It was back to the books again today, but with a really debilitating cold so it was just as well that the chapter was on the light-ish side and covered ground I was already familiar with. Can personal testimony be believed and considered knowledge? In most cases no, don’t be so silly, so that was simple. Some laughable opinions as to why it should be and why testifiers should be believed (‘because trusting them will make them want to tell the truth’, pull the other one, it’s election season). A lovely dose of cynicism to keep my spirits up.
I selected which of the two independent study options to study based on the only one I could actually find anywhere online, which handily agreed with my ‘don’t be daft’ cynical viewpoint.
I had received the result to TMA04 whilst I was away. It was a little nerve-wracking checking the website for the score after the previous low of 68. Thank goodness it was a new psychology high of 81, which puts me firmly back on the 2:1 path in this course, having to hand in a pretty awful TMA05 to bump me down, though the extended essay is still a bit of a lottery (and it counts for half of the course’s mark).
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.
Bah, why is it that the assignments that you feel go well are the ones you get the lower marks on? Is this related to the exams you feel went badly turning out to be the ones you do the best in? A 68 isn’t a terrible score, but my lowest to date on this course. I still keeps me on course for a 2:1, but shows a worrying downward trend in my marks just as I am going full-time (and after I took extra time on this particular assignment). At least the presentation part of the assignment scored well.
Well, there’s timing for you. Having just posted that I hadn’t had my TMA result back yet (and maybe didn’t want it back), what comes flying into my inbox but the automated email that my marked assignment is available. Big breath and click through to the TMA section of the website (where you see the mark before you get the options to download the marked assignment and accompanying notes). My word, a 75. I will definitely take that. I was thinking a 67, I just wasn’t sure of my answer to the question. My tutor seemed to appreciate what I did though (and I appreciate his use of smiley faces), even if I did have a bit of a wobble at one point. Phew.
An early start to the day and therefore an early start to the week’s study. Still with war, this week was looking at when it’s morally permissible to kill non-combatants and when it’s morally impermissible to kill combatants during war. Lots of amusing examples of naked soldiers in the bath being targeted by snipers, mostly I got to write the word ‘combatant’ a lot. This book seems a little different to the last as there seems to be more recounting of what other philosophers say and less thinking about things ourselves. Maybe it is the subject matter, or maybe it is just the author’s style, but things seem a little less complex than the previous topic of painful art.
I also got the result of my first essay back this week. It would seem that the strike my tutor was engaged in has ended as I got the comments and the mark back (a very healthy 78 which I was pleased with). In comparison to my previous philosophy tutor’s comments, these were perfection. instead of generalisations, there were specific comments about what was good, what could be altered (including how), and exactly what would have made the essay better and achieved a higher mark. All useful feedback that can be applied to the next essay without having to guess what the tutor is looking for. A good start, let’s hope I can maintain it.
I had to miss parkrun on Saturday as there was a review day scheduled for my psychology course and it started at 10:00 (a bit tight to make it there from a 9am 5km run if I didn’t want to arrive dripping in sweat). As it was I only just made it on time (after a detour via Starbucks) and the day kicked off with advice about the exam. It turns out that a lot of the advice from the run bristol training session was relevant to exam prep: getting a lot of sleep, making sure you eat and drink right, and not panicking but trusting in the work you have already done.
We then moved on to a couple of presentations about the personality and perception and attention chapters, which the neuroscientist giving them let us with the conclusion that they were rubbish and unfortunately won’t get tested on the neuro elements respectively. After which there was a quick break for some lunch.
After lunch we looked at the short answer questions (5 from 8 terms will require a definition and explanation of why they are important), then the lifespan development chapter which I had already decided I wasn’t going to focus on in my revision, which was just as well as my brain decided to check out about then anyway. I then got to go home and frantically tidy and vacuum as people were coming round that evening.
