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Latest Reviews

★☆☆☆☆

“OU experiences poor deliverance of course ”

Written on: 22/05/2015 by peony (2 reviews written)

I am nearly at the end of my studies, one more course to go. The OU have new methods now for studying, they don’t send out course books anymore, I guess to save money. The course was completely computer driven, no materials, you had to print them out yourself. The course had all sorts of materials online, at times seemed overwhelming and hard to keep up with them all. Tutorials were delivered via an online audio system, so more computer work. Although the course wasn’t a computing… Read Full Review

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Peony's Response to peony's Review

Written on: 10/07/2015

My course mentioned above has now completed. I received 2 marks short of a 1st in the course work, but the examinable project at the end got little over 40%. The examiners remarks consisted of: sarcasm, untruths, contradictions, rubbishing of my idea for my project; with vague remarks, and stating my project was 'visually unattractive'. Examiners are supposed to be professional, positive and polite, this one was the opposite. I was so shocked, never in my time have I ever had a tutor putting awful remarks like this and rubbishing my project which they clearly had not bothered to understand and they also missed part of it out, with no good comment at all.

Some other students in similar position to me, likely had the same bad examiner. Course team had let slip tutors (but not your own) were to mark the examined project, this explains a lot of.

The OU used to have outside professional examiners, now it seems cost cutting is the name of the game and they are using some tutors who are obviously not fit for purpose.

Wasted my time, energy and money, and am not studying with them ever again, as they are going from bad to worse. It is entirely their own fault that students numbers have dropped about 40%. Its going to get worse.

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Peony's reply to Peony's Comment

Written on: 13/07/2015

Since I wrote this, it seems a number of other students are protesting as they too have had unprofessional comments made on the 'feedback' for their results of this course. As well as the bad feedback, the examiner knocked off huge chunks of marks, resulting in people getting a poor grade.

Wonder if the OU is applying a quota system so that only certain amount of people get higher grades, there is something odd going on. I am taking the matter as a complaint, and am intending to possibly request my money back as the examiner (who had very bad English, bad grammar, spelling mistakes and used jargon and terminology), undermining contradictory comments some of which sound barking mad and nothing to do with the course.

I do not know if the examiner had been drinking or had a mental health problem or could not be bothered or whether the OU had outsourced the marking to people who had no idea of the OU policies or knowledge of the course.

The standards in the OU have been in decline in the past few years and now even more so. I regret ever studying with them as my plans for a degree are in complete ruins.

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★★★★☆

“Not as good as it used to be”

Written on: 14/05/2015 by marco9 (2 reviews written)

I'm on my last module for the BSc Math degree in October so nearly there after 7 long years of effort. I use OUSBA to pay monthly installments for the courses and have never had a problem with them, even after postponing a booked course till the following year. One thing to be aware of if you need the degree to actually get in to work or further study then these days you really need a 2:1 or a First to be up there with the pack. Apparently the good ol 2:2 doesn't cut it much anymore and… Read Full Review

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Peony's Response to marco9's Review

Written on: 22/05/2015

My niece in her early 20’s got a 1st at a local college her final pass was averaged out at 71% for a first! (the minimum was 70% for a first). She has now got a very good job which she enjoys, lucky girl. Her sister did the same degree but did not do as well and could not get work.

Elusive first or even elusive 2:1 is hard to obtain with the OU.

My experience is that the OU does some mean tricks to keep students grades down I have found out: this year, in the middle of the course, my tutor suddenly started knocking 3 marks off four answers with no real feedback, just putting the same non-academic abrupt short remark against the answers with no indication of which part of the answer he meant or any information for me to rectify it in the next assignment. The assignment included a project timetable which to me was easy marks and I had perfected it. To my surprise he meanly knocked one mark off with no reason, so 13 marks knocked off the assignment for no reason. Caused me to lose a grade by 8 marks.

(There is an appeals process but I made the decision to press on with the course, as my experience is if you start objecting to things, it can be very disruptive to time, thinking and also stressful.)

But the course let slip some remark on the course web site they mark according to percentages of how many students are getting such and such grades! So, I guess if too many are getting high marks the tutors are told to mark down.

