The Open University Reviews

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Latest Reviews

“Poor support.”

★★☆☆☆

written by Keenebv167 on 09/02/2020

The course content was good. Got the job done, anyway. I studied through the YASS (Young applicants in schools) program and one of the main benefits pedaled to us was that even though it's distance, you have a dedicated tutor/support team etc. This is only partly true. I had a tutor and a support team but I tried to contact both on several occassions and failed A TMA because I was locked out of the course content - and my tutor wouldn't respond to me. The ePortfolio (I assume) is designed to be helpful but it is really just a box ticking exercise. It's useless, time consuming and takes away from any actual learning on the course.

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“Worst distance education university ever”

★☆☆☆☆

written by roberto_r on 13/06/2017

Poor service. Bad instructor, especially the instructor for W820 Exploring Legal Meaning. The instructor was not knowledgeable but thought that she was a genius. Her lectures were boring and only audio not videotaped. I found the whole experience terrible and I complained to her and what happened was that she ended up flunking my EMA although I had been getting good grades in all three TMA. In any event, this is probably the best that could have happened because this institution is about 150% more expensive than any other similar distance education university. I have graduated from both the University of London and the University of Liverpool with law-related degrees at the postgraduate level and I can assure you this Open University is at the bottom of the pile.

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“Awful”

★☆☆☆☆

written by NixNoxNoo on 26/02/2016

Do you want to do a degree where you can get immersed in your subject? Too bad! At the Open University you can look forward to modules where you have to jump through pointless hoops and do assignments that you assumed you had left behind you when you were twelve. I am twenty seven, have a degree and a PGCE and wanted to do another degree to support my career and I have had to do things like "give examples of how you were organised" and "write a leaflet aimed at other students on why they should take this module". It is an actual joke! (And I am studying science. I think my least favourite so far was "find a picture that shows both genetics and aging". Super patronisisng. The courses cost a fortune and the tutors are useless - they just point you in the direction of whatever random course material wasn't helping you in the first place. You also have to do mandatory library sessions. If you already know how to use a library, well buckle in for the next hour because you are going to be learning it again. The website is dire. Look forward to trying to work out which tab within a tab within a forum post is the one you need because it will make up roughly 10% of your study time. And there is enforced forum posting, which influences your grades. I could not dislike this university more.

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“An educational money making machine.”

★☆☆☆☆

written by Emely360 on 21/03/2015

The OU does not encourage you to read outside of their module books and independent thought is discouraged. More importantly the average degrees they hand out are 2:2's and 3rd's. Look at the other reviews on this site to confirm this. Lecturers mark inconsistently, study outside of course books is frowned upon, hardly a Professor in sight..with not that many Dr's of disciplines either. Academic support is whimsical. Disability support is one fit for all. Complaining is a waste of time and if you are a minority student expect to receive lower marks for Level 2 and Level 3 modules - Their own 2014 Equality and Diversity report states as much. The only important thing for the Open university - MONEY. Their other failing is their pathological inability to accept that many students are unhappy with their experience with the OU. They will insist until kingdom come that it is great studying with them. If it was why are their reviews so low, not just on this site but on other sites?

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Worn_Out's Comment

Written on: 26/03/2015

I'd be more concerned if they were handing out a hell of a lot of Firsts as that would mean they were too easily obtained and devalue the grade. Also a fair proportion of students are only doing it as a hobby and not interested in getting the highest grade and doing it for enjoyment.
As for the amount of Drs I would imagine that would depend on subject as most my tutors have been doctors in Computing, Mathematics and Biology so far. I'm on my second degree with the OU. Although tutoring I imagine is a part time job so I'm guessing a lot of tutors either do it alongside other work or part of retirement.

However I will admit any sort of change to complaints is painfully slow to be addressed with all the hoop jumping. I have no experience with disability support as it's not something I need so can't really comment on that.

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Eleanor141's Comment

Written on: 26/03/2015

I am glad that your experience has been good but for many students this has proved NOT to be the case and having looked at many online reviews about the OU I now realise that my experience is not singular. I did not say that the OU should be liberally handing out 1st and 2:1's but many students end up with 2:2's and 3rds and many ethnic minority students end up with 2:2's and 3rds which SHOULD be a concern for these particular students when they are trying to decide upon which university to attend. As I stated before, the OU's own diversity and equality report states this.
The support - or lack thereof is also a ubiquitous issue at this university and their marking system is bizarre. You could obtain an average of 80% for all of your essays (TMA's) and then receive 50% for your actual exam and that mark will count as your final mark for the module.
In my opinion, potential students should explore the possibility of studying part time degrees at conventional universities. I have found another link on this website for the OU and the reviews there are equally bad.