I put the OU on hold for the rest of Saturday and Sunday (I had a family commitment on Sunday), but did receive the mark for my final tutor marked assignment (TMA) on Sunday morning. A healthy 78 which gives me an average (before substitution, which will probably push it up a little bit) of 79%. This is a solid pass 2 grade. The OU module results aren’t the average of your assignment marks and your exam marks, but the lower grade you achieve in the two, so if I want to keep my pass 2 then I need to get at least 70 on the exam, which after the review day I feel is achievable.
I have also just applied and paid for my first level 3 course: A333 – key questions in philosophy. This is scheduled to start 4th October, which will give me a whole two week break between courses.
I didn’t feel great about the last assignment, a qualitative project using thematic analysis, but told myself that as long as I got over 70% that I would be happy. My tutor marked and got it back to me last night and I checked the score online: 72%. A little disappointed, but it keeps me well within my current grade boundaries (there’s no way I could score high enough to move up a boundary and it would need to be a total disaster to fall down a boundary – I have already got a passing grade for the assignment portion of my grade and still have one assignment to go).
The comments about the content of the assignment were good, but it seems I’m still not referencing correctly even though I am following the examples given by the OU exactly and the feedback from prior assignments, which is frustrating but at least there is only one more assignment involving referencing to go, I’d just rather not lose easy marks that way.
The result for my most recent assignment on the accuracy of memory came back while I was away in Ireland and I was only able to pick up the mark (a healthy 82) but not the comments until I got back. I only got round to doing that today (as I procrastinate with regards to TMA05). I need to cut back my introduction, remove a small amount of repetition and pay a bit more attention to the APA style of referencing (tricky when what the OU calls APA style is not actual APA style), but overall I am happy with it.
There haven’t been any recent posts about the weekly study I have been doing as it has all been about thematic analysis and very much focused towards the next assignment, due next week, which is a project using thematic analysis.
My psychology tutor seems to have a remarkably fast turnaround on our assignments. TMA03 (a report on a Stroop-related psychology experiment that I undertook whist at Bungay) was only due on Wednesday, but I got my mark back this morning and it wasn’t due until two weeks after submission. Handy though, as there’s a tutorial on Thursday. I was a little worried about how I’d do on this assignment as I hadn’t been able to devote as much time to it as I would have liked since I was revising for my philosophy exam, but the rigid structure of the presentation may have helped me get to a very nice 89 thank you very much.
I did make a stupid mistake on the type of design, but luckily it only cost me the one mark. Roll on being able to focus 100% on psychology.
It was final exam day today for my philosophy course and 3 hours to write 3 essays. There were 6 topics in the course and each topic had two questions, you just had to pick 3 from these 12 and they had to be on 3 different topics. I hedged my bets slightly when revising and picked 4 topics to focus on (the self, religion, ethics and mind) hoping that I’d be able to find 3 questions amongst all of that to answer. I also checked out what had previously been asked in recent exams and particularly in the TMAs for the course (since they said that essay questions wouldn’t be repeated). When it came to paper turning over time I was pleased that abortion had come up in the ethics section and also chose to answer a question on science-fiction though experiments and personal identity, and the problem of evil. To be honest I could have probably answered the abortion and problem of evil questions before I took the course, but I had philosophers names to throw at it this time. So all in all I think the exam went as well as it could.
This was just as well as when I got home I found that my final assignment had been marked and I’d got my worst mark to date: 66. This is probably going to drag my overall grade down to a pass 3, so if I’d found out before the exam I may not have bothered showing up (the person due to sit behind me didn’t). It’s looking more and more likely that I’ll be transferring to a pure psychology degree and dropping this module entirely. Oh well, I was feeling pretty good until I saw that result, particularly when all the notes are about wanting more signposting in two out of a total of 7 paragraphs (having praised it in all of the others) and wanting an extra example (which I didn’t have the word count for). I have no idea how anyone gets any decent marks based on these criteria.
UPDATE: I just checked out whether any of my existing psychology credits could be transferred over to a pure psychology degree, resigned to having to study another 60 credits at level 60, but found that a total of zero of my credits are transferable, so it looks like my only real chance to continue with psychology is to start again from scratch or to stick out the philosophy course next year and just aim for not failing.