Written on: 22/06/2010 by pgstudent (1 review written)
My experience is based on two degrees with the OU. So I have "seen" many tutors, and many students over the years. I had a few complaints about the BSc level alright, but made do with these on my own. I got past them and survived though I was presented with bad exam questions that were misrepresented and cost many of us students in the end.
Clearly some cracks in the system. The trouble is, these cracks seem to reappear year after year. I read on FC the same problems year in and year out. It is therefore obvious to me that the administration does not seem interested in fixing whats wrong. I only stayed on with OU for the PG course because of my social situation. I wish I had not done that.
The PG level is abismal at best. Definitely to be avoided at all costs. You have been warned! As a dedicated, hard working student, there exists a serious breach in academic standard at PG level. Many students complained on FC about their tutor. Many knew not to openly broadcast so usually the student had to hint at it, and some of us would privately contact the student for a full discussion. We often met in chat rooms outside FC, that was the way you could talk freely. We all discovered the outcome of the PG level depends on the tutor, not your work or your intellectual capacity or your dedication. This is for real and not at all an exaggeration.
So if you decide to do any PG courses at OU, make sure you buy your tutor lots of gifts and contact them morning noon and night because they are paid minimum wage anyway and will not reply to you no matter what, and in my experience have no idea about the subject anyway. In my experience my tutor was ill fit, and should never have been allowed to be a tutor. But the OU doesnt work that way. They assign students based on a mystery set of criteria to a tutor. We should be told what the criteria is for the match, that way we can focus more on the criteria the tutor was NOT matched for. There is no oversight with the administration, everything is a mystery.
Moreover, tutors have far too much power, like the forum moderators, and in my experience love to abuse this power. For me, it is a very autocratic system, and there is no oversight if you have any problems. Complaints procedures? This is only on paper. I tried to complain once in my undergrad studies (tutor was asking me for money to tutor me!) and the administration talked me out of actually filing the complaint, stating it would amount to a lot of paperwork. They seem to be more interested in protecting their own interests, and refer to students as customers. We are not students at OU. We are customers. This is their own stated fact. This is an eroding business disguised as a university.
In my years of full time experience with this autocratic institution, I would have to say I would never recommend the OU, no way. Not for a second. And neither would many other students, but they have been conditioned to keep quiet because the forum moderators delete at will, any complaints posted.
The most important point is that it seems to be a broken university from the top down. I say this because there are a few tutors between some courses who really did care and were personally very dedicated. They should be applauded and deserve to be noted because they still believe they are tutors at a university. The good ones dont seem to understand that they are not tutors as we know them in academia. But God love them, they are never going to make it in an institution that is only focused on making money. And OU tutors are paid next to nothing, so they start off demoralised. Thats why I really tip my hat to the good ones, who are in it for the delusion of teaching something meaningful despite the fact that their superiors see them as drones and us as honey. What has me deeply bothered is that students dont really enjoy any oversight when things go wrong, as they often do at ou. To me, this is fraud, a way of deceiving people. No matter who I spoke to throughout the years, the one thing they all agreed on is that a "big brother is watching" effect pervaded our experience. Sure, you will hear of some students who had a wonderful experience and achieved many enlightening accomplishments. And that can happen with a good dedicated tutor. But there needs to be something said about the overwhelming silenced majority who do not receive fair tutoring, and have paid a high price for this. The OU has dealt a very unfair and inefficient service to its customer. I am certainly not the only one who had had the experience, but I may be a minority in stepping forward.
To conclude, I would seriously give the OU PG level a miss. Two thumbs down. Something seriously broken in this level. If you still decide to enlist..I mean enroll...do make sure you demand a tutor who will work with you. This is the key to your success. Its not the books or the content. If you are assigned a lazy power hungry tutor, get out right away and demand a new one. After all, you are a paying customer. If you dont get a good tutor you will never succeed.
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