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    I've had my mind set on going to the OU doing French and beginner Spanish (part time).
    I think it's the best option for me financially especially and just having more free time and to maintain a full-time job and not feel as stressed (as i currently do about alevels) as i want to be able to enjoy the subject more, stress-free.

    However, teachers especially, have told me that i'll be missing out on all the uni experiences, meeting life-long friends, nights out and the general whole social side of uni, but also missing out on the 3rd year abroad...

    I dont know anyone who's done languages at the OU, but if you do or you know somebody who does... tell me what it's like? will i become as fluent as regular uni linguists - would i lack skills in my speaking?

    I feel really confused now too, as im not sure if regular is uni is the right choice for me, but at the same time i dont want to miss out on any of the experiences....
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    (Original post by Mir.I.Am)
    I've had my mind set on going to the OU doing French and beginner Spanish (part time).
    I think it's the best option for me financially especially and just having more free time and to maintain a full-time job and not feel as stressed (as i currently do about alevels) as i want to be able to enjoy the subject more, stress-free.

    However, teachers especially, have told me that i'll be missing out on all the uni experiences, meeting life-long friends, nights out and the general whole social side of uni, but also missing out on the 3rd year abroad...

    I dont know anyone who's done languages at the OU, but if you do or you know somebody who does... tell me what it's like? will i become as fluent as regular uni linguists - would i lack skills in my speaking?

    I feel really confused now too, as im not sure if regular is uni is the right choice for me, but at the same time i dont want to miss out on any of the experiences....
    I agree with your teachers, you will miss out on meeting new people and experiences.

    The OU is good for most subjects, but not languages. OU language degrees are entirely language focused, that means you don't get to study the history, literature, politics, society and culture of France/Spain as you would on a conventional language degree. You will have almost no opportunity to practice your speaking and listening skills, and you don't get to do a year abroad either - in short, you won't become fluent if you study with the OU.

    If you don't want to go to a regular university, perhaps you should consider Brikbeck, University of London? It is a brick university, so you can meet new people and do the social uni stuff, but all the teaching takes place in the evening so you can work full-time if you want to (lots of people do). They offer a part-time languages degree. http://www.bbk.ac.uk/study/2017/unde...es/UBALNMDR_C/
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    I disagree with much of this. I'm currently studying French and German with the OU, along with the compulsory module L161: Exploring Languages and Cultures. L161 covers various points about language and culture in general, as well as using specific examples. L192 and L193 (Beginner's French and German) both include cultural points where relevant to the topic (currently, we're covering directions, so there's been some information about street names and different police organisations, for example) and easily 50% of the workload is focused on listening and speaking. (An example of a typical activity would be, "Listen to the audio track and answer the question out loud"). While I haven't studied more advanced modules yet, I've been told that it involves a significant amount of reading "authentic language", i.e. native texts. Do consider that the modules regularly have changes made, and are currently being entirely updated, however, and the amount of cultural information could easily change. Assuming enough work and effort is put into the degree, you should reach a fluent standard, though you may need to work harder than students from a brick Uni, as they have other students to rely on for practice, but it's possible to remedy that - befriend a native speaker (ideally someone with experience tutoring), expose yourself to the language online (through language exchange websites, reading online newspapers, listening to the radio etc.), and attend as many tutorials as possible. The main downside is the lack of a year abroad - there's a week-long residential school at Stage 2, but it's certainly not comparable to living and studying in the country. I'm certainly considering taking some time after I finish this degree to live and work in a French or German speaking country (or both) as it does make a huge difference. Regardless of if you study with the OU or a brick Uni with a year abroad, I'd suggest working or volunteering in a French or Spanish speaking country for more cultural experience and language practice.

    All that said, language studies requires consistent practice, whether you study at a brick Uni or with the OU, and it can be quite lonely to do that by yourself. If the social aspect of Uni is important to you, or if you'll be happier at a brick Uni, then OU might not be the best choice for you.
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    (Original post by stripystockings)
    I disagree with much of this. I'm currently studying French and German with the OU, along with the compulsory module L161: Exploring Languages and Cultures. L161 covers various points about language and culture in general, as well as using specific examples. L192 and L193 (Beginner's French and German) both include cultural points where relevant to the topic (currently, we're covering directions, so there's been some information about street names and different police organisations, for example) and easily 50% of the workload is focused on listening and speaking. (An example of a typical activity would be, "Listen to the audio track and answer the question out loud". While I haven't studied more advanced modules yet, I've been told that it involves a significant amount of reading "authentic language", i.e. native texts. Do consider that the modules regularly have changes made, and are currently being entirely updated, however, and the amount of cultural information could easily change. Assuming enough work and effort is put into the degree, you should reach a fluent standard, though you may need to work harder than students from a brick Uni, as they have other students to rely on for practice, but it's possible to remedy that - befriend a native speaker (ideally someone with experience tutoring), expose yourself to the language online (through language exchange websites, reading online newspapers, listening to the radio etc.), and attend as many tutorials as possible. The main downside is the lack of a year abroad - there's a week-long residential school at Stage 2, but it's certainly not comparable to living and studying in the country. I'm certainly considering taking some time after I finish this degree to live and work in a French or German speaking country (or both) as it does make a huge difference. Regardless of if you study with the OU or a brick Uni with a year abroad, I'd suggest working or volunteering in a French or Spanish speaking country for more cultural experience and language practice.