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Dannyb23's Comment

Written on: 20/04/2015

I wish I had read your review before signing up with this so-called university. The tutors and senior faculty staff advise you not to bother using the process to review your marks as it will basically be ignored.
Staff are increasingly using OU tutoring as one of a number of income streams and do not put in the effort you would expect in their work.
They also censor any critical comments on their social media without saying they are doing it.

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Peony's Comment

Written on: 21/04/2015

My current tutor tutors a number of courses and also works for the OU. Has no real academic qualifications for the subject. I have never encountered a professor as a tutor with the OU, and these days no Dr's either.

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Worn_Out's Comment

Written on: 21/07/2015

Yes but to get fewer students with lower seconds and thirds then either the number failing goes up or the number of higher honours awarded goes up which in turn will change the 'value' of the honours if more people are getting best degrees or failing.
There need to be better statistics published by the OU of what honours are awarded and why the course was undertaken (career prospects, hobby etc.) and the age of the recipient. But trying to find anything on the website is a nightmare in itself. :(

I don't see why ethnic students would be awarded more lower class honours as I don't see how support would differ between ethnic group, maybe due to region which could have a higher percentage of ethnic groups. As I know the support I get in region 9, the North, is lacking compared to the South and regions containing cities as they have more tutorials (f2f ones too) and day schools whereas region 9 has next to nothing and is lumped with the international students.

there used to be a advisor who saw you through the whole qualification not just SST groups they have now and I think they should bring that back.

As for the marking system, it's not bizarre. Most brick universities only class small percentage of the modules as coursework (my brick uni its was only 10-15% on modules so an 80% coursework score doesn't have that much affect on overall grade). Also with it being distance learning your tutor isn't as heavily involved with you so might not recognise someone else's work passed off as your own and there have been cases where exams have been reintroduced to some modules due to TMA questions appearing on websites offering answers and help. You are only as strong as your weakest link. But they should reword the blooming assessment strategy and stop referring to it as 50:50 which makes people think it's the average as that crops up year after year and on every module I've done people question it. (Although wouldn't have minded the average myself when I was a couple marks off distinction in one exam and TMAs were in the 90s).

As ever I agree with considering all options as there are more part time and distance learning facilities out there these days and it all depends on the student's life and circumstances, what they want to ultimately do with the degree and what subjects and unis will best further that.

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Pardonme's Comment

Written on: 13/10/2018

I agree with you, it is still going on and it is now 2018. The OU is definitely just out for making the money they do not care about the students. They are absolutely disgusting. I really do not understand how they get away with treating people like this. More people should put a comment on the OU review page.

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Peony's Comment

Written on: 21/04/2015

I agree that disability support is about non existent. I thought it was just me, but have seen on these forums a number of others saying they experienced lack of support. It seems to be a policy on paper that is not applied in practice.

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“Prepare to be frustrated... for several years solid”

★☆☆☆☆

written by Jimmyq85 on 10/02/2015

I've attended bricks and mortar too. And I thought at first the OU was better as the material is much more thorough, for science anyway, (in the old book modules). However, the OU are now changing to online modules... and they are a NIGHTMARE!!!!!! Prepare to cope with the likes of 'interactive laboratories' which DO NOT WORK most of the time, and which have 3 DIFFERENT SETS OF INSTRUCTIONS ALL WRITTEN BY DIFFERENT PEOPLE, NONE OF WHICH HELP in some cases, and for which the 'topic specialists' employed to HELP you through online forums DO NOT REPLY TO YOUR QUERIES FOR DAYS... when YOU have a TIME LIMIT APPLIED TO YOU! From personal experience of doing the book and online modules side by side, the new online modules take 3x more hours, and most of that is NOT SPENT LEARNING, BUT FIGHTING WITH AN ARCHAIC, USER-UNFRIENDLY, BADLY DESIGNED SYSTEM! You will literally be tearing your hair out with stress. The tutors completely relate; which means THEY ARE FULLY AWARE HOW HORRIFIC THIS SYSTEM IS! But of course, there is nothing they can do...

