Monday, May 21, 2012


As many of you know, I am currently achieving my Bachelors Degree in Nursing.
Whilst this sounds amazing and you think I am well organised to be able to work, run a family and live and also get this, let me tell you a little secret, it is all by correspondence and I have been working as a nurse for the last 16 years, so these are not topics I am unfamiliar too. Also due to when I completed my training depended on how many papers I needed to complete. In my case that is 4, so by doing 1 paper a semester, it is taking me 2 years to complete. I am coming to the end of paper 3 so almost there.
In fact ask me again by about end of October and you will find me partying and praying that my last essay is a pass and then I have a degree.

Anyway, this course has been very easy but then to an extent I think they have made it very easy and sometimes this bugs me!
Shut up and go with it I can hear you all say but how can I not wonder when things are just too easy. Bear with me on this.

For starters I don't have to attend any lectures at all. I can find out sufficient information by reading some books and writing the essay. Good job I am not trying to learn too much from this.

Each paper has 2 essays, that is all you have to do to complete the paper. However the marking is way off. In order to pass the paper you have to get an overall mark of 50%. Now that is not 50% per essay that is 50% in total from both essays.
So if you pass the first essay with 60% and pass the next essay with 80% then overall you pass the paper with 70%. Well done you.
However if you fail the first essay with 40% but pass the 2nd essay with 60% then overall you have a score of 50% so you have passed the paper! Meaning that you can fail 1 of the 2 essays as long as you make up the marks on the other essay!
To me that is not right? If you fail part of the course how can you actually pass the course?

I am now on paper 3, essay 1 has been handed in and we are desperately waiting for the results, which are taking a long time in being available.
However whilst we are waiting we do currently have essay 2 to complete.
The essay was due May 17, but a week after the first essay was handed in we gained an extension. Yippee for us so now it is due in May 24.
Last week they distributed a template to assist you in writing your essay. Yes rather than getting you to write the essay from just reading the question they have actually given you a template which more or less gives you ideas and suggestions on how to write the essay.
Then a few days later they gave you a table that showed you how to distribute the words for each section so you get the correct word count for the essay!
Are you telling me that anyone writing a 2500 word essay at Degree level is unable to correctly distribute that amount of words over 5-6 sections? Come on people this is degree level 7 here, not 1st grade English essay writing!

Then today, after they have had a lecture about the essay this morning, we have suddenly gained another extension! Now ok this extension is only from 9am Thursday morning to 4pm Friday afternoon but why do I get the feeling that yet again they feel the students can't cope so lets give them more, much more.

Last year was a little of the same. I actually attended a lecture and at the end the tutor said she would be answering questions on the essay due if anyone wanted to stay behind. Well she went further than that she more or less explained what to write.
She stood at the front and went through each part of the essay step by step. More or less saying 'well in the first section they want you to define xyz, so you need to look up a definition of the words and write what it means....start the sentence something like "the definition of ........ is ......... which means ......." Oh and don't forget to reference where you got the information from.

I knew something was going wrong when she had to explain to the class one time how to reference in an essay. You are meant to integrate the references whilst writing the paragraph.

For example - The world is round (Smith 2010) although many have challenged this theory and often wonder if the world has extra parts on the side (Bates 2009).

Most of the students on the course were doing the following:
The world is round although many have challenged this theory and often wonder if the world has extra parts on the side. Smith 2010 (always just writing a full paragraph and putting a single reference at the end!)

I am not sure how I managed to drive home that day without driving off the road from shock!

Now I just keep joking that by Wednesday I wouldn't be surprised if there isn't an example essay available online for the students to use where they just have to insert words at appropriate places that are relevant to their chosen topic!

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