penwing's DD208 blog
Time Management

Recently I had to do a Time Management course and one of the things they asked us to do was to free-write for 5 minutes on a task we were putting off:

I need to start looking through my OU course materials in a more structured way - the course officially starts at the beginning of October but it would be good to begin ahead of schedule. The website is not up yet (25th Sept?) and I am using that. I am looking around the subject at news articles etc. and looking at the exam info bits as I am worried about the exams and how I am going to handwrite (legibly) for 3 hours when I have done nothing of the sort for years. Is five minutes up yet?

Um… er…

Interaction between Crime & Welfare - ought to look at writing something about KC’s embracing payment by results of reducing re-offending rates.

Time & paper nearly out!

From that we were asked to pick out key points:

  • want to start ahead of schedule
  • want to check website - can’t until 25th Sept - but this is only really an excuse because I don’t want to do DVD work
  • I’m going to need some handwriting practice
  • want to look some more at Ken Clarke’s proposals around payment by results as I think this is another interesting welfare/crime/society crossover piece.

It doesn’t mention that I am struggling to pluck up enthusiasm for watching and making notes on the DVDs. Guess I ought to do that before looking at the payment-by-results thing.

Reflections on the first batch of goodies

So, last week the first batch of materials arrived and I’ve had a quick flick through the dead tree information so I want to give a bit more detailed reflection: what am I looking forward to? what do I think of the TMAs? what do I think of the materials?

The materials are, while being very similar to DD101 are also very different - the main books are a lot thinner which means it feels a lot more compressed and suggests I may need to look at other resources a little more - which is good - this is a Level 2 course and I really hope that I get inspired to read related material (For DD101 I was inspired into reading several journal articles and a couple of books - but this was considered unnecessary). 

It’s easy to see how some of the foundations laid in DD101 will be expanded on - DD101 started asking us how we define ideas and whether those definitions can be challenged - this looks to be a key idea we’ll be exploring more in this course - with “social justice” looking a great unit to start doing that in depth.

The TMAs… oh, some of these look juicy. There is a definite difference between level 1 and level 2. Where DD101 had a very definite chapter focus with each TMA, this asks us to draw on examples and ideas introduced across multiple chapters. The questions also seem to be much wider in the way they’re phrased. This could go one of two ways - choice paralysis (bad) or all neurons firing and far too much excitement and far too much to leave out (good, I think). Here’s hoping for the latter!

But TMA06 - hand writing? Writing by hand and submitting by post? And then actually having to do two such things in a proper exam… That I’m dreading…

Look at what arrived today… I’ve had a quick skim through, looking at the essay titles and generally treating it like I would a new toy.
Yes, I did just refer to a load of academic course text books as “a new toy”. Don’t worry it will wear off.
So, off to put the TMA dates in my diary and work out what time off work I may need to book. Wonder how many gigs the first couple will clash with…
Oooh, also my Todo list on the whiteboard is empty 8-)

Look at what arrived today… I’ve had a quick skim through, looking at the essay titles and generally treating it like I would a new toy.

Yes, I did just refer to a load of academic course text books as “a new toy”. Don’t worry it will wear off.

So, off to put the TMA dates in my diary and work out what time off work I may need to book. Wonder how many gigs the first couple will clash with…

Oooh, also my Todo list on the whiteboard is empty 8-)

All about me

Well, it’s my tumblr thingy so I ought to explain a thing or two about me and my interests.

It won’t take a genius (evil or otherwise) to work out that I am probably the same penwing colonising every digital platform out there and from that that I describe myself as a “27 year old queer geek from the UK” (in some I may be younger - these are profiles I haven’t updated). So there are 4 things I throw out there:

27 years old - I don’t know why I put this first and foremost - possibly because one of the first things you learn when being taught a foreign language is to state your name and age. My name is usually already there, so that leaves my age… 

Queer - for the most part it is probably easier to say I am gay but I choose to identify myself as queer. I don’t like what I see as the artifical separation or compartmentalisation of the queer community. I don’t like the bi-phobia, trans-phobia and even hetero-phobia it allows. I include this to allow people to know that the content is probably going to have some passing reference every so often…

Geek - I’m proud of my geekiness. I wear it on my sleeve - well, usually my t-shirt. I’m into sci-fi, computers and all that. I have a deep interest in the new digital age, how old areas of law and social policy are interacting (usually badly) with new digital environments and how things can be improved. And yeah, it’s another “warning, associated content may well follow” label.

From the UK - In a tutorial for DD101 I made the claim that the only claim I really make to a UK (or English) identity is when dealing with time-zones or the correct spelling of ‘colour’. That’s true and that’s the only reason it’s really in there. I probably have more affinity to Northern than UKian or English. I certainly have more affinity to a digital globalised world.

So, yeah, from that side of things, my interests are in queer rights and the digital age. I believe that queer rights also then leads me to an interest in civil rights and that all three can merge together into exciting new areas.

Outside of my personal interests I also have a profession which informs my thinking. I work as an adviser in a students’ union. I am a staff member and my views are my own and not necessarily representative of my employer. This work tends to mean I’m informed and opinionated about issues involving welfare benefits, students and young people. There’s actually quite a range in there when you stop and think about it, but I’ll leave that as an exercise for another day.

So, those are the areas you’re likely to see me commenting on when not frantically trying to complete the next TMA with 2 hours to go.

As I’m playing around with tumblr, why not add a photo of my tiny little whiteboard space complete with multi-coloured pens. I’ll try and keep this updated. Hey, you may even be able to chart my descent into madness on it 8-)

As I’m playing around with tumblr, why not add a photo of my tiny little whiteboard space complete with multi-coloured pens. I’ll try and keep this updated. Hey, you may even be able to chart my descent into madness on it 8-)

Why DD208?

Last year I completed DD101 - Introduction to Social Sciences course. I came out of it realising that sociology, criminology and social policy were just as interesting as the politics I originally went into it for. If not more so. I agonised over which course to choose next:

  • the politics one,
  • the sociology one or
  • the criminology and social policy one.

Obviously from this you can probably guess that I chose the criminology and social policy one (OK, maybe it’s only obvious if you have the knowledge that DD208 is the course code for Welfare, Crime and the State). I will be doing all three, but this was the newest, freshest course the other two are coming to the end of their life (although I will probably have to take one if not both as last presentation, I am hoping at least one can be the new shiny replacement version).

This tumblr is me trying a new tool and actually trying to use a learning journal, separating out my personal stuff from the course stuff and allowing me to have an environment where I can offer quicker comments.

Let’s hope I don’t forget the password/it’s existence before the start of the course 8-)

So, going to join me on this journey? Feel free to pipe up with ideas, further reading, my errors etc.