Y160 – Making Sense of the Arts

It all began back in 2007 when I was working in the Specialist Retail division at the Co-op, in the IT department.  I was about to be made (very happily) redundant and was wondering what I was going to do next.  I’d been looking around for courses to study and thought it would be fun to take a history course.  So I decided to enrol on one of the OU’s Openings courses.  They don’t exist now of course, but back then it was a good way to see if I was still capable of retaining anything in my rapidly receding memory.  What had once been razor sharp was now becoming quite blunt and I started off on the module with a sense of both trepidation and excitement.

y160-imageThere is nothing more rewarding than the sight and smell of a new set of textbooks and yes, I do know how geeky that sounds.  Now the OU has everything online but back then it really was a moment to treasure.  Opening the box, taking out the pristine textbook(s), looking through the Resource Booklets and yes, even looking at the Assignment booklet was a moment of great excitement.  Of course at the start of later modules, this sense of excitement was quickly replaced by ‘oh shit’ after I read the assignment questions and had briefly looked through the textbooks.

But back to Y160.  I started this module in early November 2007 and it finished on 10th March 2008.   I’d been assigned a tutor, DJ.  I was scheduled for telephone tutorials and funnily enough this was the first and only time I’ve ever spoken to a tutor by phone (my preferred choice of contact is always email).  There were only a few tutorials, but I did learn a lot from my tutor.  He taught me how to properly structure a sentence (when writing essays, not a blog, which is much more freeform, that’s my excuse anyway) and I always remember this when writing my essays even now, nearly 10 years later.  Thank you DJ.

The course consisted of 3 broad areas: poetry, history and art history.

1) Haiku poetry – strangely enough I loved learning about this even though I hated poetry at school.  So I kept an open mind when I was studying this and began to see the beauty in this short traditional Japanese form of poetry.

2) Aung San Suu Kyi and the Burmese democracy movement – I found this very interesting even though I don’t really consider much that happened in the mid to late 20th century as being ‘history’, probably because I was born in the 1960s!

3 ) Turner Prize nominees various works of art – this one surprised me.  I’ve never been able to understand the many ways of viewing pieces of art other than the one that’s right in front of your eyes, but after this very brief introduction I started to see art, and in particular paintings, in a different way.  This was built upon in the next module, AZX103.

But Y160 gave me a great introduction into studying.  It also introduced me to different ways of studying: note taking, essay writing, how to manage my time and various other snippets of advice.  It kept me keen, it kept me interested and it kept me focused.

So I got through the course well enough and before I finished it completely, I’d already signed up for the next one, my first proper Level 1 module, AZX103 – An Introduction to the Humanities.  I submitted the End of Course Assessment for Y160 on 18th February 2008 and received the result on 20th June 2008 – a pass (it was either pass or fail) and 10 points achieved.  Hurrah!

Very brief summary – I loved it.  Bring on the next one!


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