This blog comes from a Full Sutton-based student who always tells it like it is. He has recorded his first impressions of the module so far which have been summarised for this blog and he continues to write each week.
My main focus when beginning the first taught session, apart from having an open mind and a willingness to learn, was to look at the differences between the delivery of an academic and an in-house/commercially driven course. My previous experience was a postgraduate course delivered by a different university more than 20 years ago.
The room was lively and buzzing with anticipation from both student groups who had naturally intermixed. The module leaders gave a good impression of approachability and warmth, important in creating a positive environment. I was also sitting next to two of the facilitators as well as the two students in my tutorial group.
Individual introductions worked OK given the high number of participants. Given the unique learning environment I think the process of melding the two very distinct groups went extremely well. As much as PowerPoint presentations can ever be interesting, the module leaders’ was OK and at least wasn’t laboured.
As the initial barriers had been successfully broken down in the first learning session, there was considerably less nervous energy in the room in session two. A very lively atmosphere existed. It was a privilege having one of the leading researchers in the field of prison ethnography deliver the lecture. She had a natural style and very clear delivery and was not, thank goodness, overwedded to PowerPoint slides. Another professor also joined us from Leeds to support learning facilitation. It was unfortunate, but very humerous, that he sat himself down with a student who was a remarkable clone. This proved to be a moment of light relief!
The coffee/comfort break was a much more natural occasion than week 1. It was an enjoyable and thought provoking day and once the Leeds-based students had departed there was a lively discussion amongst the remaining students including the dichotomy of ‘them’ and ‘us’ as well as validity issues regarding research. Hopefully these will emerge as the course progresses.
During independent study in the third week, once I had access to my work area, luckily early on I found the environment conducive to work on my notes from the previous week and managed to get the first part of the assignment completed although this may well be revised on the basis of future learning.