A cacophony of spaces

A few days ago I took a short break from Soja’s Thirdspace to make this diagram. In ThirdspaceSoja identifies what he calls a cacophony of spaces in a list that is so long, I had to make this visualisation to display them all. While there is nothing new in this list for me, I found it quite striking to see so many of the spaces identified across the literature listed in a single place. I’m going to keep this as a living diagram  on my computer so I can continue to amend it. There are indeed spaces missing 😉

Spaces of protest, repression, sexualities, identity and dystopia. What is missing for you? (Comment below)



Postmodernism: It’s impossible to move!

I would say this is a form of procrastination, however after such a productive morning I am happy to label this as a well deserved break. I’ve spent most of this week so far buried in the spaces of modernity (Dear & Flusty, 2002)an interesting volume that focuses on postmodern interpretations of space. Tucked between a couple of the chapters I came across this excellent comic from Calvin and Hobbes (Watterson, 1990) and I needed to make this quick post to share it.

I think this little strip perfectly captures the headaches we all go through when grappling with new concepts. It kinda makes me wish I was seeing the world through a neo-cubist art lens as opposed to the Marxist or postmodern! Nevertheless, I think the real gem from this strip is the following:

The multiple views provide too much information! It’s impossible to move!

Maybe that alone should form my definition of postmodernism. Shame it would have to end there. After all, we can’t let the world fall into a recognisable order…

Calvin and Hobbes

Source: Calvin and Hobbes Comic Strip, July 27, 2014 on GoComics.com
One of the many great comics you can read for free at GoComics.com! Follow us for giveaways & giggles.


SAGE Research Methods

I just wanted to write a quick blog post today about SAGE Research Methods (SRM).

I think this is a fantastic resource and wanted to share some details about it for my fellow #HullEdD students. Azumah did try to show this at the end of our weekend, but there were some technical issues on campus.

To paraphrase SAGE, SRM is a research methods tool to help researchers with their papers and students with their studies. SAGE particularly specialise in humanities and social sciences research giving them a large catalogue of resources that are pulled into SRM. This means in includes over 720 books, dictionaries, encyclopedias, and handbooks, the entire Little Green Book, and “Little Blue Book series, two Major Works collating a selection of journal articles, and specially commissioned videos, with truly advanced search and discovery tools. As the resource focuses on methodology and not discipline, it is widely applicable to lots of disciplines including us in education (SAGE, 2014).

As EdD students, the dictionary and encyclopaedia entries may not be something we would want to reference, but they do serve as a useful first place to check the definition of something. The text books within SRM can then be used to build on your initial understanding and the case studies and journal articles will show these methodologies and methods in action. As with any other journal articles, the articles accessed via SRM make a great addition to your bibliography, as may some of the books and case studies. For EndNote and RefWorks users, you will find SRM supports citation exports to make referencing just that little bit quicker! I should add it supports Zotero for anyone going off piste with their choice of bibliographic manager 😉

As SRM is an online resource, everything is available digitally which is a big plus for any of our international peers!

Accessing SRM at the University of Hull

As a University of Hull student, you will get access to SRM, you just need to login through Shibboleth. First click Log in to SAGE Research Methods:

The select Sign in via your institution:

You’ll find Hull under: University of Hull (Shibboleth) and selecting this option will take you into our familiar log in page.

Methods Map

The reason I think SRM is such a powerful tool comes down to the Methods Map. You can find this under Methodologies > Method Map. If you navigate through to Qualitative data analysis you’ll find everything from Foucauldian discourse analysis and grounded theory through to interpretive phenomenological analysis and visual research.

Give it a go! It is awesome!


SAGE video introduction to SRM

So what is geography?

I have spent a great deal of time talking about geographical approaches so far and thought it would be useful to look at geography in a bit more detail. What is geography?

To borrow the approach that Bonnett (2008) takes, geography is about this:

Figure 1: The Planet Earth (Pixabay)

At the simplest level, Figure 1 is the perfect representation of geography. It is about the planet Earth, it’s environments and it’s peoples. This can also be seen in the very root of the word geography. While addressing the same question of what is geography, Cloke et al (2005: viii) return to the Greek origins of geography as “to write (graphien)” and “the earth (geo)”. While this may be clear enough, it is also incredibly broad. Could it not be argued that every discipline is associated with our planet in some way? This is further complicated by the fact that geography holds and shares thousands of concepts with other sciences, humanities and social sciences. With this in mind, it is important to ask what is the geographical approach?

