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Do you find the OU staff and tutors helpful when there is a non TMA/EMA problem ? Watch

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    I have a mixed experience with them when something happens thats not to do with the TMA/EMA or current course material. i.e. You may take ill but because they are behind a wall of technology its just words in a screen and they have no evidence its true. Not that many care anyway, as it seems they are just trying to push 40 emails of their screen in an hour and a them and us mentality exists a lot of the time. In the sense that staff resort to groupish rule enforcement very easily and then get into a you (bad) us (right) mentality.

    but the annoying thing is there is no actual standards I can expect. It all seems to depend on the mood and predisposition of the person you ask.

    But mostly this is how it seems to work.

    1. Submit a problem you are having thats just outside of say asking a question about the course material. This can be many things of course.

    2. Get a standard reply which says.. I am sorry.... BUT... XXX insert rule XX here. If you are not happy here is an email where I will pass the buck to.

    3. Question it further and you will hear something back a week or two later, and be round an eternal merry go round of.,,wait for it..

    4. I am sorry.... BUT... XXX insert rule XX here. If you are not happy here is an email where I will pass the buck to.

    5. Call the student help line out of desperation to talk to a human, but then find yourself onto staff with no teeth or even insight who provide more links by email which take you round in circles.

    But most concerning is there appears to be no redress or accountability in terms of quality of their interaction with you. i.e. If somebody gives wrong reasons for doing something, I should have a channel to have their decision reversed. Half the time you are provided erroneous reasons for decisions, but the decisions dont actually have to be correct. Their interaction and decision appears to serve the person sending it mostly to prove that a particular member of staff didnt ignore you !

    But nobody actually tries to push beyond this mediocre level, well very rarely and I bet they are punished for trying. Has this been your experience ? Its not been my experience all of the time, but it has been most of the time.
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    That sounds really bad, tbh. I've been trying to persuade my son to go down the OU route, as he doesn't want to enter Uni directly in year two and not know anyone, when everyone else will have already made friends the year earlier. But I got the impression there was lots of support. Maybe it isn't like that anymore.
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    support depends on the issue and law around that I think. Its basically a huge bureaucracy at the OU working around rules, finance and deadlines. So for legal issues such as disability then there is support for that. It could just be that technology is driving staff to be increasingly efficient for years and then when thats over relentlessly pushing even more on to them so they just want matters cleared up fast ASAP. Well its what I find increasingly at work elsewhere, so this is what I am guessing is the primary problem.
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    its a good thing though to learn self reliance and motivation in work if appropriate and not have uni culture shock get in the way of getting started. I would still recommend OU for technical courses but check how the levels match across universities. I remember 1st year brick uni math (way back in 1997) being similar to the 2nd year OU math. but it could be math was harder back then
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    (Original post by FelixOU)
    its a good thing though to learn self reliance and motivation in work if appropriate and not have uni culture shock get in the way of getting started. I would still recommend OU for technical courses but check how the levels match across universities. I remember 1st year brick uni math (way back in 1997) being similar to the 2nd year OU math. but it could be math was harder back then
    120 points per level wasn't a thing back then. My degree has 30 points L1, 210 points L2 and 120 L3. I would be surprised if some of that L2 wasn't L1 elsewhere but that's arbitrariness for you. I think the materials make maths easier to learn than the textbooks at many a brick uni, the tutors were fine (up to awesome) in terms of academic support and I got to learn maths on my sofa. I like my sofa.

    What OU maths have you done?
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    When I contact the student support team by email, it takes a very long time to receive an answer, but the answer has thus far always been correct. When I've needed to contact them by phone, I've had all my issues resolved without a second call. (I have been shuffled to a few different departments, and in one case had two follow-up emails, but it was all resolved quickly and correctly.)

    I've only contacted tutors for clarification, and only via email or the tutor forums. The majority of these cases have resulted in the entire presentation receiving clarification through a news item. I can't complain about that kind of response.

    I think there's a difference between blaming support, and blaming university policy. If something I want or need is contrary to university policy, I simply won't find any route to it regardless of the different methods I try. I have done my utmost to prepare for this by understanding as many policies as possible before falling afoul of them, so I can avoid the need to contact any support services.

    I also build unforseen illness into my planner. I can never know when tragedy will strike, and it's my responsibility to cope with it without letting it affect my studies, not anybody else's.
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    Whenever I have let my tutors know about a non-study issue impacting on me (and I've had several such issues during my studies) I always found them to be helpful and understanding.
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    (Original post by sputum)
    120 points per level wasn't a thing back then. My degree has 30 points L1, 210 points L2 and 120 L3. I would be surprised if some of that L2 wasn't L1 elsewhere but that's arbitrariness for you. I think the materials make maths easier to learn than the textbooks at many a brick uni, the tutors were fine (up to awesome) in terms of academic support and I got to learn maths on my sofa. I like my sofa.

    What OU maths have you done?
    I am so very sorry.... BUT ......

    this all just way too arbitrary,
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    (Original post by JollyCynic)
    When I contact the student support team by email, it takes a very long time to receive an answer, but the answer has thus far always been correct. When I've needed to contact them by phone, I've had all my issues resolved without a second call. (I have been shuffled to a few different departments, and in one case had two follow-up emails, but it was all resolved quickly and correctly.)

