Saturday, 12 October 2013

A326 Empire TMA 01 and First Tutorial

So today was my first tutorial for A32: Empire. This is the first Level 3 course that I am taking, and my fifth course with the. OU. I love the OU. I know, I know - everyone is sick of reading that from me, but I honestly do not have a bad word to say about them. Which is very much unlike me, I am a proper complainer in my old age!


Today we had a two-hour tutorial. I always love the tutorials and I try and attend each one. I always leave full of ides, full of inspiration - it really is great to be around other students and the tutor to share ideas. This one was mainly introductory, but I came away with a list of things to think about that were mainly housekeeping (and nothing to do with sweeping or steaming the floor, thank goodness.) So tonight I've re-read the module guide and looked over the assessment guidelines. It is great to familiarise yourself with them - to find out what it is the course wants of us.

I already studied A200 with the tutor that I have now, and I was very much looking forward to 'returning' on this course. I read somewhere that the OU don't really like disclosure of tutor names in relation to your opinion of them on forums, etc. So I am going to stick to this as I would hate to fall foul of OU rules. Anyway, my tutor is really great. Laid back, but helpful and very knowledgeable. Sometimes a tutorial and specifically the tutor can really fire you up for completing the TMA.


Again there are rules regarding what I can and can't write about these essays here. I won't be listing the questions or mentioning specifics. The first essay always scares me. I always think that this will set the tone of my mood for the rest of the course. This is silly of course - I have had pass 3 essays and pass 1 in the same course - so one essay result does not necessarily inform the rest. But still I worry.

I really want to nail this one. Not least because the course material is right up my street - I loved A200 and I feel more at home with this type of history. I am also aware that the grades for level 3 courses carry more weight than level 2. So the better I do here the better it is for my overall degree result.

The first essay is split into two options. Option a) is two 500 word essays and option b) is one 1000 word essay relating to a written document. I am plumping for option b) as option a) includes a map, and I really am not the best in the world with maps. (See what I did there?) Also, I feel like one of  the kids out of The Goonies especially when looking at the old tea-coloured ones. You know which kind I mean.


I'm doing OK. I'm about 2 weeks ahead - which is always a good thing for me as I am short of time, so it gives me some leeway if I fall 'behind' - I aim to stay ahead if I can, but past experience tells me that this probably won't happen - I'll no doubt get a bit bogged down with the reading - there is a lot of it. I just hope that I can be selective with my reading. I do read fast, but I worry that I might miss something I need by speed-reading. I'm going to be mindful of this.


There is no exam with this one. Just a 3,000 word EMA, which doesn't sound too daunting at the moment. I have printed off the TMA and EMA questions, and have briefly flicked through them. This is another job I need to do - I need to be more aware of what I need to be looking for in my reading - I need to get the EMA question in my head so that I can begin working on it, even if it is just some note-taking. I am aware that I am making a lot of plans in my head here, I won't necessarily do any of these. Do you remember the photo of my table three days before my A218 exam?

None of this is set up - this was my actual revision table...

I wrote this post explaining what was on my table and why. The post provided an excellent diversion from revision - sometimes too much is a bad thing!

So no exam with this one. And I'm not too sure whether this is a good thing. I do tend to thrive on a sort of nervous energy for the exam, and I do usually rise to the occasion. So I am aware that the EMA is different and I will definitely need to put in the same amount of work as what I would do for an exam plus revision. Maybe more work.

So that's it for my first few thoughts on TMA01. I'll be planning it and writing a draft this weeks hopefully. I have another tutorial next week so would be nice to collect my thoughts about the essay before then and then I can ask any questions that I need to.

I'll be writing more on A326 once TMA01 results are in, and I've started on TMA02. Good luck to everyone studying at the moment, hope you are all enjoying it and balancing everything out OK. :)


  1. Yeah i have the first TMA for my first course coming up now :( getting nervous lol

  2. WifeMumStudentBum13 October 2013 at 14:16

    Me too. I always start out with good intentions and it all falls by the wayside :( Something my tutor mentioned yesterday though was about level 1 courses being your 'trial run' to get your mistakes out of the way - so you'll be OK no matter what, it's all a learning curve. I had some right stinker essay marks at level 1, but tried my best to learn from tutor's feedback! Good luck :)


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