In my opinion, the answer is simple. It is space. Thrift (2008: 85) argues that space is the “fundemental stuff of geography”. Unfortunately space as a concept is multidimensional, multifaceted and complicated. I think this needs a post in itself, but for now I turn to a horrific simplification of Thrift’s introduction to space in the context of ‘modern’ geography which sees four spaces:

First (empirical) space: The tangible, physical space that people measure and map.

Second (mental) space: The mental space that people live, interact and move within.

Third (imaginative) space: The symbology and imagery people use to register the spaces around them. (culture)

Fourth (place) space: The embodiment of space. Where people confirm and naturalise the existence of certain spaces

I could go on to look at this in much more detail, but for now I think that establishes enough to move on to look at geography as a discipline. It can be argued that as discipline, there are two distinct areas to geography: the human and the physical. While I hate to simplify things too much, most geographers experience this distinction throughout their studies and in some cases it is almost a divide. If I had to draw a crude distinction between the two, I would argued that physical geography takes a positivistic/scientific to the earth. It focuses on a spatial and temporal understand of Earth’s hydrosphere, biosphere, atmosphere, and lithosphere. While this may seem the familiar territory of other disciplines, Bonnett (2008) suggests that “geology, climatology, ecology, environmental science and a number of human sciences evolved from geography”. While there is still much to unpick, I want to focus on human geography as it is my area of interest.

Human geography focuses on a spatial and temporal understanding of Earth’s people, their cultures, development, economies, interactions with the environment, histories and politics. The knowledge produced by human geography varies from the positivistic to the postmodernist and this has changed through time as the discipline has gone through many turns. In this case I thought human geography is based overviewed by looking at a typical textbook: Introducing Human Geographies (Cloke et al, 2005). This morning I quickly mapped out the foundations, themes and issues that fall within human geography and this is the result:

Figure 2: Overview of Human Geography based on Cloke et al (2005)

The beauty of geography is that there are many different interpretations and to some extent, it is a personal construction. Indeed, I think all geographers need to have their own personal statement for what geography is and I am glad I’ve started to write mine down. I think that is perhaps as good an overview of human geography that I can achieve before 9:30am on a Sunday morning. There is still a lot to explore, but I think this is a good start! I have purposefully left it at a mind map as I think it is a more powerful symbol of human geography for me than a series of paragraphs. Indeed – I should perhaps develop the above mind map to further explore geography…

Hope that is interesting 🙂

Bonnett, A. (2008) What is geography? Sage: London.
Clifford, N., Holloway, S., Rice, S. P. and Valentine, G. (2008) Key concepts in geography. Sage: London.
Cloke, P. J., Crang, P., and Goodwin, M. A. (Eds.) (2005) Introducing human geographies. Oxon: Routledge.
Thrift, N. (2009) Space: the fundamental stuff of geography. In N. J. Clifford, S. L. Holloway, S. P. Rice and Valentine. G (Eds.) Key concepts in geography. Sage: London. 85-96.


The EdD – One year on!

It seems like only yesterday that I started on my EdD journey.

As I sat at home filling in my annual review, it really struck me just how quickly this year has gone. While this year has led to many achievements of which I am proud, I have also noticed an absence of many things I *should* have been doing as part of my EdD journey. While I can be proud of my bibliographic management, organisation, note-taking and writing – many other things are absent…

Where are the conference papers/attendances?
What additional seminars have I engaged with?
What happened to my blog…

I figured writing down these shortcomings would be a useful way of (publicly) identifying some goals for the year ahead. I have made a great start in so many ways, but now is time to pick up the pace and continue to develop my wider engagement with the programme, with doctoral study and with the communities of practice for which I subscribe.

Perhaps I am being too harsh on myself in the context of the other achievements I have made this year. I have gained both my Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy and my Postgraduate Fellowship of the Royal Geographical Society. I now need to leverage these networks alongside the Association for Learning Development in Higher Education to continue to develop my thinking in all things to do with learning development and space. After all, what is the use of joining networks if I do not use them…

Hull Doctoral Symposium Day One: Learning points

Last week I attended the Operationalising research: real journeys, real voices, digital worlds symposium at the University of Hull. The symposium was organised for postgraduate, postdoc and established researchers and although I am at the start of my doctoral journey I found it both fascinating and useful. While I could spent hours blogging about this event, I thought it would be more useful to draw out some key ideas and learning points.