    I've only contacted tutors for clarification, and only via email or the tutor forums. The majority of these cases have resulted in the entire presentation receiving clarification through a news item. I can't complain about that kind of response.

    I think there's a difference between blaming support, and blaming university policy. If something I want or need is contrary to university policy, I simply won't find any route to it regardless of the different methods I try. I have done my utmost to prepare for this by understanding as many policies as possible before falling afoul of them, so I can avoid the need to contact any support services.

    I also build unforseen illness into my planner. I can never know when tragedy will strike, and it's my responsibility to cope with it without letting it affect my studies, not anybody else's.

    Well I get that, in that I do read their policy, but most people dont. I have a business premises, a job, a family, homes to run and countless scientific projects on the side, they should gear their setup to make sense to us, their market.

    I have unforeseen illness put in my planner through 7 modules so far. Never one late assignment, but of course that one time when they built on online lab module which had IT problems causing most students to get behind, ate my illness leeway... then along came the flu to make double whammy. Their solution was dont worry your TMA scores are all so high it will average out ok. Thats ok for me as it turned out. But here is the real question here .. the big one...

    what about those just getting by, what would happen to them. I tried to contact them to find out, but the OU cut us off from emailing each other,

    Their policy is not that good its beyond blame or improvement. The OU have no retrospective compensation if they get it wrong. They are very strong on collecting data, especially after they mess up modules. I read some of their internal audits on how wrong they get it. I mean totally mess up where students are basically part of an experiment with high dissatisfaction rates such as online virtual labs. Where is the, sorry we really got that wrong, here is retrospective grade adjustment. Some groups get a high failure rates and thats that.
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    actually after my wee bout with the flu and my concern over not getting good honours turning out to be just anxiety, I just realised, what would somebody do if they are paying for traditional university with the current high fees and loans.

    Apparently racking up 50k in debt. Imagine if illness or adversity strikes in the final years and the Uni will not accommodate it. Years of learning rendered meaningless to others. Massive debt accrued for life. It makes you think whether its actually stupid in the sense of stupid levels of risk to get into such a game. Most people are super high on personal responsibility till something big comes along. We are all invincible and everybody else is weak and its all their fault. I seriously doubt that being weak in the right stuff applies to people at this level.

    Bereavement, illness, financial disaster, losing a home, isolation can happen to anybody. Thankfully ive not had such bad luck, but why should people in education incur such a heavy penalty for those things if they do.. to think they do is quite a cold way to see things.
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    In the grand scheme of things in terms of the OU if you get anything from a 2:2 upwards you'll be fine. This means getting scores in the 55% to 69% range which if you do the work I feel is more than achievable. In my experience most OU tutors have been flexible where they can be. My DD102 tutor told us right from the start that he was always open to extensions and being flexible. He did warn us right from the start though as the course progresses this gets harder and harder and with the EMA its impossible. With exams as long as you make them aware of your disability (e.g. anxiety/mental health issues) right from the start they may be able to make special arrangements for you to sit the exams. I'm heard of OU students being allowed to sit them at home for example in the presence of an invigilator.

    Getting a 2:2 isn't a total disaster in my view. Aberdeen Uni and RGU for example where i'm from accepts people into their masters programmes for some subjects with a 2:2. Its only if you have a degree without honours or a 3rd that the degree well isn't really worth it imho.

    I'll leave it to sean connery for the final word on results:

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    (Original post by FelixOU)
    I am so very sorry.... BUT ......

    this all just way too arbitrary,
    No need to apologise for arbitrariness, it is what it is
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    (Original post by Rosco316)
    In the grand scheme of things in terms of the OU if you get anything from a 2:2 upwards you'll be fine. This means getting scores in the 55% to 69% range which if you do the work I feel is more than achievable. In my experience most OU tutors have been flexible where they can be. My DD102 tutor told us right from the start that he was always open to extensions and being flexible.

    yes a 2:2 seems to be what anybody with half a brain and ability to be self responsible will get. But trying for higher in non science areas that dont have specific right or wrong answers. I am dubious its possible without parking modules if having problems and doing extra modules to up your honours scores.

    I would be interested if any non science, maths or computing student achieved a first class honours at OU just straight through like a traditional uni, 3 years full time, no parking, no extra modules etc.
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    (Original post by FelixOU)
    yes a 2:2 seems to be what anybody with half a brain and ability to be self responsible will get. But trying for higher in non science areas that dont have specific right or wrong answers. I am dubious its possible without parking modules if having problems and doing extra modules to up your honours scores.

    I would be interested if any non science, maths or computing student achieved a first class honours at OU just straight through like a traditional uni, 3 years full time, no parking, no extra modules etc.
    I'm studying Politics and Business Management and i've been achieving pass 2's and distinctions so far. Granted thats been level 1 but i'm feeling fairly confident i've got a solid foundation now to maintain this momentum to potentially get a first by only taking 60 creds in years 3 and 4 and doing as much research on the module topics as possible. I think where people make the mistake is they try to take on multiple level 3s at once and don't work attempt to build rapport and a strong working relationship with their tutor right at the start of the module. If you do that your bound to get an idea of their viewpoint and marking style so that you can at lease nail the OCAS.
 
 
 
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