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I’ll add notes here as the differences between the online and ‘traditional’ learning experience dawn on me as I do the two in parallel. Actually there’s a third comparison I can make – that of L&D which the other week included something neither of the above formats offer – ‘learning over a good lunch!’
The ‘traditional’ seminar or lecture forces your hand somewhat – you have to be there. Many these days are recorded, though mine will not be. I’m inclined therefore to take either a digital or audio recorder along to record these things. I have, just a couple of times over three years, got behind with the online course as I kept putting it off.
Travel … and the associated cost
It’ll be around four hours door to door once a month. This means getting up at 4.30 am. Not of course something someone in full time tertiary education needs to do. Off peak, unless booked well in advance it’ll cost £74 return … £24 if I stick to exact trains. The last train home was heaving. I could and did ‘work’ the entire journey whereas home is a constant distraction.
Eating on campus
Lunch I may have to take with me as the campus only had premade Spar sandwiches at every outlet. A jacket potato or pasta would have been better.
After lunch I did something I last did in double Geography on a Friday afternoon. I sat at the back, cupped my hands over my eyes as if in deep thought … and fell asleep.
When to put in the hours
Something, however common to many people on any part-time distance learning course is ‘the early morning shift’ – putting in 90 minutes or so before breakfast.
While this and other support services are offered to us on our VLE it was invaluable to to have a person run through it as a presentation in person. This kind of stuff should be given a linear expression … a mini-module for newcomers and as a refresher. All I’ve done, two years after the event, was a webinar.
Fig.1 Against the British Library opposite St.Pancras International .
I love to travel, not just on holiday with friends and family, but alone. Maybe this happens to you too, but I always find travel, especially new trips and destinations, is a catalyst to reflection.
I’m on the earliest train out of Lewes, East Sussex to Birmingham (5:20). I get a lot done.
If I have a place where I am most creative and productive this is it. How does it open the mind? All I’m doing is reading a book about boy soldiers in the First World War while revising a hefty piece of fiction centred on this period. ‘Angel of the North’ is the story of an amazing girl and woman who experiences the first war like no other … ‘
Anyway, on the basis that I have always been advised that research helps solve all fiction writing problems I am taking this as literally as is possible and start today as an MA student of First World War studies at the University of Birmingham.
Will I as a result ‘research the subject until I hear its people speak?’ This is what the historian E R Elton said.
Up and at the computer
I prefer it this way, even if I get only an hour. I punch another fifteen minutes that could have an after shock in delayed dressing, breakfasting, getting out the door thing.
Sit on ‘my’ bench in the Grange
Document bag on my knees resting on a clipboard and a 1985 hardback diary. I work for over an hour without a break.
Chat with Darlingest over the state of our finances. We have scraped up every piece of scum we can and popped it into the current account. Things would look worse if she didn’t have the means to meet the bills … when she is paid.
TBT home for lunch
He finds things to occupy him. I load the car with rubble sacks and return to Lewes via the Newhaven dump. Zozo and TBT hard to extract from the school playground. I’m content to let them stay as they have few other opportunities to play with their friends. TBT asleep by the time we get home. I should have woken him earlier. He is up as it heads towards 9.00 p.m. by which time I am sleeping and Darlingest is climbing into bed.
Hilarious episode from ‘Malcolm in the Middle’
The parents fear she may be pregnant for the fifth time. This is an excuse to look back at the birth of their four boys.
I’ve had one filter coffee in the Grange and a single can of cider. I am wacked. Unwilling to drink coffee, happy to skip TV and looking forward to the early rise that it will invoke.