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Dave Beans

Studying On The Ou

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I'm just wondering if anyone has done a degree on the OU? I'm thinking of topping up my HND up to a full BSc, and I'd rather go through the OU, rather than getting a degree from some rag shite uni. Reading about it, it takes 16-20 hours a week...How did you manage your life around it?

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I'm just wondering if anyone has done a degree on the OU? I'm thinking of topping up my HND up to a full BSc, and I'd rather go through the OU, rather than getting a degree from some rag shite uni. Reading about it, it takes 16-20 hours a week...How did you manage your life around it?

Th'wife's just finished one - Natural Sciences or some such. She probably did more like 6 to 10 hours per week but still got a 2:1. The biggest problem was having to wait for certain modules to come round on the calendar; if you fail a unit or don't do one for whatever reason, you might have to wait a year or longer for it to be offered again. If that unit is a prerequisite for others, then you can't start them either. I think her advice would be to make sure you keep up with it.

You have to accept that work, parenting and socialising must all take a higher priority in your life, otherwise you'll end up sad, lonely and disfunctional, albeit with a degree.

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You probably won't need to spend that much time, possibly around half. You may get credits for work you already did for your HND? Otherwise you need to get 300 points or 360 if you want the honours - so if you are working full time allow 5/6 years.

If you want the degree for your CV, honours will help, and getting a 'named' degree is useful. I don't know if in practice a degree really helps you get a job... I think an HND + experience is probably just as desirable.

There will be tutor marked assignments which you can spend as much time as you like on (so if you fail these give up), and real exams every year which will come as a shock if you expect them to be as easy as the coursework.

If you are interested in the subject matter, go for it, and good luck.

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Hello, good luck with it.

I took a BSc Open ( I chose my courses instead of taking the specified ones for a named degree) and a Postgrad certificate in Technology Management. I got a 2:1 and a 'merit' respectively.

I have always been a bone-idle b'stard and I always leave everything to the last minute....and probably always will.

I think that if you are scrupulous, read everything around the subject etc and do every single little task in the key course texts then you probably could need the 16-20 hours but it is eminently possible to do well if you only have a few hours a week....I managed to fit in three 'level 3' courses (90 points) while working long shifts abroad and i wasn't at all familiar with one of them, so it can be done.

I hope this helps

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I'm just wondering if anyone has done a degree on the OU? I'm thinking of topping up my HND up to a full BSc, and I'd rather go through the OU, rather than getting a degree from some rag shite uni. Reading about it, it takes 16-20 hours a week...How did you manage your life around it?

To go off topic on an off topic post, I would like to add my 2p worth of comments.

The vast majority of people who hire other people are extraordinarily lazy and unimaginative. When the time comes that you might want to upgrade your job to reflect your upgraded qualifications, you might become frustrated by the really boring "sameness" of many recruiters who think uni-dimensionally.

The good news is that there are small number of people who understand that they can find excpetional people to work for them who have not taken the tradtional path in the education / life experience / labour market continuum.

With a bit of networking, you could look for employers who admire the following qualities :

- People who have studied via distance learning while holding down a job. The discipline and organisation to do this is immense compared to people who went to more traditional universities.

- Athletes who might have taken a slower route to earning their qualifications than "normal" students.

- People who have subjected themselves to the rigours and discipline of a military career before entering the traditional workforce.

There are way too many clones in the workforce. People who have taken difficult, different or non-traditional paths to their academic qualifications are much more likely to become exceptional employees than those who have followed traditional routes.

In my opinion, an increasing number of employers are starting to realise this. The ones that do understand the value of those who have followed non-traditional routes to their qualifications are the best employers in the market regardless of the actual path followed.

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Cheers all for the replies so far... I did my HND over 10 years ago. It was an early, experimental course, and was a mish-mash of topics and thus was a bag o'shite, and I've always wanted to improve on it. As far as I'm aware, I've already got 240 points. The practical side of me says do the sensible thing, and go for the IT option, (as my HND is in that), but I would also consider doing a top-up with Geography - although I'll probably leave that for later.

