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    Is anyone on here doing an OU course? Degree / diploma / certificate?
    What is the whole OU experience like?

    Is there a stigma attached to OU or do employers regard it quite highly due to the self motivation ivolved?
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    (Original post by Ladyluck)
    Is anyone on here doing an OU course? Degree / diploma / certificate?
    What is the whole OU experience like?

    Is there a stigma attached to OU or do employers regard it quite highly due to the self motivation ivolved?
    I think the problem with the OU is you should only study there if you have genuine reasons too, i.e stuck at home to look after family, in a full time job etc. For most younger people studying at OU is what a lot of outcasts tend to do who are too timmed to go a proper university.

    I really do think the OU is more for people with full time jobs and commitments so they work at their own pace. My cousin did some kind of certificate from the OU.
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    (Original post by amazingtrade)
    I think the problem with the OU is you should only study there if you have genuine reasons too, i.e stuck at home to look after family, in a full time job etc. For most younger people studying at OU is what a lot of outcasts tend to do who are too timmed to go a proper university.

    I really do think the OU is more for people with full time jobs and commitments so they work at their own pace. My cousin did some kind of certificate from the OU.
    I was wondering ofr my BF, it isnt really practical for him to move away from home, due to family health reasons.

    Do you have to attend a uni so many times within a month or something?
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    (Original post by Ladyluck)
    Do you have to attend a uni so many times within a month or something?
    You can do entire courses from home if you like, if your bf is interested in distance learningn then several degrees (particularly ones without coursework) can be done by using traditional uni's part-time. I know a guy doing a maths degree part-time at Leeds and he loves it.
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    I did an OU degree, finishing in December 2000 with a BA (Hons) 2:1 in Humanities with English Literature. Most people take 6 yrs, balancing study with other commitments but it's getting increasingly common for younger people to study with them you can do it in the standard 3 years by taking 2 courses at a time.
    When I started I did it for 'something to do' having got the bug after taking a GCSE at an evening class and an A level via home study. I only intended to do the foundation course but got the bug.
    I picked 4 courses with summer schools which gives you the university experience - condensed version! They were the best bit in terms of inspiration and encouragement.
    After completing my degree I applied to do a PGCE (Secondary English) at Bath uni and got a place. I did 3 months then quit, deciding I couldn't balance my home life with the commitment needed to teach. The admissions tutor was very complimentary about OU degrees.
    My husband recruits a lot of people and is always very impressed with candidates with OU degrees (he has very little idea which universities are the most highly rated in the tables). Doing an OU degree shows a lot of commitment because you have to keep yourself motivated.
    Things may have changed slightly and may vary, course to course, but all my courses were marked 50/50 assignments and the exam.
    The whole experience was very positive - courses vary but age ranges tend to be wide. I've studied with people in their very early 20s to their 80s!
    Let me know if you want any more info. Do you have their URL?
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    (Original post by Ladyluck)
    I was wondering for my BF, it isn't really practical for him to move away from home, due to family health reasons.

    Do you have to attend a uni so many times within a month or something?
    Depends on the course. If starting at foundation level, there tends to be weekly sessions (usually 2hrs one evening a week) but at levels 2 & 3 they're usually monthly. Sometimes there are day schools on Saturdays. If he was unable to attend summer school, it would be best to look for courses that don't include them. They tend to be obligatory if included although exceptions can be made. However, you do miss out on a lot of teaching if you don't go.
    Some people never attend tutorials and that's OK - they still have a tutor and can speak to them on the phone or via e-mail. Face to face contact with both tutor and fellow students is usually helpful though.
    Oh, they do use a lot of different colleges for tutorials so it depends where you live as to how far you have to travel.
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    For anyone interested in the OU, here's a personal view of them taken from my website:

    MY COURSES

    I started with the Open University student in 1995 when I studied the Arts Foundation Course. The following year I studied two courses, one in literature and one in French. In 1997 more French, and 1998 it was World Religions. In 1999 I tackled my first Honours level course, in modern literature. I was delighted to pass as the exam was an extremely unpleasant experience. I did better throughout the year than in the exam, fortunately - this counts for half the final marks. I must say I found the course fascinating. In February 2000 I started my final course - this time in Shakespeare: Text & Performance. It included a summer school in London which was very helpful. Very much concerned with performance as well as text, it proved to be extremely interesting. We studied the following: A Midsummer Night's Dream, Richard II, Macbeth, Antony & Cleopatra, Hamlet, Twelfth Night, Measure for Measure, King Lear, The Tempest, Cymbeline, and Shakespeare's Sonnets. Fortunately for me, I managed to do a lot better in the exam than last time which was a great relief to me :-)

