Open University

TMA 3 results for L120

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.

TMA3 for L120

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.

Open University Gift Vouchers

The Open University have launched a Gift Voucher scheme for short courses. Looks good. The purchaser needs to be a little wary as the vouchers can only be refunded for 21 days after purchase, and are ony valid until May 2007, however if these caveats don't pose a problem the idea looks good.

There are a range of courses on offer under this scheme.

LZX120 tutorials

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.

The Course materials for L120 have arrived.

My next OU course is L120, actually LZX120, but that is a little picky. The course is Ouverture: A fresh start in French. Together with the (completed) L192 it will give me a Cert. French. The following course, L211: Nouvel Envol, is something I'm not particularly relishing, though it is necessary to have a level 2 language course as part of the BA in European Studies. I really want to be moving on to the other aspects of the BA, things like 'The Rise of Scientific Europe' and 'Governing Europe'. The reason I'm not relishing L211 is as I get the impression that it moves away from the mechanics of the language to look more at the culture - I realise that this is important for the understanding of a country, but I can get that by other means - I'd rather focus on language. I doubt if I'll do the level 3 french course.

The OU were due to send me the course materials over a week ago, when I chased them up, also requesting that it be posted to a different address I was told that it had already been sent, but they provided me with a reference number, and told me that if I contacted the courier they could arrange a new address for me.

I rang the courier, and was told 'Yes, we have a package for you, it is due to be delivered on txxth' (they gave a date around 8 days hence). I responded with incredulity, saying that this would mean that it would be sitting in their warehouse for a week. This met a brick wall. As I doubted that I would be able to make a start before then (lots of paperwork to do at the moment) I shrugged and requested the new address. I was told that this was not possible as delivery had not been attempted yet. I replied with 'Yes, but if you attempt delivery on that date you will not be successful, so let's save us all a little time!'

This met with a stony-faced implacable bureaucratic resolve not to be flexible.

So, when on Friday I came through the door to find delivery had been attempted I got straight on the phone. 'Can I arrange redelivery, to a different address, please?'

'Certainly Sir, What postcode?'

I told them.

'We deliver in that area on Monday to Saturday,' (no problem to me, I would be at work on Saturday) 'from 8am to 6pm.'

Now, with these ludicrously wide times, I could not guarantee there would be someone to sign for the parcel at work on saturday, I could not even guarantee that on a weekday! So, I told them tuesday.

What happened? They delivered on Saturday, in the afternoon - and it was just chance that the courier caught someone who signed for it and brought the parcel up to where I was working.

This is not a good courier company.

The package contains CDs, books and videos (which I will look into transferring to DVD so that I can work exclusively at my desk at home, rather than having to go downstairs to hijack the VHS). It's a rather full parcel! I would like to get an early start on it, however I don't quite know when - the next couple of weeks are going to be rather busy.

Once the official course start date happens, I shall be using the PC (windows only software, won't run on Linux) to access 'Lyceum', a virtual classroom where one can talk to other students, and also to tutors. The final examination will also be on Lyceum, I do hope that I don't have another computer failure then - I won't be able to sit the exam at work due to the firewall restricting outbound connections other than mail and the web.

It's another reason for getting the 'dumb' PC set up in another room, as well as being a media centre, it can be my backup 'Lyceum' access point. A while ago I was recommended which Wireless Access point to go for (I don't need a router or anything like that, just the bit to replace the long wire) - but not only is this information probably out of date now, I've also lost it!

Oh, and the fact that the Birthday Present which I got from my dad can also use a wireless net connection is purely coincidental.

With this OU course, time is a bit of a worry, but isn't that always the case? Little and often is ideal for languages, but the way my workload goes I am more likely to proceed sporadically. Not ideal, but it is what I've got.

Course Results

My course results for L192 and the excellent LXR122 should be out tomorrow. The courses are like driving tests, a straight pass/fail (with the possibility of a distinction). There is a possibility of a distinction for me in L192 given that 85% is needed and that my coursework average is 92.3%. The first end of course assessment should be okay (it's essentially the sames as the TMA, teacher marked assessments). ECA2, the oral, might have let me down a bit... but I do have some safety margin.

L192 Final Marks

The requirements are at least 40% in each of the elements, ECA1, 2 and the coursework, so there is still the possibility of catastrophe. Touch wood, I don't think that'll happen for me as the tutor seemed happy after

LXR122 I'm less worried about as a course as it does not lead to anything, per se. L192 on the other hand leads to LZX120. However I would be disappointed not to do well. The assessment here consisted of an oral and an essay, both in French. The essay was only 300 words, but that was enough. In the oral I had to give a presentation on a topic of my choice for a few minutes, and then I was asked questions about it. Both had to be based on France.