The confirmation process – Margaret Korosec,  University of Hull

This was an interesting session for me. While it wasn’t relevant to my own studies as I am an EdD student, professionally I support a lot of PhD students. Hearing Margaret talk of her upgrade process was a fascinating insight into the stress and difficulties of the PhD process. I think the biggest piece of advice I would give to any PhD following Margaret’s session is to remember that it is a supportive process. It may be difficult and stressful – but the advice you gain will be incredibly valuable. Margaret asked if she could audio record her session and that seemed to be a very valuable resource after the session.

Moving beyond ‘surviving’ the Viva – Joseph Hall, University of Hull

I think I spent half of this session trying to pretend I wouldn’t have to face this in the future. Joesph gave a brilliant talk, best summerised by Jacqui

Indeed! It doesn’t have to be this way…

The Learning English in Leeds Website – motives and methodology – Dr James Simpson and Monica Barrionuevo-Flores, University of Leeds with Martin Nickson, University of Hull

This was a very useful session to see the operationalisation of research. I think my biggest take home from this session was the following ethical question (and no – I don’t have answer yet…)

Metaphors for the Postgraduate Research Experience – Professor Malcolm Tight, University of Lancaster

This presentation gripped me from the start to the finish. Prof. Tight discussed metaphors as a communicative technique for the doctoral process. Often the doctoral process is introduced as a journey, implying a lengthy process. This could be a quest, a long, troublesome journey with a prize at the end or it could be a voyage into the abnormal, ending with an escape to normality. Could it be argued the PhD is the quest for a doctorate with the EdD as a voyage – dipping into the abnormality of academia while still working full time.

We all agreed the journey wasn’t particularly effective.

So if not a journey – how can you use metaphor to describe the doctoral student experience?

From the keynote, here are a few suggestions for student metaphors:

  • ‘The Child’ Too young to have responsibility and is therefore treated as children by their professors who have authority over them.
  • ‘The Employer‘ In early universities the students used to employ staff. More recently, students used to pay the lecturer on entry to a lecture. If you were not any good, people wouldn’t show up.
  • The slave’ Doctoral students must do as they are told. This resonates with the sciences as a lot of research is predetermined due to funding. You just go along with the topic as told.
  • The apprentice’ Serve your apprenticeship, then have opportunity to become a master.
  • ‘The disciple‘  Follow your leader, you can succeed them one day.
  • ‘The vampire follower’ One day you hope to be sired and when you are, you can make your own vampires!
  • The co-producer’ A partner – assuming the student wants this!
  • ‘The Family member’ Seeing the supervisor as a father/mother figure to look up. Suggests a close relationship – even friendship.
  • The client‘ A constant need to negotiate – thrash out what you will get and when.
  • The customer’ The idea may be very much linked to UG but it will eventually come to PG.
  • ‘The consumer’ Suggests impassivity. Consume then regurgitate to pass.
  • ‘The pawn’ A small player in a much bigger game. Student has little power and can be sacrificed.
  • The worker’ Write this, have targets and finish it early. Get it done. Research is time consuming.
  • ‘The rebel’ None of the above 🙂

That is it for day 1!

My challenge is to now finishing organising my thoughts for the rest of the symposium…


My evolving relationship with writing

I am supposed to be blogging about a conference right now but I can’t. This is a post that has been sitting in my head for far far far too long…

It is all because I have a terrible admission to make. I fell into a trap.

Over the last few years my perception and definition of writing had slowly drifted. Somewhere along the way I stopped seeing writing as the act of forming letters and words to communicate and record ideas. It had become the art of stringing words together for the sole purpose of assessment. This of course is not how I use writing or how I see it – but it became my definition of it despite this fact.

This is a shameful admission to make for a Learning Developer, but can I be blamed? Perhaps it wasn’t a trap at all. Somehow I was dragged into this worldview by the hordes of undergraduates whose sole focus is writing for grades. How can so many people miss the importance of writing in the learning process? Is there any wonder so many undergraduates struggle with writing when the only time they actually write is when they are working on an assignment.

