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A111 Journal - May 2021

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Edited by Christopher Douce, Thursday, 20 May 2021, 17:50

1 May 21

It was a quiet day, so I settled down to read the final two chapters of the final book: the chapter about Buddhism and the chapter about philosophy. I got part way through the Buddhism one, and then needed a sleep! I don’t think this any reflection on the quality of the writing or the topic, but rather that I was tired from a very busy week.

I also noticed an interesting article in the Saturday newspaper: Germany first to hand back Benin bronzes looted by British. Although I expected I would focus on the theatre and music question, I feel drawn to the history and art question. I think I’ve made my mind up about what I’m going to do for TMA 6.

2 May 21

I finished my first read of the final two chapters of the Crossing Boundaries book. I’m a little unsure about what “the noble eightfold path” in Buddhism means in a practical sense, but the chapter was more about informing students about different traditions and leading students onto a chapter on philosophy. I enjoyed the section which described Hume, and the descriptions about rationalism and empiricism.

It’s got to a point where I need to be strategic. 

My next steps are to work through the online materials that relate to the history of Benin, and art history, and make a bunch of notes. I then need to make a TMA plan and start writing since I need to submit my TMA 6 early. Although I understand that I may have technically passed the module due to my averages, going through the TMA writing process may well help me learn a few more things (and develop a few more skills). I’ve decided to set myself a target: to get everything done in two weeks, which is a week before the cut-off date.

13 May 21

I’ve read though the online materials, with the exception of listening to the audio materials.

Today I’m going back over some of the printed materials whilst on a short holiday in Dorset. As well as reading a couple of chapters, I’ve managed to get a couple of walks in. Although I didn’t read very much, it was helpful remember what bits I can find where when I begin to pull everything together.

16 May 21

After a day and a bit of marking TMAs, it’s back to study again.

I have five objectives today: to listen to the audio material, to listen to a video that was shared on the A111 Facebook group, to finish my re-reading, re-read the TMA question a couple of time, and then to start the essay. I’ll also have a look around to see if there are any recordings of tutorials that might be useful too. 

Just before I settled down to write my TMA, I decided to have a quick look at the module website just to make sure I had ticked everything off, and there wasn’t anything further I needed to look at. I realised I had missed a unit! I worked through the materials, made a bunch of notes, revisited my previous TMA feedback, and looked at some notes about preparing the final TMA. Finally, I had a good look at the EMA question again, making a couple of notes about what I need to include.

I had planned on writing the whole TMA in a day, but instead, I was scuppered by finding more materials to study. It was time well spent. Now that I worked through the additional audio and video material, I feel as if I’m just about ready to go with the writing.

18 May 21

The writing begins. 

Writing directly into the word processor, I laid out a set of headings that related to the broad structure of the essay, ticking off some points I had written on a physical piece of paper as I go. 

When the broad structure was settled, I crafted the opening paragraph, the introduction. I then started to flesh out different sections, and asked myself the question: “why didn’t I bookmark the chapters with post-it notes?”

I turned my attention to an important aspect of the essay: describing one of the artworks that were mentioned in the module materials. After a couple of hours of editing, writing and re-writing, I started to get tired, so I decided to call it a day.

19 May 21

The writing continues. 

I reminded myself of the headings I had set out, and then tackled the historical text bit of the essay, reviewing one of the primary sources from the module materials. I then moved onto referring some of the materials that were features on the module website. After a bit of restructuring, I wrote the conclusion. I hope I wasn’t going too far, but I also shared a personal opinion. My thinking was that an opinion would help to personalise the essay, and also express some of the ideas I had been learning.

After a few more hours, I felt that my TMA 6 was pretty much there and ready to go.

20 May 21

A bit of proof reading, and a small number of corrections. I’m about 100 words short of the word count, but I’m happy with what I’ve written, so it’s going in.

It’s done. A111 finished.

What’s next?

I need to buy the set texts for A112. That’s going to be my summer reading.

