Friday, 14 February 2014

Open University | Thoughts Part One

I've paused the usual programming today to bring a requested post; so if you're not altogether interested by this, feel free to skip it. I'm going to do this in two parts - this one shall be how I got to the OU and the second shall be my actual thoughts on the system/courses I've taken so far... 

As mentioned I've had a few requests to do a 'thoughts so far' post on the Open University and so here it is. I may ramble - so feel free to get a cuppa. 

First of all, the reason I came to be part of the OU was due to the fact after GCSE's I was already working (retail) and some of the A Levels I wanted to take at my sixth form had filled up and I'd essentially been 'kicked off' those courses and was offered alternatives I had no interest in studying. 

I also contemplated the local art college (that the Mr studies Film at,) but it was too late by this point, to get a portfolio together for that year. So I figured I'd work for the year, get some experience and then try again the following year. That one year turned into four - I did other courses on the side of working, but then suddenly the company went under and I was made redundant. 

I'd also tried to do distance learning (A Levels) through a company I won't mention - the whole process was horrifying to say the least because you have no contact with your tutors apart from emails - and it got to the point of having one word replies back and the feeling of talking to a robot - or simply someone who didn't particularly care. I also lost a shed load of money. Lesson learned and it put me off studying through distance learning.

After that I tried to go back to my secondary schools sixth form - I'd managed to get on the courses I wanted, but I soon realised my old school held way too many bad memories there - I didn't like hanging around with people younger than me (I'm not a snob, there was just a huge maturity gap - and there was only three years difference...) and so I quit that too.

You can see by this point I was kind of on the fence about higher education - but I knew I wanted to get a degree, eventually and even though someone who I used to work with sung the praises of the OU constantly - I didn't get the ball rolling until 2012 and I signed up for the Access to Success route (cheesy name,) - there are certain criteria to meet to get on this route, but if you can get on it and are serious about studying - then go for it.

So far I've studied an 'opening' course - worth 15 OU Credits - and passed which meant I could move onto the next course - worth 60 credits and it looks like I'm going to pass that too, of course anything can happen between now and finishing but I am getting quite high scores - the equivalent of a high Merit - although nearly at a Distinction. 

After this course was done - I'd thought of perhaps going to a 'normal' university - the college/uni that the Mr goes to is partnered with the OU and actually takes that into consideration, especially if you have no A Levels. This would be the choice to make if my back is better by the time I want to enroll - but there are other factors too - the Mr will soon be done with his degree and we have no idea what is in store for him career wise - I don't want to sign up to this university, only having to transfer to another if we do move away...

However, as you can tell I have a bit of thinking to do - I could carry on with the OU - and hopefully get funding from Student Finance (they are difficult with distance learning courses... it's almost treated like it's not a 'real' qualification and you're not doing any work...) but I'll decide nearer the time...

So that's what I'm upto so far - bare with me because another post is coming about my actual thoughts on the OU. I know there are tonnes of different backgrounds of people studying with the OU, so maybe you're like me and took the work route early (and got a shed load of work experience under your belt to boot!) but you want to restart your education - it can totally be done. All you need is the willpower and organization to do it. 

Feel free to ask any questions in the comment section below!


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