Several students on the TU100 module right now are doing their best to work to the study planner.  Some are right on track, some are slightly behind, a few have fallen a fair bit behind.  They all might be headed for something of a wall.

In the early weeks of the module, each part of each block gets a nice, clearly defined week on which to work, then there’s a lengthy, roomy week on which to work on the TMA that covers that block, and then the next part starts the same week the TMA is due.

Then things accelerate a bit, and there’s a bit of a compression to this timing, where the TMA is due just four days after the end of the study week for the relevant parts.  This is mitigated, however, by having two weeks of Christmas Break in the middle to sort things through if you’re particularly under it.

But this TMA, I think, is going to leave some people gasping for air.  TMA04 is due four days before block 3 is finished.

If they pay a lot of attention to the Learning Outcomes, students should notice that nothing in TMA04 is based on part 5, it’s all based on parts 1-4 of block 3.  That means that they should put off starting on part 5 until after their TMA is submitted.

In fairness to the study planner, that is the order in which it shows the module progressing, but I think it’s going to catch out more than a handful.  Additionally, that still only gives a few days to sort out the TMA, and around half of the points of the assignment are covered in part 4.

If you can at all help it, get a few weeks out ahead of the study planner, stay ahead, and don’t trust the study planner.  (I say this having only barely gotten ahead again, and looking forward to the next block which says, basically, under no circumstances attempt to start this block early, due to collaborative project purposes.  Good luck on your time management!)

Hoo-boy.  Working ahead of the module schedule.  That’s great, isn’t it?

On one hand, it’s awesome.  I submitted TMA03 on 12 December, and couldn’t begin any other study, because block 3 didn’t open until I was on an extended trip in America.  There was snow on Christmas morning, and enough food to reassert my waistline as an American.  I had over a month off with no studying to do, and I didn’t have a single worry in the back of my mind on holiday.  And then I was able to pick it back up right on schedule with the other students doing TU100.

On the other hand … Wow.  I’m finding it so hard to get traction on my studies that I think I might still be snow driving.

First, my tutor dropped a hint that she thought that one of the TMA questions was asking for basically paragraphs of information, when I had interpreted it as a short-form answer, as it had no word count and could easily be answered in a single sentence.  So it took me until the last day to find the motivation to change my answer and re-submit.  The entire section is only worth 6 marks out of 100, so having a correct answer be too short wouldn’t have impacted my score a great deal, but that’s exactly the kind of thinking that has been killing my motivation.

Aside from motivation, the other big problem is sleep.  I’m still dealing with jet lag, and my youngest hit toddlerhood the very day we got back, and he’s decided that bedtimes are utter BS.  He hates them more than I hate ticky-box evaluation.  The bedtime is a parenting issue, which is the subject of another blog entirely, and one I’ve handled well before.  But for this week …

It means that just four days in, I’ve fallen behind two days.  It’s going to be an uphill struggle.  Going to be hard to get it in gear.  Gotta put the br– Okay, sorry about the car analogies.  My car also gave up the ghost and I had to get a new one.  Like I said, rough week.

But next Tuesday I’ll have TMA03 back, I should be through at least one and a half parts of block 3, and should even be halfway done with TMA04.  Here’s to wishful thinking, and hoping my study prep has grounded me well for time management when it counts.

Edit 2017/1/27: TMA03 results in.  Very happy with my 93 on this one, but I really don’t know where the marks came off, as my tutor didn’t really state it.  There was a definition missing from one question which I can agree with, and a formatting issue in another location which I do agree with, but was made because the tutor warned against using fancy formatting.  Still, can’t argue much with the score.  My OCAS for the module so far is 46, and I need a 40 to pass, so I could quit handing in TMAs and doing iCMAs and still pass the OCAS portion of the module.