I am finally all caught up with my OU studies. I had to put my most recent TMA for the psychology course on hold while I finished off the mega-essay-of-doom for my philosophy course, so there was frantic catching up on that (submitted with two hours to spare on Tuesday) which meant I was a week behind on my studies. I had done a little bit of reading of this chapter as it related to the project area I plan to research at residential school (which the most recent TMA was about), but now I got to read the whole thing properly. My research area has about half a page in it, so hopefully there will still be enough participants naive to its concepts when it comes to running the experiment. A lot of interesting stuff about eye tracking and how little we need in order to understand words and sentences. I didn’t end up reading the optional material as it wasn’t available.
I can now get my life back a little and go to the cinema, knit in daylight, even visit kittens. Just in time for my birthday. Right after I go to my track session…
It feels like a very long time since I had a proper chapter to study rather than the methods companion, which required actual writing of notes and everything. I was feeling a little blah emotionally, so didn’t do the suggested memory retrieval task, but it was interesting nonetheless even if there was a lot of ‘we don’t really know’ going on and suggested explanations. The section on PTSD was particularly of interest to me, if a little graphic with their example (but then it is PTSD after all).
They decided to add on a section of study from the methods companion going back to stats, covering the very thing that it would have been helpful to know for the last TMA (great timing there). I didn’t follow any of it. It was promised that the examples would help, but they just consisted of ‘analyse this data’ with no instructions other than ‘look at a book if you need help’. Great. Very helpful. Luckily google can tell me which boxes to check but when you are just provided with some data and no information it can be a little tricky determining which are your dependent and indepedent variables. Also no clue of what the output that it spat out means. This should make the big project that we have to do fun. At least it is only part of the total grade.
Once I have finished my philosophy course then I must sit down and do some proper study on statistics and the software we have to use so that I am not just mindlessly clicking buttons come project time.
TMA03 to start writing tomorrow.
Things move on quickly in the world of The Open University, and since last week I have had back a TMA result (76, I’ll take that given that I was guessing on interpreting the numbers to stats package spat out at me), and attended a 2.5 hour tutorial. This week it was back to the Methods Companion and looking at cognitive neuropsychology which is relevant for the next TMA due in a couple of weeks.
A relatively light week after the project TMA last week. Just looking at various neuroimaging techniques and why/when you would use them. A long (42 page) journal article to read as well (though 5 pages were taken up with references). A nice relax in the garden afterwards before starting up on writing another TMA for my philosophy course tomorrow.
Back to the books again in the psychology course after the Easter break and I had to split it over two days to get it all done. A full chapter about long-term memory as well as study into the hows and whys of some of the statistics that we will be expected to use. This gives me just under a week to write TMA02 (also scheduled for this week), but hopefully I am now in a slightly better position to understand the numbers generated by SPSS.
A slightly odd week in the psychology course. It featured details as to how to download the results of an experiment that we ran a few weeks ago and upload that data into SPSS, but officially those results weren’t supposed to be ready until the end of week 9 in two weeks (but they were up already). It’s all going to be used in the next assignment but there isn’t really any time blocked out in the schedule to write it (it’s a report), and we don’t study how to interpret the results until week 9. I’ve decided to go with running the SPSS results and writing up the method section of the report now, and writing the introduction which features the literature review next week which is blocked out as Spring break. I’ll have to wait until we’ve learned how to analyse the results before I can write the discussion and results sections, then after all of that can finally write the abstract (which starts the whole report). All a bit of a jumble.
It was back to the big book of psychology again this week, looking at working memory. It was a total Baddeley fest, with the chapter (which focused on the Baddeley & Hitch model of working memory) being followed up with two articles by Baddeley (in which he referenced a shedload more of his own articles). So I don’t think I’ll be forgetting Baddeley’s name in a hurry (which takes it out of working memory and firmly into LTM).
This week was to familiarise ourselves with E-Prime, the software we will be using to conduct our big research project. It started with running an experiment that someone else had designed, but which we will be using the data from in our next assignment. After that we got walked through how to set up a simple experiment ourselves to prepare us for residential school when we will be running them.
This was a helpful introduction as I had signed up to participate in a PhD student’s research which was using the same software. I’m a proper psychology student now, doing experiments for other psychology students and soon to be doing them on other psychology students.
Blimey my tutor is quick, TMA01 was only due in on Tuesday (though I submitted on Monday) and I’ve already got it back 48 hours after the submission deadline. I got a nice solid 81, which is pleasing. The first TMA on a course is always nerve-wracking as you don’t know what your tutor is looking for. This one is substitutable though (which means that if its mark is lower than your average for the course then the average will be substituted for it) which takes a little bit of the pressure off. The comments on the actual essay were slightly different to what I have previously had – pointing towards more depth on the various studies I quoted and referenced, which is nice for educational purposes but I’m not sure how I could cram them in given that there was nothing marked as being superflous. The only thing I really missed out on was not including more discussion on the developmental evidence with regards to face recognition, but the word limit is restrictive so something is always going to get cut (or not covered in full detail).
Now, back to working on TMA04 for my philosophy course A333.
Week 3 (though 4 really) and it was time to look at recognition of both objects and faces. The material was familiar to me thanks to the tutorial on Saturday, so it was easier and faster to work through than it would otherwise have been. The journals were a bit hard to get through though (one seeming to mostly be blowing a giant raspberry as some researchers with a different theory to the authors). It might lean me more towards the second option for TMA01 (the first is based on attention) since it is a new topic to me and potentially more interesting to write about.