    GENERAL INFO

    We all study from course units, books, videos and audios and some courses are computer based. Tutorials are held regularly and are usually very informative, and certainly help to stop you feeling you are the only one who can't grasp some aspects of the course! The number of these varies, but after the foundation courses when they are more regular, are usually every 4 weeks. Courses can be full or half credits, the total number of points required to complete a degree is 360 (although credit can be given for previous qualifications) and a full course is 60 points, a half is 30. Thus it generally takes 6 years of part-time study to complete the degree. However, you can take it quicker or slower according to your inclination and circumstances. It is reckoned that you need to spend about 12-14 hours per week on a 60 point course.

    SUMMER SCHOOLS

    Some subjects include a week away at summer school. I have managed 4 of them in 6 years! I found them to be excellent at bringing together what I had learned throughout the earlier months of the course. It's always a nerve-racking experience - until you get there, where you find that everyone else feels strange too. Hard work but tremendous fun, most people make lasting friendships as a result of these weeks.

    LONDON 2000 This Summer School was held in London where I studied Shakespeare. We had much larger tutor groups than at past summer schools - 17 in our group. We all got on very well though and spent most evenings in the Bar Med, lubricating our throats - all that reading makes you dry ;-)) One of our projects for the week was for small groups of us to take a scene from King Lear and plan two performances of that scene - one to be traditional, and one more avant-garde. Intimidating at first, we soon got into the swing of things and the results were fascinating - as well as hilarious! At the end of the week we had the traditional performance from students and tutors, which again was great fun. We were also able to visit The Tate Modern Art Gallery which is just a short walk from the Globe.

    YORK 1999 In 1999 I went to York University for the literature summer school. It was my best one - the hardest work but most rewarding. York of course, is lovely although we only had one half-day off in which to explore. The course team had put together an excellent week which included two theatre trips to see Mother Courage and Endgame, two of the plays which we were studying. Very helpful to see them performed.

    We also had a couple of visiting poets, Paul Farley and Michael Donaghy. That evening was an extremely boozy one and not everyone managed to get to class the next morning. However, the two poets did come along to answer our questions. Our tutor was excellent and we all felt we had gained a great deal from our week there. It was very intensive, with each day starting with a tutorial at 9am and going on until at least 9pm - later in the case of the theatre evenings. And then there was reading ready for the next day.......... Enjoyable nevertheless.

    UMIST 1997 I didn't have a summer school in 1998 but in 1997 went to UMIST in Manchester for my French summer school. Sounds strange as the other option was Caen and I love France, but I had heard bad reports of the accommodation there and being very fond of my mod cons, opted for UMIST with its en-suite shower rooms. Seeing as the weather was sweltering, it was not a bad choice although the view from the room left a lot to be desired. Everything was done as if we were in France, we had a separate dining room from the technology students sharing the uni, French was supposed to be spoken at all times but we ran out of French conversation by the end of the week and had to resort to English, despite the improvement in our grasp of the language. In the evenings we had different options of presentations, quizzes, films etc to attend, all in French and based on French culture. I opted out of studying the third French course, completion of which would have given me a Diploma. I'm afraid my writing wasn't really up to it and circumstances meant it would have been near impossible for me to attend the university in Caen during the summer.

    BATH 1995 My very first summer school took place at Bath University in the summer of 1995 when I studied my Arts Foundation Course. We worked together in our tutor groups for the whole of the week. It was great fun, although VERY hard work too (honestly!) and I got a taste of what I had missed by not going to University. It wasn't all hard work though, the evenings were taken up with discos and practices for the skit at the end of week show, lunchtimes with choir practice, also for the show. My first time on stage (probably the last too), great fun. I came home totally exhausted :-) I was to return to Bath University some years later as a post-graduate PGCE student, although not for very long.
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    The content of an OU degree seems to be a bit of a joke from what ive seen. Sum1 I know was studying a "level 2" module in Maths, which was supposed to be 2nd year uni maths. It consisted of some early GCSE material, and sum of it far less advanced. How can the OU run academically challenging courses when there is no entry requirement (i.e. you dont have to have done A-Levels or equivalent)
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    (Original post by samd294)
    The content of an OU degree seems to be a bit of a joke from what ive seen. Sum1 I know was studying a "level 2" module in Maths, which was supposed to be 2nd year uni maths. It consisted of some early GCSE material, and sum of it far less advanced. How can the OU run academically challenging courses when there is no entry requirement (i.e. you dont have to have done A-Levels or equivalent)
    I can only speak for arts degrees and I can assure you that the ones I have done have been very similar in content to those offered at traditional universities - particularly in English which is quite easy to compare.
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    Yeah, I can understand how arts courses can run, but how do technical courses, like maths, which are going to require previous knowledge work? I couldn't believe it when I he told me that this material was actually counting towards a degree!
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    (Original post by samd294)
    How can the OU run academically challenging courses when there is no entry requirement (i.e. you dont have to have done A-Levels or equivalent)
    Because...that's the point of it ?