In the oral I discussed how Grandad was captured on his way to Dunkirk and then marched across France to a POW camp in southern Germany. In the essay I wrote about the Eiffel Tower.

Supplementary French

This evening is the first of my French classes which I am taking to tide me over between OU courses. This is a series of eight classes, followed by eight more in the new year. This should review L192, and start me off on L120.

The plan is to do the next Surrey Uni course alongside L120 in the summer.

Of course, the first job is to get the paperwork for tomorrow out of the way....

L192 a fini!

J'ai fini L192!

La dernier examen etait ce matin. C'etait d'accord, mais n'est jamais formidable!

Il y a les erreurs, j'ai dit "j'habite" quand il faut necessaire dire "j'ai habité", par example.

I have finished L192!

The last exam was this morning. It was okay, but it was never terrific!

There were errors, I said "j'habite" when it was neccesary to say "j'ai habité", for example.

It is a done deal now. Onto the next thing.

LK Forms

For the end of course assessment in my current OU course, I have to fill in something called an LK form. This was due to be posted in august (something that I had to chase the OU to find out about). It is now september.

I have just been told that they've been posted. It's all cut rather fine.... where is the harm in posting out the forms a bit early?

TMA06

My last TMA is done. Interestingly I am about two thirds of a book (about a month) behind where I should be, and it was not a problem - at least, the written part wasn't. Now there is the ECA to do, which I will do as soon as I get the LK form, the rest of the course to finish (despite probably not needing to for the ECA) and the end of course oral, for the latter I shall be practicing with any French speakers who are willing to help me practice! If there are volunteers, just comment.... ;)

The oral is the 24th September.

LXR122 Essay

After much wailing and gnashing of teeth, I have a draft for my essay. It's just under 350 words, not much you might think, but when those words are French it takes on a different complexion.

Most of the time was thinking to myself 'How the hell can I put this a different way?'

I won't be putting it into the post for a little while yet, I want to put it in a drawer and then return to it later.

The subject of my essay? La Tour Eiffel

Caen

My sketch of the Church at BayeuxLXR122 in Caen was simply excellent. LXR122 is a summer school in French. There was some preparatory work, which, to be fair, I didn't do too well at. When I arrived they'd bumped me from Falaises up to Dives (there were four classes).

I was a little unsure, but went with it.

The days consisted of classroom work, and some days we had trips/free time. For example, on one day we had to go to Caen to talk to locals (we did some work on a questionnaire for those who needed it, but for many of us we just ignored that and started talking).

We went to Bayeux and saw the tapestry, and we generally had a good time.

Nous parlions en français tout les temps, peut-être aves les erreurs, mais il etait bien!

The group I was in was excellent, and we enjoyed the week. We had an oral at the end, which was good preparation for L192, and I now have to write a short essay (a few hundred words) which I prepared for during the week.

It is a course which has really boosted my confidence in both the OU and the language.

L192 - TMA05

I've just completed TMA05, winging it a little as the alternative was to do a lot more catchup and then be tired for the TMA. This now frees me up to have some R&R, do some work for the daytime job, then check and post the TMA.

The next task is to keep working on the French in order to bring myself up to date in my studies in time for the summer school.

I haven't really got my head around when to use the passé composé and when to use the imparfait, I'm sure it'll come, eventually.

Crunch weekend for L192

This is a bit of a crunch weekend of me. Various deadlines coinciding, both work related and OU course related. The work deadline is slightly later than OU, so I'm doing the OU one first. I have been having a bit of a blitz.

A week ago I was about two months behind on my french course. As of now I'm about two weeks behind. Today accounts for about a third of that catchup.

Tomorrow, I need to get a little further, and then have a go at the TMA.

Actually I think I could probably do it now, with a little bit of bookwork for one or two bits. So the plan is to start it tomorrow morning when I'm fresh, then work on the course a bit more and then finally check the TMA before posting on monday.

If all is well, I can then slow up a bit and progress at a more sane pace, perhaps actually taking some time to internalise things. Crazy plan.

My next target is to get a little ahead of myself before LXR122, so that I can take full advantage of the experience, then to use the majority of the time following LXR122 prior to the conclusion of L192 to consolidate things in time for the oral examination.

So tomorrow, will be a busy day, but I'm now reasonably confident that I'll be getting a score for TMA05 - a few days ago I was considering passing on it as I've already got the score I need to 'get by'.

However much it might be true that I could have left it, I was never going to allow this to happen. I don't want to just pass, I want to pass well.