Monday, 22 April 2013

Nearly there!

It feels like I’ve been working towards getting an Open University degree forever, not just for the last five years. Actually, the process started in 1999 when I first contacted Edinburgh University about studying there. I managed one glorious year studying English and Scottish Literature but by then grants had been abolished and tuition fees were being introduced. There was no way we could afford for me to continue: I had to shelve my academic ambitions and get a job.

Fast forward a few years and my husband’s new business is doing well enough for me to reduce my working hours. However, the prospect of returning to frequent 50-mile drives each way to Edinburgh no longer appealed, so I approached the OU. And to cut a long story short, here I am with just 3,000 words standing between me and a BA (Hons) in Humanities. I have until noon on 23rd May to deliver my final assignment for the A300 20th Century Texts module. This is an EMA, an end-of-module assessment. It’s worth nearly the whole of the rest of the assignments put together and will influence how good a degree I get.

I’m lucky, I can afford to spend a lot of time on my EMA. I don’t work fulltime, I have no children to care for. I salute those who do, and are still determined to study. I must limit my time on Twitter and this will be my last blog post (yes, I know they aren’t very frequent anyway!) for a good while. So, in the spirit of sharing, here’s a summary of the task which lays ahead of me.
You are the sole judge of a new literary competition in which you have to choose the best novel of the twentieth century. The preliminary shortlist is made of up several texts from the A300 module and one novel of your choice.  In an essay of 3,000 words:
  1. Elaborate the criteria to be applied in choosing your winning novel. This discussion must be informed by the theoretical and critical debates in the study material.
  2. Analyse two of the novels, the one you think should win the prize and one of the others.
I’m going to write about Pat Barker’s Ghost Road, which is a set book, and Robert Jenkins’ The Cone Gatherers, a wonderful Scottish novel.

Wish me luck!


  1. Good luck, Janet and well done so far! Your final assessment looks quite daunting - I can never decide who is my favourite author and as for the best novel of the 20th century ...

    I've had The Ghost Road for quite some time now and have yet to read it - it must be good, but it sounds as though you're plumping for The Cone Gatherers (which I don't know at all) as the one you think should win the prize.

    Anyway, you're nearly there now - best wishes with it all.

  2. All the very best! I'll miss the occasional blogs but look forward to a return!

  3. Good luck, Janet. I have two more assignments on this one - last TMA and EMA both due before end of May. Not as challenging as yours but I am wading through creative concrete at the moment. I hope your hard work pays off with the degree you want. Love Jackie x