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Work and views

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Start with the positives.

400,000 views, thank you everyone. I am very humbled by the achievements in popularity of this blog.

Work is frustrating. The staffing problems and workload pressures of the crminal justice sector are well known and well recorded.

It would be foolish of me to expect it to suddenly be different.

Still the frustrations are there, in 21 months i have now been transferred 3 times, so i have worked in 4 offices, getting to know the team, the specific arrangements for each office, than as soon as it settles, moved on again.

6 line managers in 21 months, each one discussing in supervision the importance of rapport and working relationships, and then being changed for someone else 2 months later.

And the joys of a shared service cetralised payroll and HR system are boundless. Letters telling you that you have been over paid on bssic salary being emailled out, then no letter of apology or acceptance of error when it turns out the pay was correct all along.

I should list for balance some positive elements, as soon as i find one i will list it.

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Just shy of 400,000 views.

That is amazing, thank you everyone.

I sometimes wish i could be more insightful with my content, but i very often do not have that much to say.

I am ssd that Robbie Robertson died this week, i always loved 'the band' and the live album they did with Bob Dylan is a favourite of mine.

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DMU alimni

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Everything came back in digital copies from DMU.

All  confirmed.

I am now the proud owner of two Arts degrees.

One from the OU and one from DMU and i am alumni to both.

Graduation  ceremony is in the third week of January 2024 in Leicester.

I had a look on google, DMU have a funky orange trim to the gowns, and i get to wear a mortar board cap with it.

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Confimation of result

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Edited by Michael Gumbrell, Wednesday, 2 Aug 2023, 19:14
The qualification panel for the DMU sat today.
So we are expected to recieve our classifications and letters of confirmation tomorrow. They also provide a letter of comfort of fitness to practice to the civil service.

So i will get that letter tomorrow.and get it uploaded it to the SOP and that will add me to the professionals register.

My change of contract letter has already.arrived, and i transfer to a new office this coming Monday.

Now for the joy of CPD learning.

I am thinking at the moment that i will go for CPD progression to a subject matter expert post.

As a 57 year old, having joined the civil.service at 55 years old, the early retirement option is not available for me, so 8-9 years of subject matter expert sounds good to me, then retire at my mandated age of 67
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Other HE journeys

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Edited by Michael Gumbrell, Sunday, 16 Jul 2023, 23:06

Went to Cardiff this week with son #2.

He is starting there in September to study Law so had a look around the law school, halls and out of professional interest, the Welsh Government buildings.

Cardiff is lovely, son #2 is lucky to be going and is very excited.

I did take a picture, but this OU blog will not allow any pictures bigger than the amount of computing power in the apollo 11 lander, i think it was just under 4 mega bytes. Since a phone these days uses more than that just to display the camera icon on it's screen, then no pictures get uploaded here anymore.

So roll on September the 20th and a 2 and a half hour drive to take him and his survival gear to Cardiff.

Son #1 is not attending his masters graduation ceremony in Portsmouth this coming week, he did not see the point in doing so.

So a odd contrast, son #1 being so over university he is not attending his last graduation ceremony and son #2 being hyper excited about starting university.

Kids eh? 

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Graduation from DMU

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Well it would appear because my dear employer did not upload the VQ part of my degree until this week, i have missed the DMU cut off date for a graduation ceremony this summer by 3 days.

So i will have to wait until Februaty 2024 before i can attend the ceremony.

Oh well.

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It is all about the views, baby.

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388,000  odd views of this (my) blog 

Thinking back to starting it...

I wrote a couple of posts in my first year of study and i was pleased to have 120 views.

Then i started to blog more and the views picked up, and i got to 5000 views, i thought that was staggering.

Then i studied the A222 philosophy module, and i did not enjoy it, and i blogged to great extent about how much i did not enjoy it....

That was the moment the views started to get beyond anything i could have thought possible.

And on it trundled.

Now it might make 400,000 eventually.

That is so kind of you all to bear with my A222 angst and other witterings.

Thank you.

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16 months later

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Edited by Michael Gumbrell, Friday, 23 Jun 2023, 20:38

That was a speedy 16 months passing since my last blog post...

So i joined the civil service after i graduated from the OU.

The civil service put me on a accelerated learning program, with the ministry of justice.

