Exploring the Open University: Experiences from a 6th Former

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In summary, The conversation is about someone considering an Open University course as an alternative to traditional university education. They express their dissatisfaction with their current school and lack of interest in traditional subjects. Someone with experience in an OU degree shares their perspective, mentioning the challenges of self-motivation and lack of classmates and academic support. They suggest sticking with A levels or finding a degree that truly interests them. The conversation also touches on the public perception of OU degrees and the possibility of using it to get into postgraduate school. The expert summarizer suggests that the conversation highlights the challenges and criticisms of OU degrees, but also acknowledges that it can be a good option for those who cannot attend traditional universities.
  • #1
Bladibla
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Hey

I'm currently a 6th former in the United kingdom, lower 6th form that is. To be more precise, this is approximately 2 years before university.
People mostly look for what kind of university they want to go to this year. Some people are looking into oxbridge.. etc.

I was looking, like those people mentioned above, in many universities from which i can get some decent education. I currently go to a grammar school, and school life is pretty boring.

With school life being boring, i don't have much enthusiasm with tests. Not only am i not good at answering tests in general, but also the subjects i do at the moment (Maths, Biology, Chemistry, and DT) just bore the hell out of me.

Then i looked up the Open university website, where no previous qualification is required, and it is mostly private study. Although i may be deceiving myself at the moment, i enjoy studying alone.

All these aspects are convincing me to apply for a open university course. If i fail, fair enough, I'm not intelligent enough. But i want to give it a try. So my question is, has anyone tried/ is trying a course in open university? How is like?
 
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  • #2
My girlfriend's brother is currently studying for an OU degree in computer science. He finds it incredibly hard to motivate himself to learn, and when he gets stuck he hasn't got coursemates to work with, or even academic staff ready to respond to individual queries. For an OU degree, you still have to sit exams, so don't think that this is going to be an easier option in that respect.

To be honest, I'd stick at your A levels (or drop out, and do some A levels which actually interest you) and find a degree you want to do, and study for it at a proper university. You'll have coursemates there if you need them, lecturing staff to help you out with any specific problems, and all the extra kudos you miss out on with an OU degree. And if you really do study best on your own, then nobody's stopping you from doing that whilst at a 'proper' university.

Good luck whatever you do!
 
  • #3
brewnog said:
My girlfriend's brother is currently studying for an OU degree in computer science. He finds it incredibly hard to motivate himself to learn, and when he gets stuck he hasn't got coursemates to work with, or even academic staff ready to respond to individual queries. For an OU degree, you still have to sit exams, so don't think that this is going to be an easier option in that respect.

To be honest, I'd stick at your A levels (or drop out, and do some A levels which actually interest you) and find a degree you want to do, and study for it at a proper university. You'll have coursemates there if you need them, lecturing staff to help you out with any specific problems, and all the extra kudos you miss out on with an OU degree. And if you really do study best on your own, then nobody's stopping you from doing that whilst at a 'proper' university.

Good luck whatever you do!

I've heard from many people that the open university courses were tough. Not to be too generalistic here, but if it wasn't so tough, it would be more appreciated by other people. (although i am not too clear on the current public view on OU)

If you do know, how different is a OU degree from a normal university degree? I am thinking (speculating) of using the OU degree to get into a postgraduate school. (if i am doing it, of course)
 
  • #4
Bladibla said:
If you do know, how different is a OU degree from a normal university degree? I am thinking (speculating) of using the OU degree to get into a postgraduate school. (if i am doing it, of course)

It's hard to say. I know that the postgrad recruiters at my university regard an Open University degree as being much less valuable than most other universities, and general perception with employers seems this way too. But if your circumstances mean that you couldn't sit a course at a normal university then it can be a good way of learning whatever skills you want. And it does count as a proper degree of course!
 
  • #5
Bladibla said:
If you do know, how different is a OU degree from a normal university degree? I am thinking (speculating) of using the OU degree to get into a postgraduate school. (if i am doing it, of course)

I can only speak for the math courses -- and my information goes back about 15 years. The OU courses in mathematical logic, complex analysis, differential geometry, Galois theory, and number theory were equal in level and scope to undergrad courses at good British universities. The books used were the same (Complex Analysis, by Stewart and Tall, Galois Theory by Stewart, Elementary Differential Geometry by O'Neill, Elementary Number Theory by Burton, and Computability and Logic by Boolos and Jeffrey). The TV lectures on these courses were exemplary; I wish my own lecturers could have shown a fraction of the organisation and lucidity shown. The problem is there weren't enough such advanced courses offered. This made the OU degree somewhat weaker than a regular one. I would say it was roughly equal to 2 years of a regular degree. One option was to transfer to a regular university for your last year, and I'm aware that many students did this.
 
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Related to Exploring the Open University: Experiences from a 6th Former

What is the Open University?

The Open University is a distance learning university based in the United Kingdom, offering a wide range of courses and programs for students of all ages and backgrounds.

What is the purpose of "Exploring the Open University: Experiences from a 6th Former"?

The purpose of this project is to provide a first-hand account of a 6th former's experience with the Open University, including the courses offered, the learning format, and the overall benefits of studying at the university.

Who can enroll in the Open University?

The Open University is open to anyone, regardless of their age, educational background, or location. There are no formal entry requirements, making it accessible to a wide range of students.

What types of courses are offered at the Open University?

The Open University offers a variety of courses, including undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, short courses, and professional development programs. They cover a wide range of subjects, from sciences and technology to humanities and social sciences.

How does distance learning work at the Open University?

Distance learning at the Open University involves online lectures, tutorials, and assessments, as well as access to support from tutors and fellow students. Students can study at their own pace and from any location, making it a flexible and convenient option for learning.

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