OU blog

Personal Blogs

Design Museum

How to study - if you haven't yet worked out how!

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 27 Feb 2013, 15:09

DSC01354.JPG

I bought this in 2000 when I was thinking about an OU course.

In February 2001 I signed up for the Masters in Open and Distance Learning. We used First Class, it was loaded from a disk I think. Using a Mac might have been a problem, I was rarely online to follow the independent, spasmodic asynchronous threads.

Anyway, a decade later I am heading towards the finish line.

2001 wasn't a good year for many of us ... I did the first TMAs but was made redundant a couple of months before the EMA would have been due and had by then decided that doing less for a couple of years rather than more would be a good idea.

Anyway ... despite having successfully negotiated two modules and six-eight TMAs and a couple of ECAs I find myself turning to Chapter 10 of the above.

'Writing essays and assignments'

I love the way the book is laid out. I reads like is was designed to be web friendly with short sentences and paragraphs and bullet points galore.

We may be floating around in cyberspace 12 years on from the last edition of this book (first edition 1970), but is remains relevant, not just for preparing for an ECA, but for writing at all.

I like lines like this,' After we've read, heard and talked about a topic, our minds are awash with ideas, impressions and chunks of information. But we never really get to grips with this experience until we try to write down our own version of it. Making notes is of some help, of course. But there is nothing like the writing of an essay to make us question our ideas, weigh up our impressions, sort out what information is relevant adn what is not - and, above all, come up with a reasoned viewpoint on the topic that we can feel it our own'. (Rowntree. 1999:170)

  • I will be probing
  • I will develop a critical argument
  • I will start tonight and write 500 words a night over six nights, then revist/redraft and pull it all together.
  • I will have the evidence
  • I will have the references in place
  • I will plan, weigh up and select from the work that I have done (and that has been done in my tutor group)
  • These will back up whatever themes or viewpoints or arguments I am putting forward
  • I WILL write and outline and stick to it
  • I will not become bling to better approaches that suggest themselves (which happened for one ECA and had me heading towards a 40 mark)
  • And I will 'write like I talk' (which is what I've always done)

(62435)

Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Design Museum

Wit, authority and a love for the subject

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 5 May 2014, 06:14

The analytics on your OU blog are none existent.

(47892)

This is my page views since Feb 2010.

That's all I get. Even 12 years ago I could learn every time I logged in the latest 'views' and the views for EVERY page in my diary ... with them ranked, and selected as favourites.

These are VITAL fuel to the blogger, especially the novice blogger who is desperate for signals that having offered their soul to the world that they are getting a response.

I think in my original 1999 blog I went through the 1,00,000 views three years ago (home page), the 170,000 on the favourites (a link into a category of pages) came next with some 18,000 or so on the most read individual page.

This is one indication of interest, the next is those pages picked out as favourites by other bloggers ... simple acts, no need to comment, just tick a box to indicate you're interest in what you've just said or expressed.

I have to say, my inclination to get in the Tardis and pick up on that 1999 blog is strong. It, they were better.

Back then it was a blank page. You needed some basic coding skills and a partner, a designer, always a total unknown, like a copywriter and art director working together.

I feel the loop has gone out far enough and us bloggers will welcome the return journey.

'Wit, auhtority and a love for the subject.'

This is all you need from a blogger you want to read, exactly what you'd like from a journalist. This is a description of the journalism of Sylvia Ryder.

I am first of all a diarist, then a blogger, also a writer and copywriter. I have decade of directing work (some on TV) to call myself a director. I have acted professionally. I even get up and play guitar and sing. I write for an audience. I would call myself an animateur, even a performer.

In this random, miscellaneous, uncatergorised world I am just the words I last put out. I am defined by then, Where they go, how I tag them ... I actually wish I could leave this to others. To wrap up here and say to my team ... you tage, you post, your spread my words where we've discussed is appropriate.

If I compose a song I want to perform it.

Listening to Sylivia Ryder being interviewed this morning (Radio 4, this Saturday) and mixing this up with 'Everything is Miscellaneous' David Weinberger I came up with my own conclusion.

We will no longer make do with the cherry on the top of the cake, placed there because those who know best have made this selection for us; we want all the cheries off the tree (let us decide) and all the cherries rotting on the ground too (it is for us to decide what to discard, not you).

We do and will discard the trash.

