Semester One: The First Four Weeks

Semester One, Week Four: 12th October 2010 – In a Spin

What happened?

I completely forgot to submit my Web Design formative assessment, even though I had done it.

I was delighted to discover Amreeta is supporting a student in the Beginner’s IT on a Monday afternoon which is the session I am gaining experience in my chosen field of employment I’d like to move into.  As part of interpersonal, work related skills, Amreeta has asked me to meet her student in reception on Monday afternoon at 12.45 pm and I have agreed to assist Amreeta in this way.

I have prepared a lesson plan and a Beginner’s Guide to inserting images into a document because, under supervision, I am taking the Beginner’s lesson.  At  the moment, it is all voluntary work where as well as gaining experience I have a great deal of enjoyment in what I am doing but the lesson wasn’t the success I had hoped it would be.

At home, I have managed to create a Word Press account to familiarise myself with Word Press and learn its features in the event we might use it on our course.  My Word Press user name is angie1926 but I use it as a way to get issues surrounding my depression out of my system.

Half of the group have now completed their 10-minute presentations and with mine next week, I have a week to tighten it up and practice.

Feelings

In all the excitement that I had received express permission from two best-selling authors to link my web-site to theirs, it was counteracted by the disappointment in myself that I had carried out the formative assessment and completely forgot to up-load it onto Moodle.  It actually threw me out a little bit during the Web Design lesson.

I have had a few sleepless nights over the past week and one of them was my own self-doubts in my own ability to do the Foundation Degree.   I am beginning to adjust a little bit to the work load.

It is only when it has been put into perspective that we are really lucky to be on the Foundation Degree when the demand for HE places due to the current fragile economic climate was so high, many students did not even get a place or are currently studying on courses which were not their first choice that I realise College have had faith in me that I have the ability to do well on the Foundation Degree.

I found following beginner’s IT my self-confidence took a knock which left me highly emotional and emotions running too near the surface.  It has made me increasingly nervous about next week’s presentation so I know what I need to do.

Good or Bad

The obvious bad things to stand out were formative assessment for Web Design, how I’m finding it difficult to find literature on my PowerPoint presentation other than the Internet which is not always accurate and the disastrous outcome of taking the beginner’s IT.

The two good things from this week, my planning for Beginner’s IT session was approved as fine and I can put into practice work related skills in supporting Amreeta.

How or what would I do differently?

I will tighten up my own time management and organisation and ensure I write down important things so I do not forget to submit formative assessments and find myself in the same situation I was in during Web Design.

I have to work on my self confidence and practice such tasks as presentations and standing up in front of groups of people

Semester One, Week 3: 5th October 2010 – This is It! No Social Life until next Summer

What happened?

Technical difficulties with the software at the start of Visual Programming proved slightly problematic as we took longer to get started on the programming practical side than we normally would.

On Moodle, we’ve been given prefixes to use when programming, for example, cmd is the prefix for command, lbl is the prefix for label and txt is the prefix for text.

It was pointed out that it is good practice to identify programs and place comments in them.  To do this, it is a simple placing of an apostrophe before the text to be typed and Visual Basic should turn the text green.  The first three lines in program writing will show, the title, the author and the date – each line beginning with an apostrophe.

During Work Related Learning my first piece was brought up.  At the time the session was covering company structures (which I didn’t do on my task).  I gave good I explanations on what each were but no diagrams and while I cited my resources at the end of the task, I didn’t say in the document where exactly I got my information from and so it could have been copied and pasted – but that’s cheating.   I felt I’d got a bit rusty around the edges over the summer months.  And that will teach me for doing my research on the internet!

During the practical side of Web Design, I couldn’t get my background to change colour.  Lynn looked at it and couldn’t see anything I’d done wrong except the way I’d saved the initial document.  I need to practice on the codes more to improve this part of the course.  I also received permission from the author, Jenny Colgan, to link my web site to hers.  And while I might not have required permission, I thought it was impressive to ask for it and receive it.

I have already taken on board advice I was given on Monday afternoon about lesson planning.  I had a much better day working from home on Friday when I wrote down a plan.  In my plan, I haven’t written any timings down with the exception of the start time.  It makes it less rigid and gives it flexibility and it means I can move tasks about rather than sticking to a rigid plan.  By writing this simple plan, I worked better on Friday than I did on Thursday.

Feelings

I’m still finding it quite difficult to adjust to the amount of work we’re getting even though I’ve got my work load well organised in my OneNote notebook.

I was mortified when my report was brought up for the entire group to see on Wednesday but it is something I will have to get used to.

I do enjoy being in the group and with two new members, I seem to have made a friend in Amreeta (I think that’s her name).  She’s really nice.  I already knew Ibis from the Access course and Mark makes me laugh with his larger than life personality!

I felt quite proud of myself with this – it’s the way forward towards success in all aspects of my life.

I felt much more in control of my work load than my work load controlling me.

When I consider it, the character “Emma Harte” in “A Woman of Substance” had “a plan with a capital P” (Barbara Taylor Bradford, 1979) to work towards the successes the character had later in the novel and the series of books which followed.

Good or Bad

 It’s not so much good or bad in the separate modules as the one good thing I have got is the OneNote notebook.  It is becoming an invaluable electronic notebook, I might have to start taking the netbook in to College with me so that I can type notes as the lesson is progressing rather than writing notes.  This does not mean, I won’t need a pen and paper because I know I will.  Recording my notes in the electronic notebook is making the task of writing a weekly blog so much easier simply because I record the lessons in the class notes and I can put the blog together through looking back at my notes.

