Last weekend saw me submit the second and final assignment for the Personnel Selection and Assessment (PSA) module. I can’t say that I’m sorry to see the end of this module (I’m not!), but I’m cautiously optimistic that I’ll get a reasonable grade for it having had a very pleasing result on the first assignment.
Of the half-dozen compulsory modules on the Occupational Psychology MSc, PSA was the one that I was looking forward to the least. While it wasn’t anything like as bad as I’d feared and parts of it, just like the curate’s egg, were excellent, I did become rather frustrated by the constraints placed on me by the assignments. This was because that both of them had to be written as reports for a hypothetical managerial (and hence non-academic) audience.
Now, given that Occupational Psychology is an applied discipline, I do understand the need for us to be able to write assignments in this way. It’s a very useful skill to develop. However, (and yes, I can see the looks of complete incredulity on my undergraduate colleagues and tutors faces as I write this), it would have been very exciting to have had one (or even part of one) of the assignments as a traditional academic essay. This is because there is so much conflicting evidence about the best methods to use for selection and assessment – as well as so much bunkum about the topic that’s been written that just deserves to be, well, debunked.
Sadly, neither assignment was really able to let me go in this direction … because the last thing any manager reading a report wants is a debate. They need analysis, recommendations, conclusions and actions – so that’s what I produced!
Anyway, I’ve now moved onto the Ergonomics module. A quick skim through the unit material last night had me scrabbling around in the attic for my trusty OU Cognitive Psychology textbook this morning, as the links that the module makes to topics including attention, perception and memory was immediately obvious.
This afternoon, (I think that) I’ve managed to fight my way around the library catalogue with its myriad of logins, new windows, mysterious instructions, pages of allowances, charges and fines and issued the necessary incantations required to request the loan of a book on human factors engineering. The irony of my struggle in trying to request a book on how to create things that are easy to use wasn’t lost on me. I just hope that the right book turns up at the right place at around the time that I need it!