Studying Humanities at The Open University has been a real eye opener for me. I wanted to go to uni when I left school but for various reasons didn't, and now, twenty odd years later I am finally studying for my BA, thanks to The Open University.
What attracted me to the OU over a bricks and mortar uni was mainly a financial advantage. At my age, the last thing I wanted to do was accumulate a massive student debt. So paying for my courses individually, and being able to carry on with my normal daily life was an advantage. I was shocked to find out that I actually qualified for Financial support from the uni, which means to study half of the BA has only cost me £50! So if you do decide to try them, use the caluculator on their website to see if you're eligible.
How it works
OK, stay with me! Each course you decide to study ahs a points award when you pass. For a BA you need 360 points. So I am studying 6 x 60 point courses, over four and a half years. You must study all 360 points that you are claoming for your degree within a six year period, so one 60 point course a year = six years. Study two x 60 pointers a year and you'll do it in three. That's hard work though! Some courses, especially at level 2 and 3, have exams. Each course has a system of continual assessment in the form of Tutor marked Assignments. My current courses have six of those each.
What you get for the money
Course materials = an abundance of printed materials to support the learning from the main course themes. My first level 1 course had seven text books, Illustrations books, CD's, DVD's, activity booklets, assignment booklet, course guide and more.
Tutor - you are assigned a tutor, can attend tutorials (approx monthly) and we had the support of online tutorials. You will be assigned an OU email address which allowsyou access to forums to "meet" other students.
Student Support = There is always support available, via email or telephone. If any problems arise, there will be someone in Student Support who will get on the case for you quickly. If you can't get an assignement in, extensions to the deadline can be negotiated and STudent Support are there if you find yourself in any difficulty due to illness, personal circumstances etc.
A Degree! = that's what you're aiming for after all!
What's truly great about being with the OU is the fact that it teaches you to be an independent learner, whilst offering support if you need it. The materials are well thought out, link well and you feel great when you get to the end of the course. The price is great, there is a calculator on their site to help you calculate the cost of their degree. No student loans to pay back later, and self-development that improves your confidence as a learner.
It's hard work! Say goodbye to television, say goodbye to your social life, say goodbye to bedtime! The reading load on Literature is tremendous, as for History. Be prepared to burn that candle at both ends, and to feel the absolute terror as a deadline approaches - but there is joy when you have submitted your assignment - honest!
This is has been one of the best decisions of my life and I wish I'd done it sooner.
An Introduction to the Humanities, A103, was my first course with the Open University, and I cannot recommend it highly enough. Ok there are parts of it each indivual will find dull, but for a broad based introduction course I am sure it is second to none. The course covers Literature, Music, Philosophy,Religion, Art History and History, and covers a huge time span from the Ancient Greeks to the Sixties. The course can be studied on its own, and indeed you will be awarded a certificate at the end of it, or can also be included towards a degree. To gain a degree you will need 360 points, to which this particular course counts for 60. The course main subjects are not studied in isolation, indeed you are encouraged to explore how each are related too, and influence one another. The books studied in Literature, are Wide Sargasso Sea, Medea and Pygmallion. These are the set books for the course and have to be bought by the individual. The materials are excellent, the tutors very supportive and the week long residential course was one of the best weeks of my life, and I was dreading it. I embarked on the course with only a couple of C.S.E.s to my name, with no experience of university level education what so ever, so do not feel that it is in any way snobbish, or beyond you, it is not. The OU will even advise you before hand, about any course you are thinking of partaking in, and you can even look at the course materials before hand to gain some idea of the content of the course. You may feel that you will be isolated taking an OU course, but I can assure you are not, there is even an on line conference facility where you can chat to other students from all over the world. Please if you are thinking about it, have a go!!!!!