So i have spent the last 18 months working 4 days a week and studying one day a week with De Montford.

So, i completed that program today. I have passed my second degree, this one  in Community Justice.

Now my letters are

BA(hons) PPE.Open. BA(hons) ComJ.DMU.

Now i go into a 6 week process of trying to convince the civil service, my PDU head, to pay for me to do the part time MSc in Economic crime with Portsmouth.

Keeping studying and ploughing through everyone, it is worth it.

Mike. BA(hons) PPE Open, BA(hons) ComJ DMU.

OU and DMU alumni.

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And it is goodbye from me.

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That'sGraduation photo. all folks.

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Changed the picture

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Not much to say, just updated my blurb to alumni status.

Added my graduation picture from the ceremony in Poole today.Graduation photo

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Graduation ceremonies

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Well they have put in person graduation ceremonies back on.

I have booked Poole on the 30th of April 2022.

Who else is going to that one?

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The view counter just clocked 300 000 views.

Thank you everyone.

I am looking forward to starting my civil service career on the 1st of November.

Remember, keep plugging away, do not give up, getting your OU qualification will change your life for the better.

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I shall be released.

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Edited by Michael Gumbrell, Tuesday, 20 Jul 2021, 12:51

Results are in. I passed, so i now have a upper second class honours degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics.

I have accepted a job offer with the civil service, they will fund my masters study. So i am off to spend the last 15 years of working life in professional service with the Ministry of Justice, with my degree and hopefully with a master of science in Economic Crime.

So that is it for me and the Open University. It has been a long road, but it is now travelled.

Thank you to everyone who visited my blog  i ended up with 293,000 views.

If anyone comes across this blog long after i have finished with it, my parting words of advice are:

You can do it.

Be organised  it will help.,

Remain focused.

Work the problem  if you come across them.

It will change your life for the better.

Try not to study Philosophy, it is painful.

Enjoy your success when it arrives.

Message ends.

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That's all folks

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That's me done.

 Everything submitted. 

Just have to wait for my last ever EMA score.

And in 7 weeks wait for my classification award.

Six and a half years, what a slog.

I will not out stay my welcome.

Goodbye to the OU, good luck to everyone who still sails with her. 


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2nd offer

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Winchester, through UCAS finally got back to me.

I have a conditional offer from them for a MA Liberal Arts.

I think i will be going to Portsmouth, but at least i have a plan b now.

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Research question approved

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My tutor has agreed my EMA research question.

It is narrowly focused enough, contains the correct direct links to micro economic theory and relates to the course section of environmental economics.

So that is good news, now i can get on with writing my secondary data research project. It is about game theory.

I can't be any more specific without getting myself into trouble, the module is not over yet.

So one more of my last OU steps has been taken. 

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Crossing bridges for the final time.

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Edited by Michael Gumbrell, Tuesday, 6 Apr 2021, 21:18

My very last OU TMA is due next Tuesday.

I have virtually finished it, i will polish it off on Friday and submit it.

That will be my last ever TMA submission for the OU.

Only the EMA remains, my research project.

So is that sad, exciting or somewhere in between. I have mixed emotions, which i have written about before. It really is such a long journey, and i am at the final stretch. I am not sure how i feel really. 

It is all a bit odd really.

Looking at the view counter, i might fall short of 300,000 before i finish my course. I don't mind, when i first started doing this blog i had no real plans for how it would pan out, so i am delighted it did so well.

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Virtual open event at Portsmouth Uni

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I have just completed the virtual open day at Portsmouth Uni.

Had a zoom chat with the two module leaders for MSc Economic Crime.

What a fantastic opportunity.

I have already accepted my conditional offer from Portsmouth, and that is 100% my best choice now,

Sorry Winchester.

All i have to do now is make sure i secure my P.P.E 2:1 classification

Really hyped about my progression to Masters study.

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rambling man

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So i am on stand by tonight, giving my the luxury of a little time to do a rambling blog post.