I am not in employment but I feel I’m pushing myself now that I’ve started assisting Julie Higney in Beginners IT on a Monday afternoon and I will be leading a session under Julie’s supervision.  I have to provide a lesson plan for her before the session I take and as well as it being an integral part of the Foundation Degree, it will also go towards the CTLLS course I start at the end of November.

How or what would I do differently?

There’s no doubt about it, while the internet is a rich resource for research.  I will justify and support my research through literature I have read as well.

Bibliography

Taylor-Bradford, B. (1979) A Woman of Substance, Harper Collins, London

Semester One, Week Two: 28th September 2010 – The First Week Completed

What happened?

The travel arrangements to College on the second day went a bit awry when the 8.00 am bus from the bus station didn’t turn up and I allowed another bus which goes near Horsforth Campus to leave without getting on it.

I went to buy the book for Programming and I honestly thought I’d got the right book, it was only when I looked at it properly on my arrival home and checked it up on Waterstone’s web-site that I realised I’d bought the wrong book.  I rang the store immediately and had the book exchanged on Saturday morning.  In my defence, the covers are exactly the same colour; I just didn’t check the title of the book before I bought it!

I was fortunate enough to have a book I bought back in April in The Works for designing web sites with tips for beginners, intermediate and advanced designers.

On Friday, I went in to meet Jas Ryatt regarding teaching practice for the work related learning module and the Certificate in Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector which I start in November.  I will be assisting Julie Higney in the Beginners IT group on a Monday afternoon with a view to leading one of the sessions under Julie’s supervision.

We’ve now met all our tutors and we know exactly what is expected of us.

 Feelings

I pride myself on my time-keeping that I wasn’t happy when I was late for my 9.00 am start on the Wednesday, even though the circumstances were beyond my control.

I felt a little overwhelmed with how much work we appear to have been bombarded with in the first week.  That’s my spare time, evenings and weekends taken care of for the next few months.  I also found it difficult to adjust after having so much time to myself throughout the summer when I would work on College work and preparing for this course in my own time.   I am used to getting up early but on the days I’m timetabled in at College, I have to be up, dressed and ready and it is a bit of a shock to the system.

By Wednesday afternoon, I was so tired, my eyes were streaming.  I managed to pick up when I left College to go home otherwise I could have found myself falling asleep on the bus home and ending up at the other end in Wakefield!

Good or Bad

I’ve found the tight schedule on a Wednesday a bit hard to get my head around.  I do fully understand the benefit of timetabling the course over a day and a half so that we have the opportunity to put the same hours we do in College on our course out of College rather than spending time commuting to College to only be timetabled in over more than a day and a half.

I have found myself saying I’m so glad that I went on the Access Diploma throughout the last academic year because it has prepared me as a student for what I’m about to go through on the foundation degree.

How or what would I do differently? 

I have already learnt not to let an opportunity pass me by and this morning when I arrived at the bus station before 7.50 am, I boarded the bus which was in the bus station to Horsforth straight away rather than waiting for the next one.

Semester One, Week One: 21st September 2010 – First Day of University Course

What happened? (Description)

Upon arrival at the classroom and once we had settled down to get on with work, Julie wrote the aims and objectives of the session on the board.  We covered the module handbook and module assessments.  In groups of four, we discussed what personal and professional development is.  A spokesperson already appointed by Julie from each group, put their own group opinions and thoughts across.  A short summary is that personal and professional development can be attributes and skills which are transferrable in all areas of life.

 We also covered during the session procrastination, taking notes and reading.  And we started work on our assessment which is due in three weeks time on the 13th October 2010 (I need to question this because the 13th October 2010 is actually a Wednesday).

We’ve had our formative assessment set to be completed for next Tuesday and we began research for Task 1 – Part A.

Feelings

I felt apprehensive this morning when I left the house although not as nervous as I would have been if we hadn’t taken part in induction last Wednesday.

I have to admit it was a little bit of a shock to be dressed, ready and out of the house before 7.30 am.

 I was then worried that despite doing an on-line journey planner last week, I wouldn’t get to the Horsforth Campus from Rothwell on time when I missed the bus from Rothwell.  I made the decision to walk up the hill from the bus stop at the end of my street where I caught a bus and made it for a 9.00 am start!

Before I left College after lunch to come home, I confided in students in the library that I am so glad now that I followed the Access to HE Diploma during the last academic year.  There are areas, for example, study skills, which are transferrable from the Access course to this course.

Good or Bad 

On the whole, the session aims and objectives were good.  I did consider that certain points should have been made clear to the group, an example was uploading work on to Moodle and how a student only as one opportunity to do it.  I was aware of it but I brought it up so the rest of the group could be made aware of it.

 How or what would I do differently?

If I had to do anything differently today, I would have ensured I was fully prepared for today the night before rather than wasting time.

 I can now take into account that the journey planner I carried out on-line is not completely accurate and through trial and error, I will get to know which bus I need to be on from home so I have plenty of time to take into account the volume of traffic and unforeseen circumstances on my journey into College.  This will mean I have a stress-free commute to College and I will spend less time worrying if I will arrive on time.

I did consider bringing my netbook from home.  I might find it useful because I use OneNote which is an electronic notebook I have created on my netbook.  It is a useful tool and I will have to be a little more prepared than I was this morning

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