I have some evidence of this as my husband took an OU degree previously and one of his tutors said at the tutorial one day that the Regional Centre had told him to start marking the assignments down and the tutor said he did not agree with it but was obliged to comply.

To get a 1st with the OU, you really need a whole year at Level 3 of 1st class pass. There are other combinations, if you get a lot of grade 2's plus a 1st of half a year each of Level 2 and Level 3 you may end up with a First.

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Peony's reply to Peony's Comment

Written on: 22/05/2015

Correct sorry:

my paragraph 5 should have read: 'But the course team let slip' etc.

Thanks.

I would add that a first with the OU is a minimum of 85 in both coursework and exam part, and a 2:1 is a minimum of 70 in both coursework and exam part.

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Marco9's reply to Peony's Comment

Written on: 22/05/2015

With regard to the grades issue, certainly for the Math courses I think if they set the 1st at 70% then a whole lot of people would make it past this and totally skew the results.

The problem for the OU is that the course notes (in most cases) are almost too good. At brick uni's you are running around using different books and re-writing some lecturer's bland notes and it's much harder to learn from. If they set their grade boundaries too high then no-one would pass at a high level, so for them 70% for an A works well.

For my current OU module MT365, it's so well prepared and catered for with online tutorials and extra problem sets with solutions that all I have to do is work my way through the course notes at a certain pace. I don't have to run all over the place getting different books, it's all there and I find that helps me retain the info and do reasonably well in the exams (70%).

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Peony's reply to Marco9's Comment

Written on: 11/08/2015

Yes, I would agree with that for some courses with the OU.

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★★★★★

“Perfect, really enjoying degree, helpful tutors”

Written on: 02/04/2015 by Katie2015 (1 review written)

I have just completed my first year of OU studies. I felt the need to write this review as some people are stating to avoid the OU because they have withdrawn and demanded a refund. So lets put this in perspective from an actual student... The OU has many students and id very popular. Unlike some posting on here, I have attended tutorials, which are well organised, thought-out and extremely helpful. The work books and assistance you receive are, in my view, value for money. Again some… Read Full Review

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★☆☆☆☆

“Do not use Open University”

Written on: 30/03/2015 by gazamac95 (1 review written)

Paid £490 for my first OU module, then found out that in Scotland, we do not have to pay OU fees, but they kept very quiet about this. Requested withdrawal from my module due to a change in my financial situation and hence required refund. OU said they would credit back (i.e. refund) module. However, they only gave me a credit for a future module. This was against their claim to 'credit back' and was also useless as do not need to pay fees anyway in Scotland as SAAS pay for all OU fees. Again… Read Full Review

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Peony's Response to gazamac95's Review

Written on: 24/04/2015

I agree about the complaints procedure. Three years ago, I had a terrible experience with the OU, and for the first time ever, wanted to make a complaint. I enquired re my regional centre, who referred me to the case studies office (this is before the complaints procedure was fully online). The case studies office referred me back to the regional centre, who refused to deal with me, and merely referred me back to the case studies office, who once again referred me back to the regional centre. They stated the complaint had to start at the point of origin, which was my regional centre.

So, I gave up as the regional centre refused to deal with me. Three months later (I changed to another region) the manager emailed me out of the blue and said I had been trying to complain about something 'automatic'. Whatever that meant. I politely protested at her emailing me as it was a sort of harassment, but she never explained or apologised.

The OU is at the mercy of individual staff whether they do their jobs properly or not. If one or two do not, then this can damage a student's course and the image of the OU, so prospective students are put off.

I stopped studying with them, but had money to use up (similar to yourself as they would only allow money to be used on a future course). Took a course to use up the money, great course, my best ever, I thoroughly enjoyed it, but had a rotten tutor throughout, got through the course without the tutor's help. I informed my regional centre informally, but they then assigned me to the same tutor in my next course.

Not such a great course, tutor could not always answer questions, fobbed off sometimes I felt. Fortunately, the course team were great and gave support online and answering students questions (except for the final part, so I was on my own for that).

I have to complain this time round and will do so in writing, and see how I get on. I may put my experience on here in a few months time.

But I agree with you, as it is my experience is similar to yours. I saw yesterday the OU is protesting to the government about a huge drop in part time students. Its not the governments problem if the OU is causing problems to their customers who then decided to take their custom elsewhere.

