A bit of an odd week this one, spread over two days because I had to prepare for the arrival of a house-guest and then run around panicking that the logistics that were thought to have been agreed for the Cotswold Way relay on Saturday hit a road bump. The chapter looking at language and thought was heavy on theories as to whether concepts necessary for learning language were innate or learned. For every type of theory that was proposed evidence was presented for how it wasn’t true or how it couldn’t be proved, so all a bit dissatisfying.
The topic this week was concepts, which disappointingly just ended up being theories as to how people form categories and place items within categories. There were no definitive answers to this, and the chapter ended up concluding that different theories might be used for different purposes and at different times. Oh, and different people categorise things differently too. Only the one journal article, which was mercifully short and pretty much just presented evidence of how children are essentialists.
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…
Farewell Key questions in philosophy. My EMA, worth 50% of my final course grade, is due on Tuesday and I submitted it today. I spent my holiday in Suffolk working 3-4 hours a day on it, then continued to polish and tinker with it once I returned. I decided that I was only going to start making it worse and not better by messing around with it further, so submitted it today.
Fingers crossed that I get a 70 or higher (which will give me a Pass 2/2:1 for the course) and not a 69 or lower (which will give me a Pass 3/2:2 for the course). I will find out on 17th July.
No rest for the wicked, however, I now need to catch up on the last two weeks’ worth of psychology course that I have neglected and do three weeks’ worth of work in 10 days in order to submit another assignment due on 9th June (and fit in 3 races, a day’s worth of work on my car and publishing two new knitting patterns in that time). After that I will be able to resume a social life and go out to the cinema, or to visit kittens.
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.
Well, that’s it. I have read all of the material for course A333: Key questions in philosophy. This week felt pretty light since it was looking at science and rationality and it covered a lot of ground I was already familiar with regarding scientific method. All that is left now is the TMA for this fifth and final book, then the big scary extended essay.
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.
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).