Newest Review: ... as now I was married and wanted a family and I felt the distance learning would be the best option. I needed 2x 60 credit modules and d... more
Flexible, helpful and cheaper than University
Open University in general
Member Name: happypanda
Open University in general
Advantages: flexible learning, cost, books included, organized system
Disadvantages: not all tutors are good, very reading focused
I've been studying at the Open University since 2007 and am 2 course away from getting my degree!
I have studied a selection of courses from different subject areas, as I love learning and enjoy the challenge of starting something completely different.
I have done:
Death and Dying
Investigating Mental Health
and currently Exploring Philosophy
The courses are not cheap, at around £500-700, but if you take into account the ridiculously high University fees, they really are good value as they come with most of your books, your DVD's, CD's, access to the website and tutorials both online and in person.
Ease of use
Each course is normally worth either 30 points or 60 points and you need 360 points to get a degree, which have to be taken from various different levels - 1, 2 and 3. But can be taken from any subject for an Open Degree.
The courses come with several books included in the price. For a full course, each book is usually for one month and one assignment. This means a lot of reading and a lot of dedication to make sure you get things done.
The website clearly lays out what you are supposed to be reading when, and when assignments are due. Along with quizzes, forums to discuss things and access to the online library.
You submit most assignment using the online ETMA system, which is easy and simply to use.
Compared to a University Course
The Open University is very reading focused, so if you are a visual learner like me, you will find it easy enough. But as some people are auditory learners or kinesthetic learners, some people might find the high reading requirements very dull and the material very hard to learn. Although there are some DVD's, CD's and online things to do, for the most part it is all reading, and although I do like this, it can get a bit boring.
I've been to University before and part of me enjoyed being in a class, and discussing things with others. But I also like how flexible this course has been. If I'd been studying at University during the last course, where I ended up in hospital and when my son died, I would have had to defer a year. Whereas I was able to continue my course and still pass despite my absence.
I have had very different experiences in each course with tutors. I found in exploring psychology, the tutor was being overly strict with the marking throughout. I was sure she was marking me down, but wasn't sure why. I was getting on average 50-60% on my coursework, then I took the exam and got 89% so I knew I was right, she was marking me down as the exam is marked independently.
During Child Development I got ill and sat the exam in quite a state, but still passed. I enjoyed the course and found the marking to be fair and the tutor to be reasonable.
During death and dying, my father died just after I started and it took a lot of effort to persuade myself to continue with that course, especially considering the course content, but I did. The tutor was very understanding and gave me extra time to complete.
During Investigating Mental Health I ended up in hospital and my son died. For about 10 weeks I did nothing at all, and my tutor did everything in her power to help me complete this, and although I missed a couple of assignments I actually did manage to pass with a grade 4.
My current course I have not been so happy with. My tutor has continuously marked me down for minor grammatical errors and openly declared that he does not like my "writing style." I do not think that he should be able to mark students down for their "writing style" and I have been forced to keep my writing free from creativity and flourish in order to pass the assignments. As a writer, I have found this hard, but I have done what is needed to get this far.
Considering the problems I've had year after year while doing the courses, I am happy enough to recommend them to friends and family. It's cheaper by a long way than going to University and I hope that in a couple of years I will proudly have my Open Degree. Although goodness know what will happen in my life in the next couple of courses.
Summary: If you want a degree, or just like studying, then this is for you!