Therefore, we must offer at least a pummet of cheries.

This is easy to do.

Sony Flip, video and sound.

Cut in iMovie.

Turn an interview around with cut-aways in a morning.

Cost ?

Time of personnel ?

£100?

 

Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Design Museum

Teacher/Tutor/Coach - sounds like gardening to me

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 25 Feb 2011, 16:55

Is it my nurturing nature?

Nuturing%20Talent%20Watering%20Can%201.JPG

This is how I see myself. My role is to create the right environment, to nurture talent, to bring out the best in people - to help them be the best they can be.

There are parameters of course, they have chosen to be on this course, to swim with our club (where I am a coach). They ought to have some interest, some motivation to attend.

Having directed a number of successful short films it surprises me how often I am doing exactly this.

I take a chance on new comers, new to costume, new to art direction and make-up, new actors too. I like to give people this 'break.'

It's rewarding

Even where everyone is a seasoned pro I hope I create the same atmosphere.

Some 135+ video credits (training and information videos) suggests I'm getting something right.

I'll even put the watering can down and get my hands dirty.

Is all e-learning too hands-off?

Students as seeds in a packet scattered on distant ground.

Vygotsky would approve. 'The gardener affects the germmination of his flowers by increasing the temperature, regulating the moisture, varying the relative position of neighboring plants, and selecting and mixing soild and fertilizer, i.e., once again, indirectly, by making appropriate changes in the environment.'

REFERENCE

Vygotsky, L.S. (1928) Educational Psychology

Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Design Museum

When is a blog not a blog?

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 20 Mar 2012, 03:48

Try deciding where the North Atlantic becomes the South Atlantic.

The boundaries are somewhat fluid.

I go back through my OU blog from day one early Feb 2009 and amend, rewrite, 'doube-up' or muck-up this content, reviewing and ameliorating my recollection.

Is this a blog, or re-blog?

It's the same memory. All I'm doing is what we do all the time to make a memory stick; I'm reflecting on it. Taking a difference stance. And depending in good part on my mood thinking either postive constructive things about it or negative destructive things.

Does an amended 2FEB2010 become an entry for 2FEB2011, if for simplicity's sake this is how and when I do this?

You see, I know what happens. As a teenager I kept one of those Five Year Diaries ... I could see year after year what I was doing this time last year, or five years, or far more years than that ago.

Businesses compare quarters, and year on year. All false constructs. All chosen periods of a time.

My mind don't care.

It's simply stuff.

And often you have no control over what you recall in any case.

I smell Swarfega and I am a six year old washing oil from my bike-chain off my hands with my Grandfather. And I see the work bench, the shed and the bike. I can smell his tweed jacket and see his flat cap.

It will be extremely interesting to see how a professional take on looking at OU Blog entries Feb 2010 to Jan 2011 works out.

 

Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Design Museum

The importance of the words

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 29 Aug 2011, 08:15

Writing is everything.

I'd master it now. Keeping a blog is a sure darned way to do that. Handwritten is fine; find yourself the perfect pen.

Writing, or rather the ability to write.

It is the key to communication, to learning and to e-learning, and a great deal else besides.

On my passport it says 'writer, director.'

I like that, though I think of my skill as a visualiser and the writing and directing is rarely TV, but corporate and classroom training, desk-top learning, and product launches, change brand and change management.  Still there can be drama in it, and tears, and death, and love, and life, and music and dance. We go underwater and scale mountains, enter shear caves of nuclear power plants and wade through sewers, track super-models along catwalks in Paris and record the last words of a man dying of cancer in Carlisle.

I see things in pictures.

Perhaps the MA in Fine Art IS what I should have started a year ago ... though I fear I may have missed out.

It's easy enough I find to get my 'hand back in' if I want to draw something as it is rather like riding a bike, or skiing in deep powder snow, or racing a Fireball, or pushing off a wall in Breaststroke and emerging from a legal transition half way down a 25m pool ... once you've put in the days, months, years (even decades) learning to do these things, barring ill-health and great age, you ought to be able to do them for some time to come.

Which reminds me, I want to crack written French in 2011.

Clients think of me as something in addition to writing and directing (I produce), but no. that's not it; there are words, voices, images, cut together and linked in various ways that form linear and non-linear assemblages, but to them I am 'a problem solved', a job delivered, with passion, on time, on budget (of course), sometimes as a team of one, but sometimes in a team of a few or many more. I do wonder if sometimes an email with the finally agreed Creative Brief is the end of the process, rather than beginning.

