Before I continue, I have to say that, in two years of lone study with the OU, this is my first negative experience. Up until now I have championed the system and I have enjoyed studying for my degree. This is my fourth module. It is also the last presentation of this particular module. The course has been updated and rewritten. That doesn't excuse the lackadaisical attitude of my tutor.
I have emailed him, asking him for support on a few occasions and he would take up to a week to answer me. I appreciate I am not his only student and he is probably a very busy man but the whole point of the Open University is to have email/telephone support where needed. I'm doing the rest on my own, aren't I? I requested a slight assignment extension on a couple of occasions - one time he emailed me to allow the extension a full day after the submission time. I had already uploaded a less-than-satisfactory assignment because I thought I hadn't been granted the extension.
I really struggled with my last assignment of the course and ended up substituting it (an average of my other assignment scores will replace the missing mark). At no time did my tutor offer to help me, even though I had, yet again, emailed him. I was promised revision notes but I was given a web link to some downloads - one of these being a slideshow presentation, obviously from a tutorial (more of that in a minute) but with no tutor notes. Completely and utterly unhelpful.
There hasn't been a single tutorial for this course anywhere near me (I've been studying this course since February). I have done a search for "tutorials in your area" and the nearest one was just over 250 miles away. Fab!! I have an old exam paper (specimen) but they have changed the format of the exam since this was printed and I have no idea what the new format is. All I know is that the exam will be three hours long and I am allowed to take a pen. Oh, and I have spilt coffee on my examination centre pass.
I am ever grateful for the little group of fellow course members on Facebook. One lady has been really kind and emailed me over a couple of emails from her tutor and some course notes that she has. She is, in a small way, a little bit of a saviour. Other people have been less willing to share notes, saying that they are handwritten tutorial notes that only make sense to themselves or they have notes written on pages in the study book(s). Fair enough - that makes sense.
On Friday I gave in and phoned Student Support. The lady on the phone made all the right noises with regards to sympathy and disappointment on my behalf and promised to try and get some advice for me. We were hoping to book a phone tutorial with another tutor, just to give me some pointers. I started to feel the black cloud lift slightly. About half an hour after the phone call, this email dropped into my inbox:
Wonderful! Oh, and guess what? I'm still waiting for some form of contact from my own tutor! I think the exam Gods have it in for me with this one. I need 40% to pass this exam - that doesn't sound like a lot, does it? I am hoping that I can make up most of the marks in one section of the exam (presuming my most enjoyable part of the course is present in the exam) because if I fail the exam, I fail the course. I am making my mantra for this week "Failure Is Not An Option". Does positive thinking work?
Anyway, I have been asked to join in "Musical Monday" - post a song to reflect your mood. I think this one covers all bases:
Some of the lyrics:
Don't let the walls cave in on you
We can't evolve alone without you
You get what you give, that much is true
You have found yourself trapped in this incomprehensible maze
Where's your head at?
Where's your head at?
Don't make it easy on yourself