Living Life, Within the Limits of Chronic Illness

Category: Studying Page 2 of 15

The End of TM470 and The Start of B301

Well I can’t believe I haven’t updated this blog until April, this year has flown by! Most of my energy and screen time has been spent on completing my project and so I really didn’t get a chance to blog.

So here we are almost a month after the EMA deadline, I’ll try and bring you up to speed on everything that’s happened!

Despite being rather ill I completed TMA03 with little need to rush; all the little bits of work I’d been managing to do added up to a decent assignment and I improved on my mark for TMA02 by 14 percentage points, getting 84ā„…. So no pressure on getting a good result for the EMA! šŸ˜‰

July and August were spent finishing my project, reaching a recommendation from the completed evaluation of solutions and writing my project report for the EMA. Putting it all together into one coherent report was surprisingly difficult, especially with the word count only being a ‘guideline’ meaning it was a little vague as to how far over that it was acceptable to go since every project is different. But I think I did okay, I was over the guideline but it didn’t seem to be by too much and I don’t think I could’ve have omitted much more without losing some of the vital information that needed to be included. But we wait and see. Results are expected by December 2nd, and I’m already checking the page each time I’m on my Student Homepage!

In other news I’ve just started B301, Making Sense of Strategy, the final module for my degree! (Scary or what?!) It’s kind of sad that this marks the beginning of the end of my OU journey; by June next year I shall be nervously awaiting my final lot of results and hopefully my degree classification!

B301 is said to be a challenging module with a lot of theory and as a result a lot of reading. I’m officially 4 days in (but actually started a week and a bit early) and can say it is living up to those things! But I’m actually enjoying it a bit which is always a good sign. After TM470 and with such a short break between the two, it is a bit if a shock to the system – with TM470 you were pretty much left to your own devices as long as you completed a project and wrote a report on it. With B301 I’m having to be more strict on my time and energy management as the study calendar is a lot less flexible than the one I created for my project. I also keep forgetting that the workload for B301 will be higher as TM470 is a 30 credit module whereas B301 is 60 credits and therefore requires twice the amount of time allocated to it. I’ve no doubt I’ll find away to manage though!

Anyway I’m busy preparing for my first tutorial and first assignment by working through the first block (That’s a lot of first’s!) Going to have to remind myself of my tips for long tutorials as it’s been two years since I attended one; none of my modules since I wrote that post have had tutorials local enough for me to attend or have all been online. I’ll try and update this blog in the coming weeks and months but can’t promise anything as energy is proving hard to come by.

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And so the challenge continues…

I haven’t been able to update this blog as often as I’d hoped. So there’s now quite a bit to catch up on.

I got 56% for TMA01; I can’t say I wasn’t disappointed by this bug at the same time remembering everything I’d been going through I think it was a reasonable score.

A lot of project work has been completed, as has TMA02. I received a mark of 70% for that! A great improvement. However my health, having picked up in recent weeks, has recently taken another nosedive. Half hour studying is exhausting. Some days even that isn’t possible because the pain is so severe.

I’m doing little bits here and there but it doesn’t feel like I’m making any real progress. I want to be organised so there isn’t a massive rush come the TMA03 deadline on July 5th but I just can’t seem to get motivated when I am well enough to study. The rest of the time my brain wants to get on but my body says no (well what other message can you get as pain lances through you when you move slightly?!)

I’m back to feeling rather uncertain about how I’m going to manage this module, despite the fact I have a solid idea and have already done a great deal of work towards it. I’ve got a whole list of requirements I need to assess companies offering potential e-commerce solutions for a business against, a bucket load of research into the benefits and risks of e-commerce solutions and how an e-commerce solution can broaden the customer base for a company. (Not just any company but the specific company I’ve based my project on). And there’s more I don’t even want to think about.

Motivation is rather low and quite honestly all I want to do is sleep; if only my illness would let me! I know things will get better again and I’ll find a way to get through the work, and hopefully pass this module but right now the way doesn’t seem clear, in fact it seems fraught with difficulties.

