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Studying through Open University

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I have been thinking about doing a blog on the OU, and decided to go for it! This blog will hopefully help any one thinking of joining the OU, with any questions they may have.

Why join the OU?

For many people, going to a ‘brick’ university can be expensive, unrealistic (needing to work full-time to pay bills, or not able to work round family life), and extremely challenging (medical or other reasons). With the Open University, people are able to have the experience of university, as well as gaining a degree at the end of it.

There are many different options of courses, or subjects available to choose from. There are three stages; to pass each stage, the individual needs to pass either two 60 or one 60 and two 30 credit modules, to make up 120 credits.

My journey through OU

I am currently doing my degree, and working full-time. There is often a misconception on whether the OU is the same standard as a ‘brick’ university; the answer to this, is yes it is the same standard. It is still a degree. I have a lot of respect for individuals who are going or have been to a ‘brick’ university to complete their degree. For me, I was accepted into a ‘brick’ university in 2016, but with living and supporting myself, I was unable to afford leaving work or cutting down hours in order to go to university. I had to find an alternative.

When I first started with the OU in September 2017, I was working towards a degree in Business Management, and completed B100 Introduction to Management, which was a 60 credit module, and passed in July 2018. After working on that module, I found that it wasn’t what I wanted to do as a degree, and after discussing my options with Student Support, I changed to a degree in Arts and Humanities.

In September 2018, I started AA100 Arts Past and Present (60 credit module), which I am currently completing at the moment. Due to already completing a 60 credit module in a previous degree path, that credit will be applied to this degree, so by July 2019 (if I pass), I would have passed Stage 1, and be ready for Stage 2 in September 2019 (which would be year 2 in ‘brick universities’.

How long a degree can take

In ‘brick’ universities, a degree can take up to three or four years to complete. With the OU, if you feel you are capable of handling that much pressure, you are able to complete it within that time frame. However, if not, depending on the degree, you have up to thirteen years to complete your degree.

For my degree with the OU, I planned to finish my degree in five years, but realistically, it will be six years. This is because my degree is made of 60 credits modules. There are currently TMA’s (Tutor Marked Assignments/Essays) due at the beginning of each month, each one getting harder. With some modules, there is a 3hour examination at the end of the module (luckily I don’t have one at the end of this module!). If you took two 60 credit modules, you would be looking at the likelihood of two TMA’s due at the beginning of each month, which is a lot of pressure and time spent studying. The OU recommends between 18 to 20 hours studying a week for a 60 credit module, so doing two 60 credit modules at the same time, would be double the studying.

Support available

There is a load of support available through the OU! Each month, you have the opportunity to go to face-2-face tutorials with tutors (they are mostly nearby, I live in Kent and have the option to attend tutorials at three different locations), and online tutorials (covers the same material as face-2-face). There are also forums on the OU website, contact with your own tutor, Student Support, and Facebook Groups. If you feel you are unable to hand in a TMA on time, your tutor will be able to arrange an extension for the deadline.

Finance

There are different options for paying for your degree. You can pay it off in one sum, or you can apply for a student loan. I personally went through the student loan choice; I apply each year, and is sent straight from student loan to the OU at the beginning of the course.

Overall, this is essential what the OU is about! As I work through my degree, I will post regular updates on studying, courses, and tutorials.

If you have any questions, let me know below, or check out the OU website! 🙂

 

 

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