Archive for March, 2010|Monthly archive page

Are you a ‘proper student?’

I was asked this in the Spar on the Campus at Lancaster University last night when I was looking for change for the bus into town.  They decided that I was indeed a ‘proper student’, and so wouldn’t give me the change.

(There is a happy ending to this though, the bus conductor had no such problems, and happily gave me change – £2.15 return into town – bargain!).

The residential week happens just twice on this professional PhD.  We had the chance to meet the cohort who are a year ahead of us, who are already half way through the two ‘taught’ years (though this is a misnomer).

I’m writing a full reflection on the week, and though I may share this on this blog it’s more for my own personal reference, and will be of interest to see how I feel a year on from now, after the second residential.

But it’s not giving much away to say it’s been hard work, but very rewarding so far.  We’re investigating in depth some very ‘big’ ideas, my mind map on commensurability spanned onto two pages – I need to tidy it up before use but I will post it up here warts and all.

One thing which makes this all great fun has been the rest of the group.  We’re geographically diverse, from Ontario to Japan, via Ireland, Dubai, Greece, Malta and France (and Brewood, the village next to my old haunting ground!).  We’ve all gelled well, and though individuals we are working to a common goal, though separately (does that make sense?)

Difficulties?  The student accommodation is less than two minutes from most of the teaching, but is basic in extreme, with cracked shades, a shower which I have to spin around in to get wet, and chewing gum stuck under the bookcase by a previous occupant (or two).

The other long term difficulty is that so many of my colleagues have very nice, very sleek aluminium Macbook Pros.  My trusty Macbook is nearly three years old, do I trade it in whilst it still has life?

Ah well, had better get ready for tonight, we’ve been left to our own devices, so the great on campus/off campus eating debate continues!

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Juggling

You know it’s been a busy week when you come into the lounge on a Sunday evening, and there’s a glass on the side table from Thursday evening, and you realise that you’ve not been in there all weekend.

I can’t say that I’ve not sat on a sofa – one thing I did do on Thursday is purchase a new one for my study, as the other had seen better days.  It’s not been lost forever, and makes a nice slouching sofa for the games room, here’s the new one –

The original plan was to go to the education show on Friday, and had the day booked as holiday.  Things change though for various reasons, and instead I ended up in an all day teaching session on Friday (the less said about it the better, though I’ve never had to ask students to stop playing Farmville in the middle of a class before).

Saturday was OU TMA marking day.  I tried a new process of ‘batch marking’, marking all the question ones, then question twos etc.  This worked fairly well.  Student feedback has mostly been positive, and they do appreciate a quick turnaround of assignments.

Today, after a necessarily slow start (see Friday and Saturday above), and Sunday lunch at parents it was PhD afternoon.  My group are preparing a ‘resource’ for the residential with regard to Action Research, I was keen to differentiate between this, and professional practice, and prepared a fairly dinky 500 word summary of this.  Flushed with success of this, I’ve started to think about my first assignment again, and prepared a ‘one pager’ to start the negotiations.

It’s hardly surprising that I woke Monday morning with a headache, so I’m taking it easy and will head into work later.  But despite this ‘hangover’, it’s been a productive weekend – here’s to many more of them.