Tag Archives: sociology

DD101 – TMA 03

I have just finished the third TMA (essay) for my Open University Course, DD101 Introducing the Social Sciences.

I didn’t think I could do it at all, in fact this essay has had me in tears and convinced that not only I don’t want to carry on with this particular bit of the course, but that I’m really not cut out to be doing Social Science at all.

It has been so discouraging, because I have studied Sociology before at GCSE (although actually, ahem, I suppose it was actually O Level) and A Level and I had loved the subject, but I don’t remembering it being this hard.

TMA 03 was a two part essay. The first part was 500 words analysing a table of data from the Census related to the ethnicity of residents of the national parks in England and Wales. Huh, I didn’t know we had any ‘national parks’.

The second part was 1000 words on the topic of how certain communities are included or excluded in certain places.

Oh my. I had thought the essay on ‘rubbish’ was hard.

It was the data table that really had me in tears, because my mathematical skills are oo, rusty shall we say? It was fairly obvious that ‘White’ was vastly more numerous than any other ethnicity, but it was a very poorly categorised set of data really. Why, for example, does the government categorise ‘Gypsy’ and ‘Irish Traveller’ together as one ethnicity? They seem political rather than bona fide ethnic categorizations. But ours not to reason why or comment, just to analyse.

Part two was just a straightforward essay really, and should have been easy because it was only 1000 words, but because I had procrastinated for so long, putting it off because I was finding the first part such a headache, I had to cram everything in today and cobble it together before the deadline. So I’m not expecting a very good result this time. Ho hum, I got it done anyway.

Now I just need to start getting back into a regular rhythm of study and keep to it so I don’t get into so much trouble next time.

How’s everybody else finding the course?

 

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DD101 Making Social Lives, Chapter 5

I am very behind – not least because I get distracted by other things. But I am trying to catch up.

In my reading today, of chapter 5 of Making Social Lives, on p. 229 the author says:

“the argument should not be based on the idea that there once existed a high street that was somehow home-grown, coherent and disconnected from the world outside. Rather, if we were to lament the loss of a sense of place on these streets, then our argument would have to be that it is not that high streets have become more and more connected to the outside world, and therefore somehow weakened as unique places, but that the quality of the connections has changed. The challenge would be to seek to build better connections and so make better places.”

He has been previously arguing that the country idyll is imagined, I understand that, but why can’t you argue that a place should be unique?

He seems to be saying that cookie-cutter high streets with all the same chains of big stores can’t be argued against on any other basis than ‘connections’.

Am I missing something obvious?

DD101 Week What?

Well I don’t even know which week we are supposed to be in.

I have looked at the next TMA, number 3, and it is more horrible even than the last two. This time it’s wading through a table of statistics of the ethnicity of visitors to national parks in the UK.

I haven’t had a chance to look at the materials at all this week. Maybe I will take them up to read in bed, but I don’t think so – I really need an awake brain to be able to take anything in.

I don’t know what to do about feeling so negative about this course. I’m disappointed because I expected to love it.

I don’t think it’s just a lack of discipline and determination on my part, as I have never (to my memory) had this with any of the previous studies I have done, not even at school!

In fact, I loved sociology at school, so why am I hating it now?

Does DD101 get better?

DD101 TMA02

I had been warned that DD101 was dull, but some people have said they love the course, so I am trying to keep an open mind

The second TMA topic though, was rubbish. ‘Outline the argument that rubbish is not worthless’. Really, really dull.

I found this essay a challenge to complete, to the point that I have seriously considered pulling the plug on the OU study altogether. But I did persevere  and got it done, and received a slightly improved mark than I did for my first essay.

The main area I fell down on in terms of losing marks, was my essay plan. There are three parts to a TMA and you lose points if you fail to complete any one of them. The main part is obviously the essay itself, and the other two parts are an essay plan and a reflection.

This essay was requird to be in the region of 1250 words, while the reflection was 50 words but there was no set word limit for the essay plan, and although the essay booklet did give guidelines, it wasn’t specific about what was required. I assumed that the purpose was to show clear thinking about your plan for the essay but that the plan was basically for the student’s benefit. Apparently not. I was marked down because I didn’t waffle at length about what I was intending to put in the essay, and why, or include all the references that I was intending to put in the essay. Irritating to say the least.