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★★★☆☆

“Invaluable but going the wrong way”

Written on: 27/03/2015 by Jeramiahv154 (1 review written)

The education received here has been invaluable. It's accessible and effective. Recently things have started to change. I've studied there for 8 years and during the last two, feel like I'm being pushed out in favour of a younger generation, with a different attitude. On all the courses, don't expect to be accepted or included on the forums, and don't expect progressive debate or discussion on there. If you're intelligent, you'll likely be ignored and possibly quieted by well chosen words of… Read Full Review

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Worn_Out's Comment

Written on: 22/07/2015

Undergraduate fees went up because of the Government not the OU as the government gave a subsidy towards the modules which is now being picked up by the student instead. Which is cr ap (put a space in that word as apparently it's a banned word on the review centre?!?!). :( Unless you live in wales or Scotland and you remain on old style fees. It hurt parting with ~£1300 this year for a module when previous years it was around 450 mark.

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★☆☆☆☆

“Miserable experience studying with this university -...”

Written on: 20/03/2015 by anon12371 (2 reviews written)

I suppose that I am not the only person who feels that studying with this university has proved to be a mistake. It has proved to be a truly miserable experience. (1) Marking is incoherent and inconsistent (2) Lack of support from tutors especially if you have a disability. They will throw laptops, and software and dictaphones at you, but they look at disabilities as one size fits all. In terms of exams, essays (TMA's), tutorials, they do not fully accommodate the problems that students might… Read Full Review

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Peony's Response to anon12371's Review

Written on: 21/04/2015

I agree with you. I have had very similar experiences and found the lack of alternative support very soul destroying. It erodes your self esteem with your disability, so is damaging to your disability.

It was so bad, I stopped studying for a few years, but last year decided to have another go. Got through a course on my own and then decided to take a bigger course, the same problem on both courses, not one single word for me in lieu of tutorials. (I can't get owing to health and disability). Forums were fine, no bad students (some who tried their remarks were removed quickly by the course team who were very active on the forums, not experienced that before).

Depending on my results for my current course and the outcome of a complaint I am going to make, I may or may not continue, as it is very disheartening.

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Hoodoogirl's reply to Peony's Comment

Written on: 21/04/2015

Peony I really would be interested in speaking with you about your experiences and wonder how that can be done via this forum

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Hoodoogirl's reply to Hoodoogirl's Comment

Written on: 21/04/2015

BTW I am an OU student also and I have been very unhappy all in all. I wanted to complain but do not think it will get anywhere..

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Peony's reply to Hoodoogirl's Comment

Written on: 24/04/2015

If you are thinking of complaining, and have any sort of evidence, such as emails, or telephone conversations you have recorded some of the things said, date and time of the call etc., that have taken place over the duration of your course, I would suggest you give it a go to complain formally if you have grievances about the lack of alternative help from your tutor.

I think complaints (I am not sure, I have to research this) go to the Student Casework office.

If you have any printed evidence, you can submit a special circumstances form to the course examiners as well as the exam examiners. This has to be I think within 14 days of the last TMA and so many days after the exam. (I think 14 again, not sure).

But don't let this get in the way of your completing your course, it is easy to feel upset and that can become obstructive, I feel like this myself just now and am trying to talk myself out of it to get on with the final weeks of my course.

But it can sometimes makes you feel better to give it go at complaining, as it tells the staff something is amiss, (and maybe that tutor is doing the same thing to others or has done in the past) and it tells the staff you are not getting the help they have taken time to arrange.

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Peony's Response to anon12371's Review

Written on: 21/04/2015

I agree with you. I have had very similar experiences and found the lack of alternative support very soul destroying. It erodes your self esteem with your disability, so is damaging to your disability.

It was so bad, I stopped studying for a few years, but last year decided to have another go. Got through a course on my own and then decided to take a bigger course, the same problem on both courses, not one single word for me in lieu of tutorials. (I can't get owing to health and disability). Forums were fine, no bad students (some who tried their remarks were removed quickly by the course team who were very active on the forums, not experienced that before).

Depending on my results for my current course and the outcome of a complaint I am going to make, I may or may not continue, as it is very disheartening.

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★☆☆☆☆

“Univ of Exeter / FutureLearn online Course - Climatic...”

