A draft post on the third module of my professional doctorate has been here forever. Alongside the ‘six months into a professional doctorate post’. That probably says enough.
I didn’t get around to writing this post. As time passed I wondered if I were better off waiting for the results to come through. As it is, it’s a tightly run race.
My third module was slightly different for a number of reasons.
The first was that there was less than a handful of us from the professional doctorate programme. My first module was 100% first year PD students. The second module was combined with second year PD students. This, the third module, had a few of us PD students, combined with MSc students.
The combination was a bit bizarre. Of course I ended up with my fellow first year. There were two PD second year, and the rest were full timers. There was a sense of melancholy seeing the bonds resulting from full-time study. And there were the benefits of such a multi-cultural group in understanding the subject area at hand.
The reason for the low number of PD students was because this was a discipline focused module. My chosen area is public policy, and this module was Democracy, Politics and Public Institutions.
And herein lies the second ‘slightly different’ characterisation. The assessment for this module was in two parts. The first based on a class discussion, the second had many options – based on the topics within the module. It’s the first assignment which I haven’t related at all to my proposed thesis or employment. The flip side is that it’s been the module which has most enthused me, rubbed brain cells together in ways they don’t usually have the chance.
With the benefit of hindsight, and luck – I’ve never participated in a class debate before. And this was the premise of the first part of my assessment. The debate was about democracy being fit for purpose. It was so interesting.
My instinct was to repel the idea that I had to argue that democracy was not fit for purpose. But typically, the more research I undertook, the more it was evident there is something which needs to be fixed. And likewise, from chatting afterwards, this was the conclusion of our opposition.
Whilst there is so much passion for a fair and effective democracy, we are a long way from it.
For the greater part of my assessment I opted to write about women’s representation in politics. Of the taught element, it motivated me the most. Realistically it is a subject area in which I feel barely literate, beyond appreciating the barriers to women in under-represented sectors.
As a result of the module I felt strongly that I wanted to focus on this area, women’s representation in policy. But the reality is what I feel, what I know, and the subjects to which am I closest are many considerations. And when studying part-time, linked to employment, I really do need to stick with an associated study area.
The written assessment has been my worst to date. Which suggests I might be on a downward spiral. Both deadlines clashed with school holidays, which was really tough. I wrote in my 12-month review that I need to build this into my planning but needless to say hindsight is fantastic.
My first deadline I uploaded one part of the assessment whilst on holiday. Having not completed the second part.
So I went into the assessment with only one set of feedback to work with. And of course, the weekend before the final deadline we were away.
I am expected the feedback any day now. And on the one hand I want to have done well, because I enjoyed the subject area. On the flip side, I know it wasn’t a strong subject area from a knowledge perspective. And that feedback I missed would have been invaluable.
So, here it is, the hope of luck, and of averages, and hoping my average might allow me to stay afloat. Paddling into year 2.