Category Archives: General

I Received This Last Night

From: bob
Subject: ?

Message Body:
Is this site just some sort of self congratulatory thing?

Can’t quite figure out its purpose or why I frequently end up on it when I’m googling (it always appears at the top of search results) genuine, useful info on OU


Someone not called Bob.

Dear Someone not called Bob,

Thanks for your email, and for having the gumption to use the contact form instead of leaving a comment on an unrelated post. I hope you don’t mind me reprinting and replying to your kind words here, as I cannot reply directly to your made-up email address.

This is a blog. Wikipedia defines a blog as such:

A blog (a blend of the term web log) is a type of website or part of a website. Blogs are usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary [or] descriptions of events. Many blogs provide commentary or news on a particular subject; others function as more personal online diaries. The ability of readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important part of many blogs.

The purpose of this blog is threefold. 1) It is a personal journal for myself charting my progress through the courses leading up to the Open University’s BSc Psychology degree, maintained and archived for future reference. 2) It is a resource and a help for fellow students: although I do not go into too much detail about assignments, it is hopefully useful to know how someone else is progressing through the courses, and tackling the essays in particular and the courses in general. 3) It is a forum for asking and answering questions; I have had many comments, and a few discussions have been held about the topics covered and the way the courses have been run.

You say you are looking for “genuine” sites – how is this not so? Obviously, the most genuine site would be the OU’s homepage, which I assume you are aware of. If not, it is here: The Open University. You also state you want useful information – perhaps you can expand on what you mean by “useful”? If you want information about the courses, I would again refer you to the OU homepage. If you are already undertaking some courses but cannot do the assignments perhaps a word with your tutor would be helpful. Maybe you should also consider whether you are up to it and if these courses are for you.

Why does it always appear at the top of your Google searches? Without going into too much detail, when Google indexes websites it picks up on words used on the site’s pages: therefore when someone (for example, you) search for “I want the answer to DD101 Social Sciences TMA01”, Google knows this site has most of those words, and hey presto! If you don’t want to frequently end up here, Google helpfully indicates the website it has pulled pages from which should help you avoid clicking on any links to this site.

I would assume Google links to this site because there are very few OU blogs (I have links to some of the others in the sidebar, if you wish to send them snotty emails too). If you think you can do better maybe you would like to start your own? I would heartily recommend WordPress or maybe Blogger.

And yes, I suppose this site is “some sort of self congratulatory thing”. Like the majority of Open University students I have undertaken these courses on a part time basis whilst continuing to work full time, spend time with my wife and child, and maintain something of a social life. You will forgive me if I am proud of what I am doing and what I have achieved so far, as all students would be.

Please feel free to leave any further comments you wish to make.



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Referencing Woes

I have had the feedback returned for the second TMA for Y163 – all objectives achieved except for one: following relevant academic conventions, ie referencing, and more specifically the in-text references. Since I cracked it in DD101 I have always copy-and-pasted the format (something like “Dominic et al., 2010, pg. 10”); this was never challenged in the latter TMAs or the ECA for DD101 or the TMAs for Y156.

My tutor has said I do not need to include the page number for general references, for example when the idea referred to is not attributed to anyone, and only for when making a direct quote. The Y163 Assignment Booklet (and I assume the ones for the other courses) does actually say this, but uses a writing style which I have never used:

Dominic et al. (2010) cannot reference properly.

Whereas my style of writing is something like:

The format for referencing is seemingly entirely subjective (Dominic et al., 2010).

The tutor has also added a few secondary references where I’ve missed them (for example Lolly says too much chocolate does not improve happiness (Lolly, 2009, cited in Dominic et al., 2010)). Seeing as this has actually prompted me to look at the reference guidelines in the assignment book, I suppose I should continue along these lines. But why hasn’t this been picked up by my two previous tutors, or has it and I’ve just missed it completely?


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Happy Birthday

It has been one year since my first post on this blog. I haven’t had any statistics software running for all that time so cannot offer any cool analysis of visitors, but here’s some stats I have easy access to:

Blog posts: 76
Mainly DD101, which obviously took up a lot of the first year. I have been lacking in posts about Y156 and Y163, mainly because there isn’t much content to the courses (compared to DD101) and, to be honest, they are only quick courses undertaken for the extra credits.

Comments: 122
I suppose at least half of these are mine, as I have tried to reply to any comments left.

Spams: 465
Wordpress’s Akismet is truly wonderful.

Google AdSense revenue: £5.55 (that’s 10 clicks on 12,635 page impressions)
The issue of advertising is a contentious one. This is primarily a personal site and so I would like to get rid of the ugly Google box at the top, but I also see it as a resource for other students and so would like to raise enough to fund the domain name renewal and hosting. Similar to Tim, I have signed up with a “sponsored post” hawking site but have yet to write any posts for them (for reasons of lack of time and lack of interest in their current advertisers’ products). Although, seeing as this £5.55 is not going to allow me to renew my hosting, I do reserve the right to write sponsored posts in the future – they will be clearly marked so you can skip over them.

What will be happening next year, in August 2011? Hopefully I’ll have the 20 points from these two Openings Courses, and I will be part way through the Exploring Psychology Project (DXR222) having completed Exploring Psychology (DSE212) and my first exams for 13 or 14 years.

Thank you to all readers and commentators.

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DD131 – A Request

A student taking DD131 (Introducing the Social Sciences Part 1) has commented on a post from earlier this year –

Clare: Hi there, I’m struggling how to start tma3 part 1 DD131, the first part of dd101. It’s about Cardiff with similar data. Any tips please.

While I look back over past work, can any current DD131 students help?


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Discovering Psychology

Ah. I see the OU have introduced a new course – Discovering psychology (DSE141). It’s a Level 1 30-pointer, and somewhere on the site I read that if you’re planning on completing the Psychology BSc (B07) they recommend doing this new course after completing the shorter version of DD101 (the Part 1 half (code unknown), also Level 1 and 30 points).

Obviously that makes sense: 60 points and a firmer grasp on the basics of psychology. But how does this leave me, having almost completed the longer Introducing the Social Sciences and about to shoot headlong into Level 2 psychology without any real knowledge of theory or practice. I hope doing the Openings psychology course (Y163) will be enough.

It’s just bad timing I suppose.

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TMA06 is due in today. I can’t really remember what I wrote.

For TMA07 I have read Chapter 7 and most of Chapter 8; it’s interesting reading and already I know “the answer” to my chosen question, although I don’t know how to stretch the fifteen-word statement into a 1,500 word essay (I’m going for Option A, if you’re interested).

StudentHome tells me the course materials for Y156 and Y163 are being sent out on Wednesday 12 May – I wonder if I’ll have finished TMA07 by then.


Filed under DD101 Introducing the Social Sciences, DD101 TMA06, DD101 TMA07, General, Y156 Understanding Children, Y163 Starting with Psychology

Buy My Book

If anyone reading this has just started or is just about to start DD101, I’m selling my copy of Kath Woodward’s  Social Sciences on Amazon Marketplace. If you’ve read your background material you’ll know it’s a recommended read for the course.

Why am I selling it? Because since I bought it it’s been sitting, firstly, in my bag and secondly, on my desk. I’m sure it’s good, but I just haven’t got round to reading it.

EDIT: Sold. Thanks.

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