I take it that there are specific modules you have to take to get a specific degree, and for instance, if your in the "third year" of your degree, you can only do courses that are relevant to that year. Is this right? I've been looking at modules that I'd like to do, but they are for "level 2" but I suppose seeing as I would be in my third year (level 3?), would I still be eligible to do them?

I may well consider working part-time (at the moment, circumstances may allow me to do that)...I just don't want to become a hermit!

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I'm just wondering if anyone has done a degree on the OU? I'm thinking of topping up my HND up to a full BSc, and I'd rather go through the OU, rather than getting a degree from some rag shite uni. Reading about it, it takes 16-20 hours a week...How did you manage your life around it?

I've studied with the OU and my view is that any job candidate who has their degree through this route shows a degree of determination and application to hard work which automatically marks them above someone who has a first degree via the conventional route.

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What do you class as a rag shite Uni?

Anything out of the top ten or top twenty?

The uni when I started my course, was a bit shite (naming no names!), but I believe that its improved since. A friend of mine started a course at the University Of Northampton roughly at the same time as me. Two years in, he dropped out, as he stated that he didn't want to get his degree from there. He finished his degree on the OU. He's now doing a post-grad History degree at Bristol. I'm not sure if he would have got on his course if he had got his degree from Northampton...

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I've studied with the OU and my view is that any job candidate who has their degree through this route shows a degree of determination and application to hard work which automatically marks them above someone who has a first degree via the conventional route.

I agree 100% (see my post above).

I am very old fashioned but I consider hiring decisions to be permanent rather than temporary.

The "quality" of the university that a candidate attended when measured along old fashioned, traditional lines is probably the least reliable predictor of the long term carrer success of a potential employee.

The ability to function well at work becomes independant of the university attended within 3 months. An increasing number of employers are beginning to understand that there are better correlations between history and success than where people studied.

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I take it that there are specific modules you have to take to get a specific degree, and for instance, if your in the "third year" of your degree, you can only do courses that are relevant to that year. Is this right? I've been looking at modules that I'd like to do, but they are for "level 2" but I suppose seeing as I would be in my third year (level 3?), would I still be eligible to do them?

As I understand it, they will assess your previous work, and I think you pay for that, and then they decide how many points you need and the level that those points need to be at. If they decide you have 240 points of credit and need only 120 points it is al most certainly going to be from courses at level three. As you might want to do Geography with an IT background it is also possible that they might transfer less than 240 points of credit as some of the courses you possess might be deemed irrelevant and you might be expected to take a greater number of courses, especially if the degree you want is named. The 'open' degrees are more flexible and they use a weighting scheme to decide whether you will get a science or arts classification.

However, I don't work for the OU and i could be talking out of my rse. I am sure if you contact your regional centre they might be able to help you much more.

Have you thought about taking just a freestanding certificate or diploma composed of the level 2 courses you are interested in?

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I've studied with the OU and my view is that any job candidate who has their degree through this route shows a degree of determination and application to hard work which automatically marks them above someone who has a first degree via the conventional route.

I haven't studied with the OU but as an employer I am hugely impressed by anybody who has had the drive to get some decent qualifications whilst working. Preferably job-related but not necessarily.

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I looked into upgrading my HND (Engineering) with the OU a few years ago and had to apply for credit transfer, I was offered to options, 180 credits for a open degree but less for a named subject (Technology).

I decided against it in the end and studied part time at a local university while working, got a 2:1 in the end. The uni excepted my HND so I just had to do the last year, took me 2 years part time. The OU seemed to much like hard work to me, but I am a bit lazy ;). If you think you will be able to do it then go for it! :)

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Have you thought about taking just a freestanding certificate or diploma composed of the level 2 courses you are interested in?

