In which I record my thoughts on a French Film of the Seventies
My first Open University certificate came through today. I'm now entitled to use the letters Cert French (Open) after my name. I won't be doing this, I don't even use my degree letters as a rule (BSc. Hons, I believe, though there may be some detail difference).
To start using Cert French (Open) would be equivalent to writing my GCSE/O Level/A Level qualifications!
Still, it's nice to have the bit of paper. The next one, assuming that I finish the course, will be Cert Hum (Open).
No, I won't be using it, it may get silly.
Article by Murk, BSc (Hons); Cert French (Open); PGCE; A levels in Maths, Further Maths, Computer Science, Physics; City of Guilds Amateur Radio Examination; RoSPA minibus training, GCSEs in English (Lang and Lit), Maths, Technical Drawing, Electronics, French, Geography, Chemistry and Physics; Bronze Duke of Edinburgh award, 6th Kyu Ni Judo (from 1981!), yellow belt judo (similar vintage), cycling proficiency, 50m swimming; Milk Monitor.
This video is of some French soldiers test firing their new anti-tank weapon.
Watching the video, I expected the guy to fall over backward (or similar), I wasn't expecting what happened!
According to the BBC News website, protestors in Nantes spent december 31st protesting against 2007. "Now is better". They "called on governments and the UN to stop time's "mad race" and declare a moratorium on the future"
The tension mounted as the minutes ticked away towards midnight - but the arrival of 2007 did nothing to dampen their enthusiasm.
The protesters began to chant: "No to 2008!"
They vowed to stage a similar protest on 31 December 2007 on the Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris.
It's okay, but it could have been better. I got good marks for completion of task, but was let down on accuracy and range of language... which to me is the main point.
On the ECA, the completion got B in the written and A for spoken. The accuracy and range got C in each. The overall average was in the 70-84% range (77%) which is a B. The average for both the ECA and the coursework was a little lower (somewhere from 70-77% depending on the weighting). This is a B grade, which I suppose on any objective scale isn't bad, especially as my brain fundamentally doesn't work easily in these areas.
Having said that, I'm quite ambivalent about the result. It's not great, but it's acceptable. I'd have been disappointed with sub 70%., but can't be happy unless I'm in the top grades. It's average - and I'm not happy with that (though, as I say, I'm not unhappy). To learn a language properly, immersion over an extended period is really the best option, unfortunately it's one that was unavailable to me.
I've been working pretty solidly since I got home from work, as there is a deadline for AZX103 tomorrow, and due to various commitments I'd not got the essay completed before now.
The essay is about the Colosseum, and the reactions that the ancient writers had to the games. It's been a big job, not many words, granted, but as it's a foreign discipline for me it's been quite tricky! I've got the work on a USB device, so hopefully I should be able to check it again before sending it in (I can do that electronically). I don't trust myself to send it in today as I'm now really tired and I need to read it with a clear head. I just hope it doesn't slip my mind tomorrow with everything that is to be happening!
The next block of work (to be done by new year) is on the French revolution (Vive la Revolution!), this is followed by two topics of greater interest to me, 'Art History and Philosophy' for the end of january and 'Religious Studies OR History of Science' for the start of march.
My French course is done. My ECA was stumbled through, I think it was okay, but it's hard to be objective. If I pass the course, I shall be able to put 'Cert. French' after my name. I don't think I'll add that to any letterheads, I don't even use the BSc(hons)!
A related set of courses is International Studies. Both of these are outside of my 'comfort zone', but that was the original point - increasing breadth of knowledge.
To my eyes, some of the course descriptors seem rather woolly and ill-defined, topics like 'Are notions of "Britishness" and national identity, gender, class, race and ethnicity as relevant today as ever?' which could be argued back and forth in any variety of ways. My training is as a Physicist, and that involves being able to see the core of an issue - as a result the humanities can sometimes seem rather vague.
I'm tempted to go off on a tangent and look at doing courses toward a degree in Computing or Mathematics. This would be much closer to my comfort zone, and would be directly relevant for work too... whilst I know that such topics would suit me well, and I'm sure I'd get a lot out of them, my original intention was to stick up two fingers at CP Snow's arts/science divide.
Snow is most noted for his lectures and books regarding his concept of "The Two Cultures", as developed in The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution (1959). Here he notes that the breakdown of communication between the sciences and the humanities is a major hindrance to solving the world's problems.
(In my experience, sciencey types usually have a passing familiarity with the humanities, even if they haven't studied them in depth, the same is not usually true in reverse)
What to do?
It comes to this. Do I go out of my comfort zone or not? I.e. do I go for breadth (and possibly get a lower class of degree than I'd like as the humanities are not how my brain works), or do I go for depth in areas where I already have a higher than average competence?
If I go out of my comfort zone, all I need to decide is which way to start, as a lot of the programmes have similar requirements in the early stages. I could go for a general introduction to the Humanities or an introduction to the social sciences.
Within my comfort zone I'd start with either Using Mathematics (which looks quite straightforward to me, I've looked at some of the sample materials and it won't be any problem (i.e. no study required! - perhaps I should look at credit transfer?) or with Data, Computing and Information, which looks like it should broadly fall into the 'obvious' category with some newish things in there for interest.