Written on: 13/03/2015 by RJStansfield (2 reviews written)

An open letter to the OU and FutureLearn. Please pass this to the OU's course creators. Univ of Exeter Course -- Climate Change - ended 2015 Mar 6 ========================================================== "Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts" . . I have just completed this Course. I am retired now & wanted to obtain a balanced assessment of the present state of knowledge on climatic change from the respected OU & Exeter Univ. I am disappointed. Instead, I found… Read Full Review

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Peony's Response to RJStansfield's Review

Written on: 21/04/2015

I absolutely agree with you. I think a few scientists and the media have decided to make a big issue of GW. My husband and I believe volcanic activity (particularly beneath the sea) is responsible for global warming together with other factors. Yes, humans are contributing to it, but are not the main culprits as the media would have you believe.

Global Warming is just a theory, but people are accepting it as fact.

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★☆☆☆☆

“MSc Mathematics Appalling”

Written on: 17/02/2015 by blYoung223 (1 review written)

MSc mathematics seems cheap - but less so when you realise that you get nothing for it. Courses now seem to consist mainly of an instruction to read a particular book (not supplied, and sometimes a wholly inappropriate reference book) and an examination. Do not expect lectures!… Read Full Review

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★★★☆☆

“0 star for OUSBA, 4 for the courses”

Written on: 19/01/2015 by dogman70 (1 review written)

A few years ago I enrolled on an OU course (having completed several others); I lost my job a few weeks later. Assuming the OU would offer similar standards of service that we're all accustomed to, I thought I would take advantage of the cooling off period. So I removed myself from my course (naively believing I knew my stuff and we can all cancel things), however when I rang the OUSBA they said I had no legal right to change my mind, and that I am still fully liable for the entire debt (they… Read Full Review

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★☆☆☆☆

“Ring enquiries lines to abuse/management know nothing”

Written on: 10/01/2015 by Calhounog443 (1 review written)

If ever you have a bad day, just ring The OU and swear at the agent, OU management will not do anything about it except to punish the staff who retalliates to your aggression. If this does not happen, then do not worry as if you are an existing student, then you will have a phonecall with an apology. Also, if there are any failures on their side, then you will be accused of having disabilities, e.g. if you cannot write e-mails to a university standard, you must be dislexyc. How this relates… Read Full Review

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★☆☆☆☆

“Terrible”

Written on: 04/12/2014 by Sinclairlp18 (1 review written)

I have studied with the OU since 2003, and used to think they were great, however after my course fees went up by nearly £2000 (for a part-time course this year), I applied for a student loan as I could not afford this myself. I have completed 5 courses and this was to be my last in order to complete my degree with honours. The student finance was accepted, and I received my books before the course start date, so excitedly decided to get a head start. 6 weeks later I received a threatening… Read Full Review

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★★☆☆☆

“Poor guidance and support”

Written on: 25/11/2014 by Kody166 (1 review written)

Studying at the OU can be a struggle - different of a challenge. Whilst the course is challenging and can be motivating, the lack of support and guidance from the 'remote tutors' has made learning really tough. Theres unclear guidance on what to do - and some of the books from which you have to base you learning (obviously authored by the Open University) does not appear to be well laid out. Given that their books (and poor tutor support) are predominantly what one has to rely on for doing the… Read Full Review

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★☆☆☆☆

“DO NOT study with the OU”

Written on: 13/11/2014 by Chady386 (1 review written)

I studied with the OU for 6 years only to be given a worthless degree that they seem to think it is recognised, however all the employers I have been to do not recognise it. So I spend all my time and money on nothing. It is a constant battle to get the right courses as well as advice as the people on the phone do not know what they are talking about half of the time. Go anywhere else BUT the Open University… Read Full Review

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Laal_Nick's Comment

Written on: 18/11/2014

What degree/ subject(s) did you do? What did you finish with; first, second, third?
Also if wanting a degree for career prospects it's advisable to see what employers think of it before starting it and research each module, get opinions from other OU students doing the same course past & present and researching other courses with other establishments.
My degree with the OU has been worthwhile and recognised my by new employers and by the few brick universities I have been contacting with the prospect of applying for a masters degree. How do you know it was solely your degree that has put possible employers off? Did they give that as the reason?

