A blog without the R word...

A challenge, and a small donation, has been set...

A blog without the R word, nothing that involves harnesses, specialised shoes or body lube...

So welcome to my reflections on almost three years of being an Open University Student.

I'm a neophile, and specifically I like new stuff in new areas.  So its a good job I have the job I do, plenty of new things land on my desk at an alarmingly regular rate.  However, my desire for newness isn't totally satisfied by a random collection of requests from various parts of the Civil Service.

So, where do I go, and what do I do... I've got the BSc, and the Post Grad in Occupational Health... I've gone back and done GCSE French.  A couple of friends was saying how good their OU course was so I had a look...

I've always enjoyed arty farty stuff (despite being advised I wasn't good enough for GCSE Art), and often mooch around art galleries and museums. Combine that with the analytical part of my brain, and I quite often was asking questions like "and?" "Why?" and quite often either "Why all the saints?" or "WTF?".

So an arts based degree with the OU... Starting with the introductory course, just to check my brain wasn't going to melt and I could fit it in with the rest of my life.  That was what feels like a long time ago - three years and four courses.

Throw in a summer course on Material Culture, then a second year course on the History of Art - that was fun, it was the first time the OU had put that course on, and at times it showed.  It was also the course of the three tutors - not ideal.

However, I learnt new things, new theories, new ways of looking at things.  As well as paintings and sculpture I learned about buildings and garden designs, I'm not an expert in the detail but I can ask the questions of the experts without going "WTF?" a lot...

The current module is on heritage - and the feedback from other years is divided - some love the take the course has given us - who decides what is heritage, what mental processes go on consciously and unconsciously.  Its not an easy course conceptually, but its full of new stuff, so I'm a happy bunny!

So other than the specific of the History of Art and the Authorised Heritage Discourse, with odd bits of the psychological impact of monuments what I have learned?

1) I still love learning...

2) I'm still crap with languages, even English trying to pick out the rhymes in the very first course was painful. So, I'm not playing that game, good job there's plenty more.
3) I can switch between the science world and the arts world surprisingly easily - but have problems when the too butt up - the arguments on Faraday's religion will live on in infamy

4) The OU is a good place to learn, the material is well put together by people who know their stuff. I've not yet had a tutor that I didn't have time for (yes that sounds arrogant, but the four of us who have lunch regularly have nine degrees between us, and my bullshit meter is trained by 20+ years in the CS).

5) I can fit it in and I'm four years into the six years it should take me.  The OU says it can take up to 12 hours a week to do all of the stuff you need to do.  I reckon its about eight, but more when an essay is due (called a TMA in OU jargon).

6) Enjoy it - the tutorials are fun, the online forums are interesting and occasionally heated. 

7) It's not for everyone - I've put some structure in to make sure I read the chapters and the online guides I need to... If you don't do self-control then it may not be for you...

See, I can write a whole blog without mentioning the R word... Just...

TTFN

Paul     

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