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AA100 - The Arts Past And Present

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Ian Ellison - Tue, 06/09/2011 - 09:51

I'm starting in October too. My 70th birthday is this Friday and I'm looking forward to exercising my few remaining brain cells! I live in Shipley, West Yorkshire and would welcome contact from anyone on the course who is fairly local.

I've had a good look at the course material and assignments. I'm going to struggle with the question on Cezanne - I just don't like the landscape we have to comment on! And some of the terms used in the formal analysis are pretty obscure to me!

Bernard Young - Mon, 12/09/2011 - 07:59

 Hello Ian,

Like you Iam knocking on a bit (63) I live in Manchester and am starting AA100 in Oct. I would'nt worry too much about not liking the Cezanne painting because although \i like quite a lot of his stuff I think this is possibly the worst example of his work, but if you look carefully at the question it is not asking for a subjective opinion and all the formal terms required are included in the text and the handbooks.

Looking at a lot of the messages on this forum it appears that people may be worrying too much about the subject matter when I think that the main aim of these first assignments is to familiarise us all with the correct methods of formal academic study/research/writing.

This will be my first formal education since leaving secondary school but looking forward to it as I love art and art history. good luck to you and all on the course

Carol O Donovan - Tue, 06/09/2011 - 14:13

Hi all my name is Carol and I'm from Cork, Ireland. 

I'm starting AA100 hopefully in February 2012. I'm doing the 10 credit module Shakespeare: An Introduction in October. My first with the OU so I'm a newbie. 

I have a Law degree and am a Qualified Accountant but my real interest is in History so I'm hoping to do a BA (Hons) History. The degree I wish I had done when I left school 

I'm looking forward to getting to know my fellow students on this adventure we have all decided to embark on

Good luck to all on your individual journeys. 

Adele Bradwell - Tue, 06/09/2011 - 19:34

Hi Carol,

Welcome to the AA100 forum, best wishes with your studies:)


Carol O Donovan - Wed, 07/09/2011 - 09:47

 Thanks Adele.

ANDREA WATERS - Thu, 08/09/2011 - 17:30

Hi everyone

Hello to Fatima I'm also a TA from Rainy North Yorks.

Ian - I like you  am struggling with Cezanne, art is not my thing at all!! I find he's pictures too dark and angry but  I'm ok with his still life!

I enjoyed Cleopatra and hope to enjoy more topics that follow, however need to get my head Cezanne and the terminology.

Andrea x

Ian Ellison - Fri, 09/09/2011 - 09:56

Hi Andrea

I too found the Cleopatra material v interesting. National Geographic did a long article on her about two months ago - more to do with her burial site which has never been found than our stuff - but another angle.

How are you reading the report by Plutarch that Alexander liked to wander into town disguised to poke fun at the townsfolk? Can't see Cameron getting away with this in Westminster!!


ANDREA WATERS - Sun, 11/09/2011 - 09:45

Hi Ian

I also haver enjoyed the Cleopatra part. I've been watching Sky History Channel, again not to do with the course work bur Cleopatra portrait of a killer!! How they've found a body they belive to be her sister and through DNA actually think she be from an african country rather than Greece.How she got hsr own brothers and sisters killed. If its repeated again I recommend that you watch it.

However this morning I receive an email about how the assigment booklet is wrong! I thought I'd get a head as I'm away with school soon and away with my family and will be pushed for time.  Lets just hope we don't need to write about Cezanne.


Kara Hayden - Fri, 09/09/2011 - 11:51

Hello to Holly Palmer who is also studying near Swindon :)

Sorry I haven't replied, been away for a couple of weeks. Just wondering where abouts it is you live? Is there anyway I could email or message you?




Nicola Johnston - Fri, 09/09/2011 - 14:21


Hi, I'm Nicola and I'm starting AA100 in a few weeks time too.  I'm in Cumbria.  I am a full time mum of 3.  My kids are aged 15, 2 and 10 months so I am very, very busy with them.  

I was really excited to get the study materials and buy my set books etc.  I am trying to get ahead and am desperate to find half an hour to watch the Cleopatra section on the dvd.

I am inspired by another mum of 3 I know who is actually doing 2 modules a year and is coping with it, so I know I must be able to do it really.  I am looking forward to getting to know my fellow students :) 

Ian Ellison - Mon, 12/09/2011 - 08:28

Hi Nicola

Is your friend doing two 60 credit modules at the same time? Are there any restrictions on the number of modules you can attempt at a time I wonder?

Good luck with your course...


Elizabeth Cox - Sat, 10/09/2011 - 10:14


Did anyone else receive an email last night from the open university stating that the Assignment booklet was incorrect?

Does anyone know if the assignment questions will still be the same as i was going to start mine this weekend.


Liz (from Lincoln)

Lee Rogers - Sat, 10/09/2011 - 12:08


Hi, yes I also received the e-mail, and although I'd started looking at Book 1 - Reputations, I hadn't yet attempted the first assigment. I'm hoping the change to the booklet will mean a much more balanced approached to the subjects assessed, that is a little more on literature.

I also hope that it'll mean that we get a chance to write about Doctor Faustus, as to expend so many resources on this one chapter (BBC radio play, learning space etc...) and not assess our understanding seems a bit remiss.

Anyway, lets hope it arrives before the cut-off date, or gets posted for download when the AA100 website goes live on the 21st


ANDREA WATERS - Sun, 11/09/2011 - 09:52


Like you all I received the email about the assignment booklet. Previous to this email I had deceided to get a head start, as I'm away with school soon, and away with my family in half term. Now I don't know whether to carry on with what I was doing or just stop!!