    All that said, language studies requires consistent practice, whether you study at a brick Uni or with the OU, and it can be quite lonely to do that by yourself. If the social aspect of Uni is important to you, or if you'll be happier at a brick Uni, then OU might not be the best choice for you.
    L161 is a basic level 1 module, it doesn't cover many cultural topics, and none in depth. It does not compare to the kind of cultural modules you would take at a brick university. For example, just looking at the course I linked above (which has less cultural modules than many other brick universities), non-language cultural modules include:

    The Problem of National Identity in Modern Spain
    Beating Nature: Artificiality, Imitation and Simulation
    Film and Politics
    Representations of Love, Desire and Sexuality
    Stories of the Self
    The Twentieth Century: Key Themes in Comparative European History
    Understanding Culture: Theories and Texts
    French Cinema: History, Practice, Analysis
    French Political Culture: Traditions and Change
    French Thought: from the Renaissance to Postmodernity
    Imagining France: An Introduction to French Studies
    Memoire en francais
    Translation from and into French
    A Topic in German Thought: The Idea of Enlightenment
    Das Dritte Reich
    Die Deutschsprachige Presse
    Post-War German Film
    The Politics of Gender and Modern German Culture
    Wirtschaftsdeutsch
    Advanced Seminar in Japanese Culture and Society
    Popular Culture in Japan and East Asia
    Theorising Japanese Cinema
    Studying the Hispanic, Luso-Brazilian and Native American Worlds
    Art and Empire in the Iberian World
    Creative Destruction. Cultural responses to contemporary Portugal
    Iberian Political Cultures: The Portuguese Case
    Iberian Political Cultures: The Spanish Case
    Literature and the Nation in Latin America (Argentina)
    Literature and the Nation in Latin America (Mexico)
    Picturing the African Presence in Early Modern Spain
    Power and Control in Spanish Golden Age Art
    Scenes of Portuguese History: Cultural approaches to modern politics
    Studying the Hispanic, Luso-Brazilian and Native American Worlds
    The Latin American Novel
    The Problem of National Identity in Modern Spain
    The Urban Experience in Brazil

    I only did one OU language module (L120), but it had no cultural content. I also have the course books for the other French modules and none of them have any cultural content either. In my experience, 50% of the workload is not focused on listening and speaking. I only had one 5 minute listening exercise in the whole module and I didn't get to practice speaking once. People I've spoken to on level 2 and 3 modules fared little better.

    I am afraid you will not become fluent studying with the OU, there just isn't enough language exposure. Any OU student who says they're fluent is either exaggerating their ability, or they were already fluent to begin with (annoyingly there are a lot of people doing OU language degrees who already speak the language, many British expats living in Europe etc who just want a degree). That said, I agree there are things you can do to help; talking to native speakers, listening to the radio and reading foreign newspapers are all good ideas - but they're not enough if you want to be fluent. There is no substitute for weekly speaking classes, the year abroad, in-depth grammar lectures and being able to study other subjects (literature, history, film etc) through the medium of the French/Spanish/German language - alas, the OU does not do these things.

    P.S. Spending time abroad is a good idea. You may already know about German university summer schools, but I've heard so many good things about them. E.g. http://www.sli.uni-freiburg.de/germa...nter/july/july
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    (Original post by stripystockings)
    I disagree with much of this. I'm currently studying French and German with the OU, along with the compulsory module L161: Exploring Languages and Cultures. L161 covers various points about language and culture in general, as well as using specific examples. L192 and L193 (Beginner's French and German) both include cultural points where relevant to the topic (currently, we're covering directions, so there's been some information about street names and different police organisations, for example) and easily 50% of the workload is focused on listening and speaking. (An example of a typical activity would be, "Listen to the audio track and answer the question out loud". While I haven't studied more advanced modules yet, I've been told that it involves a significant amount of reading "authentic language", i.e. native texts. Do consider that the modules regularly have changes made, and are currently being entirely updated, however, and the amount of cultural information could easily change. Assuming enough work and effort is put into the degree, you should reach a fluent standard, though you may need to work harder than students from a brick Uni, as they have other students to rely on for practice, but it's possible to remedy that - befriend a native speaker (ideally someone with experience tutoring), expose yourself to the language online (through language exchange websites, reading online newspapers, listening to the radio etc.), and attend as many tutorials as possible. The main downside is the lack of a year abroad - there's a week-long residential school at Stage 2, but it's certainly not comparable to living and studying in the country. I'm certainly considering taking some time after I finish this degree to live and work in a French or German speaking country (or both) as it does make a huge difference. Regardless of if you study with the OU or a brick Uni with a year abroad, I'd suggest working or volunteering in a French or Spanish speaking country for more cultural experience and language practice.

    All that said, language studies requires consistent practice, whether you study at a brick Uni or with the OU, and it can be quite lonely to do that by yourself. If the social aspect of Uni is important to you, or if you'll be happier at a brick Uni, then OU might not be the best choice for you.
    I completely agree with your assessment of the OU.