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Eleanor141's Comment

Written on: 21/03/2015

I agree with you Jimmyq85 - I wish I had never wasted time with this university - It has been a totally miserable experience !

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Dannyb23's Comment

Written on: 20/04/2015

I think their systems are actually getting worst as well. Online tutorials are ridiculous with no-one knowing what they are doing and entirely repeating course materials.

I'm not sure there is nothing the tutors can do about it, I agree they do generally sympathise and some go beyond in their condemnaiton of OU management. Covering their backs takes priority over our educational experience generally. Given what we as students have to contend with, I guess maybe it's understandable. What could they do?

In courses where materials are provided they are massively out of date (referring to tapes for example). For new courses they don't even bother to provide materials in order to keep a few more pounds to themselves.

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“enrolled to 2 courses, boring and expensive”

★★★☆☆

written by ColinCorbett on 04/02/2015

they shipped quick(to my UK address)one was business the other starting with psychology the book was thin like my small finger, thats all you get for hundred of pounds psychology was OK for me but NOTHING SPECIAL GIVING NO CREDIT I COULD HAVE READ THIS IN A LIBRARY IM SICK AND TIRED OF FALSE ONLINE SCHOOLS SELLING LIBRARY-KNOCK-OFF MATERIALS the business course was boring and not giving me any ideas how to become a business person running my own... THESE COURSES GET U NO JOB, AND DODGY C.V ONLY if you want to study go for a BA online short courses are useless, all these things can be bought on amazon for 20 pounds

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“Good communication and support”

★★★★☆

written by happyhorris on 09/12/2014

I telephoned to discuss my course requirement before booking. Customer service is brilliant - really good advice. I was also given some tips re; financing the course which i didn't expect. Easily accessible information - study groups, tutor support, online chat and of course an email contact which other online training establishments do not necessarily provide! Really pleased with this learning provider. However, I think that the fees are a little high considering it's home study. I'm sure they could chop the costs down considerably. Reading material is good though.

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“Unsupportive and stressful!”

★☆☆☆☆

written by on 27/10/2014

I have health problems that made me transfer to open university from a uni had been physically attending and thought working from home would be better. Except they have not been supportive. At first I thought they were great but now they only care about the money. I have only recently started and my student loan has been delayed so they are saying they will de register me. How just how can they do that?? It's been difficult for me to pursue studies because of on going health problems and I can't take any more set backs and I don't want to give up. I'm on the verge of tears just praying they would e sympathetic and just get in touch with student finance about the situation. Just don't know what to do

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Anon12371's Comment

Written on: 20/03/2015

I totally agree with your review.. the OU experience has been awful for me and I have health issues too. I wish that I had never studied with them. What upsets me more, is that they insist they do support students with issues. They simply do not.

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Dannyb23's Comment

Written on: 20/04/2015

I'm really sorry to hear about your experiences with this dreadful organisation.

I found there approach and arrogance actually increases stress and makes it worst. it is like dealing with a bad bank, mobile phone or train company, though worst actually as at least they do tend to offer some remedy when their service is terrible. I don't know if is just shambolic disorganisation or plain malice but they really should not be allowed to continue in their current manner.

They do not meet their duty of care obligations in any way shape or form and actually silently censor any criticisms made on their facebook page.

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“The Open University is only in it for profit - full stop.”

★☆☆☆☆

written by on 17/12/2013

I have to agree with other reviews I have read - make no mistake people the OU is a business and they are only interested in taking your money. I was ill during my course and given poor advice by my tutor who clearly did not know the regulations. The faculty staff are not interested in student satisfaction or heaven help us, customer service. Simply in ducking responsibility. This is not the same university I studied with in the 90's and I will never spend any of my hard-earned money on them again. The student casework office are not there to help you, simply to stop you from getting through to someone who actually gives a damn - if such a person exists. Think again and look elsewhere!

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“I enjoyed studying with the OU to begin with and...”

★★☆☆☆

written by olarie on 02/07/2013

I enjoyed studying with the OU to begin with and sucessfully completed a module in computing. I then went on to take a module in retail management and was given half the amount of time to complete assignments as I had with the previous module. I passed on the TMAs even though it was a stuggle but failed the EMA failed due to starting a new job and having to travel for it. The OU doesn't give extensions for EMAs so if you fail this you have spent your time and money on nothing. On the plus side I found the course materials in both modules interesting and well thought out and the questions asked in assignments really effective on drawing on what had been learnt. However, I felt that a lot of the time I was just teaching myself which effectively you are. I am no longer wishing to complete a qualification with the OU as I think that you have to have a tremendous amount of self discipline in order to teach yourself and complete assignments in the short amount of time they give you withhout the motivation of attending regular classes and do this for many years.

