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4.4.2 Case study illustrations

Case Study: Jodi

Jodi’s ten-year vision focused very much on the type of restaurant he would like to work in – will it be big or small; what sort of cuisine; what sort of clientele; urban or rural; and so on. He has always been an outgoing, sociable type so does not foresee any need to focus on the other e
Author(s): The Open University

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3.4.1 Academic skills

We hope that one result of studying this unit is that you will feel more confident about using your academic skills. In this unit, these skills include:

  • reading for meaning
  • note taking
  • selecting and using evidence
  • writing in an academic way that includes different points of view
  • reflecting on your learning.

However, referring to these skills as ‘academic’ creates the risk that they are only seen as useful fo
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3.3.4 The importance of other people in our immediate social and learning environments

Case Study: Levene

Yes, I had a lot of support from my family. You know, I suppose you could say you take that for granted but, yes, I did have a lot of support from my family. But in terms of feedback and a sounding board – colleagues for instance over the phone. Your tutor is another example.


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3.3.2 What problems might you have with this?

One way to think about the problems you might have with using academic theory on Learning to change is to think about the difference between getting personal feedback and using academic ideas. Academic theory about learning is unlikely to have considered your particular experiences or the story of your life. This may mean that some parts of theory may not seem to apply to you. Often theory is found written down in books or journal articles which are read by other academics; they
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2.4.5 Reflecting on communication skills

Communication can be approached in terms of the skills needed to get a hoped-for response. By seeing communication in terms of skills, it is easier to focus on what skills you already have and use. Once you have a reasonably clear picture about this, it is much easier to see where you might want to act to increase your communication strengths and decrease any weaknesses.

It can be useful to try assessing what you see as someone else’s communication skills before you think about your o
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2.4.2 Knowledge

Learning is often associated with ‘knowing facts’. You may associate this sort of learning with what you did at school where you might have thought that you had to learn lots of facts associated with a subject in order to pass an examination. Evidence of learning is sometimes linked to building up an increasingly impressive store of such facts. TV quiz programmes tend to make us think that learning is about knowing more facts than other people.

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1.2 What's going on – learning online

In the following few pages we will look at some underlying principles of learning, and of learning computing skills in particular. This section is divided into two parts:

  • your learning style;

  • computing with confidence.


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1.1.8 Useful links

Here are some useful links to sites relating to ergonomics and to information about using and setting up your computer.

  • What is ergonomics? Find out at the Ergonomics Society website.

  • Health and Safety Executive home page, which is the entry to the HSE website. Within this site is a useful page that provides an alphabetical list of HSE documents including ones on Risk Assessment, Manual Handling, and Working with VDUs.


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8.1 Why polish?

Once you have reached this stage, you have nearly finished.

What does polishing mean, and what does it involve? Imagine polishing a car or a piece of furniture. Why might you do so? Usually, to make it look better, to present it in the best possible light, either for your own pleasure, or to impress others – perhaps because you want to sell it. If it is an object that you value, it is worth making it look its very best: it deserves it. How effective your polishing is usually depends o
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7.4.2 The introduction of an essay

What is the introduction of an essay and what is its purpose?

Activity 18

Write down your own understanding of the term ‘introduction’ in relation to essays.

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7.1 Translating your plan

You have now reached the stage when it is time to translate your plan, whatever its form, into the assignment itself. It is likely that this will be a first attempt at the exercise – a first draft. You may be one of the lucky few who only needs to write one draft. Or, if you have taken some time over your planning, one draft before the final version may be enough. But if you are finding it difficult to reconcile opposing points of view or to fit in a great deal of information, you may need
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5.2.1 When to look at the question

At what stage do you look at the title of your next assignment?

Activity 8

Note down what you think are the advantages and disadvantages of looking at the title before and after starting to work through the relevant section of your c
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5.1 Estimating the time for the task

First you need to know how much time you have available for your assignment. The pacing of your studies comes outside the scope of this unit, but it can be very de-motivating when you no longer feel in control of your studies because – for whatever reason – you have fallen behind. So it is extremely important to meet the deadlines set by the course team in your course calendar whenever possible.

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4.3 Essays

Now let's turn to essays.

Activity 4

Note down what you consider to be the purpose of an essay.

Discussion

Michel de Montaigne, a French philosopher,
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3 The purpose of writing

Let's take a step back and think about why you are writing assignments. As with most tasks, if you have an understanding of why you are doing something and how it fits into the bigger picture, it is easier to define what is required of you and therefore to do a good job.

So, what do you see as the reasons for writing assignments? Here are some suggestions:

  • to meet the assessment requirements of my course;

  • to demonstrate my under
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Learning outcomes

After studying this unit you should be able to:

  • understand what writing an assignment involves;

  • identify their strength and weaknesses;

  • consider the functions of essays and reports;

  • develop writing skills, whatever the stage they have reached.


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8.3 Planning your enquiry

I am grateful to Tony Coulson, Liaison Librarian (Arts) at The Open University, for his help with this section; also to Magnus John, Information Services Manager, International Centre for Distance Learning.

At this stage, you will be deciding what methods of enquiry to use and the scale of investigation to attempt. Will examining company papers, government reports and newspapers provide enough of the right kind of information? Or, since independent broadcasting comp
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6.2.3 Precise reference to ‘linear’ texts

You may find it more difficult to provide evidence from texts in which sounds, words or images follow on from one another over time (such as music and videos, plays and novels). Music is perhaps particularly hard to pin down. Sounds weave in and out of each other so that at first you may experience the music as seamless. But there are different ‘movements’ or ‘passages’ in music; moments at which a ‘melody’ is first introduced and later passages when it is repeated, for example. Y
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6.1 Making a convincing case

If you were talking to a friend about a picture hanging on your living-room wall, you might say: ‘I really like that portrait because the man looks so lifelike’. That is, you'd make some kind of judgement about the painting. (I've never heard anyone say ‘I really like that portrait because of that little white brush stroke in the top right-hand corner’.) So, in effect, you turn the process we have just been through on its head. When you are communicating your ideas to other peo
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4.3 Analysis and interpretation

We have got to the point of recognising that this is a lyric poem, and of thinking that it is probably about a lovers’ meeting. But you cannot reach firmer conclusions about a text's meanings until you have looked at as many aspects of it as you can. I think we need to go back again to the detail of the poem, because the analysis is not full enough yet.

For one thing, there is something odd about the poem's syntax. If you look at the verbs in the first verse you'll see that they are a
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