The study is unrecognisable.
For the past three years there have been piles of books, discarded story drafts, stellar maps, music scores including the complete orchestral score for the March from The Little Suite by Trevor Duncan (the theme from Dr Finlay, should anyone be old enough to remember that), various calculators including one that I still have to check out the instructions for in order to use it, heaps of graph paper sporting unlikely curves of equally doubtful looking equations, results from an experiment to calculate the water content of a potato by nuking it in the microwave, company account trading summaries spread over pages and pages of Excel spreadsheets, family history references, photographs… You get the picture?
Three years of OU modules, from book-keeping to maths, science to astronomy, music technology to creative writing in various guises. Loose papers neatly filed away, text books carefully shelved, notebooks ditto.
One BA in prospect come A363’s result.
And an empty desk.
What to do?
Well, it’s a week since I jotted some notes down here and very little has happened OU-wise in that time.
This coming Wednesday is The Big Day, both for TA212 and A363.
TA212 Technology of Music finally reaches the extended deadline for submission of the EMA, which means I no longer have time left to fret about whether or not to resubmit. Just hope I haven’t dropped a huge clanger, because if so, I shall have mammoth regrets for not taking advantage of that extra week!
A363 Advanced Creative Writing module website opens on Wednesday. That means there’ll be so much to look at and take in, that any thoughts of music technology will be abandoned to the bottom shelf of my mind. My tutor has been allocated and I’m so annoyed that I can’t say here who he/she is because we’re not allowed to share their personal details. But I recognised the name straight away, and a quick google confirmed my suspicions that I am a very lucky student! Oh, except of course there may be more than one person with that name. I’d best wait and see what’s said when the forum opens on Wednesday before getting too excited.
Finally, I’ve changed my writing notebook from a teeny A6 affair to an A5 leather-feel hardback with spiral binding and lovely thick pages. That’ll be a bit more conspicuous when I haul it out of the rucksack in the cafe to jot down story ideas in a caffeinated fug, but the other regulars will just have to get used to it!
Come on Wednesday…
Although I submitted my Technology of Music assignment last week, I haven’t been able to stay away from the TA212 course forum. Partly through nosiness, to see how everyone else is getting along now that things are drawing to a close and partly through a concern that a throwaway post will highlight the fact that I’ve totally messed up!
What I wasn’t expecting, were the screams of horror when one of the course’s online reference libraries suddenly went offline. Actually, I hadn’t used it much for my banjo essay and only one reference came from that resource, most being drawn from various other interweb sites and the local library (real books!). But it seems as though a fair number of students were relying on ‘Oxford Music Online’ for their last minute attack on their instrument essay and the forum was filled with wails of despair over the weekend. It was ‘the weekend’ that was the major problem, of course, because the OU library sorted everything out once they were back on the job today.
So, presumably by now the fibrillating hearts are beating normally once again and the panic is over. And, to the OU’s credit, a week has been added to the submission date for the final assignment. That is very fair. Except that now I have yet another week to procrastinate over whether I should quadruple check my 30 odd pages and possibly submit a new document. And yet another week of holding my breath in case someone posts up a point that gives me a flash of recognition that I’ve bungled big time!
Just over a week to go before the A363 Advanced Creative Writing course website opens, and little by little it’s revealing snippets of information. Like preliminary dates for submission of the assignments. One at the start of November, three weeks into the course. A huge gap with the next early in January, followed by another at the end of that month and yet a fourth only three weeks later halfway through February. That’s three assignments in the first two months of 2012. The remainder are about a month apart. That’s going to be a pressing schedule. And then there’ll be the final assignment. Since the course runs through to June, it looks as though there will be a couple of months to dream up an interesting plot, a cast of fabulous characters, a tick-list to ensure that all the principle writing techniques have been addressed and finally, to write a lengthy piece of commendable fiction.
The sixth and last ‘OCAS’ marked assignment came back this morning, and I’m pleased with the result.
I need a good mark on the final examinable component if the final grade is to be in distinction territory, and it would be easy to screw up somewhere along the line, I’m sure…
There are only two questions, but they take up fifteen A4 pages of text! The first is basically an essay on a free choice of instrument (although it has to be a pitched acoustic one so electronic drums are a no-no).
Four thousand words (plus illustrations and diagrams) on the history, geometry, sound, acoustics theory and frequency analysis of… I chose the five-string banjo. That one’s worth 120 marks.
The second question is basically a test on the use of the Cubase LE music studio software. A four part round of Frere Jacque, which I swear I haven’t heard since leaving primary school. Each round needs to be created using different sound production techniques, and most of Cubase’s tools have to be used throughout the question. The final mix-down is surprisingly pleasing. This one’s worth 80 marks making 200 altogether. I’ll need 170 marks to make 85%. Gulp!
There’s about a fortnight left to complete, check, double check and triple check the submission, which has to be uploaded by 21st September. That should be plenty of time, although the answers run to some thirty pages of A4 and loads of mp3 and wav files to go alongside the text, so there’s quite a bit to go through.