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“A waste of time”

★☆☆☆☆

written by Grotty on 26/03/2013

I have Aspergers syndrome so tend to not get on in the company of others in fact every time i have been to a college women have complained about me even though I never looked or talked to them and kept myself to myself,so I decided to try an OU short course a module as they call it,but clearly this is for very bright people,not me I am way to stupid,they say the course is for people without any qualifications,but they are lying,you need to be an intellectual to understand what to do,the paper work is mind bogglingly difficult and the teacher and learning support are incapable of putting things in layman's terms,also I wanted to do English and maths,but instead got put onto a humanities course,now I am completely at a loss of not knowing what to do first,I will keep trying,but honestly would rather count stones on a beech than do this,so unless you are a complete boffin I would leave the OU well alone.

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“passed all TMA's but failed EMA so waste of time and...”

★☆☆☆☆

written by on 07/07/2012

I have started with the OU 2 years ago and i have passed all my TMA's but failed on the EMA's very little help or comments given and that's it is GAME OVER,all the money gone and the time not to mention the stress.Now i am making a formal appeal but is there anyone with this kind of experience as i feel they have taken my money and do not bother about anything any more. I have a 10 year work experience in the chosen field,my EMA's were checked by a university lecturer prior to sending and i still had a fail???????????????????

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Olarie's Comment

Written on: 02/07/2013

I know exactly how you feel I also passed my TMAs but then started a new job with more hours and couldn't complete the EMA so failed the whole module. Felt my time and money has been wasted. The tutor couldn't care less and didn't really give me any support even though I emailed him a few times saying I was struggling. I've now had enough of the OU and am going to study at Birkbeck. The module I was studying also had too large a workload, I was given half the amount of time to comlete assignments as a module I had previously studied.

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“Waste of time and money”

★★☆☆☆

written by DylanJS on 28/02/2012

My first OU course was great. The tutor was very helpful and accessible and the OU admin process worked well enough. There were a few errors in the materials that made life difficult (being told afterwards "yes, those were mistakes and catch everyone out" didn't really help), but generally things went along okay. Unfortunately the subsequent courses have been terrible and I've now given up on the OU completely. I've had a tutor that would only meet me on Friday nights in trendy pubs (I think he was newly divorced and lonely). A course where they just sent me one enormous book (1500 pages in font 8) on day one, and told there's no tutor, support or assessments "just memorise the book and take the exam in 8 months time", and a course where the materials were too badly printed to read, they didn't replace them so I just had to miss that chunk of course out. The admin got worse and worse too. You can't get any sense out of anyone and there's no accountability. You complain or ask a question and no-one ever comes back to you or deals with the situation. The final straw for me was a maths course where the stage-by-stage written process to solve a problem didn't work. I emailed the tutor, who responded that yes, she'd checked the process stated and it didn't work, there was a stage missing. I asked her what the process should actually be. She never responded, so I couldn't complete the course - as I couldn't learn how to solve the maths problem. I eventually formally withdrew, but no-one dealt with my withdrawal, so I was recorded as 'failed' not 'withdrawn'. Showing them original letter and email of withdrawal achieved nothing, as everyone said it was someone else's responsibility to deal with. The last 4 years of OU have been a disaster and a complete waste of money.

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Abbigail1987's Response to DylanJS's Review

Written on: 20/05/2013

I am absolutely sick to death of small minded idiots. Im so sorry you have to put up with people who make your life harder. Every person is entitled to an education. You have aspergers not 10 heads 3 arms and 3 legs. I know a few people with aspergers and you guys are no less of a human being than a person withoit a disability if anything your more. Its so easy for people to cast judgement and turn their nose up but really thats where theyre less of a human being. I really hope you find a place that will educate you without prejudice. Fair play to you x x.

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“My experience with the Open University has been very...”

★★★★★

written by on 29/12/2010

My experience with the Open University has been very good. Throughout the 5 years of study I found the tutors and staff helpful, well organised, supportive and encouraging. They are an excellent value for money too.

Yes, you have to put in a lot of hard work, perhaps that's why there is such a high drop out. But sorry, if you want to have a degree you better stock up on determination.