    I'll just add, all the language modules are in the process of being updated to include more cultural elements.

    Though I will add my own two cents that from studying L130 Intermediate German this year, that i've come across plenty of cultural content.
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    I'll also add that the "5 minute listening activity in the whole module" is either outdated or false.

    From studying intermediate German this year i've been expected to listen to a lot of authentic German, often watching various lectures in German on specific cultural topics. Such as the reunification of Germany, Martin Luther und die Nikolaikirche, die Wende, history of classical music in Leipzig, the importance of youth rehabilitation programs and work placements for youth offenders... The list goes on.
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    (Original post by Glossophile)
    I'll also add that the "5 minute listening activity in the whole module" is either outdated or false.

    From studying intermediate German this year i've been expected to listen to a lot of authentic German, often watching various lectures in German on specific cultural topics. Such as the reunification of Germany, Martin Luther und die Nikolaikirche, die Wende, history of classical music in Leipzig, the importance of youth rehabilitation programs and work placements for youth offenders... The list goes on.
    It isn't false, and it was only a few years ago - can things really change that much in such a small space of time? Doubtful.
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    (Original post by Snufkin)
    It isn't false, and it was only a few years ago - can things really change that much in such a small space of time? Doubtful.
    Well, I can only go from what i've seen myself, which is that the course is pretty packed with content.

    So either the courses have been significantly updated in the last few years, or the German course differs significantly in quality from the French course.

    However, I won't be able to comment on the Intermediate French course, as it's been totally revamped into a new module entirely for the next academic year.
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    Furthermore, it's worth bearing in mind that we both only have experience of level 1 modules, which are designed to act as entry level modules into OU study. As the OU doesn't have formal entry requirements the level 1 courses are designed to very much be a way of easing students into OU study.

    I think it's worth noting how (from what i've seen from other students) the courses at level 2 and 3 increase in both intensity and difficulty.
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    (Original post by Glossophile)
    Furthermore, it's worth bearing in mind that we both only have experience of level 1 modules, which are designed to act as entry level modules into OU study. .
    That's true, but I have had a look at the books for the level 2 module and frankly, they're not much better. What is more, I have spoken to people who're currently doing level 3 modules, nearly all of them said they were disappointed with the listening and speaking content of the course, and that their listening and speaking skills are well behind the C1 target.
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    (Original post by Snufkin)
    That's true, but I have had a look at the books for the level 2 module and frankly, they're not much better. What is more, I have spoken to people who're currently doing level 3 modules, nearly all of them said they were disappointed with the listening and speaking content of the course, and that their listening and speaking skills are well behind the C1 target.
    Well, similarly level 2 and 3 are also getting an overhaul. Though not for the coming academic year, level 2 for the 2018/2019 academic year, and the level 3 module for the 2019/2020 academic year. So i'll be able to see what those modules are like for myself (by starting German this year i'm effectively doing all of the 'old' modules of German to level 3, whereas all the French modules i'll do will be updated).

    I agree with you that speaking is an area which needs to be improved. There are regular non-mandatory tutorials, which, if you take the initiative to attend then there is a regular weekly (or bi-weekly if you attend multiple) opportunity to practise in small dedicated groups for an hour or more each time. Naturally the German course is 'less popular' due to most people wanting to study French and Spanish, so I can only talk for the small group sizes on the German course, which I find helpful.

    However, myself and some coursemates have been able to get around that issue by using the OU discussion rooms as informal practise on a bi-weekly basis. Plus I really enjoy languages so I like practising with natives that I get in touch with. Though I agree if one doesn't take the initiative, that speaking skills aren't spoon-fed in the same way reading, writing and listening skills are.

    On the listening front, i'm simply going have to agree to disagree as the '5 minute of audio across the year' experience simply doesn't match up with my own experience. I have at least 5 minutes of listening per audio activity, let alone how much that adds up to over an entire year.

    I think at the end of the day, the OU is what you make of it. It certainly isn't suited to everyone, or indeed practical for everyone. In the same regard that campus universities certainly have their shortcomings.
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    I think your fluency can depend a lot on your determination. You don't need to spend time in the country. I've lived abroad and been so stressed with work that I didn't put in any effort to learn. Likewise some of the uni modules I did I didn't find the speaking classes each week that useful as I'm talking to non-native speakers most often and if they feel like not speaking the language then it's not good. Likewise when doing it in a group having the teacher tell me my accent is bad and I need to improve just made me more shy. What actually helped my Spanish was doing regular conversation exchanges with native speakers which you can arrange through Skype.
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    I think your fluency can depend a lot on your determination. You don't need to spend time in the country. I've lived abroad and been so stressed with work that I didn't put in any effort to learn. Likewise some of the uni modules I did I didn't find the speaking classes each week that useful as I'm talking to non-native speakers most often and if they feel like not speaking the language then it's not good. Likewise when doing it in a group having the teacher tell me my accent is bad and I need to improve just made me more shy. What actually helped my Spanish was doing regular conversation exchanges with native speakers which you can arrange through Skype.
 
 
 
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