puzzled

Guilty as charged – at least partially. Early in February I attended one of two statistics Saturday workshops (admittedly partly for the wrong reasons); this week, revision classes. Theoretically both very relevant for the looming exams – ‘theoretically’ being the operative word. It’s striking how degree curriculums follow a standardised outline and are seemingly unable to adapt to students’ needs, however pertinent these may be.

Half of this week’s revision lecture was in fact a ‘how to’ research and write a dissertation. Or one and a half hours of waffle. I spoke to a few colleagues afterwards and they seem to have taken more out of it than I have. Admittedly it’s a matter of perspective, but considering half of the students in the class are part-time first year students (myself included) who have not chosen a research topic or submitted a proposal – nor are they expected to do so for at least another 6 months – I personally fail to see the relevance of making us sit through such a lecture this early on. Somewhat reminiscent of the statistics Saturday workshop – relevant in the grander scheme, but not bearing any real significance for the time being.

Time. It’s the merry chase resolution again. Or perhaps I’m just gaining a whole new perspective of this Postgraduate degree altogether. The second half of the revision lecture was hardly anything resembling a revision, at least not in my books. We were told what to emphasise in our studies, but oddly none of the concepts previously presented in lectures were actually revised. Again, a matter of perception – if you are undertaking Postgrad studies for the degree alone, this concept of revision would suit your needs just fine – you are instructed to revise concepts x, y and z because they are likely to feature in the exam. Not so much, however, if you are singing from a slightly different tune.

Personal development. It was my perceived value of the degree from the get-go, yet it’s become increasingly clear the curriculum is not shaped in this manner. I will take part of the blame for not pursuing this with the course director – the onus is, after all, on me to take away exactly what I want from the degree, yet time constraints derived from professional commitments have alas prevented me from doing so. Which is why, in a lot of ways, it has been frustrating me immensely that some of the lectures – and particularly the seminars – have been treated with something resembling disregard. It is also somewhat indicative of earlier discussions surrounding who current Postgraduate degrees are actually shaped for.

An interesting development this week has been the module assessments. After all the grievance I’ve been pouring into articles referring to this term, we were finally given the opportunity to voice our opinions! – Or we would have, had the feedback forms not been half-hidden at the back of the lecture theatre. Not necessarily intentional, but no announcements were made at the start of the lecture; the only real reason I even knew about the evaluation was because the University at large circulated an email. It sounds a bit ridiculous reading it back to say the programme would try to intentionally conceal feedback forms – but I won’t lie, it did make me wonder.

Bizarrely, it’s starting to feel a lot more like dodgeball and less and less like the curve ball.


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