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“I enjoyed the first couple of years but have now come...”

★★☆☆☆

written by on 31/03/2010

I enjoyed the first couple of years but have now come to hate OU. I am doing level 3 and get no help from my Tutor. The course is expensive and I do not think that only ten hours in a year of tutorials is enough. Ou seems to think that the course books are enough but they aren't. My tutor comes to the tutorials unprepared, talks off subject and makes rude and unhelpful remarks when marking assignments. I wish I had never started with OU but now I only have two more years to do it seems as if I am stuck with it. Hopefully we will get a better tutor next year who is actually interested!

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“I passed the law foundation course and found it...”

★☆☆☆☆

written by JemmaJo on 04/12/2009

I passed the law foundation course and found it enjoyable, but W201 in the Bristol region wasn't a nice experience. The cost of the course is nearly £2000 and there's very little support. When my tutor was off sick I had a much higher mark than usual, so as I wanted to improve I asked my usual tutor why I had lower marks when he marked my assignments but better marks when another tutor marked my assignments and instead of being helpful, he didn't bother replying and started to be awkward and unhelpful. I asked a friend who had studied law full time for advice and he agreed that the tutor was just being awkward and unhelpful, so I went to student support and they were equally as unhelpful by telling me that I should go to my tutor with any problems. I was told six months after I sent an assignment there was something wrong with it and it couldn't be marked. When I asked for all my assignments to be marked by another tutor, I was told the time limit has passed for it to be remarked, but it was only two weeks after I was informed that there was something wrong with my assignment. I tried to complain about my tutor and his unhelpful attitude, but they didn't seem interested. At the end of the course they just give you a multiple choice opinion poll and tell you it's for the tutor to see and improve, but it's before the exam, so if I gave my real opinion I was scared that the tutor might have marked my exam and failed me on purpose, as he had been so unhelpful for the year and nobody at the OU seemed to care. I felt as if I paid a lot of money for a few books and a DVD. There was a tutorial for a couple of hours once a month and the tutor acted as if he couldn't be bothered at the tutorial and just wanted us to copy a few notes from his projector. It was an awful experience and nobody cared that the tutor was being purposely unhelpful. For the amount of money the course costs I think it's terrible.

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Rainbowsurfgirl's Response to JemmaJo's Review

Written on: 25/01/2010

I found this review very helpful because it shows what the OU is really like. I can totally relate to this. My business course was just as bad - £4000 for some badly-written course material and a DVD. No tutor support, student support weren't interested and the OU's whole attitude was one of indifference. All they want is your money. Avoid at all costs.

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“good support from tutor. very good materials. good...”

★★★★☆

written by on 04/10/2008

good support from tutor. very good materials. good website. trusted academic institution.

good distance learning institution. qualifications are recognised.

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“I've been very impressed with The Open University. ...”

★★★★★

written by Acai on 04/07/2008

I've been very impressed with The Open University. They are professional when contacted and I have been treated with respect by them. They are helpful when you ask for information, and take you seriously. The courses so far have been excellent. There is a wide choice of courses within subjects with new ones appearing quite often, though I would like to see a wider variety of subjects. I've been interested in a couple of courses that have been discontinued, and no replacement offered in that area.
Overall I've been extremely pleased.

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Digs's Response to Acai's Review

Written on: 12/12/2008

Hi there! I've just started receiving my materials from the ou after a year of deciding whether to study with the ou or not. But now that I have I just feel have I made the right decision. Are the degrees recognised and valued? Also what's the quickest way to complete a degree, I really don't think I can do it for SIX years!!
<br/>Please advice me thanks!!!

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“I studied science and arts with the The Open...”

★★★★★

written by Legion on 12/05/2008

I studied science and arts with the The Open University. The experience was fantastic, but the level is not for those who are easily distracted or bored with life.

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“I passed first time doing social work with the Open...”

★★★★★

written by on 04/01/2008

I passed first time doing social work with the Open University. I loved the course and I loved doing it in my own time at my own pace. However, distance learning is not for those that are easily distracted, you need to keep getting yourself in gear to be disciplined, but then you can do it!

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Pardonme's Comment

Written on: 14/06/2019

You were very lucky because my experience with the open university has been time wasting, lack of care, they don't listen and they are just out for the money and in my opinion they don't care about their students. They take a long time to answer back to a phone call or an email message. I think they are a dreadful provider and they are getting worse as the months and years goes by.

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