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Learning from mistakes

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I don't know about you but I learn best by doing and making mistakes. I want to get stuck in, be guided, give it a go and try again and keep trying. These is harder to do in academia than in just about every other walk of life. We should be knocking out short essays every week in preparation for the longer, tutor marked assignments. 

As an OU student on the MAODE I went 'totally digital': no printing off, books on an iPad, type everything off. No more! It made my brain soft and inclined to lazy ineffective learning practices like highlighting passages or cutting and pasting text instead of taking notes the proper way.

I'm now all paper and pen. Handwritten notes in files like it was 1979. Once I've got a draft written THEN I will go the the computer to type it up, add footnotes, correct, share, fix, correct, adjust and eventually submit. 

What works for you?



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hello Jonathan,

I have to use hardcopy, paper, pens, pencils, notebooks, coloured pens sometimes to show certain notes are on the same subject, I do type up a draft and then print it so I can change/check/ add to it by hand, I'm retired and came to computers late in life,

I also like to touch and handle the books and pens/pencils, Frances

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Hi Jonathon

Has to be pen and paper, I so prefer the old fashion way of doing many things. I did not spend all those years perfecting my handwriting, to allow technology to take over! 





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Snap! Pen and paper wins everytime. Online does not work for me.

Design Museum

Buried in paper

Faced with the equivalent of three essays combined into one, a 15000 word dissertation, I have now found I need it on paper, in stacks across the dining room table. I am gradually picking my way through this lot and taking notes. It is a painful process, but it feels as if there is light appearing from the gloom and I am able to make sense of it. 

We do a 'Dissertation Prep' exercise which sets out the plan for the full thing - that got 67, which is rather better than some of my earlier essays so I'm content.

Another 7 weeks to go, but my aim is to have a first draft written within 10 days. My tutor will comment on this, help bring knock some sense into it and help identify gaps that I will have to address. In my case this probably means a few long journeys, one to the National Museum of Wales, Aberystwyth.