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    Hi, I am after leaving school 12 years ago going to finally going to further my education!
    I haven't really decided what the long term goal is, but would be interested in design and innovation. Can anybody suggest the best pathway to choose that will give me the best chance of a career at the end?? Sounds a bit random really I know!!


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    Seph
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    It's a bit difficult for us to know, because all this pathway business is really quite new - they didn't used to do things in quite that way.

    Having had a look at the pathways, my observation would be that they're really quite different from one another. Because you've said you haven't really decided on a long-term goal, it's also a bit tricky to say what they might suit best. One thing I'd say is that a hefty percentage of all jobs advertised for graduates don't care what discipline your degree is in, so if you don't have any strong feelings about exactly what you want to go on to do, I'd be tempted to go for whichever pathway appeals to you most.

    My take on them, from the info given, would be that all of them include the same practical design elements, and then the other content varies - I reckon:

    • Arts pathway - this one would get more into critical understanding of the arts, art history, and so on. It's likely to involve quite a bit of essay writing.
    • Business pathway - this one will be a lot about business, obviously! I find it quite hard to sum up - it's quite plan-y, process-y, structure-y, I suppose.
    • Environment pathway - I don't know a lot about what the OU environment-related modules involve, but from the blurb, I'd read it as being a mixture of science and big ideas.
    • Design engineering pathway - this one obviously incorporates engineering, so it's likely to involve a fair bit of maths and to get pretty technical.


    Those are really quite different, and I suspect you'll find that one of them feels like a better fit than the others. I am personally not a huge fan of slogging through subjects you hate just because they're somehow perceived to be 'good' - I don't think it brings out the best in people. Bear in mind, too, that it's a half and half split between the 'design' bits of the degree and the 'whichever pathway' bits, so you're going to spend a lot of time on whichever one you go with - if you go part-time, you'll basically be concentrating on one topic for a year, then the other, and probably alternating; so it helps to be studying in an area which you enjoy and which suits how you think/work.

    By the way, I did Lola (U101, the Level 1 design module) last year - it's lots of bonkers fun! - so feel free to ask if you'd like to know more about it...
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    Thanks for replying. I was thinking about doing U101 before deciding anything else, sounds pretty good!
    what are you studying?
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    I'm doing an Open Degree and basically mixing up Design and Creative Writing modules. At the moment I'm on the Level 2 Creative Writing one, and next year I plan to do the new Level 2 design one (they're replacing whatever it is at the moment - T111? - with a new one, and I'm waiting for that one because I'd be very surprised if they didn't use similar technology and approaches to what they developed for U101 in it, unlike the old module that's being retired, which I understand ismore book-ish).
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    Sounds good. iv got a big decision to make! I think I'll start with an openings to get my brain working again, or is U101 a good place to start?
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    Academically speaking I don't imagine you'd have any trouble starting with U101 - it's very different to other OU modules anyway, so it introduces itself as it goes along, really! It's very hands-on - you literally start by being sent a box of stuff (masking tape, Post-It notes, a pencil, a paper bag) and being given a load of random exercises to do with them (like making a banana out of nothing but masking tape, or making a decision using a paper aeroplane, that kind of thing). The only people who seemed to have difficulties when I was doing it were people with disabilities (mainly physical disabilities that restricted movement in their hands and made the practical stuff difficult; and there were at least a few people with learning difficulties who inevitably found it a little harder to manage). Oh, and there was one guy who got terribly huffy about what was involved because he felt it was childish, and absolutely would not listen to people telling him that yes, this was the sort of thing he'd be doing at a brick uni if he were to study design there; and that no, the whole course didn't consist of drawing round your hand. He left.

    It does help to be able to take half-decent photographs, because the assignments involve submitting images of your work and it's obviously important that your tutor can actually see what it is! So, if you wanted to do something else first to specifically prepare you for U101, you could do the 10-credit photography module. Having said that, that's one of those modules where they just give you a bunch of stuff to do and mark your work at the end; you don't get a tutor or anything, so it's not quite such a supported place to start. You could just get a photography book and practice a bit, and that would probably prepare you just as well.

    Or, actually, maybe it would be a good opportunity to audition which pathway you might want to take. So if, for example, you're thinking the Environment pathway sounds good, you could do Introducing Environment; or if you're leaning towards the Arts pathway then do Making sense of the arts...
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    That sounds a lot of fun to me, can't please some people!!
    I think your right regarding auditioning pathways, makes sense to do something relevant I guess!
 
 
 
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