain after my first assignment is graded.