The Human Element – An academic journey

This is the first posting to a new discussion board that I have started at Curtin University:

Welcome to the ‘Human Element’ A new discussion board at Curtin University

Posted by  Adrian McGlinchey  at Sunday, March 2, 2014 1:37:22 AM WST

Hi everyone,

I’m your host, Adrian McGlinchey.  I’ve had a varied background in work and study, having been a computer mainframe operator, and an administrative officer, a sales order clerk, and also a picker and packer in a leather factory when other types of work was scarce.  A self-taught enthusiast of many subjects, I have maintained a lifetime’s (to present) interest in the areas of:
Art & Craft; Writing & Publishing; Classic Literature; History; and Philosophy;
Cooking & Fine Cuisine (probably why I can’t win the Battle of the Bulge, to lose
the “middle-age spread”)

Despite having all these different passions in life, I never managed to make a professional pathway out of any of these interests, and I was always caught between what I had to do for a livelihood and what I really felt driven to do in life.  This is why I have taken up university studies with Open Universities Australia and Curtin University, in the endeavor to find my true vocation, even though my greatest ambitions will most likely eventuate late in life in my case.

My medium term plan is to study for a Bachelor of Arts (Internet Communications), and to establish a private consultancy in internet website design and management.  I have already had some experience in designing my own web pages, but I think they look quite amateurish and I need to refine my web design skills so I can develop websites at a more professional level.  At least in this area, I will be starting with something I have already had an introduction to, so I can build on my existing skills rather than commit to a field of study I know nothing about.

While part of what I am learning is computer related I am also studying the humanities, as two aspects of a multi-disciplined course.  To those of you who are not computer-minded, please feel welcome to still contribute to our discussions on the humanities, which is as valuable to me as my computer studies.  In web design we need to master, not only the ‘computerese’, but also need to have an appreciation of culture and communications and how best to present the human aspect in a good light over the internet.  What I am saying here is, don’t be a stranger, whether your interests are primarily in the humanities or in internet web development.

I think most of us here may be just starting out on a new direction in our lives and so I wish everyone here success with their endeavors and hopefully we can form some lasting friendships and professional associations during our time together, even though we are mostly communicating by internet at this stage.  Please feel free to participate in this discussion board so we can all share our personal experiences of our academic journey.  Watch this discussion board for more to come.

~ Adrian McGlinchey

Preparing for University Study – Reflections

The PREP03 (Preparing for University Study – Intensive) unit has been all that it promised to be in helping people return to formal study at tertiary level, especially for those of us who have never studied at university before.  This is evident from many of the blogs posted to the online forum on the OUA Moodle website at http://moodle.open.edu.au/login/index.php.  Most of the students enrolled for this unit come from a diverse set of backgrounds and education levels, and, without such a primer, it would be difficult for us to be aware of university conventions and requirements for our projects and written assignments.

On a more personal level, I have, over the years, engaged in my own private research into history, philosophy and literature, which has enabled me to maintain good written communication skills, although it has been a long time since I have applied these skills in a formal study environment.  Having said this, we can never do enough to sharpen up our writing skills, as this in an ongoing process no matter how much prior experience we may have, and I am always happy to keep going back over old ground to search for the gems of wisdom I may have overlooked the first time around.

The topics of research and referencing were a real eye-opener for me.  Before commencing study at Open Universities Australia, I already had my own personal method for referencing sources, but I soon found that this does not meet university requirements.  Referencing university style is far more technical than I first anticipated, and I am glad I had the opportunity to learn from my mistakes in this ‘pre-course’ unit, before moving on to the accredited units that will count towards our final results.  Also, some of the reading and writing techniques were familiar to me; some were not.  I am now confident that all of this material will make me more efficient and effective in research and in preparing my written submissions.  Any remaining defects in my methodology can be ‘ironed out’ by constant revision and practice.

After having revised my study notes to take into account the feedback from my tutor, I am ready to continue my efforts in Study Period One with the units “PREP04” and “Engaging in the Humanities”.  My aim is to be at a standard where I can proceed with the remaining units for the Bachelor of Arts – Internet Communications.

~ Adrian McG