Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free

How can undergraduate distance learners get involved with research? Watch

    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    4
    ReputationRep:
    I'm starting to think about what I want to do after graduating from the OU, and how I might develop experience and my CV.

    I know that some undergrads get involved with research at traditional universities they're studying at. I'm wondering what distance learning undergrad students can do to get more academic experience, network with others and try to stand out a bit more? It feels incredibly isolated for me at the moment and I'm a bit unsure of what I can do or where I can start.
    Offline

    14
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by jsp_1983)
    I'm starting to think about what I want to do after graduating from the OU, and how I might develop experience and my CV.

    I know that some undergrads get involved with research at traditional universities they're studying at. I'm wondering what distance learning undergrad students can do to get more academic experience, network with others and try to stand out a bit more? It feels incredibly isolated for me at the moment and I'm a bit unsure of what I can do or where I can start.
    How does distance learning work ?

    It's often piqued my.interest

    Posted from TSR Mobile
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    4
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by diggy)
    How does distance learning work ?

    It's often piqued my.interest

    Posted from TSR Mobile
    In my case, I'm with The Open University. You can study modules on their own, as one-offs, or as part of a programme of study. I'm working towards a BSc in Technology. Basically, I choose the allowable modules that I want to study and sign up to them, paying for each separately.

    For each module, you're assigned a tutor, who can be local or on the other side of the country. You can usually contact them by phone or email. There's a forum for discussion amongst module students and your tutor group - some modules have busy forums, others are dead. Some modules have face-to-face tutorials held in your region, but The OU is trying to kill these off.

    You're provided with a set of courseware, called block materials, prior to the course starting. The modules are split up in to blocks, which cover subjects making up the module. The idea is that you study a bit of block material each week, usually working towards an assignment. The end of the module usually has a large coursework assignment or an exam.

    It's often lonely and dispiriting, to be honest. Whilst the material is often stimulating, there are real limitations which mean you tend to miss out the 'value added' aspects of higher education. I would love to have done university properly; The Open University was pretty much my only realistic and affordable option after a series of terrible choices. That said, The OU has been much more rigorous and challenging than the 'university' I last attended for a foundation degree.
    Offline

    11
    ReputationRep:
    I'm glad that you have put your mistakes behind you and are doing well with the OU. The courses are indeed demanding, and so an OU degree is rightly regarded as valuable. (Disclaimer: I did my PhD with the OU, as well as an undergraduate module in Spanish. The only thing wrong with the Spanish course was that it did not attract any gorgeous young women!)

    In terms of your question, it is unusual for undergraduates at any kind of university to get involved in research. If you want a research career then that is great as a goal. For now, the best way to pursue it is to be as good an undergraduate as you possibly can. Networking is important: your first resource for this is the electronic conferencing that the OU provides, as well as your tutors and the other students who turn up for tutorials. If you live near a "bricks and mortar" university then it is likely to hold seminars and student-organised meetings related to your subjects, and people like you are always welcomed at events like this. (Ask your tutor, who may well work in such a department, or simply visit the web pages for the relevant bits of your local university and make contact with anyone who seems either interesting or helpful.) You might also like to make contact with the librarian there: most university libraries allow members of the community access for reading and reference, and lots of interesting events get advertised by displaying posters in uni libraries.

    Good luck with everything!
 
 
 
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • Poll
    Would you like to hibernate through the winter months?
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

    Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

    Quick reply
    Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.