T306 Block 1: Activity 4

More questions about my expectations of this course.

What activities do you expect to undertake in studying a level 3 course?

Short answer? Similar to a level 3 course but harder.Longer answer? This course is the older, more difficult-to-understand sibling of T214 (or so I imagine) and will require a deeper understanding of the course material. I’m expecting a lot more research to be needed – rather than relying heavily on course materials – and I already know that I’ll need to be interacting with people I don’t know as part of my project work.

In the past I have found reading through course materials starts off my learning process, then I used to write bits of it out, or copy pertinent pages into some sort log book. In order to cement my earlier learning I’ve always found it helpful to carry out some sort of practical exercise. This is part of the ‘learning by experience’ mentioned in the course guide I suppose. Unfortunately, I often found other things to do and skipped some of this practical activity in earlier courses. My marks did suffer and I really need to find the time to work through all the course materials this time.

T214 had all sorts of course materials; books, on-line coursework, videos and audio tracks. I consumed most of it and even kept a ‘learning album’ on my blog like I am with T306. Unfortunately, I didn’t really maintain the T214 log and struggled to absorb the course material. T214 does have plenty of overlap with this course (modelling, learning cycle etc) and I think I did get a good grasp of those concepts during my work on my assignments, so I’m hoping that I can remember enough of it to make T306 a little easier.

This is my very first level 3 course, so perhaps I’m expecting something much harder than the reality of the course. We shall see.

Which components of your previous learning experience have you enjoyed most? Why?

I’ve always enjoyed learning new things. ‘Dry’ subjects are harder to find interesting, but the systems thinking courses have had real-life repercussions on my way of thinking. I’m now (hopefully) more away of ‘wholes’ when thinking about problems. I’ve always considered myself to be good at thinking from alternate perspectives but T214 has reinforced that, and I do now feel better equipped to imagine myself in other people’s shoes.

So, I’ve most enjoyed those components of courses that have had real effects on my life, either making it more interesting or making me more capable.

I have particularly enjoyed my previous Object Oriented Programming course (M255) because I was able to use some practical programming skills to write working code. I found that making something work highly satisfying. I will be very pleased with T306 if I can complete my project by providing what looks like a working solution to a problem.

I didn’t like subjects that I found boring, or had no particular interest in. I’ve always maintained that I don’t want to be a project manager, but it seems that T306 involves some project management tools. I’m not the most organised person and I’ve always thought that I’d find project management too difficult (and boring) for me. However, I am most certainly going to have to become a temporary project manager for my own coursework. I think that this is the part that I will find most difficult about the course, but we shall see.

All the courses I’ve taken with the OU have taken similar learning patterns: do some theory then do some exercises. I think that T306 will involve quite a lot of both, but the key to my success will be through spending a lot of time practising the methods taught in the course. The more I practise, the better my exam result will be.


Update 25/1/2012

Having read a bit more of Block 1 it’s become apparent that T306 isn’t a course where you read some theory then do some practice; it’s more about self-discovery to see what works for the individual systems thinker. One practitioner’s methods might not work for another, and so we’re expected to find our own way to Systems Thinking Nirvana. The course sets the environment from which good systems thinkers can grow, or something like that.

I have to ‘take responsibility for my own learning’, apparently.

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