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★☆☆☆☆

“Waste of Time”

Written on: 21/08/2014 by Ewingvj419 (1 review written)

Did a 6 year law degree and I wish I had never bothered or wasted my time. My assignment grades were always in the high 70's and 80's ( 2:1 territory) but I never once got an exam score , no matter how good or hard I tried that was better than a 60? not once and totally unbelievable and I eventually received a useless 2:2 law degree because of it. And I do not believe for one instant that the exam scores I was ever given during those 6 years were ever correct ! No improvement what so ever in 6… Read Full Review

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Helimum's Comment

Written on: 24/10/2014

HI I am feeling for you after all that hard work!!!
having just done an opening module, averaging 81 i garnered a 44% on my ema ...holy moly barely a pass!!!!

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Peony's Comment

Written on: 21/04/2015

I find in TMA's it seems to be if the tutor likes your work as to how many marks you acquire. I stopped undertaking their exams as I felt there was A) no advice or support from tutors and B) you cannot challenge the exam markers. One accounting examinable component I submitted I only just passed despite that the biggest question of 70%, worked fine and my written answers I had expected higher marks. Something wrong with the marking critieria or exam marker.

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★☆☆☆☆

“Getting worse”

Written on: 20/08/2014 by kxKeegan476 (1 review written)

When I started the degree 6 years ago it was fantastic. Unfortunately now they seem to be more interested in making money education. Less tutorials, 9 months crammed into 8 months - they seem to have forgotten that most people are working full time as well. I was going to study for the masters but now I'll be going elsewhere… Read Full Review

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★★☆☆☆

“For Students with Previous Higher Education Stay Clear!”

Written on: 04/08/2014 by egwew (1 review written)

First of all I'd like to point out that my review is not based on course material and the quality of tutors etc. Having studied several modules at OU mainly the technology/science based modules I must admit I haven't really found that part too bad always room for improvement though. The thing I want to point out is to any who may have previously studied an HNC or HND at other colleges and universities do all you can to avoid topping up your qualifications here. In my case I did not receive… Read Full Review

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Worn_Out's Response to egwew's Review

Written on: 08/08/2014

It's not just being able to study at level 3 but what you have actually studied I would have thought. As modules and their content differ between universities and if you want to do level 3 modules you may have needed to have covered certain topics as prerequisites. I think that's why they want you to send in course syllabuses when you apply for credit transfer to see how it stacks up with their modules,

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★☆☆☆☆

“Awful service, rude staff, disabiltiy discrimation”

Written on: 28/07/2014 by BrianErickson (1 review written)

I had advice over the phone in regards to how my disabiltiy would effect my courses and they helped me find a course which was suitable. I was enrolled but later found out that the course wasn't what they said it would be. I asked to change, and that involved switching 1 module. They took me off the module before checking if they could enrol me for the correct one! They couldn't.. So I was left a year waiting before I could enrol. I was also doing a maths module. I was told over the phone… Read Full Review

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★★☆☆☆

“waste of money,time and effort”

Written on: 20/07/2014 by Whitedv1976 (1 review written)

I have been studying with the Open University for seven years now. In September I will be doing my sixth and final module which will cost me €1,500 but is worth nothing when the O.U. give me my Degree results, since it is a free choice module. Out of the five modules I have already completed, I mostly received a Grade 3 Pass. I was disgusted by this, since I always averaged 65-80% in each TMA, and out of the five modules I only needed to sit two exams. One exam significantly reduced my Grade… Read Full Review

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Worn_Out's Comment

Written on: 21/07/2014

Your free choice can count depending on the rules for the degree you are doing. It's only if all the credits at L3 used for classification are specified modules.
People usually get a lower score in the final assessment (especially exams) compared to TMAs as you are under time constraint without access to the course material. I understand this but I still find it annoying when always get Dist. in TMAs but drop due to the exams. It does seem a bit unfair how you can't get EMA back especially when the grade differs so much.
As for your novel, your friends are likely to be more biased than your tutor and writing I imagine is a hard one to mark as it is subjective and somewhat depends on the tastes of the reader. Most OU tutors are ok, sounds like you got a bad one, did you put in complaint or request a new tutor?
Workload wise it is hard but you knew it was going to be a big commitment and assignments are going to have to be due in at some point, I've always found I struggle if keep eye off the ball and have multiple assignments due at similar times. Takes some hell of time management. If you went to more traditional uni I think you would face the same problems, you'd be limited to a set timetable rather than flexibility of working around work/child responsibilities and still have to get work in.
Just think though, nearly over and you will end up with something :)