Firstly, i am very proud of Son #1, he is on for a first with his degree, BA(hons) Politics and International Relations. He has his offer to do his masters in International relations, so all things being equal, he should get at least a 2:1 and go into the masters course. so that makes me proud, well done him. I think he is lucky, when my dad died, he left the kids the money to go to University, so there is enough to cover son #1's masters fee's, because he is continuing at Portsmouth, so he gets a discount on the masters. I wonder if he knows how lucky he is that he can graduate with a Masters degree and no student debt, although it is always a two sided coin, he could have got an apprenticeship after A levels and have had the £35,000 as a deposit for a flat or something. Looking at the data for incomes for people with Masters degree's, i hope he will fit into a good graduate programme somewhere with the option to have a good wage going forward, so who knows, it is a game of two halves. It looks like Portsmouth Uni are planning to restart graduate ceremonies, his will be in July hopefully. Followed by another one next July, with any luck.

I am still waiting for Winchester to get back to me with an offer, i have confirmed my offer with Portsmouth, so grades willing that is now my plan A, both applications ae held up whilst i wait for Student Services at the OU to give both universities my academic references. According to the website, they aim to reply within ten days, so they are not outisde that window yet. My friend Tony, who got a Masters in procurement from Manchester Uni when we were young, wrote a lovely personal reference for me, so that is appreciated.

I am now up to date with DD309, i feel so much more comfortable now with what remains and my final project. I decided my research question with be based aorund game theory and assurance cooperation games, comparing cheap talking players to third party moderators and which provide the best untility (outcomes). Game theory is a subject i find very interesting (so much more than the vast lumps of neo classical theory in DD309) sp hopefully that fact that i find my research question interesting will help me get a good mark. It is quite liberating, having had several occasions when the TMA question was really something part of the course i had no interest in and so had to drag the essay out of the very bottom of my brain. so it is nice to have the chance to do somehting i am actually interested in.

I am still feeling the same way about the OU i have for a while now, 'lets just get this done and be done with it' i did have a look at the OU Masters programme, nothing really suitable for me. Also, having looked at quite a few graduate scheme's i have noticed that a couple of the bigger name financial firms do not list the OU as acceptable institutions for their programmes. So if i get a masters from Portsmouth, then that will be less of  problem. It is weird, i have eleven weeks remaining witht he OU, after 6 years and 4 months, i am really on the final eleven week stretch.

So reflecting on the journey, it has been fun, it has been not fun, it has been interesting at points, it has been dull in points. I feel it has been worthwhile, when i started i thought i would be satisfied with the BA degree. that has changed, now i feel like i should carry on, and get the MSc degree. I have recently started to doubt how much of an achievement the BA(hons) Politics,Philosophy and Economics qualification will be, i am sure other people would feel prouder than i will, however i think it might be linked to the isolating nature of the OU study. I have not had a tutorial face to face for over a year now, and i miss that. I think that by slogging away on my own, on the lap top that i am starting to lose the feeling of connection to value of achieveing the qualification. It is an up and down thing, i guess i am not the only student that goes through the journey. I imagine this feeling is shared by others about to graduate their qualification. I think i have also lost the context of how long six and a half years really is. Studying has become habit, habit become routine, routine becomes tedium and that is where i am at now. I am glad i claimed by Diploma of higher education last year, that gave me a little push along, i also think i should have left DD316, the Politics module until the last, and got this Economics module out of the way first, the most important thing is that i binned the Philosophy at level 3, that was a good choice, and doing Economics last was a bad choice.

Spring is here, my potatoes are planted, Covid seems to be far more under control than it was, half of all UK adults are now vaccinated, so as the seasons change so does my academic season. Bighter days are ahead, warmer and hopefully more content on all counts.

i was aiming for 1000 words.... did not nail it, tailed off at 953....

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Conditional offer

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Well Portsmouth University got back to me first

So i have a conditional offer to study MSc economic crime at Portsmouth.

I can get the 2 references, just need to achieve a 2:1 degree.

Still waiting for Winchester to get back to me.

Anyway at  least i have one offer on the scoreboard.

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What comes after BA(hons) P.P.E

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As i have mentioned before i wanted to go to Winchester next, as a part time student and do a Master of arts in Liberal arts. I have done that UCAS application and submitted it.

However Portsmouth University now offer part time online masters degree's.

So with my 20 years experience as a casino manager, i did quite a fair amount of money laundering training and due diligence checks on customers, so i also applied to Portsmouth University to do a 2 year, part time, online MSc in Economic Crime. The course looks very interesting.

