Yesterday was my first tutorial with the Open University. It was also my first trip to my birthplace for the best part of three years or so, so I was quite excited to go, do some learning, meet people, and then walk round with my friend, drink coffee and shop. It was due to take place from 10.30 to 14.30.
I don’t feel my day was quite as positive as that, however. I had already enquired as to whether I could attend the Birmingham tutorials, but decided against it based on my tutor being in Shrewsbury that day, and meeting up with Lucy afterwards.
After spending £8.80 on the train ticket, I found a friend on Facebook saying there were signalling problems, cable theft and a freight train refusing to move all within 5 miles of the station. I did manage to get a train, however. One that had come in late, delayed for over half an hour.
We went through the village where I grew up.
It was a very foggy day.
When I got to Shrewsbury, I found the place no problem. I saw two different rooms on the information screen using the abbreviation OU, so I went to check them both out. As I was looking into the one room, which was locked with the lights off, someone informed me it was the wrong one. Then I found the right one.
We started with an introductory round, which i’m never that keen on, and then we were informed we were to go into the town and perform a small exercise to help us see the world as social scientists. The less said about this, maybe, the better.
After an hour and a half, we were all back, and we reported back on what we had found. There were two tutors there, one sociology and one geography (historical geography to be accurate). They were talking in their own terms, which was fine, and nearly all the group were combined social science students, but with this first TMA I am finding myself thinking ‘but how does this work for criminology?’
The truth is – it doesn’t. It’s a very general module that all social science students appear to take. I knew this when I saw it, but it doesn’t make it any less frustrating.
We then spent about an hour and a half going over Harvard referencing. Now, I’m not keen on the technicalities of referencing, but I see it’s importance, and I understand it. I have to remind myself, it’s an open course, open to everyone, and some people will not have come across this before.
I think I’ll be attending the next tutorial in Birmingham, to see if that is any more helpful to me personally.
Have some more pictures.