Do you even Blog?

WHAT/ Events of the day

On Monday 19Oct at 10 am we started off our MA Bootcamp adventure with Nadya. There were a few technical difficulties (a constant beeping noise which could be quite distracting) to start with but nothing serious.

We were then introduced to the BSCI Inclusive Curriculum Framework (Honeycomb) which the Bootcamp is built upon. The main emphasis was put on the experiential and autonomous learning aspects of this programme.

To follow that up we had a session with Dr Robert Chang, Learning Development Tutor, on How to blog? We explored and discussed the process of reflective writing, which is one of the main pillars that will support us throughout our academic journey at UCA. To quote the exact expression “All student work shall be underpinned through daily tasks in the blog.”

After that, we were left to our own devices to contemplate the three questions (set below) and a bonus question from Robert himself. The answers were submitted to Padlet.

At 3pm we were reunited with Robert to ask questions as needed and to discuss our answers.

Last session of the day was at 4pm, this time with Nadya and Nicola Truman, who gave us a brief overview of the PDP toolkit, and how it can be used to support our Personal Tutor Meetings.

Today’s Task

What are my aims for the next year?

What are my expectations?

What are my hopes and fears?

EXTRA How did you come up with these?

1/ My aim is to identify and develop my superpower (USP) which will help me stand out and be successful in the Job Market. 2/ My expectation from this course is to gain valuable connections with industry professionals. To receive the guidance I need to complete my studies and to continue thriving beyond the classroom. 3/ For now, my hope is to land a part-time job that is relevant to my expertise. For the future, I would hope to secure a job position that fulfils me. My fear is that I will end up doing something that isn't worthwhile. I also fear that Higher Education Institutions are not well prepared for the current situation and therefore, I won't get a proper learning experience. Especially if they are treating this as a short-term crisis and not thinking of the long-term changes they need to start making now. A band-aid won’t solve a problem of this magnitude. EXTRA/ My answers are a result of deep thinking on the subject matter and creative notetaking. I have also explored the Japanese IKIGAI framework to better understand my personal values. (See the attached photo for reference)

SO WHAT/ Feelings and Observations

The presentation on reflective writing is something that I saw the most value in. I know from my own experience that (just like most of the International students) I have a mental barrier when it comes to writing. It is not that I am necessarily bad at it. It is more about the fear of not using the language properly or being misunderstood. However, after Robert’s introduction, I am more confident to take on this new challenge. Afterall, it is not that different than keeping a diary Although reflective writing is more structured and professional than writing heartfelt entries into a personal notebook.

To summaries my feelings at the end of day I’d say that I am mostly frustrated with the communication and organization of this programme. I want to believe that if tutors were able to see how we get to experience the content (which I believe that they have worked very hard on), they would understand our confusion and slight dissatisfaction.

These are some of my own observations/frustrations which will hopefully help to paint the picture.

In regards to our timetables

We still haven’t received anything, which I can look past for the time being since we are meant to focus solely on the Bootcamp. But I can also empathize with fellow students who need to plan ahead.

The Bootcamp confusion

From what I have learned so far, the main outcome for the Bootcamp is our Blog and the featured daily tasks. The one thing that bothers me is that the Blogging space on MyUCA hasn’t been put up yet. Similarly, the supporting material for the Bootcamp (i.e. presentation slides) can’t be accessed because the space hasn’t been put up on the portal. If the Bootcamp is a pre-planned part of the course, then how come that we are missing all of the essential services required to ensure a smooth sailing experience?

PDP – more chaos

The presentation about PDP only caused more confusion, because most of the students immediately jumped to the conclusion that it is a part of the Bootcamp. Which again led to questions about where to access the template, or when and where to upload the finished plan.

From our point of view, it is a very logical deduction. At this point, we are prepared to start doing anything and everything, we are eager, anxious and scared of falling behind. Therefore, it is no surprise that when we are told about a template that has to be filled out at some point, we want to take action straightaway. However, we were quickly silenced and reassured - the PDP isn’t part of the Bootcamp.

On the brighter side, I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by the format of the PDP. The template acknowledges that our aims and goals are more fluid. It is open to creative interpretation and easy to follow. Whereas my previous experience of developing a PDP during my bachelor’s degree involved a series of graphs, skill set analysis and a couple thousand words. By the time I was finished with the report, my aims and goals have changed. Therefore, making the conclusion of my report irrelevant.

Summer Task, what do you mean?

I am still yet to find out what was the purpose of the Summer Task presentation – it has not been brought up during our first meeting with Brian. Nadya confirmed that it is not included in the Bootcamp. Therefore, I can only hope that the time I have invested in the making of the presentation wasn’t wasted.

NOW WHAT/ Ready, set, type

My main takeaways from today:

- Put blinders on and focus on what the Bootcamp offers instead of stressing over small misunderstandings or shortfalls. Take it one step at a time.

- Keep on writing, the only way that you can get better at this is to keep trying.

- It doesn’t matter if you are not sure if it’s in the right format. Remember, there is no right or wrong. There is just better and worse.

- Failing = Learning

- Today’s task has revealed that I am still not 100% sure of what I am doing or what I want to do in the future and If you don’t know what you want, then you can’t figure out what to aim for. This is something that I hope to dig deeper into throughout the Bootcamp but also in my own time. I have also arranged a meeting with one of my lecturers from the University of Derby to discuss this issue of mine. I am not hoping to get any answers, but I am expecting to get a different perspective on my current situation.