Whenever I teach essay writing to students, I tell them to use a nine step process. Only at stage 8 do I suggest they actually write their essay. All the pre-stages to this involve research, planning and note making. All of this involves a lot of writing. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think students should be constantly writing pages and pages of linear text. I wholeheartedly believe these preparatory processes do not need to be full sentences and paragraphs. I encourage patterned notes, illustrated notes and linear notes. While all varied, they all need some form of writing and some form of work – and this is the killer. For the majority of students I work with, my suggestion of putting so much effort in something they cannot hand in generates looks of mild horror. The blatantly clear link between this preparatory work and the assignment is not enough.

But I accepted this…

At times I even failed to challenge this.

But not any more.

I guess the problem is that some forms of writing can seem redundant. The slides will be online later, you have a permanent digital copy of the text, you can use a search function to find what you need at any point or maybe you can just access videos and audio of the content itself. As that thought pops into you head you can just write it straight into Microsoft Word as part of your essay… The lists of reasons why is endless. If you see notes as just a memory aid then it is easy to see potential redundancy. What so many seem to miss is their importance in developing writing itself – and not just content.

The thing that annoys me is that I have been giving the correct advice – do lots of writing! I have consistently championed the link between writing for notes and writing for assignments to develop content. The sheer importance of this for developing writing itself somehow escaped me. I guess this is because when I was an undergraduate, I fell into lots of writing. It is just what you did through lectures and as part of seminar preparation (in the age before smart phones and tablets existed)! I’m not so sure today’s undergraduates see things this way…

Doctoral thinking and writing is complicated and difficult. It is also a large step up from masters level and it is clear to me now that I would not be starting to make this step if the only writing I undertake is for my essays and the thesis itself. Indeed, there is literally no way I would have survived the last few months without copious amounts of writing. The more I type, write or draw my thoughts and ideas, the easier things become. The most valuable learning point from my doctoral studies so far has been the importance of writing.

Now I just need  to convince a LOT of undergraduates…

Before I end this post, I need to thank @azumahcarol for nudging my views on writing in such a beneficial way and @mark_carrigan for guilting my into blogging again reminding me of the importance of blogging in understanding your own ideas 🙂

Something every day…

The flying start to my doctoral studies that I had planned (well… if I am more honest) expected didn’t really happen. Right after our first weekend, life simply got in the way. Even worse, it wasn’t anything in particular. Nothing bad or unexpected happened. I just fell out of the first EdD weekend right back into my regular routine.

That annoying little voice at the back of my mind knew this was a sure path to later stress and inevitable failure. So what did I do? I did what any self-respecting student does – I ignored it!

But it didn’t go away.

There was only one thing that I could do to get back on track. That started with admitting I was off track in the first place. I ‘bravely’ wrote an email to the rest of my tutorial group, admitting I had done nothing. Quite honestly, I was hoping everyone else was waaaay ahead to give me that pressure. (Yes – I am one of those annoying people who quite like working under pressure). Annoyingly I didn’t exactly get the response that I wanted. I just got a lot of comfort in knowing that I wasn’t alone. What did help however was the advice Azumah shared with the group and that was my reason for writing this post.

Azumah has blogged about Getting stuff done on the Hull EDD blog and it is definitely some of the best advice I’ve received so far:

Set yourself a start day. So I did – and that date was today. Although the second piece of advice has led me to do a little something every day, I made a point of ‘fencing’ off all of today to’ sink my teeth’ into my first assignment. I have actually had a lot of fun today – what took me so long! (more on this another time I think…).

Do something every day. It seems quite obvious really – but it is something that I have striven to do every day since that post went live. This has even led to nights where I’ve gone to bed and have had to suddenly spring out of a light slumber to make sure I do something before the day ends. It has kept the EdD in my thoughts for each day because of this. Even if I only do a little thing like read a few pages, conduct a search, add some articles to my EndNote library or even print some things out ready it has been enough.

Read every day. I am lucky that every day I read stuff that is useful for my EdD as part of my job. What I have done since however is ensure I always have something ‘ready to read’ either in print or electronic form. If I have a few minutes I can easily pick it up. No searching. No procrastination – speaking of which…

Turn vice into virtue. I have been known to procrastinate on occasion. Even today, I decided to do nothing until the courier arrived. I managed to convince myself I really needed those post it notes for my reading today. Thankfully it was an early delivery. But in all seriousness, this is something that I am aware of. Whenever I feel like I need a break and I’m sliding into procrastination I turn to Twitter. As I use Twitter for professional purposes, the worst I could probably do is tweet about something academic or end up reading an article that isn’t entirely relevant. Either way I get a break and I get something that contributes to my wider contextual knowledge within my disciple (see – I’ve been working on justifying this for a while).

