Out of sight, out of mind
Published: 02 Jan 2014
It's now 2014 and I'm days away from the start of term. If I'm perfectly honest I've not given classes or the MBA much thought during the festive holidays - instead I've relished some time away from the office, sat back and allowed my mind to wander. It never seems to stray far from sports anyway - the Premier League is always in full swing during everyone else's Christmas break so I had a full assortment of football matches to keep me company during the past week. Nonetheless, I've still not gotten any markings from last term and feel no better prepared for the start of the spring term in less than a week's time.
This got me thinking first and foremost about personal progression, but also whether Universities - or rather specific departments within Universities - shouldn't make more of an effort to engage students in-between terms. Granted there probably wouldn't be much of an uptake at first - holidays are 'time off' after all - but I believe it's something of a missed opportunity which could be highly beneficial for all those involved.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about attempting and indeed actively seeking to better prepare myself for next term by picking up some key readings for upcoming modules. This would have undoubtedly been more successful had something of a reading list been circulated ahead of the start of term. For one because it would have created a sense of urgency, but more importantly because it would have been a more accurate and comprehensive study guide rather than a lot of guess work involved.
Arguably this could have been facilitated had I sought out the appropriate tutor, but considering I might not have even met them it sounds like an unnecessary hassle. I'm all for proactivity but there has to be a line - surely if students required very little or no guidance at all half of the class might not have even enrolled in the first place.
Meanwhile during last term there was an assortment of chapters, articles and journals students were expected to read ahead of lectures. If the course seems considerably well-structured during term time there is something to be said for its engagement during holidays - I know I am likely to have a 50+ reading list awaiting me next week, it would have been extremely helpful to have had this sort of information ahead of term - and I'm not even blessed with proper 3-week holidays.
Taking into account the large number of international students this seems like something of a gross oversight. It's a matter of being flexible with individual needs and/or limitations.
It's arguably easy to become detached from your studies when lacking a timeframe, motivation or guidance. Out of sight out of mind - so goes the saying. Notwithstanding, I've taken to writing these articles on pen and paper as practice for next term's exam, even if I remain ignorant as to the extent of preparation I actually require!