    The OU does offer perfectly challenging stuff. My sister-in-law took a second degree from the OU, and it wasn't just a vague wander through some work and turning up to the odd class.
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    (Original post by samd294)
    Yeah, I can understand how arts courses can run, but how do technical courses, like maths, which are going to require previous knowledge work? I couldn't believe it when I he told me that this material was actually counting towards a degree!
    If it was really basic I'd be surprised too. Foundation courses, i.e. level 1, don't count towards your final degree. Presumably they get everyone up to scratch first and then up the level later on in the course. Because they offer opportunities to everyone, they don't ask for specific qualifications but obviously it's a lot easier if you have some! But it would be daft for someone like me who found A level maths impossible when I was at school (I left before taking it) to contemplate doing that sort of degree. Sooner or later, lack of knowledge or aptitude will show.
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    (Original post by researcher)
    If it was really basic I'd be surprised too. Foundation courses, i.e. level 1, don't count towards your final degree. Presumably they get everyone up to scratch first and then up the level later on in the course. Because they offer opportunities to everyone, they don't ask for specific qualifications but obviously it's a lot easier if you have some! But it would be daft for someone like me who found A level maths impossible when I was at school (I left before taking it) to contemplate doing that sort of degree. Sooner or later, lack of knowledge or aptitude will show.
    Thank you so much for the info *researcher*, its been really useful, ive just been on OU online to get them to send me some info. Your response definately deserves some positive rep!
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    (Original post by Ladyluck)
    Thank you so much for the info *researcher*, its been really useful, ive just been on OU online to get them to send me some info. Your response definately deserves some positive rep!
    Thanks, any time.

    Just had a further thought - the OU have very good forums, called First Class. They have sections covering just about everything, from study to interests and are really helpful if you are feeling a bit isolated and unable to attend many tutorials. It's always useful to get different perspectives from other tutorial groups too. You can also get info on summer schools both from an OU and a student point of view.

    Let me know if you need any more info.
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    (Original post by Ladyluck)
    Is anyone on here doing an OU course? Degree / diploma / certificate?
    What is the whole OU experience like?

    Is there a stigma attached to OU or do employers regard it quite highly due to the self motivation ivolved?
    The OU is very highly regarded within the academic profession, and is seen as the world leader in distance learning. Last week, for instance, the Oxbridge luminary, Alan Ryan was going on about how 'world class' it is in his THES column. Many academics at traditional, high-powered universities, for that matter, have done some part time OU teaching (they need the money). The Sunday Times placed the OU 5th in the UK for teaching (Cambridge came first, LSE 3rd, Oxford 6th), on the strength of its inspection scores over the last decade, and the Telegraph and the THES gave it a similar rating. There is a certain amount of collaboration with Oxbridge, in running various distance learning projects.

    In a sense the OU's time has come: everybody thinks there's money in on-line distance learning, and the OU is the expert everybody turns to in this regard.

    Of course because of its unconventional nature it is omitted from most generic league tables, and although its teaching is outstanding its research is just average to good.

    Its enrolments are at an all time high, with more and more young people. The trend towards younger students is because the OU is better value: you don't have to give up your job as it's part-time, the cost is lower, and the teaching materials are far superior to those knocked up at the last minute by run of the mill lecturers in 80% of unis. In fact OU teaching materials are so good they are sold to other colleges, and of course the TV programmes are made with the BBC.

    Tutorial groups are small , often with just a handful of students (none of this 100 people in a first year lecture crap) and access to tutors is strong (you get their home telephone number and lots of support), in contrast to the business of queueing up outside the tutor's office on a Wednesday afternoon hoping you can catch 10 minutes with them (again pace 80% of other unis).

