I’m still managing to keep a week ahead to give myself as much time and space to prepare for my other course’s exam, and this week was heavily stats based. Sampling errors, confidence intervals, one-tailed vs two-tailed hypotheses, null hypothesis, and the p-value. A little bit of playing with SPSS to generate some error bar charts and look at confidence intervals.
I also got to submit the second TMA which has been sitting around for a few weeks awaiting the deadline, after a quick polish.
The latest philosophy essay (on Descartes) came back from my tutor last night, and will my marks being all over the shop and different things wrong each time I had no idea what to expect. Surprisingly I got a 78 which matches my previous top mark in this course. Conflicting feedback (as per usual) with wanting more signposting and more explanation, but not about X and not without going over the word count. Ho hum. At least this puts me in a better position to try and scrape a pass 2 (2:1) for the module with one assignment and the exam to go. Maybe I won’t transfer to a pure psychology degree after all.
The deadline for the submission of this assignment which was looking at whether being able to conceive of mind and body apart means that they can exist apart, has passed so I can blog about it. Well, I submitted an essay. It talked about Descartes’ argument for being able to have mind and body existing apart since he can conceive them apart. It included problems with Descartes’ reasoning, and some examples as to how they were wrong.
I have no idea if it is what my tutor wants.
Each essay has had completely different feedback, so I’ve been fire-fighting my way through, fixing one thing only to be told that something else is wrong. Ho hum. I’ll get a mark at least, and it should be a passing one, but with only one more assignment before the exam (which might not be marked and returned before the exam) I’m thinking again about switching to a full psychology degree instead of a combined philosophy and psychology degree.
I still can’t get my head around what is being asked for in these philosophy assignments. I thought I had it this time and whilst I’d improved my signposting apparently I was too vague and needed more argument. Back down to a 68 again. I think I’ll just have to accept that I’m not cut out to write philosophy essays in the way they want them written as I just can’t tell what that is. I was previously exhorted to include more “I” statements so did, but they’re too vague? They want more examples but I was already over the word count, so how can they be fitted in with everything else they also wanted (and liked)?. Oh well, two more essays until the exam to try and get a handle on it. At least my example of the OPERA experiment was received well.
My tutor did an amazing turnaround time on the first TMA. It was only submitted on Wednesday, we had a tutorial on Thursday evening, and I got it back on Friday afternoon. A nice healthy 79 to start, helped by my short answers (the TMA was in two parts, an essay and three short answers) where I only lost two marks, one of which was for referencing. I lost marks in my essay for my referencing, which I knew I would following the tutorial (so confusing having two different referencing styles in two different courses) and I think I know better how to structure my essay too (also different styles between the two courses – no “I” statements in psychology, pretty much only “I” statements in philosophy). So I’m pretty happy with that mark, I know what I have to do to improve, good stuff.
It’s a TMA week this week and I have been working on trying out the style of essay as suggested in the latest tutorial. Lots of “I” statements and attempts at signposting what I am going to say. I personally find this style fugly to read and write, but if that’s the style I have to write in then that’s what I’ll do. I’ve also totally cut out quotes, just referenced back to where I read ideas (which feels really wrong).
A fairly straightforward compare and evaluate question looking at act and rule utilitarianism. I don’t have great hopes for it as an essay, but then I thought my last essay was good and I got a worse mark for it than my first one, so I may not be the best judge of these things.
It turns out that I fell to the curse of thinking an essay went well so that I end up getting my worst mark so far for it (a 67). It seems that I have to go against what I learned in my previous courses in supporting my arguments with quotes from the source and instead re-write the source material in my own words. This is pretty much the exact opposite of what I have been told before, so it will be hard to unlearn. At least I have a few more essays to practise in before the exam. Oh well, that’s the way it goes and my two assignments so far even out to 72.5 (though the average of all 6 assignments will only be 50% of my overall mark for the course, the rest coming from the 3 hour hand-written exam – better get working on my handwriting).
The deadline has passed for this essay, so I can write a little bit about how much I enjoyed tackling the issue of the circumstances in which someone could be justified in believing in miracles. I found it great fun going through Hume’s Essay on Human Understanding and his neat way of defining a miracle in a way that made it impossible for one to occur.
I also thought it was splendid timing on the part of the people who put the module together that this was the essay being written just before Christmas. The course also runs from February which would put this essay around Easter time. Good work module organisers, good work.