Pairing wine with Assignments – Open University drinks club

In case you are unaware I have been studying part time for a Bsc Hons in Psychology with the Open University. This particular module was by far the hardest partly because it was a trial of the new OU systems, so we encountered far too many problems and became increasingly frustrated. To cheer ourselves up we set up a Facebook study group and would post photos of what we were drinking while we were writing assignments, which is ironic given that one of the topics was counselling for alcoholism, grief and addiction. I decided to write this blog as a bit of fun for an audience of mature students with little or no money, many of whom have little wine knowledge …. much like myself. Definitely not to be taken seriously!

When deciding on the particular wine to accompany your assignment it is important to match the characteristics of the wine, the grape and the alcoholic content with the nuances of the written masterpiece you are about to unleash on your overworked (this must be the case given as they give us very little feedback) to ensure you bring out the best in both.

Assigment 1 –  Outline your project ideas and decide on a survey or experiment. A light number not to much body but surprisingly complex. You need a wine that will cut through it. Not too acidic though as you already have that taste in your mouth from the shock of having to make the decision so early in the module. I suggest a Pinot Grigio rose or a Cote de Provence.

Assignment 2 – To what extent has our understanding of cognitive processes been informed by experimental and neuropsychological studies?  Obama said we known more about Mars than the space between our ears! This definitely has more body and again is hugely complex, less description more evaluation. You need a wine that will keep you alert and not lull you into a false sense of security. I suggest a Beaujolais, it has some body but the gammay grape is surprisingly light and fruity.

Statistics online exam – This is the long haul, it speaks a different language don’t be fooled by the multiple choice questions. Yes you could gamble, after all you have 25% chance of succeeding. Instead I suggest you invest time and energy into this. You need a wine which will stand up to the rigor. It’s got to be a Shiraz, the peppery undertones will keep you awake, it’s red so can be kept close to the computer and it comes in a wine box so you don’t have to keep going to the kitchen to fill up. You’ll need all the help you can get, fill your glass regularly to get the full benefit.
Assignment 3 – ‘Human problem-solving abilities can be improved by contextual factors.’ Critically evaluate this statement.

We are getting used to our new style level three now and realise with no feedback we have to come to our own conclusions as to why our marks are as they are. Very ingenious of them to help us by having to research how to problem solve the problem of the new module. In this case the contextual factor is the wine you have decided to drink. This assignment takes a clear head and an optimistic outlook. I suggest something with bubbles a prosecco perhaps throw in a few strawberries after all it’s nearly Christmas. Goes particularly well with the mountain of chocolate you are eating.

Assignment 4 –  Compare, contrast and evaluate the ways in which text-based qualitative methodologies are used within phenomenological and discursive approaches. It’s January the relatives have gone, you promised yourself you would not drink this month but with a compare and contrast you need something to get get you through. I suggest you raid the cupboard and find the bottle of c**p wine the neighbours brought round but drank your good stuff. At least it’s wet and mildly alcoholic. After a few glasses you will feel phenominal, which is great as you will have forgotten what the intricacies of the phenomenological approach is.

Assignment 5 – This is your project and ethical approval form. Time to bring out the big guns we need something meaty to give you the confidence to push the submit button. For white a Chardonnay – Oaky, full flavoured and red our old favourite Cabernet Sauvignon. Lots of body, slightly oaky undertones with a touch of blackcurrant.
Assignment 6 – The poster – You’ll need a lot of creativity and some technical expertise for this one. I suggest a wine to match the end result. A Sauvignon blanc – in the wine trade the description of this is “cats pee under a gooseberry bush” Which will no doubt also be used to describe my poster.

The exam – This is it folks the last one – your research report. You need a magnificent wine, full bodied, plenty of depth and wonderful conclusion. It has to be a pouilly fume white with smokey undertones or an Argentina Malbec a 14.5/15.5 abv that packs a punch, I am sure your research paper will do the same.

You press the button on the last assignment May 26th – champagne all the way baby take a lesson from Madame Bollinger
” I drink it when I’m happy and when I’m sad.

Sometimes I drink it when I’m alone. 

When I have company I consider it obligatory.  

I trifle with it if I’m not hungry and drink it when I am. 

Otherwise, I never touch it – unless I’m thirsty.” 

~ Lily Bollinger

July 17th – The result, well I have chosen a cheeky little Sonoma red Shiraz from The exclusive Flanagan Vineyards, ( not a relative as far as we know) if I have passed I can celebrate and if I have failed I can drown my sorrows.


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