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A111 Journal - April 2021

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Edited by Christopher Douce, Sunday, 2 May 2021, 12:41

2 April 21

I’ve got my TMA 4 results back and I felt that the marking was fair, and the feedback was really detailed and thorough.

I discovered that whilst I tried to answer the essay question, I did go a bit ‘off piste’. In other words, I was trying to be too clever, and moved away from some of the key themes and topics that were presented within the module materials. That’s okay, though. Other than the first TMA, I’ve never really written an arts essay before, so I should be pleased with my score.

I’ve finished reading the chapter about the play called The Island, which I enjoyed. I learnt a lot about the history of South Africa, and the way that a play can transcend different boundaries. I’ve read half of the next chapter: Music and Protest in South Africa. What I need to do now is to go back over the online materials; there is half of the Antigone materials to work through, and all of The Island materials to work through. I feel as if I’m just about keeping up, but by the skin of my teeth.

I’ve reminded myself of the next TMA cut-off date, which is coming up in around three weeks. Next week I have a plan to prepare my TMA document, and then have a very good look at the questions. 

In other news, I’ve also registered for the follow on module, A112.

5 April 21

My registration for A112 has been confirmed. It’s going ahead! Now, all I’ve got to do is to complete TMA 6.

To prepare for this final TMA, I did a bit of reading yesterday. I read over the chapter that was about South Africa, protest and music quite quickly. I do plan to spend a bit more time working through the online material in a lot of depth, since I think this might be my focus on TMA 6. I got a bit further than I had expected, and got to the chapter about the art of Benin. There’s such a lot in this new chapter that I don’t know about. I guess I’m balancing studying in a strategic way with studying with the intention of making sure I learn about new things that I don’t know about, and might help me understand new perspectives.

Aware that I need to get a move on, I’ve started to prep for TMA 5.

I’ve created a new document and have added the reflective question that I need to answer. I have also copy/pasted in the assessment criteria, and a summary of all the question points that I must address.

My next step: to review the very useful feedback that has been given by my tutor, and to review all these blog posts.

16 April 21

Between this post and the last post, I have been doing a bit of reading, but not as much as I should have been. 

Today I re-read a chapter about the looting of Benin, a chapter about the way the Benin bronzes were perceived and presented, and then got to a chapter about the relationship between the bronzes and modern art. I found this last chapter really interesting, although quite difficult to read; some of the text was quite dense.  

During this last chapter, I learnt about the connections between modernist art and modern art, and the way that the notion of ‘primitive’ art had been challenged by the technical precision of the Benin bronzes. Whilst I was studying, I took a couple of pictures (using my mobile phone) of what I thought were key paragraphs about the way in which the bronzes were understood and viewed.

17 April 21

Two days to go before the TMA 5 cut-off date. I’ve started it, putting all the main ingredients together. I now need to go back to my document, edit it all together (drawing on the activities that I have completed), and get a submission together. 

A few days ago I reviewed the module assessment strategy after reading some questions from a fellow student, who asked: “do I have to submit TMA 6?” I know that TMA 5 accounts for 10% of the overall score, and TMA 6 accounts for 20%. Although it looks like I can get away with not submitting the final TMA and still pass the module, I’m going to submit it anyway.

At this stage, I’m torn between doing the literature and music question, and the history and art question for TMA 6. I think I’m going to do some re-reading before I decide.

Meanwhile, on to TMA 5.

27 April 21

I found a bit of time to attend the only tutorial I’ve managed to go to for TMA 6. The tutorial focussed on the Benin bronzes. When I started, there were about 12 students online. By the time it finished, there were about 4 or 5. The tutor did a great job talking us through the different materials, and there were three practical activities which connected to something that we had to do in the TMA.

30 April 21

I’ve got my TMA 5 result, which I’m really pleased about. 

I’ve read through the feedback, but I need to read through it again. A reflection is: I need to review the guidance about writing an assignment, which was given to me with my TMA 4 feedback, since that looks to be really helpful.

I’ve been really busy at work recently, which means that I’ve not done as much as I had hope to do. I need to do a bit of catching up.

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