Anyhow! I hope my reflections on starting the EdD have been interesting – if not somewhat useful. I wanted to share this to first of all thank Azumah for her advice and secondly, to share some of my worries with you all. I imagine I am not alone!

I’m a student again!

Perhaps I am being somewhat misleading with my title. It suggests I wasn’t already a student – when actually, I’m heading into my 8th consecutive year as a student at the University of Hull. This however – is the start of a new programme. I’ll be doing an Educational Doctorate (EdD), a five year part-time research programme. To say I am excited would be an understatement…

We received our reading list for the first weekend a few days ago and I’ve spent today pouring over journal articles in preparation. The articles have been a fascinating introduction to both professional doctorates and the concept of ‘inside researchers’. It has really made me question the multiple roles I will have through the programme. I am a graduate of the University of Hull, thanks to the EdD I am also both a student and to some extent a ‘researcher’. I can’t overlook the fact that I am a staff member too.

The interesting thing about a professional doctorate is that it is focused on the context of your profession. That means you research on your own doorstep. Now I knew this – this was my main reason for choosing the programme. I could root my research into my profession – making it relevant to my daily work and to the service I work in. What I had not considered was the multiplicity of roles that I would assume through the process. I could be both tutor/adviser to a student – but also ‘researcher’. I had not even considered how I would be both a ‘colleague’ and a ‘researcher’.

This is an interesting dilemma. I had not even considered that my friends and coworkers could perceive me differently though undertaking the programme. Now that is probably a bit dramatic. I am sure it won’t be too big a deal – and I’m positive it will all work out. It is however going to be a whole additional dimension that I need to keep in mind. I’ve always loved the deep complexity of phenomenon. This is going to be an interesting five years 🙂

Studying on a MOOC: Introduction to Psychology

I wanted to create this post to reflect on my experience of studying on the Introduction to Psychology MOOC. The MOOC was run through Coursera and was taught by Steve Joordens, a professor at the University of Toronto. As mentioned in my previous post, I started this Intro to Psychology as I wanted to experience a MOOC first-hand and I have always been fascinated by psychology as a discipline. I completed the MOOC a couple of weeks ago and I now feel I am in a position to reflect on this experience.

Learning experience

This course was structured in a classical university format. We received weekly lectures and were graded via a mid-term exam, a final exam and through a peer-assessed assignment. Naturally – this was all a little different as it was all done online. The video lectures were 10-18 minutes long on average which made them very easy to fit in with work and my other commitments. There were eight lectures a week and the course was eight weeks long so there was a lot of content. Each lecture included a mini quiz to test understanding and linked to a collection of further reading/watching. Like a good student, I took diligent notes for all the lectures, using the experience as an opportunity to experiment with a variety of note-taking techniques – but more on that another time.

Steve Joordens is one of the most engaging lecturers I have seen. I still cannot believe how drawn in you could get even though it was all by video. He is exceptionally adept at explaining things and managed to structure a course in a very approachable way. This is important in the MOOC world as it involves people from so many backgrounds. I would argue Steve is the definition of a ‘superstar professor’. The term was coined for fear that a single professor teaching on a MOOC engages with tens of thousands of students, portraying their views/arguments on the discipline coupled with the fame associated with such a large audience. Is it good in academia to have so few teaching so many? I am concerned by this idea of course but I believe Steve portrayed a very even viewpoint on current arguments. His distaste for eating meat and using animals did shine through however. I’m not sure that is such a bad thing :). The reason I define his as a superstar however is that he has an excellent teaching style, he is in a band (that he livestreamed to those on his MOOC), he has a string of teaching awards and he is conducting a lot of excellent research into pedagogy.