How employable a 56 year old with a MSc in Economic Crime would be, i am not sure. But i can but try and find out. Portsmouth do not accept UCAS applications for courses, so i have applied direct to them.

So now i am sitting and waiting to see if Winchester or Portsmouth will give me an conditional offer, i do hope so.

In other news, Son #1 is in for a first at Portsmouth with his Politics and International relations degree , and he already has his conditional offer to continue at Portsmouth to a masters in International Relations.  So that is good news.

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A bit calmer now

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Well 3 TMA's in and i am a little calmer about DD309.

I am between 2:1 and 2:2 grade boundary, i was 2:1 last year, so if i keep this up, with a covid special circumstances form submitted, i should be okay for a 2:1. That is fine, i really do not have enough spare time to get the hours in for a first.

I have finished the taught materials, i have one tma left to do this week, about environmental micro economics, and then onto my final research project.

That is likely to be secondary data project on micro economic game theory in relation to environmental economics, just not sure of the exact question yet...but that is what tma 05 is for on this course.

My biggest down fall there will be to submit a detailed plan for my research project and if i am being honest,  i have never planned an essay in my 6 years with the OU. I just sit down with a blank page, the text book and the guidance notes and just start to write. I have not had to do much of a rewrite on any essay, and quite a few times, my first draft is the version i submitted. So doing a full plan will be harder work for me than normal.

I have had enough of it by now, i am in the 'lets get it written and be done with this' stage of study.

I am a little frustrated that the OU have just tried to plow through this second national lockdown, expecting us to just carry on regardless, without any changes or support to our module study. That is frustrating to say the least. I think they will have to be very careful with the final classifications offered to my cohort year, without pragmatism and careful consideration it might blow up in their faces.

I have slowed right down with this blog, i really do not have the time to commit to regular blogging any more, i am 1 of 2 remaining students who study Politics, Philosophy and Economics in this cohort, the rest have all left or changed degree classification, so i feel quite isolated in that situation.

Anyway this blog is up to 267,000 views, which is amazing. Thank you to everyone who has visited it. I will try to write a couple of more blog posts before i complete my degree and graduate, perhaps i might peak with 300,000 blog views, which would be amazing, i am after all just a random student who has no interest in media or social influencing. I have always had my blog set to public, which inhibits many of my fellow students from commenting, and yet it still might get to hopefully 300,000 views.

I shall leave that here for now, the word counter in this post is close to 500, and that is more words than i was required to write in some of my YO32 access module TMA'S!!!! 

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Still struggling with DD309

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DD309 is very hard, made harder by the spike in covid cases and the new lockdowns.

I am back on working 6 day weeks.

With hindsight, last module the corona virus and the national lock down hit in March, and we had the OU cancel end of module assessments as a result.

This module, the second covid spike and lockdown came in December, right in the middle of the taught modules and with TMA's coming at 5 week intervals, and yet the OU have done nothing about making alternative arrangements. 

My TMA scores have been pretty bad so far, and i have had to ask for extensions for the first 3 TMA's.

This is my final module, so my final classification will be damaged by the events of December 2020 and onwards, plus having to work 6 days a week again, leaving little free time to study.

Since the pandemic spanned and disrupted my final 2 level 3 modules, will any adjustments be made to my final classification to reflect that?

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DD309 is really intense.

The ammount of information is huge.

The neo classical models are rather dull.

The evolutionary and behavioural models are far more interesting.

i really do gravitate towards game theory.

Industrial dynamics is also really interesting.

But it is really hard, with an oerwhelming ammount of potential extra reading if you have time for it.

It is very much harder than the level 3 politics module i did last year.

DD309 is very much the real deal, hard,intense and difficult.

In some ways it is a suitable final module, if i can get through it then i will feel that i have really achieved something.

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a quarter of a million views

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Wow, just wow.

i have so busy, i have not been on my blog for a couple of months.

Imagine my surprise and joy at loggin onto this blog and seeing 250,000 views.

A quarter of a million views, that is incrediable,


DD309 is really hard, and very dense, with a great deal of reading involved.

so i doubt i will have much spare time bewteen now and the finish of my degree in May 2021, to pop on here and blog.

I will try and blog as much as i can between now and my finish. I am 5 months out of gaining my politics,philosophy and economics degree, i just need to get to the finish line, sane and in one peice.

here is hoping....

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