It's tempting to go for the humanities, as 'BA' combined with the existing 'BSc' would be rather nice - I might start adding the letters at that point!
I honestly don't know what to do. I do know that for the next presentations I will need to make a decision in the next 24 hours.
My Open University French course comes to a close. ECA2 was done at the weekend and has now been out of my hands for over 24 hours. (ECA - End of Course Assessment)
Tomorrow, in a wonder of chronological ordering is ECA1, the oral.
TMA 4 is in the bag, and just needs delivering to the tutor. The deadline is tomorrow, so I am currently trying to establish whether I should post it (and be overdue by a couple of days), or hand-deliver it (this'd take several hours). It's done. Crikey.
Massively late, (cut-off date tomorrow), I sit down to do my final TMA for L120 (French Open University course). I'm so far behind it's unbelievable. I want to take a deferment, but if I understand it, this means paying for virtually the whole course again - I may as well see if I can get through and then resit if needed. I really don't like this one little bit. If I do get through I'll have the points, but won't feel like I've learned much - which rather defeats the object of the exercise. If I don't get through, then I'll feel I'll have wasted the time. It's a lose-lose proposition.
Still, I'll get the TMA in (even if I have to hand-deliver it), and then will have to think about the following ECA.
I've got my TMA 3 result back, and an quite amazed to see that it's 78%. Why amazed? Well, I'm a LONG way behind on the course, a long way. I'll be relying upon a block of time I have coming to get up to date, but it'll be tough. The TMA was the result of lots of bookwork.
The previous pieces scored 90 and 78 with a weighting of 15% each, this one is weighted as 35%. This means that I have 52.5% for my coursework so far (with 35% to play for)
The Coursework is worth 50% overall, with 50% coming from the End of Course Assessment in September.
I'm still undecided about whether to press ahead with L211, or to change direction - a non language course would be easier for me to schedule. I need L211 at some point if I'm to gain the BA I have my eye on.
Voici, il y a une bande-annonce pour la nouvelle de Pixar qui s'appelle 'Ratatouille'. Ce film sortira partout sur les écrans en 2007. Je ne suis pas excité à le film de 2006, 'Cars' - mais Ratatouille? Je pense que le film sera formidable!
Au fin de la bande-announce: "Le diner sera servi... en été 2007"
I've just completed my third TMA for L120, a bit tricky as I'm massively behind where I need to be. Still, it's there now - I have a block of time coming soon and should be able to catch up with the course itself. For a language course more than any other, a 'stop start' work pattern isn't great, so I'm considering the options for next year.
Option 1 - Do L211, this is required for the BA in European Studies.
Advantage, it gets the French out of the way, I can then go onto other things without this course hanging over me.
Disadvantage, I really want a change of scene, to do one of the other courses (e.g. The Rise of Scientific Europe 1500-1800 (AS208)). Also, it means that I've a tougher hill to climb when restarting the French. having the French there puts off the day I can change the focus.
Option 2 - Do L211 Later
Advantages: Renews my interest, Disadvantages: L211 will remain there, and it'll be a bit tougher to get back into it.
Option 3 - Never do L211
This means I can't get the BA in European Studies - but I could divert to International Studies.
I don't think option 3 is the one for me, so that really means, L211 - 2007 or later? I like learning a new language, my trouble is simply one of fitting it in, and it is frustrating as it has to take a lower priority than other things. With most other courses the way I'm having to study would 'fit' with the material much better than a language course.
I've my first TMA results back for L120 (an Open University French course). In TMA1, which was a written exercise, I got 90%. I'm pretty happy with that. In TMA2 I got 78%, losing marks with pronunciation and fluency and with the quality of language.
Overall, I'm quite satisfied with that.
For the curious, france2.fr has a 'behind the scenes' look at the new Bond Film, Casino Royale. (Scroll down for Tournage du nouveau James Bond) It looks pretty good to me - mostly as it's 'Back to Basics' time. There are Dr. No references to signal this, and there don't seem to be any stupid invisible cars. The opening scene in the interview with Daniel Craig standing in the sea is a direct Connery reference.
The Bond Franchise started to use it's gadgets, but it started to over-rely on the gadgets - and the gadgets got sillier and sillier (yes, Roger Moore, I'm looking at you). Until by the time of Brosnan (who was otherwise a good Bond) the gadgets got rather outlandish. I like the source material and so I want Bond to be, as Dame Judi Dench said in one film, a 'mysogynist bastard'! ... and I want Bond to be the star, not the gadgets.
There is a danger that this could make Bond look like some of the pretenders out there, but I'd argue that it makes the pretenders look to be just that - Bond, after all, is Bond.
I've finished my homework for the open university. It was necessary to write about 200 words in french about a holiday, and I have prepared an oral presentation with a cassette. The presentation was on the subject of the 14th July (Bastille day). it was difficult for me, but the difficulty is the reason for trying!
I've had time to look at my first tutorial dates for LZX120. It's a great start - two of the first three clash with work events in the evening. The work events take priority, and it shouldn't be a problem as far as the tutorials are concerned (i.e. they are not compulsory). It just means that I don't have the crisp start I would like forLZX120.
l192 lxr122 open+university