Before I start the course…


Start 1200

I watched the OCA Student Website video guide and picked up a few hints, such as adding bookmarks etc.

Online forums – I browsed a few threads, and set up a few subscriptions.


Reading the intro to my new course prompted me to revisit the OCA guide to studying in HE.  I followed the course nearly 3 years ago at the beginning of my OCA studies, so it’ll be interesting to reflect on how my studying habits match with what I learned then, and to make some new resolutions at the beginning of this my third OCA course

My motivation for studying

my perception is that the UPM course exercises are open to interpretation and choice,  that experimentation is at the core of it compared to Drawing 1, Painting 1 and Printing 1, which are more structured and concentrate more on acquiring basic techniques. 

UPM will I believe lead me to experiment widely with materials and techniques

and  experimentation leading to finding new means of expression in paint

 Concerns about studying

I have lots of time, but I want to use it productively,  so I have to make sure I don’t allow myself to “wander”, which in the past, despite the hours available to me, has led to missed deadlines.  Learn to focus and leave side issues for leisure time!  I’m pretty sure I spend way over the recommended 20% of my time on my learning log and research.  I need to revise ways of ordering my thoughts and structuring written work before starting it.  Spend more time on organising and planning written work and then hopefully less on rewrites.

Specifically – concerned I may not finish the course by the level 1 4year deadline.

 How do I feel about my decision to study the arts? 

Great … One of the best things I ever did !  I’m learning new skills, learning self expression.  I’ve had my own exhibition, sold several paintings.  My learning continues, and I’ve great hopes for much improvement in my abilities over the next few years, particularly in my ability to express my feelings about what I see.  I want to continue to find ways to become a professional artist and maintain my own practise.

 A place to study

I’ve got a large studio.  Any interruptions are of my own making – must learn to defer looking at incoming messages etc instead of succumbing to the temptation to look, respond, and be led astray straight away.

URGENT – Need pin boards on walls

Extended sitting is a problem.  I’m more comfortable painting standing up.  Sitting at a computer it’s necessary to have a few minutes walkabout every 15 mins (this is where interruptions happen!).  Much reading and writing can be done horizontally using iPad.

 Time managing

I’m self motivated, organised and committed, used to solitary activities.  Quite good at planning ahead to meet deadlines. 

Most productive time of day – mornings.  

I do get anxious about deadlines, when I’m struggling to get started on a project, which happens quite often.  

I have to submit my final assignment no later than mid Oct 2017, 64 weeks from now, to complete level 1 within 4 years.  I’m starting the course on 1 Aug 2016 so I have 64 weeks.  However, need to allow for contingencies as don’t wish to break the 4 year rule.  I could easily work 10 hours for 40 weeks.  But I’m sure I spent way over 400 hours on D1 and POP1.

To get a better handle on it I could record study time, starting with this revision exercise.

Coping with Stress 

Exercise each day 

Regular and sufficient sleep

Do something for others each day

Learn to relax – meditation and breathing exercises – practise clearing mind of disturbing thought


Keep a time record! (For a while anyway)

Main time waster no 1 – Avoid wandering and going off at tangents when researching and writing.  Plan the work before starting, and stick to it

Main time waster no 2 – Avoid struggling to start on a project; don’t think the exercise to death before starting; start by doing something, anything (eg sketches, studies of a elated subject, or not related at all), and the project will start flowing.

Set aside a specific time of day for social media etc, eg evenings, when I’m less productive anyway.

Backup WordPress blog frequently 

Next steps

skim through the whole UPM course (paying attention to the learning aims) before starting.

Pin boards

Made a weekly study timetable – days of week against am, pm, evening  fill in other commitments – master copy here!Auff6KnIBTzsx2elVWlqw6hD6Wh

Made an activity plan for each new assignment  (read through the assignment – make notes, highlight important points, plan main activities, reading etc)- master copy here.!Auff6KnIBTzsx2l7cpGG3Y51P_-s

Make a To Do list –  See Managing Tasks under Managing Studies in the Intro course.

Set up two step verification on my OCA password – done





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