MSc thread/discussion/woes

Discussion in 'Education and Resettlement Courses' started by thegimp, Jul 19, 2010.

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  1. Not sure there is a thread for this. Can we use this as a general discussion area for advice and swapping experiences of doing an MSc

    Especially as independent and mature students.

    Studying with little feedback and input from lecturers and other students can be isolating and demoralising.

    One (Bone) question I'm asking is. When a module arrives along with its choice of three essay titles what does the clever money do.

    1. Quickly identify all the unneccessary reading and research unrelated and therefore not required for the essay question of choice
    2. Read the lot, cover all the ground, do further reading, do essay
    3. Concentrate solely on the essay question right from the off

    I know that its about discipline, enjoying the research, building your study skills and knowledge but........human nature dictates the shortest most efficient route........surely

    Answers on a post card, harvard referenced of course
     
  2. With regards to little feedback and input from lecturers (the gimp, 2010, p1), I can fully sympathise with your plight. For my sins I am currently a Postgraduate Administrator for part time courses at a non-redbrick but non Russell Group university.

    Has your module convener / personal tutor given out contact details etc? Seems odd that there is no feedback mechanism, 'student experience' is very high on the quality assurance agenda and is a main driving force of course design.

    If you are having problems with contact then being a mature student is of advantage to you. Most lecturers are used to petty pestering attempts by lazy 18-22 year olds and too-busy-to-be-a-serious-burden-and-stressed 21-25 yer old Master's students but dealing with a proper grown up who knows what they want usually gets them a bit rattled. Experienced ones conducting distance learning should be grown up enough to give you adequate support regarding studying part time. Ring up your dept and use you 'old enough to argue' skills to get in touch with the module convener and get the feedback you deserve. We have a particularly dire student records department but if any of our students on one of my courses has a problem, they send their 35+ years ex trading standards classmate in and problems are usually resolved within the half hour.

    Sorry if that is teaching one to suck eggs or comes across in the same patronising vain as you may get from Uni.

    As for the studying, only a Bachelors for me, haven’t found a Masters I can afford yet so I wouldn't be able to give any advice more than an opinion based on my (full time) undergrad experience - although if you're interested it would be option 1 first, to ensure I gained a more holistic approach to my work, but If time does not allow Option 3. However, if you’re good at reading, enjoy it and have the time then crack on with option two and reap the benefits (ability of lateral thinking assumed). Knowledge is power, at least in Academia.

    Hope that helps.
     
  3. msr

    msr LE

    Just don't tell anyone how well you have done ;)
     
  4. It depends on what you want out of the degree. Are you studying the bare minimum to pass and get the bit of paper for your CV; or do you want to learn the subject matter well enough to be able to benefit and apply that knowledge to whatever you do afterwards?

    My own experience is that you won't know what question you're best able to answer until you've done some reading about all of the options and since you never know what arguments and evidence you can bring to bear until you've gone looking for it, Option 3 will get you a scraped pass at best and Option 1 is like deciding on your tactical plan and then bending your estimate to suit.

    The only way to do it right is to do it right, I'm afraid. That means reading the course material thoroughly in advance of the questions arriving. Once you've done that you can revisit the pre-selected bits to refresh your memory and select specific parts you need to answer the question.

    If it was easy, everyone would be doing it. It's supposed to test your Mastery of the subject.
     
  5. I understand the drive for the pure academics, the beauty of knowledge and the holier than thou motivations but..

    I'm a pragmatic kind of guy, the course has a vocational direction to it (I know what I want out of it in terms of knowledge) Unfortunately it is multidisciplinary and some of the subject are fairly early in their development...or at least early in stages of being linked with the core topics...

    To be frank there is a lot of academic wallop in some specific areas, (the late developer 'ologies) however the course appears to give you the "Get out" that they, in no way, require some of the module subsections for any of the essay titles

    I'm happy to research till my eyes pop out, as long as I can see its relevant. As a Post Grad student you are expected to question things, I'm just questioning some of the course content, as are the people who run the course apparently.........

    Interesting
     
  6. If there's a 'but' then you really need to ask yourself why you're doing an academic degree instead of gaining the skills by another more suitable route. Horses for courses, and all that.

    There's quite a debate going on around a similar area HERE.
     
  7. Your perception that people do Post grad stuff purely out of academic interest is a bit black at white Smartascarrots

    The deeply squirrelly academic areas of this degree are just that, the meat of the course is particularly vocational

    it's course structure that is causing the "interest" not personal motivation/reasoning for doing it

    If I wasn't such a polite chap I'd say you were a slightly patronising **** :)
     
  8. I wasn't trying to be patronising, just give some friendly advice from someone who's been there. Like it or not, MScs are academic in nature and if that's not what you want then you'd be far better off seeking out a vocational/professional route that served your ends without the bits you don't like.

    MScs are tough, they're supposed to be. They involve a lot of reading, they're supposed to. It's what makes them what they are - a means of weeding out the people who can't cut it at that sort of endeavour. What you're doing is the educational equivalent of applying to join the Paras and then looking to pick and choose the bits of P Coy you find easiest. It defeats the point and undermines the value of the qualification.
     
  9. what a dreadful analogy.

    Unless you are flexing your satirical muscles and its gone over my head you are still being an insufferably patronising ****:)
     
  10. Gimp, last year I completed an MSc conducted via distance learning. I was working a rotational job at the time (5 weeks on 5 weeks off), to be honest during the 6 modules of the course I used both option 1 & 2 (as described in the original post), depending on how much time I had available and I reality how interesting I found the actual module to be.
     
  11. I'm in the second semester of an MA. I tended to use options 1 and 2 during my first semester and although I only just passed the first essay I faired better secodn time round and will use those options for semester 2. I did additional research for my essay and found masses of stuff on t'interweb which I used to focus further reading. Like several folks have said, it's not easy, but it's not meant to be. I'll add that I don't have a degree already I did it through accreditation of prior learning.
     
  12. Its definitely a matter of learning to study more efficiently (Whic I hope includes which areas need less attention) hopefully it will improve with practice. While I'm improving (A life long trait) I'll do what it takes to keep my head above water ie 1 + 2