ECA & Research Methods

       Briefly, End of Course Assignments (ECAs) give a better way for disabled students to perform to a high standard, without needing to contend with the time it takes them like an exam, allowing disabled students to concentrate where it would matter the most — content. As well as that, I also try to practice the Art of Criticism in Essays for this can give me the points I need to write about in the main body paragraphs of the essay, thereat expanding my views for a well thought out commentary or opinion, that I always hope, goes some way to answer the question posed by the course team, that I’ve written in a thought-provoking manner, and that makes the essay content interesting reading, even if it has been written sometime ago, after its been marked and served its purpose, it’s still has, I believe, that element of relevance for understanding.

       Secondly, if a student wants to pursue a post-graduate Research Degree later on, rather than the taught Masters degree, End of Course Assignments (ECAs) would give students more practice at carrying out independent learning and enhancing their researching skills by doing double-essays word counts at level 3, as research degrees don’t have nor require exams, theirs are based upon dissertations, which calls for a different academic criteria, as stated “…[o]ne of the most valuable results of the RAE [Research Assessment Exercise] is that it uncovers pockets of excellence in all types of university…” ¹ so at least potential research students who are striving in this direction will know what is available and where.

       As like the information system: if you know basically where it is (like a database) then comes the matter of finding it (searching skills), then, the migration of it being elsewhere (like the internet), can only add to the continuum of how many objects does one have to get through (research skills), to find the exact thing your looking for (information details).

       Its usually, the last bit of that organisational system, that trails off, that is, the putting it back in the same place! (the retrieval/restore skills). So develops the random groupings (abstracts or citations giving inklings) of when it was last used, and by whom, is left to the person who wants it, to work this out, ie. TU120 Beyond Google, but hey if it works, it still a system of organisation (like the OU Library.)² In short, there could be an improvement by the OU to offering more choice on courses with ECAs, across a broader subject base, particularly at Level 3, as their thin on the ground.

REFERENCE:

1. Frean,A., (2008), Education Editor, Former polytechnics give Oxbridge a run for its money in rankings: the calibre of academic research, The Times Newspaper online, [accessed 18th December 2008]
2. Du-Marie, M., (2008), class 2008J the TU120 Organise forum, for the TU120: Working with Information Online, Activity 7.1.1., on the 2nd November 2008 at 17:53:48 GMT.
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