A bit of handholding at the start with World Archaeology (A251)

I’m nearly through the first week of the course now which hasn’t taken quite so long as the 16 hours it suggests. It looks like about two to three hours will be enough to complete although the course hasn’t really quite started in the first unit of the course so that could change.

The first week is basically introducing the course although it doesn’t go overboard as there aren’t massive numbers of different booklets as some courses have these days. Some hand-holding is there too as this is billed as a potential first OU course but it’s not too onerous eg it tells you to read the book organisation section in the course book.

The first bits that you do are mainly introducing archaeology as a subject so there’s a few exercises on that interspersed with readings from the course text (hereinafter known as the doorstop) and listening to the first track from the CD. So it moves on from the “digging things up” aspect to introduce a few terms covering things like experimental archaeology and distinguishing it from history (anything relying on written records). It gives the impression that there’s a bit of fighting going on between the archaeologists and the historians over ownership of some parts of the past. Actual archaeology doesn’t start ’til the last reading of the week where it begins to introduce the development of agriculture or at least it seems to as I’ve not read that bit yet.

Going by the course guide, the course motors on at a fair rate. Work on the first TMA begins after three weeks of reading so I don’t think much is expected from the first one as there will only be about 2 1/2 weeks of reading for it. Thus far the reading is quite heavy going at the moment as it’s a totally new subject for me so there’s lots of new terminology.

I see from the website that I’ve just acquired a tutor. Rumour has it that the tutors are supposed to call in the week before the course officially starts although I don’t think there are any in-person tutorials with this course.

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