March 18, 2011


i want to reflect on the recent post module assignment that i delivered 3 or maybe even 4 days after the deadline. I will have 9-12 points penalty on it, which means that i will most probably get a non-pass for it. It means that i will have to take all the 10 modules i've chosen, leaving me with no more chance for mistakes. The troubled wouldn't be so bad if i didn't waste such an enourmous amount of time on writing it. Or i should probably put it as 'sort of' writing it. There were very fwew things i was happy about. Among the good ones is that i asked clarification questions from tutors twice, which eventually enabled me to stick to one question, because otherwise i would have been completely lost. Question was on control issues within collaborations, IJVs and strategic alliances.

There are 2 major problems.

  • First is lead time, from the moment i choose the question to the moment when i start writing sense on 'paper'. This is the dark time of torture without muse, enlightment or excitement. Time of looking for my way in the dark without a map or torch.
  • Second is the fear to close the job. I get nervous and panic in the very end before the deadline and just blok myself from working. Especially if it is just before the deadline.

i have to think of mitigations.

risks are :

1 i don't take the importance of active work in the beginning of the preparation period seriously, so lead time could last for several weeks and project gets delayed every time;

2 i panic if i leave the work for the last days of the preparation period. Have to finish final draft 1 week in advance at least.

Mitigations: set strict early milestones for myself with high priority in relation to other jobs.

March 03, 2011

academic writing skills workshop

academic writing skills workshop that i attended today was usefull although incorporated a big portion of material i've already learnt more than once. That includes and probably limits to the register of plagiarism which a have no problems with and would not like to hear about it ever again. It was a considerable part of the session, so i could claim that i've lost about 40 minutes of my time. Bad! On the other hand, some of the revised material was useful to come back to.

We reexamined essay macro and micro structures, very useful specifics of proportions of essay parts were given. The term that was used was 'weightspread'. We were adviced to think about a time required to read each part of our essays. In microstructure thread it was emphasised to comply to the concept of unity, which means addressing only one thing at a time(in a paragraph).  Apart from essay structure we discussed written academic style.

We learnt in an interactive excercise what transition to academic style and lexics adaptation is. The necessity of great precision and accuracy of word usage was emphacised as well as use of tentative language. We've been provoked to think of the value that each word adds to the text. At the end i was still unclear of was balanced English is, but I suppose it is simmilar to the latter.

The workshop was finished by presenting the rules of English writing suggested by George Owell. I'm tepted to say that it is gems like this is what i attend skills workshops for. The list of rules is reproduced below for i have little tolerance to paper notes.

  • Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
  • Never use a long word where a short one will do.
  • If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
  • Never use the passive where you can use the active.
  • Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
  • Break any of these rules sooner that say anything outright barbarous.(accuracy before all).

    I believe that the structured approach to writing revised in the skill workshop will help me to prepare my assessed essays easier from now on.


I was impressed by the short speech given by the tutor about George Orwell. It was succint, extensive and made on the spot. I wish i'd be able to do it when i finish my MSc.


still unclear on the difference of use on inverted commas and quotation marks.

February 25, 2011

Skills development introduction.

This entry will be dedicated to reflection of the intro to skills development workshop that i attended today.

first it's usefull to remind myself what we did there.

First, we introduced to each other and said why we came to the workshop. Attendees were Helen, from London, Lars, from Argentina, Illya from Ukrain, another guy from some middle eastern country, i think, and myself. 

We tried to explain what reflection is, afterwards. the point was that appropriate reflection is crucial in timeline to plan your further actions. 

we then had a psy test that allocates you to one of the 4 learning types. In descending order of preference i turned out to be Reflector(9/10) Theorist(8/10) Activist(6/10) Pragmatist (3/10).  Reflector is likely to think before acting, prepare thoroughly, research and evaluate, make decisions in their own time, listen and observe. Theorist is inclined to concepts and models, see the overall picture, feel intellectually stretched, structure and clear objectives, logical presentation of ideas. Activists: to think on their feet, to have short sessions, plenty of variety, the opportunity to initiate, to participate and have fun. 

The three types described above have been scored in highly or above average ('activist' trait has some room for improvement). The following side of personality though, clearly needs to be improved. 

Pragmatist is understood to : see the relevance of their work, gain practical advantage from learning, like credible role models, like proven techniques, like activities to be real.

Each question in the test was focused on one aspect of the charachter. We've been advised to choose one point from the area we'd like to improve(pragmatist for me), focus on it and present to class, answer how i am going to cope with the particular issue and when will be the next time i'll have the opportunity to practise what i promised to do. After a short talk with a tutor she recommended that i'd focus on the ability to tie all new ideas to the practical problems i'm facing at the moment. The skill of immediate, reflexive, habitual measuring a new idea against actual environment needs to be developed. The way to approach was suggested by myself and was about scheduling of everyday activities in a way that would be most practical and beneficial to the immediate goals. Currently those are

  • finishing CV editing by next Friday;
  • finishing 70% (about 3500wrds) of PMA write-up by next by upcoming Monday;
  • finishing my part of article and draft questionnaire by next Monday.

If i manage to meet those goals withing time limit, i will feel that the workshop helped me to handle pragmatical aspects of my personality.

Another task that has been accomplished was really interesting. We worked in two small teams, trying to dig into the meaning of the word skill. And we as a team cought the essence of it which is that skill is an ability that could be learned or lost due to lack of practise. Debate on nurture vs. nature is relevant, i recalled it in time, thx to Oliver from last years social studies. Whereas the other team confused concepts of ability, talent and skill. The team work was organised so that we had to put our ideas on a flipchart and than exchange sheets, criticise the opponents' work and then present the result. Smth to remember for future collective activities. 

The importance of this team excercise was that we had to remember and understand deeply that skill has to be trained and developed through practise, and there is a working scenario for it. If the scenario gets disrupted, the effort will result in iterative degradation. e.g. if the reflection stage is omitted, there will be no basis for appropriate planing of further actions. Details are in follow-up handouts received.

We have also been shown a list of skills types and examples of skills of various domains. Excercise was in identyfing ones that you are good at, weak at and ones that you think you are ok at, but there's room for development. The one i wanted to improve was decision making, the closest one to that was assertiveness. Meaning ability to put yourself in the whole picture, knowing your own opinions, knowing your side in a debate. This for sure should involve making decisions. So the next skills-related worshop theme for me was clear, which i've been adviced to sign up for as a second thing i'will have had to do after the end of today's intro session. 

As a handouts after the workshop we received skills list with explanatory comments, questions to aid/facilitate reflective writing and 40-items learning styles questionnaire book which apart from questions with explanation of  answers' results contains advices of how to adjust your learning style to your personality type. In first chapters of the book one could also find quite detailed information on generic learning scheme 'have an experience - reflect on it - conclude from it - plan next steps' with implications of deviation from this scenario.

The workshop was quite fun, tutor was good at conveying the session material and was able to understand our cases providing adequate help and advice. I hope i will manage to do all the planned follow-up work and attend other 5 skills-related workshops (or at least some of them).

I spend about 90 minutes for writing this entry.


Hello world, this is my first post in this newly created blog, let's see how it works.

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