Written on: 19/12/2009
I have just finished an OU degree. I have read many of the reports on this site and notice the extreme ends of the spectrum. You either love it or you hate it apparently. But what I would say is that those who hate it probably lack the dedication and personal tenacity that is required for an OU degree. You must be dedicated and prepared to spend valuable study home time locked away in the bedroom reading, note taking, writing TMA's while hearing the kids playing down stairs. But the feeling of learning is a wonderful thing. The OU material is exemplary, written by leading scientists and lecturers in their fields, designed especially with supporting material, written, video, audio and online to deal with distance learning. The support is generally excellent even though you do get the odd unsupportive lecturer. The on line library and also the Milton Keynes library will lend you books by post. You study for 8 months a year and do a combination of monthly tutor marked assignments (TMA's) and a final exam. The TMA's keep you focused and on track. I compared my 3rd level physics exam with a college at Bristol University doing Astrophysics and the questions were very similar. I really questioned the academic rigidity and set some questions to my physics colleagues at work. They ranked them as tough and comparable to their universities. Employees like OU students as it shows a level of dedication needed in the working environment lacking in main stream students. So on the whole I was very happy with my 4 years. I met some wonderful friends on my 4 summer schools and professional scientists who are leading in the fields of science. Don't dismiss this way of studying.
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