Friday, 16 March 2018

First marked assignment

78%. I am pleased with this, but dismayed that all the people on FB who are saying what they got have (apparently) scored well over 80% and in one case 99%. So I am bottom of the class. But what about all the people who haven't said?

I lost most of the marks on reading and describing the cell specimens I could see through the virtual microscope. I found this part of the course fairly incomprehensible, not to say uninteresting. I hope I never have to do anything like that again. If it turns out that I do have to, I might have to do some extra study. On something that bores me to tears?

Thursday, 25 January 2018


I did my first ever on-line computer marked assessment. Only 5 questions on fairly basic maths. I have a good O level (GCSE) and a good A level and an honours degree in maths. But it was so long ago that I was petrified about getting them wrong. And under pressure not to disgrace the bright young person I used to be. But I got them all right first time. It felt like a huge achievement even though that bright young person would be scathing about how long it took. Pathetic!!

Monday, 22 January 2018

Me doing biology!!!!

I have been reading about cell types and organisms. This is not really my thing and I hope that I can do just enough to get through - I have no intention of doing any more biology if I can avoid it. It seems like a massive memory test to me. If you go to IRL lectures, you would hear the words over and over again and they might go in, but it is very difficult just reading and writing about them. 

 I tried the virtual microscope practical this afternoon (they have a page set up so that you can replicate most of the functions of a real microscope) and they said to allow about an hour. But they are asking for measurements on 45 slides. Even at 5 mins per slide (and my first few took a lot longer than that), it would take around 3 and a half hours!! Have I read it wrong?

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

And another experiment not doing it

This time I had to put water into a plastic container, weigh it and mark the height of the water and freeze it overnight. The next morning the water was frozen and still weighed the same (good). But the ice still seemed level with the mark I had made ie it had not expanded as it should have (bad).

The rest of the course is interesting and not, on the whole, difficult. I either never knew, or had forgotten, that there is a 'triple point' where water can exist simultaneously as ice, liquid and gas (steam).

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Not my strength

Today is the first day I got to do any practical work. I joined two pink marshmallows and a white one with cocktail sticks to provide a model of a water molecule. I posted the pic on the forum - competent but not as tidy or pretty as some of the others.
The second experiment was with balloons and a stream of water - rub the balloon to remove electrons and show that the resultant positive charge diverts the water stream. Trouble is - it doesn't always work for me. A basic law of physics and it my hands it fails.

Friday, 5 January 2018


The OU website seems very confusing. I am not used to doing everything on-line. Last  time I did this, they sent an exciting box of books. But I have started to navigate my way round it and have read a lot of the introductory material. Not all the material on computing - I worked in IT so I am hoping my skills there will be OK. I am most worried about the practical experiments. When I went to university the first time (1969 - 1972!!), I loved it - all of it - except physics practical, which I found really hard. I am more of a theoretical scientist.

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Big excitement

The course website opened today. Somebody registered on it before 4 am!! I was a bit later than that . I have now completed the 'Are you ready for the course?' questionnaire. I scored full or high marks throughout, so I am ready. But it took ages because I was petrified to get it wrong - especially the simple maths!! I am also trying to make more use of a calculator instead of pencil and paper. I can, of course, use a calculator but it is not my default method of, say, calculating a percentage. So far, so good.