My Open University course officially started last weekend. I am now a student again.
I’m studying module A200, ‘Exploring history: medieval to modern 1400-1900’, a level 2 course as part of my degree. I love history, so I’m hoping that my passion for the subject will see me through as I deal with the challenges of studying it whilst balancing and juggling everything else around me.
So how’s it going so far?
I actually started just after Boo went back to school at the beginning of September. That’s the benefit of studying flexibly like this, as I knew that I’d need a head start. The guidelines for part time study like this suggest around 16 hours work a week. Well, truth be told, I don’t have 16 hours a week free right now. I have Little Man at home full time, this blog and my home and family. My mum has kindly offered to have Little Man for one day a week for me until the end of the year (I’m hoping he’ll be ready to start at nursery for a couple of days from January), so at the moment, my study time is all crammed into those 5 hours or so that I have between drop offs while Boo’s at school, hence the need for a head start as it’ll take me longer than the weeks allotted to cover each section. It’s a challenge!
Fortunately, I am thoroughly enjoying the content. So far I’ve covered subjects such as The Black Death, Henry V’s success at Agincourt and beyond, Joan of Arc and the Wars of the Roses, to give you a feel for the period that I’ve been working on. I’m conscious of not simply immersing myself in the history and the chronology, as it’s very much about the skills of becoming academic historians, so studying the primary and secondary sources available to build our own accounts. It takes me right back to my History GCSE, let alone ‘A’level, as I distinctly remember covering source analysis then, and that was over twenty years ago now. I’m so relieved that I have a good memory!
I was a little concerned prior to commencing that the actual process of studying might initially elude me having not done it for so long. I completed my first two OU modules 15 years ago now, and though I did study for some professional qualifications around a decade ago, it really wasn’t the same. I questioned my ability to even be able to note take, but it’s funny how it all comes flooding back once you get going, very reassuring.
So having worked my way through the first block, I’m now at the point of starting on my first assignment, all focused around understanding primary sources in the context of the times I’ve been studying. The worry for me was that I’ve been working away for a month, all alone aside from dipping into the module forums occasionally to see what people are chatting about there, so am I on the right track? I think that’s where the tutorials come in.
It was my first tutorial on Saturday, fortunately just in Birmingham city centre, so an easy minute journey for me.
There were just 9 of us there, and I understand there are 20 of us assigned to work with our tutor. It felt relaxed and informal, and it was good to chat through some of the areas I’ve been covering with others and work on some practical activities together. And to my relief, it seems that I do know what I’m doing, as I felt quite comfortable there, phew!
Onwards I go then. I’m happy that I made the decision to go ahead with it after I wavered. Wish me luck with my first assignment…..