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1.2.3 Computing with confidence

When it comes to learning about computers and gadgets, have you noticed the apparent ease with which children learn to use these tools? This may be because they are more likely to use the activist learning style. They try out and investigate rather than follow instructions rigidly or ponder the different approaches to a problem.

In this unit we want to encourage you to be an activist when learning how to use computers. We want you to explore technological problems in the same way as a c
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1.2.1 Your learning style

Imagine you are going to learn a new task. It could be laying a laminate floor, following a new recipe or learning to use a new TV remote control. How do you approach the task?

  • Approach 1 Do you sit down with the instructions and read them through before trying?

  • Approach 2 Do you get stuck in to the task straight away? Do you ask others for help and then move on to a new task as soon as this one is complete?

  • <
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1.1.1 How to do it

In this unit we aim to give you some first-hand experience of learning online. You will carry out some activities during which we hope you will learn some useful skills.


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11 Conclusion

Just as we have advised earlier, we are not going to introduce any new ideas in this concluding section. We are using it to reinforce what we think our main points are.

Writing essays or reports can be time-consuming; individual assignments tend to focus in depth on specific topics rather than fostering a wider sense of the whole course. However, three or four or more assignments will bring benefits as linkages start to become apparent and the total programme of written work help
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8.1.1 Achieving a good polish

Here is a list of indicators you can use to judge your polishing techniques. Most guidance notes given to students include these points, but they are not always followed.

Positive indicators Negative indicators
It is word-processed or clearly and neatly hand-written. The assignment is written on paper t
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6.3.1 Stage 1 Brainstorm

To begin your planning, you need to generate ideas or brainstorm. At this stage, you are including everything that you think may be relevant. Nothing should be dismissed yet; this part is about gathering your resources and your thoughts.

For instance, using the essay title ‘There are advantages to studying as a mature student. Do you agree?’, we tried to brainstorm for ideas and produced this list (but, of course, it wasn't this tidy):

  • <
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6.1.2 Essay planning

Carefully read the following short essay. Try to identify its strengths and weaknesses in terms of planning. Take your time, but don't think you need to be familiar with the content, you are trying to find what provides the writing's framework.

Then try to answer the questions that follow in Activity 13.

There are advantages to stu
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6.1.1 Report planning

Table 2 highlights the elements of a science or technology report, though the same general principles apply in other disciplines too.

Table 2 The main elements of a science or technology report

Element Purpose Description
title attrac
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5.2.2 Opening up ideas: analysing the question

What do you need to know about your assignment? Most importantly, what it's about (i.e. the topic). Once you have worked this out, you are in a better position to gauge how much you already know and how much you will need to find out.

Activity 9

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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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2.1 Your feelings about writing

Think for a moment about your reasons for studying this unit. Is it perhaps because you don't understand what is expected of you in your assignments, or that you aren't clear about how to improve? What are your feelings about your writing skills? What previous experience have you had (if any) of essay or report writing?

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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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Introduction

Most academic courses will require you to write assignments or reports, and this unit is designed to help you to develop the skills you need to write effectively for academic purposes. It contains clear instruction and a range of activities to help you to understand what is required, and to plan, structure and write your assignments or reports. You will also find out how to use feedback to develop your skills.


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8.4 Carrying out research

During this stage you get down to the business of analysing and interpreting the meanings of all your primary and secondary source material (documents, reports, newspaper accounts, books and articles), in the ways outlined in the previous sections of this unit. As you do so you will be making notes towards your project report. In this connection, it is very important to write down full references for all the material you use as you read each item. Then you can easily find partic
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5.2 The value of the text

We now turn to a critical assessment of the poem as a poem; the question is, is it a ‘good’ poem? To that we should add ‘of its kind’. As we saw, we must judge it as a lyric poem – it would be inappropriate to think of it in the same terms as, say, an epic, because the conventions that govern the epic's form (its subject matter, purposes and formal elements) are very different. It is always important to understand what kind of text you are dealing with no
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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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4.2 Meaning and ‘form’

The question remains, what is this poem ‘about’? Or, rather, we should ask, ‘what kind of poem is it?’ Poems (paintings, ideas, music, buildings, historical documents) are not all ‘one kind of thing’. As we become familiar with poetry we learn to distinguish between different kinds of poem, or between different poetic forms.

Epic poems, for example, are extremely long stories about the doings of a noble warrior, voyager, or similar ‘hero’. Other char
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2.1 Reading

Before you begin your interrogation of a text, though, you have to get to know it in a general way. In a sense, you can ‘see’ visual texts (such as paintings, sculptures and buildings) all at once; there they are before you. You can move around them, looking at them from different angles. But with written, aural and moving image texts – in which words, sounds or images follow on from one another – you cannot become familiar with the whole thing until
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Learning outcomes

After studying this unit you should be able to:

  • recognise the importance of interpersonal skills

  • describe how good communication with other can influence our working relationships

  • outline the roles we play in our work groups and teams


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Acknowledgements

The content acknowledged below is Proprietary (see terms and conditions). This content is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Licence

All materials included in this unit are derived from content originated at the Open University.


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