Monday, January 15, 2007

Bring on the second semester!!!

As the first semester is now over and we are soon going to be moving on to the next semester it is an appropriate time to evaluate my progress so far in relation to the formative statement I wrote in September.

I am extremely surprised with the amount of work that I have got through in the opening semester. When I applied for the course and found out that I would only be attending two days a week I thought that I would not have covered so much in the first year never mind the first semester! This though is because I had left education for a year straight after college and gained full time employment so I was only basing this expectation on the amount of work I would have done at college. It soon struck me however that this course would be much more challenging and was a pleasant surprise.

Another aspect of the course which has surprised me is the amount of work that I have been doing in my own time. When I researched into the course it was made clear that there would be 16 hours of self study needed each week to supplement the two days at college. This is something which I expected myself to struggle on as when I was at college I always seemed to be easily distracted at home and never managed to get anything done. The nature of the college work however meant that I could do this work on a free period or a break lasting 30 minutes. I soon realised though that I would really have to improve on this aspect if I were to get anywhere in this course.

As I was worried about the self study aspect of the course I was very happy to find out that Steve had created a time planning form to fill in each week. This enabled me to write down what tasks I needed to complete and how long I expected each task to take. This was a huge help in the first half semester as I found it much easier to put the hours in as I knew exactly what I needed to do. In the second semester I supplemented this by an assignment planning form where I had set myself deadlines throughout the assignments for when things needed to be complete. Because of this I could keep on track with the workload which enabled me to feel much more relaxed when it came to the day of the deadlines for the assignments to be complete.

Another big thing for me on embarking on this course was getting to know people. As the majority of my friends had gone off to universities the year before I knew that I would not know anybody on the course. Different group tasks and activities that we did in the early stages of the course really helped as it allowed me to interact with the different members of the course and get to know them. Now after the first semester it seems like we are in quite a close group where everybody gets on with each other creating a good working atmosphere. Different members of the group have different levels of experience in programs and applications which means that there is always somebody around to give you a hand if you are struggling with anything which has been a big help so far.

When starting the course I stated that I would like to go on to a third year and achieve a degree and I am still aiming to do this. As Steve is pressing for a third year at Thornes this would certainly be beneficial and I feel that many members of the group may stay on for the third year that may not have done otherwise.

As the next semester is approaching I am looking forward to the new assignments and learning more new software and applications. As I will be creating my first website I will be using Dreamweaver which is something which will be used throughout the course and into employment so I am eager to familiarise myself with it and use it effectively. I am also keen to find out my results from the previous assignments as I feel that I put a lot of time and effort into them.

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