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Peony's Comment

Written on: 13/08/2015

I agree with you, my experiences similar. I made an even worse mistake than you. I stopped studying with the OU a few years ago after having bullying tutor (I had apathetic tutors before, plus some poor TMA markers/lacking knowledge of the course and only one really decent tutor) plus mal administration by the OU. (they gave me a full refund but I never had any apology or any support to pick up the wreck of my degree plans).

I vowed never to study again with them, but then they lured me back under the 'transitional' arrangements. I fell for this, but the first course was fine, I sailed through it, best course for having no problems and decent tutor, decent exam marker.

Then, the next course, disaster struck, a number of students were given unprofessional limited feedback on exam plus massive drops in marks over 30%.

I then undertook a lot of research, I found it was happening in other courses as far back as 2013, with the feedback not reflecting the answers nor providing any explanation for the huge loss of marks.

So, I am worse than being back to square one, as if I had not allowed myself to be lured back, if I had not fallen for it, I was intending to go elsewhere to study for which I could have obtained a student grant. Now, I am not eligible and have unfinished degree with the OU, plus now 3 years wasted time.

I would not recommend them, the end marking system is weird, feedback in sort of pigeon English and just a tutor marking with no one auditing or checking.

On undertaking research into other universities, I found even a lowly ex polytechnic (now classed as a university) had a robust marking system, with two markers, both anonymous to each other. Plus excellent student support (from other students reviews).

So, my time and money wasted but I am going to try and rake the money together plus 3-4 more years of my life to take a degree elsewhere which has better systems of student support as well as better exam marking practices.

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Savannah3108's Comment

Written on: 14/08/2015

I'm really sorry for you,that is just awful.I got my Degree results recently,Third class Honours.I am devastated after wasting so many years and so much money only to get a Degree that in no way reflects my academic abilities and has destroyed my career prospects. I cannot now study with another university because I need minimum 2.2 to do that.The OU are motivated by money, so they mark harshly so that the student will feel obliged to keep paying for more modules.I wish to God I had studied with an Irish university.Don't know what I am going to do now but I'm in bits. I can't go to my Degree ceremony and am too ashamed to tell my family. €15,000 and six years of my life wasted. I really hope you can transfer your credits and get your Degree sooner rather than later.

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★☆☆☆☆

“only 1 star because couldnt give a minus!”

Written on: 25/06/2014 by Murray25 (1 review written)

I have studied with the OU for 13 years. All the time i was paying they were great. Once i became government funded for past 2 years... Abysmal! Studying psychology degree and due to mental health problems i was unable to attend an exam. They failed me of the whole course!!! A psychology course completely unsympathetic to mental health issues! avoid like the plague unless plenty of money and no threat of any health issues! plus over the years the materials have deteriorated drastically along… Read Full Review

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Peony's Comment

Written on: 21/04/2015

They should have sent you forms to submit for a resit which you would have been entitled to.

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Goodtimes1's Comment

Written on: 25/06/2015

Unfortunately, I am facing a similar issue. As ridiculous as it is, they do not offer a resit if you failed to attend an examination. If you attend and get 0, then you can resit, though if you miss it, you may not take a resit (even though it's capped at 40%). This will mean that you must retake the whole module and give them the full module fee again.

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Peony's Comment

Written on: 13/08/2015

What about if you have any evidence, such as a letter from the doctor? They used to allow this, but their practices have changed and not for the better, so it may not be allowed now.

I sympathise, its like a whole year of your life wasted plus the expense.

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★☆☆☆☆

“only want your money”

Written on: 02/06/2014 by CrystalHewitt (1 review written)

Dont bother! signed up for a masters course to find volume of reading was way too much with us being expected to know medical terminology despite never studying anything medical previously. Was told that it would be fine before paying them though. inadequate support from tutors and a care less attitude from others you raise your issues with. if you want to defer then you have to pay the rest of the fees. absolute rubbish… Read Full Review

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