Today, once you've solved that you can invite everyone to come up with their own creative execution.

Now there's a thought I'd not heard coming.

All of this takes words, expressing and solving the problem and sharing this requires words. A fast, reliable typing speed helps too. So perhaps my Mum was right to get me a typewriter when I was 13 when I wanted an electric guitar.

Sometimes I find the problem for the client and share it with them in all its beautiful ghastliness.

This is what good writing means. And experience. And judgment. And belief. And your approach and thoroughness. And the write people around you. And sometimes conviction that £60,000 will deliver the job, but £600 will not.

Good writing is less about the words chosen and put on the page (unless you are a novelist or poet, and I am neither), no, good writing is a good idea, clearly expressed, in as few words as possible. (Which in due course requires editing something like this).

Who is it who said the selling is a good idea?

That all it takes to sell something, is to have a good idea.

Good writing has a purpose and the author knows how to put the words to work by addressing a problem, because you know your audience and whether you or someone else is the subject matter expert, it is your responsibility, even if the words are hidden by a creative brief, a synopsis, treatments and scripts, to get the message across ... like, with some or many images (photos, graphics, cartoons), or with the spoken words and/or similar images that move ...

A swimming club session plan written on a whiteboard to take a squad of swimmers can be beautifully written if it is magically composed, and serves its immediate purpose. The good swimming coach rarely leaves such things in the head. It is thought-out, it is planned, it fits into the scheme of things, it is the right session for that hour or two.

Good writing hits a chord; it too is of the moment.

I conclude that a good teacher, a good tutor, educator, practitioner of e-learning ... all have this ability to write well at the core of their being. They are confident with words, words that are as carefully chosen even if spoken on the fly, as a result of their experience and all the lesson plans or scripts, or class programmes, they have written in the past that bubble up to the surface when faced with a problem - a fresh student.

(My only caveat is the from the podcasts I've heard before an educator is interviewed they should at least have the wisdom to do some media training).

Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Design Museum

Is this a blog?

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 28 Jan 2012, 15:16

I think not.

You can keep it private, or share it with the OU community or the wider world, but you can't personalise it.

Nor do you get to keep it afterwards.

Perhaps the OU should offer a blogging platform along the lines of EduBlog or WordPress and treat it as a worthwhile piece of PR, marketing and goodwill.

Afterall, why encourage people to blog for the first time and quickly lose them to another platform?

So what is this?

I don't mean for this to sound derogatory, but dwelling on this through the night, as you do (it is 02.53), I liken this to writing on a piece of loo roll. OK, it lasts a little longer (two years) and can be re-ussed.

Well, I won't stretch that analogy any further.

Scroll is the world I am looking for.

Like a papyrus scroll from Egypt 4000 years ago. Slung up over a line for all to see (or not).

Not a blog though.

Few, if anyone, posts an entry every day, as you would in a journal. Even if you go down the private route, it doesn't feel private, somewhere to disclose private thoughts, health, financial, family and political problems and views.

A learning journal? Part of the e-portfolio package? For reflection.

Yet again, if I am holding up a mirror to consider my experiences this public arena is surely NOT the place to do it?

Somewhere to paste stuff that is over 500 words long ... somewhere to link extended musings when you approach the 500 word mark in a Forum?

Some think 200 words in a Forum is about right.

So how many words for a blog entry?

Blogging mates from a decade ago struck on 1,000 words per entry. We also ran with the idea that is must all spew forth in one go. So in some respects perhaps my lavatorial analogy was the correct one.

I know exactly how you academics and intellectuals and non-obsessive journalers view this kind of thing.

How many characters in Twitter? I forget.

Perhaps the OU should set some parameters in forums and Blogs, as it does for assignments and limit us to 300 words in a forum entry and 600 here?

Or not.

Parameters serve a useful purpose. Give a sculptor a mountain and look what they do. Give me a e-scroll and look what I do.

Permalink 1 comment (latest comment by Mon Lang, Sunday, 1 Aug 2010, 09:23)
Share post

This blog might contain posts that are only visible to logged-in users, or where only logged-in users can comment. If you have an account on the system, please log in for full access.

Total visits to this blog: 5340242