On reflection, this MOOC is one of the best learning experiences I have ever had. Most importantly of all – it cost nothing. I am still in awe regarding that fact, especially as I am currently funding myself through study. Unlike my degree, this experience didn’t cost a penny and the teaching was just as good. The issue that the level was much lower aside, this experience means nothing as it doesn’t bare credit. Here lies the problem with all MOOCs. Until they’re recognised – it is difficult to see them as a path to career progress. Having said that – all MOOC providers are literally racing to provide MOOCs in a credit baring way. The first few courses that bare credits are launching now. Watch this space…



The examinations were taken through MTuner – an exceptional online examination tool that I believe is developed at University of Toronto as I’ve not see it elsewhere. Questions are multiple choice, but students are encouraged to type in their answer first. I found this very useful as when presented with a list of options, doubt always creeps into my mind. It also gave me confidence when submitting my answers as I have gone through the process of typing my answer and then seeing it as an option on the list. The most important aspect is what happens when you go wrong. If you answer incorrectly, you are given the opportunity to watch a video clip of the answer. You then get to choose your answer again and you will still receive marks for it – though less than if correct the first time. As Steve puts it:

When someone tunes a guitar they go one string at a time and see if it’s in tune.  If it is, they leave it and move on.  But if it isn’t they “tune it up” and then move on.  When they are done they have all the strings in tune which is a beautiful thing!  The mTuner Activities try to tune up your knowledge of what you learned while also assessing where you’re at

I like that idea. When you get a question wrong (or a string isn’t in tune) – you fix it before you move on. The couple of questions I got wrong, I remember because of this process. I doubt I would make those mistakes again!

The peer assessment activity was done through PeerScholar. Students submit their essays and then grade their own work. The following week, students are each given another six assignments to grade and comment on. After  seeing the work of six others, students are encouraged to reflect on their own work and give it another score. The following week, students can review the comments from other students and the grades they have been assigned. The actual grade we received would be the average of the six marks. In a real course, you may get a tutor or  teaching assistant (TA) to review these. For a course with thousands of students – this is not so possible. Having said that, Steve has done extensive research in this area. Some of this research suggests that the grading done by students is incredibly accurate. In one study, the average of the six grades given by peers matched exactly with the score given by a TA. I’ve seen a LOT of peer assessment activities – but I was incredibly impressed with how this online tool processed it. I am very keen to look into PeerScholar further…

MOOC elements

All my description so far describes this course a rather traditional – all be it online. On reflection, you could pass through this entire course without truly engaging with any of the MOOC elements. Dave Cormier argues that a successful route through a MOOC requires five stages:

  1. Orient
    Simply orientate yourself. Find out what is due when, where things are, etc.
  2. Declare
    You need to declare yourself on the course. This can be through a twitter hashtag, through a course forum or personal blog
  3. Network
    Start to make connections through the above mechanisms. Get involved in the discussion.
  4. Cluster
    Cluster with people who have a similar interest. Focus on their blogs/posts/comments.
  5. Focus
    Focus on what you want to achieve. Why are you doing it? What do you want to achieve. Work with your cluster maybe?

Now all these opportunities were available in the MOOC, but on reflection, I didn’t particularly network or cluster. I orientated myself and then declared myself on the forum and twitter. I didn’t really have the time to do more than that. I could have networked and clustered through the course forum or via social media but I just didn’t have time. It didn’t even have an adverse effect on my studying. It was perhaps a missed opportunity, but not something that damaged my progress. What I wanted was to learn some psychology and achieve my certificate of completion. That was my focus.

Would I do anything differently?

Definitely! For a start, I would have networked and clustered. While this had no impact on my learning, I think it was a great opportunity that I missed. While I am sad the course is over, had I networked I may have a group of people to still explore this subject with. Having said that, I just didn’t have the time because of when this course fell. Next up I would have kept myself a little more up-to-date. On reflection the course was too flexible and it gave me no motivation to keep myself in line with the course schedule. Having said that, had it been strict I probably would have been unable to do this.


The one thing I would state from this journey is that I am now convinced MOOCs can work. I was very dubious before but now I am not – I think they have their place in the world. This place however is not anywhere near replacing traditional study. I think people will always have the desire to go to University and have that experience. Humans are social beings and face:face interaction is still so much more than computer mediated communication can replicate. This is however my opinion. I sometimes wonder if the generations who are raised with this technology see it as a valid and equal means of communication. I digress. I think the huge volume of students on a MOOC make traditional HE difficult. At some point you need to get interaction with a TA/facilitator/Lecturer/Professor to really challenge and further your understanding. At the very least they are needed to assess work…