Ugh. I hope this gets better because I am not very enthused altogether. The mark I got actually was not bad at all. It’s just the pernikety, trivial nonsense of the game of academia that really gets my blood boiling, and it makes me wonder why I’m doing it at all.

DD101 Introducing the Social Sciences Weeks 1-3

I have completed the main tasks for weeks 1-3, including finishing reading the first Learning Companion, watching the films and completing the online tasks. I do need to go back and make some additional notes on a couple of the films, and listen again to the audio files and take notes. I also need to turn my notes into an essay for the first TMA.

It has been a pretty relaxed and gentle introduction so far, and I’m quite looking forward to our first tutorial.

I am a little troubled though about the TMA. The task is to write about a street ‘you know well’. Well, I have moved around a lot, and I have lived in several cities, but recently I have been in a very rural location.

The course materials use City Road in Cardiff as a ‘window’ on society, and state that it is possible to apply what is observed there to any street in any town in the world. Perhaps. I can certainly compare my location to City Road, Cardiff. But it does seem to me that rural locations have very different issues to urban societies. Perhaps ‘people are the same wherever you go’ but it will be interesting to see if the differences outweigh the similarities. I know my tutor would prefer me to write about an urban location, but I don’t ‘know’ any town streets and to discover what I would need to know to compare one with City Road Cardiff would require hours of research that would take it well beyond the 20 hours per week that I bargained for. Hopefully I’ll be able to make a case for writing about my rural locality.

DD101 Week 1 Intro

The DD101 Open University ‘Introducing the Social Sciences’ website opened yesterday, so we have officially started! (Finally!)

The opening activities on the website were pretty basic advice and exercises on different forms of notetaking, reading and watching with a purpose and avoiding plagiarism.

Although I have watched all the films once and read all the material for week 1 through quickly, I haven’t had a chance yet to sit down quietly (with no interruptions) to take notes with a view to answering the first TMA question. I know that others on one of the facebook groups who got their materials much earlier have already written their draft TMA answer.  I’m not there yet. I figure I’m basically ahead anyway so I won’t be rushing too fast. I need to get back into the swing of serious study.

I would love to hear from anybody else doing DD101 who is returning to study after a long break.

Intro and Read52

I blogged for a few years with a captive audience of friends at Multiply under the name “Life for Beginners” and when  the Multiply  platform folded, I found myself in an isolated location without internet and despite valiant efforts, lost all my posts, so I have had a writing hiatus of about three years. I’m starting again, mainly because I want to document all the crazy changes that have happened and which are continuing to happen now in 2014, and specifically to record my reading.

I have had several other blogs in various places, which I may link to later, but I haven’t been faithful or consistent, so I won’t make any promises about being faithful or consistent 🙂 I have a lot going on, but I’ll do what I can.

I have decided to take part in the Read52 challenge, to read 52 books in 2014, which is conveniently one per week.

I am a reader, and I tend to read in certain distinct categories of non-fiction much more than fiction. These categories are, broadly, health, education, sociology and religious.

For reasons that I will explain in due course, religious is probably increasingly my largest category, so I will aim to read the Bible at least once this year, but don’t plan to do it in a week, so not sure whether I will include it in the 52.

This week doesn’t count as it’s only a partial week, but I thought I would start anyway with a little book that’s easy to read. I picked one that is little more than a pamphlet at 36 tiny pages, which has been on my shelf for a long time, challenging me to read it. It’s called “Finding God in Illness” by James Woodward and published by Lion Publishing in the UK with the Christian Evidence Society in 1997. It is out of print, but available on line as a pdf file here, and is quite easy to find second-hand if you prefer your books in paper.

Finding

I thought I would start with a quote from the beginning of the book, as it is so apt for the first post on a new blog:

“One of the challenges and adventures of writing lies in imagining who will read the text and what they might want from the text. So, I wonder who you are and why you have come across this particular piece?”

So who are you, and why are you here? I’d love to hear from you, and perhaps you could provide me with the accountability I need to post consistently. I haven’t been consistent in reading blogs either, so I’m starting with no links, but I hope to build them up as I rediscover my favourite internet places.

I’ll be trying to make sure I post weekly with details of my books, and will endeavour to post a fuller introduction before too long. 🙂