    The law degree is the only one in the country to be run in conjunction with the prestigious College of Law, the Business School churns out MBAs and as for employers, an awful lot of them must at one time or another done OU courses (there are all sorts of certificates and diplomas as well as full degrees, right up to doctorate). Many students are now based in foreign countries, with their own associated study centres.

    The OU's a good bet in general, and definitely a far better and more cost-effective option, in every respect, than most ex-polys; and in teaching quality and support it will give a lot of good universities a run for their money...
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    My friend is doing applied mathematics with the OU because she works full time and it does require entry requirements.

    She says it is pretty standard as far as maths degrees go (our other friend did a maths degree at brum and the work is pretty similar in standard).
    The law work is of a par with a law degree too.
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    (Original post by researcher)
    If it was really basic I'd be surprised too. Foundation courses, i.e. level 1, don't count towards your final degree. Presumably they get everyone up to scratch first and then up the level later on in the course. Because they offer opportunities to everyone, they don't ask for specific qualifications but obviously it's a lot easier if you have some! But it would be daft for someone like me who found A level maths impossible when I was at school (I left before taking it) to contemplate doing that sort of degree. Sooner or later, lack of knowledge or aptitude will show.
    This is wrong:foundation courses( strictly called Level 1 courses) do count towards your final degree. It's just that, as in many universities, first year courses do not influence the class of your degree: however high or low your average mark for level 1, you will only get 'pass' on your record-this is to give you time to settle in-your exact degree grade is determined by your level 2 and 3 grade averages. Most OU students get a degree through passing two level 1 courses, and two level two and two level three courses (each course is worth the same 60 credit points).

    Feminism: by hypocrites for hypocrites.
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    (Original post by samd294)
    The content of an OU degree seems to be a bit of a joke from what ive seen. Sum1 I know was studying a "level 2" module in Maths, which was supposed to be 2nd year uni maths. It consisted of some early GCSE material, and sum of it far less advanced. How can the OU run academically challenging courses when there is no entry requirement (i.e. you dont have to have done A-Levels or equivalent)
    The Ou is actually historically typical of most universities. Throughout most of history, before the Second World War, entry to even the elite universities was relatively easy, depending largely on the capacity to pay the fees. The competitive entry bit is a comparatively recent phenomenon, despite the hype...

    As for standards, the OU's teaching ratings place it in the very top handful of universities, and the material I have seen verifies this - I can only suggest that your account is mistaken or that it refers to an exception that proves the rule..
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    Sorry to go bumping old threads, but wrt Mathematics at the Open University I thought I'd throw in my comments.

    I didn't do A levels (I'm not British) and am not really aware of what the Maths and further Maths courses cover, but they apparently cover more than I had done when I did secondary school maths. I started with a second level maths course last year (M203 - Introduction to Pure Mathematics) and found it really really good, the teaching materials are excellent and that particular module is really wonderful for highlighting relationships between various areas of pure mathematics. My major problem with it was that working full time didn't give me the chance to absorb and appreciate the material in the depth I wanted ...

    ... hence I'm off to do maths full time! So, I've had a good look at all sorts of options for degrees both in Britain and Ireland, and I have to say that the standard of what is covered in the first and second years varies greatly. This appears to be a reflection of what is required for entry into various courses. A first year that aims to do little more than get the student comfortable with second level calculus and probability isn't that unusual and that will often mean that other courses are covering more advanced material earlier on.

    My only gripe with the OU is that they appear to be weakening their Pure Maths cirriculum, perhaps due to falling funding.
    M203 is being replaced soon by M208, which is basically the same course without the residential school, and from my experience that will be a huge loss. Also, courses in things like abstract algebra, galois theory, differential geometry have disappeared from the undergraduate prospectus. Abstract algebra in particular seems like a pretty damning omission. Still, the applied maths choice looks good and overall I've seen full time maths courses at well regarded universities that have looked worse.

    Incidentally, I'm taking complex analysis and the applied maths equivilent of the pure maths course mentioned above, and the
    courses seem great so far. complex analysis covers the typical theorems and results that you'd expect from any 3rd level first course in the subject.
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    Can you do 2 years at Open university, and then do your 3rd year at a proper university?

    (I'm not implying that Open university isn't 'proper' btw)
 
 
 
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