What has everyone else deceided to do?

Andrea x

Raymond MacDonald - Sun, 11/09/2011 - 15:09

Yep, it is a bit confusing, Andrea. I'm not going to be planning any assignments out, but I'm assuming the actual course content will be the same, so I've still gone ahead with my reading.

So far I've tackled Dr Faustus, which was less painful than I thought it'd be, and read a book called Cleopatra: Last Queen of Egypt by Joyce Tyldesley, which was a great read.

Elizabeth Cox - Tue, 13/09/2011 - 15:46

Hi Raymond,

I was just wondering how you got on with Dr Faustus.  I've just started it and feel like I'm reading it twice, I read the literature then I read the translation on the left hand side so I can understand it properly!! Do you have any tips?

I was really disappointed when I received the email from the OU, as I suppose were a lot of people.  I was going to start my assignment at the weekend but don't feel the need to now as the questions might be changing.

Thanks in advance,


Raymond MacDonald - Wed, 14/09/2011 - 09:50

Hi Liz. We have something of a small discussion that's started over on the AA100 group forum. Join in with us there.

Grant Walker - Sun, 11/09/2011 - 14:41


I'm new to online learning, and haven't studied a drop since high school (graduated in 1998). I'm 30 years old, and see this as a very daunting, but very exciting opportunity to get my brain working again. Rational thought, structured reasoning and all that.

I am looking to complete the degree in English Literature, so I believe this will be the first step in a long, long journey.

I have yet to even look at my assignment booklets, so having to be sent a new one is not much of a setback, however still a little offputting.

Anyway, I just wanted to introduce myself, I wish you all the best of luck with the opening module!



Grant Walker - Sun, 11/09/2011 - 16:45

Hi there,

When are we introduced to our tutors? I have not heard from mine yet (either by email or telephone) and was wondering.


Chelsea Brown - Sun, 11/09/2011 - 19:24


starting now in october and will be going to the ou in newport, so just wondering are there any people going there. I am so excited to start this course as it is something completely different. Havent even looked at the books yet, i am waiting for them to come back. Has everyone already started the assignments?



Fatima Habbar - Sun, 11/09/2011 - 20:04

Well folks I don't know if I can start in October after all. I still have not heard if I have financial support for the course and as I am unemployed (doing volunteer work though) I cant afford the fees. I sent my application in plenty of time. I have sent several e mails and phoned OU but its still not sorted out. My home page says I am on the course but.......

Obviously because of this I have not even seen the materials so not have the opportunity to comment.

If I dont get on the course (and really I should) good luck to you all

Raymond MacDonald - Sun, 11/09/2011 - 22:37

Fingers crossed for you, Fatima. You should ring them again and get a definite answer as to why it hasn't gone through yet, and when it will.

Mine was a bit confusing. I didn't get a response telling me my application had gone through, just an email several weeks later telling me that I should pay for my course as the deadline was approaching. It was only when I called the OU that I was told that it had already been accepted a month beforehand, and was waiting to be used.

Fatima Habbar - Tue, 13/09/2011 - 13:10

Thanks Raymond,

I did phone again to be told they had not received my documents until I reminded them I had received an email from them saying they had received all my documents and apologising for the backlog. I was told yes they have got them and they would try and get me on the October course. I said you will TRY, when I booked in plenty of time. They said it had been human error by the OU.

Hopefully I will stat in October as planned if I ever get the course details!!

Take care


Benjamin Turner - Mon, 12/09/2011 - 12:35


My name is Ben , I'm 19 working towards a degree in History (Politics focused), any preperation advice, I'm currently studying two 60 credit courses, so slightly aprehensive to say the least, but it's great to start studying again! Best of luck everybody! 


Richard Green - Tue, 13/09/2011 - 13:44

 Hi - I'm Richard and I'm from the Northwest - I'm 41 and hoping that taking a History degree might lead to a career change to teaching.

Good luck to you all 


Emma Holliss - Tue, 13/09/2011 - 16:37

Hello my name is Emma ,

Im 24 and live in Tadcaster in North Yorkshire, Im absolutly petrified about studying again i dont feel confident in my ability to retain information like I did at school. I have read a burial at Thebes and Dr faustus. I feel I would do well to watch the dvd to get a better grasp of what is going on. does anyone else feel overwhelmed by the material ....

 but i am excited also

good luck everyone !!!!


Lauren Jones - Tue, 13/09/2011 - 17:47

 Hey has anyone else received an e-mail explaining more about the assignment book?  I was really hoping they would remove the Cezanne question lol no such luck!

Kerry Smith - Tue, 13/09/2011 - 20:50

Everyones comments so far have gotten me a little scared... i'm worried that i won't be able to understand the books etc....ahhhh!

I'm hoping my love of English Literature and Language will get me through!

Ian Ellison - Wed, 14/09/2011 - 10:55

The change in the Assignments is seriously annoying - I had completed the piece on Cleopatra and now I shall have to start afresh!! Aaaarghhh!!!

Kate Metcalfe - Wed, 14/09/2011 - 11:24

It is pretty frustrating, I had also done a draft of the Cleopatra essay, serves us right for being eager!  Nevermind, a bit of extra practice in getting into essay mode for those of us who have not done any studying in years.  Might help to broaden understanding of the topic so far....ever the optimist! :-)

By the way there was a programme on BBC 2 for the last 3 weeks about Russian art (I know it's a long way off, but we look at propaganda art later in the module).  The last programme about Stalin seemed relevant, and it might still be available on BBC iplayer for anyone who didn't see it and is interested in a bit of early prep (think it was just called 'Russian art' or something similar).