Open Thinkering


TB872: Preparing for 1:1 meeting with my tutor

Note: this is a post reflecting on one of the modules of my MSc in Systems Thinking in Practice. You can see all of the related posts in this category

This illustration abstracts the essence of a video conference between the student and his tutor into minimalist forms and colours. It communicates the flow of knowledge and connection through its simplified, elegant design, focusing on the interaction without the clutter of detailed surroundings.

Although I’m new to distance learning, I do have some memories of my father studying when I was young. Back then, he had to meet with his Open University tutor over the phone or in person. These days, we just use video conferencing.

While there are tutorials for each part of this module, there is only a single 1:1 meeting with each student and their assigned tutor. I’ve booked in mine for this evening, and so the purpose of this post is to gather my thoughts in an open way.

The focus of the tutorial is on the End of Module Assessment (EMA) so let’s begin there. It constitutes 60% of the overall mark for module TB872 and I need to achieve at least 50% for it otherwise I won’t pass the module. Given I’ve achieved 72% and 90% for my Tutor Marked Assessments (TMAs) I’m more concerned with me spending too long on it rather than failing it.

In terms of the requirements, we’re asked to do the following:

Write a 4000-word report presenting and explaining your proposals for managing change with Systems Thinking in Practice (STiP) in your situation of concern.

The report should have four sections:

  1. Situation of concern (900 words, 20% of marks)
    • Outline your situation of concern, including how and why you engaged with it (E-ball juggling)
    • Justify the need for managing change with STiP in your situation of concern (M and C-ball juggling).
  2. Learning system (2,300 words, 50% of marks)
    • Present and explain the design (process and elements) of a learning system for managing change with STiP in your situation of concern.
    • Justify the design of your proposed learning system and the process you undertook to develop it in terms of managing change with STiP.
  3. Summary and conclusions (300 words, 5% of marks)
    • Write a brief statement summarising the main points from Sections 1 and 2 of your EMA, and any relevant conclusions from your inquiry with regard to managing change with STiP in your situation of concern.
  4. Critical evaluation (500 words, 15% of marks)
    • Critically evaluate your own design-turn practice based on your answers to Sections 1- 3.

While we have to present the design of a learning system, we do not have to prove that we have enacted it. My tutor gave me good feedback on my previous TMA about the choice of my situation of concern, so I’ll continue with that.

As part of the EMA, I’ll need to draw on learning from all parts of the module. So, in broad brushstrokes, that’s the PFMS heuristic from Part 1 and the juggler isophor from Part 2. There’s a choice with Part 3 to focus either on Communities of Practice (CoPs) or Critical Social Learning Systems (CSLS) to explain the importance of social learning with Systems Thinking in Practice (STiP). I’m going to use CSLS as I’m familiar with CoPs in my day-to-day work, and the whole point of this MSc is to learn new things.

In terms of managing my time, I’m about to start the last activity of Week 18. To put that in perspective, according to the course materials, today is the first day of Week 20. In addition, this activity is a long one, estimated at four hours. Given that I’ve found quite a large discrepancy between how long it takes me to work through these tasks as openly and comprehensively as possible, I’ve still got a few weeks left.

Thankfully, Week 20 is the last week of activities, with my EMA due at midday on Tuesday 23rd April. There are no extensions, as per the email I received recently:

Even if you haven’t been able to finish your work to the standard you hoped for, you should still submit on time and have it marked rather than risk it being late. If you don’t submit your work on time, you’ll fail the module and you won’t be given a chance to resubmit your work.

Just to add some chaos into the mix, I will be moving house at some point next month. So I’ll be starting and ending the module by doing so. FML.

I’m supposed to bring along questions I have about the EMA to my tutor this evening, but I’m not sure I’ve got any. I’ve read what I need to do and I know how I’ll go about doing it. I’m confident about being able to meet the requirements of the assessment, and so all(!) I need to do now is get the reading and reflection done.

Image: DALL-E 3

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