Thursday, 7 February 2013

A230 So Far

Back in October I started my fifth OU course, I'm working towards a BA (Hons) in English Language and Literature and after this I've only got one more course to go before I graduate. The course I'm doing at the moment is A230: Reading and Studying Literature, it's been a bit of a learning curve because it's less concrete than my last couple of courses. There's a lot of analysing texts, which is starting to become good fun, but it's also a bit woolly as well, because you're not referring to the course book as much as whatever text it is you're considering.

I've recently submitted my third TMA (and after being about a week behind since the second TMA I've caught back up again and if I keep going as I am I'll be ahead soon, which I always prefer) and although I can't exactly post a copy of the entire assignment on here, I saw someone on my course on Twitter doing this and I thought it was a cool idea. By the way, for those not in the know, a TMA is a Tutor Marked Assignment, basically an essay. When you start a course you get a book of all your TMAs and it's kind of fun to read through them and give yourself a heart attack when you realise that within the next few months you'll have to be answering all those questions!

TMA 01
The first TMA involved analysing an extract from Othello. I like that the three main characters in the scene come out as the most commonly used words. You can also see 'Washington' and 'Walder' in fairly large print, those are authors of chapters in the course book and I'm slowly learning not to throw a reference back to the text book unless it's absolutely necessary, which I think is evident in the next two word clouds.

TMA 02
The second TMA involved a comparison between Candide and Oroonoko which is fairly obvious from this word cloud. Part of this essay was looking at the narrator of the text, which shows here as well. I think making a word cloud is a good way to test whether your essay is actually on target because you can see fairly quickly what the most common things you're saying are.

I managed to make slightly fewer references to the course book in this essay (that would be the 'Pacheco' down in the bottom left hand corner), which is again evident in this word cloud. I also got a much better mark for this one than on the last (I think I moved up a grade band).

TMA 03
And this is the one that I'm just waiting to find out how I got on. The focus of this one was the speaker (which is fairly obvious from this word cloud) and also the landscape (which is prominent but not quite so obvious from here) in two poems, one by Wordsworth and one by Shelley. This was a two part assignment and I think a word cloud of the second part might make 'landscape' look a little larger, but also I used more specific words for the landscape like 'lake', 'nature' and 'Ravine' which I think skewed the results a little bit. I'll have to wait to see what the tutor thinks about that.

Now we've moved onto Victorian books which I'm quite enjoying, though not quite enough to say that I'm looking forward to my next TMA, but still, I am enjoying the course. It's taken me a little while to get into it, mainly because it's been a long time since I've had to analyse texts in this way.

Honestly during the second TMA I felt a little like I was banging my head against a brick wall, but I think somewhere along the way something has clicked, though again, I'll have to wait to see what my tutor thinks of TMA03 to see if things have really sunk in. Fingers crossed!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Let me know what you think. :-)