I’m constantly reminding myself why I’m doing this, that I’m just 13 months away from finishing my degree after 6 years hard work (thus far). So close to achieving what I once considered an impossible dream. I’ve got to keep going if only to say I tried.

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A Challenging Start

The start of this module hasn’t exactly been plain sailing. Not only is it different to any Open University module I have previously encountered but my health hasn’t exactly been playing ball.

Virus after virus, a flare up of shingles and another virus have resulted in a ‘blip’ (I’m hoping not a relapse) which has meant at times an hour’s study a day has led to total exhaustion for the rest of the time.

Trying to come up with a suitable project topic, then make a project plan and start on some project work has been immensely challenging to say the least. There have been times I’ve come ever so close to packing it all in and giving up on my degree. It’s just seemed too difficult, too stressful and at times I’ve wondered why I’m doing this?

But with the help of my family, friends and tutor I’ve found a suitable topic, I’m feeling slightly less stressed about it and have decided to stick at it. After all if you never try you’ll never know what you can achieve.

The trouble with having such limited energy, struggling to come up with a solid project idea until quite late in the day and generally being so unwell all the time is it leaves you very little time to start on project work and complete the first TMA. As I have discovered. I’ve pretty much had two of the four weeks available to actually start some work and complete the TMA; the other two were spent trying to come up with a decent idea and being too unwell to even consider studying! That’s with me pushing through the tail end of viruses, something I shouldn’t do as it risks delaying recovery but if I hadn’t I’d have had less time to complete the work.

It’s been quite a palava getting everything done in time as it is. My self-imposed time limits don’t help matters either; I like my assignments in a few days early to be sure I don’t miss the deadline due to losing my internet connection or whatever! As usual I’ve managed to submit a few days early but I’m not sure I’ve done enough to get a decent mark, which is why I’m relieved it’s ‘only’ worth 5% of my overall grade for the module. However I’d rather get a decent mark since every little counts especially when you never know what’s round the corner health wise!

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Preparing for TM470

Well it’s almost that time again; new year new module! This will be my penultimate module of my degree!! This one’s rather different to my previous modules as there’s next to no learning materials since it’s an individual project on a subject of your choosing.

Preparing for this project is proving more difficult than usual. Not only am I fighting another decline in health (after a period of improvement it’s plummeted again!) but due to the nature of this module and a change in household routine since I last studied it’s proving hard to know where to start.

I’ve started reading through the resources provided on the module website and have come up with one project idea I think could be viable. The problem is I can’t start on that project until I get the go ahead from my tutor, who isn’t assigned until the last week of January so what do I do in the meantime?

I’ve been trying to come up with alternative project ideas, just in case this one isn’t actually possible but so far I’ve been unsuccessful. I bet once I start the module and get stuck into the project I’ll see potential project ideas everywhere! But for now I’m struggling rooting around looking for problems which I.T has the potential to solve and I have enough knowledge of and interest in to make a project.

Without developing my project idea too far I’m trying to get as prepared as possible. I’ve installed a program, recommended to me by the forum moderator of TM470, which could help me if I go ahead with the project idea I have. I’m hoping in the coming days I can have a play and get to know how to use it so I haven’t got that steep learning curve during my project.

I’ve also made a note of all the key dates in my diary and on my calendars (both electronic and paper) so anything else can be planned around those. I’m planning on researching Project Life Cycle Models as one of these will need to be used whatever project I do and despite reading through the resources provided by the module I’m still at a loss as to the benefits of each one and how they work.

I’m setting up my android tablet to help with studying and planning. Mind mapping, referencing and note taking apps have been installed and I’m slowly learning how to use them. The ones which also have desktop applications and synchronise between devices will probably be the most useful but I won’t make that judgement until I really start using them!

As part of the project you’re encouraged to keep a project log. This is another thing I’m not sure where to start with but I have a diary dedicated to study related things so it might get kept in there. But I also hope to keep some kind of record on this blog as I progress through the course. We’ll just have to see how much time and energy I have to dedicate to it!

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