Wednesday, 10 September 2008
My package from the OU has finally been delivered. After quickly cutting off the banding, I opened the cardboard wrapping, and there nestling inside were books; new books with that wonderful smell that I associate with a book shop.
There are three books in this mailing; the course companion which contains details of the materials associated with the course and details of study skills and learning outcomes, an illustration book which has colour enlargements of the paintings and drawings used while studying Books 1 and 2 of the course, and Book 1, which looks at the reputations of a number of historical figures. In addition there are audio CDs, a video DVD, and a DVD ROM.
Then there is the scariest item of them all; the TMA booklet. In this thin little publication are the details of the assignments that form the continuous assessment part of the course, some guidelines for answering the questions posed, and the dates by which they have to be submitted to my tutor. And on the last few pages of this booklet are the options for the end of course assessment, that is the examinable component for this course.
Exams and I do not get on well. My anxiety levels rise so much that I can be a gibbering wreck as I walk into the examination hall. I become more and more depressed as the exam date looms and I suffer weeks of anxiety after sitting the exam. This time I am hoping that I can do myself full justice by not having the additional pressure of an exam.
The course website opens next week, and I should be getting information about my tutor too. Then it will soon be time to start working on this course and getting back into the routine that study with the OU requires. It's not always easy keeping to the timetable that I set myself, but by setting that timetable and trying to always be a few days ahead of where I need to be, I hope that times when my depression is really bad don't mean that I fall behind.
Just the arrival of the first package of course materials is making me keen to get started. And strange as it may seem, after studying with the OU for so many years, this is the first time that I have taken a course that followed the traditional academic year, the others have all run from January to October. So this time I won't be getting to the most important part of the course just when I want to spend time outside in the good weather. Although that does presuppose that we are going to have some good weather next summer.