Hello, is there anybody in there?

I have a horrible feeling that my first module casualty of the year may be about to fall. In one module, we were given an assignment, put into groups, then sent on our merry way to complete it. Only here’s the thing: we were given the assignment on a Thursday. On the Friday, I would be leaving Birmingham for two weeks. The deadline for the assignment is on Tuesday, two days after I return to Brum.

So I’ve had to communicate with my group by email. I emailed them on that first Monday to let them know what I was going to do, then sent another on Wednesday with the results I’d come up with. I didn’t hear back until Friday – almost a week with no contact, and no idea what they were doing. Then I had an email the following Tuesday, then finally a flurry on the Thursday just gone.

What is extremely worrying is that they seem to have no real clue as to what they’re doing, but the assignment is the sort of thing I do for a living. They only seriously asked my advice on Thursday, five days before deadline date. I tried to provide it, but being so far away it wasn’t immediately obvious what they were doing. This morning it dawned on me that they have taken completely the wrong approach, and it’s now too late to change things.

All just a little bit of history repeating.

Well, the first week back is almost over.  My usual regression to an eighteen-year-old doesn’t seem to have materialised yet (give it time), and things seem to be going pretty well.  The lectures for the module I’m doing at the moment aren’t too dry, but once again I’m reminded of how poorly this course is set up for part-time students.

The way the course is organised is that there are six modules, each split into two week blocks which are run over non-consecutive weeks.  For part-time students this means you either do one or two modules per term.  In practice, this means that the weeks that aren’t spent attending lectures are spent at work.

This concept is one that has yet fully sunk in to the consciousness of the course organisers.  They don’t yet seem to have fully grasped the reason why people who do part-time courses don’t do full-time courses: because they don’t have the time to do so.  Believe me, if I could have got this course out of the way in one year I would have, but I didn’t because I couldn’t afford to take a year off work.  Therefore I work full-time and take time off to travel to university when I need to.

So what do the module organisers do having failed to realise this?  Organise compulsory tutorials and guest lectures during weeks when their module is not being taught, then get uppity when they’re surrounded by part-time students trying to either a) get them reorganised to another time or b) get hold of all the materials so they can do the work at home.

It was the same two years ago, and it’s the same now.  In my first year it was group presentations, this time it’s revision sessions (which I now may end up having to do via Skype or something similar!).  I may have to be quite forthright in my module feedback