Thats probably going to be the other option. I'll need to look at the modules I want to do, and see how they all fit-in with my existing qualification (ie the L2/L3 conundrum). If they don't (or the credit transfer idea doesn't work), then the above route is probably the route I might well take, and I'll need to see what qualification i'll get out at the end of it.. I'll try and give the OU a ring within the next couple of days & see where I stand.

I'd love to do something in Geography, but I'm being practical at the moment, so I might leave that for later (possibly get involved with GIS further down the road). Thanks for the advice.

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A member of my family decided when he was 18, that he didn't want to come out of Uni with huge debts, so chose to go for an Open Uni degree. He is now in his early 20's, and has got as far as studying for the Honours part of a degree in IT.

All of his course fees got paid for by OU, plus he got a grant of £1000 per year, because he was on a low income.

He found the learning materials and tutor support to be of a high standard, but, as you know, with OU, you do need to stay focused on time deadlines for assignments, and able to work on your own.

You should be well advised by the OU, when you ring to speak to them.

Also, on the OU website, where they describe each module, there is a very useful section, where past students review and comment on their courses.

Good luck

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Being nosy, for those who did do a degree (or know someone who did), how long, all in, did it take you / them to complete it (I suppose it depends on whether you did the hons part or not)...

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Being nosy, for those who did do a degree (or know someone who did), how long, all in, did it take you / them to complete it (I suppose it depends on whether you did the hons part or not)...

Took the wife nearly 6 years, but see my earlier post - she failed 1 piece of work and it set her back a year.

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Cheers all for the replies so far... I did my HND over 10 years ago. It was an early, experimental course, and was a mish-mash of topics and thus was a bag o'shite, and I've always wanted to improve on it. As far as I'm aware, I've already got 240 points. The practical side of me says do the sensible thing, and go for the IT option, (as my HND is in that), but I would also consider doing a top-up with Geography - although I'll probably leave that for later.

I take it that there are specific modules you have to take to get a specific degree, and for instance, if your in the "third year" of your degree, you can only do courses that are relevant to that year. Is this right? I've been looking at modules that I'd like to do, but they are for "level 2" but I suppose seeing as I would be in my third year (level 3?), would I still be eligible to do them?

I may well consider working part-time (at the moment, circumstances may allow me to do that)...I just don't want to become a hermit!

AFAIK, if you want an honours degree you will need 120 points at level 3, i.e. 2 x 60 point courses, on top of the 240 points of credit from your HND.

If you want a named degree, you might have a problem in that there will very likely be specified courses from lower levels that you will have to do, which might not necessarily be the ones you want to do.

You should be able to check on the website.

I've been out of the OU for a few years, but there used to be no rules about which course you could do when, except that you would need a certain background to do level 3 courses, and they didn't encourage anyone to start with a level 2 (although I did.)

But AFAIK you could do (say) a 30 point level 2 alongside a 30 point level 3 if you wanted to, as long as you had the relevant background for the level 3.

Unless you're doing it full time, they don't recommend doing more than 60 points in one year, which is supposed to = half a year's full-time study.

More than enough for most working people I should think, though in my experience courses did vary widely. I did the bare minimum for one that turned out not to be nearly as 'meaty' or interesting as I'd thought (bad choice, nearly put me off the OU altogether) and still came out with a very good pass.

Other courses were much harder work, but equally much more rewarding. (These were all Arts courses though.) I've nearly always found the course materials excellent.

The OU route does need a lot of self-discipline, but I guess that's why employers respect it.

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AFAIK, if you want an honours degree you will need 120 points at level 3, i.e. 2 x 60 point courses, on top of the 240 points of credit from your HND.

If you want a named degree, you might have a problem in that there will very likely be specified courses from lower levels that you will have to do, which might not necessarily be the ones you want to do.

You should be able to check on the website.

I've been out of the OU for a few years, but there used to be no rules about which course you could do when, except that you would need a certain background to do level 3 courses, and they didn't encourage anyone to start with a level 2 (although I did.)

But AFAIK you could do (say) a 30 point level 2 alongside a 30 point level 3 if you wanted to, as long as you had the relevant background for the level 3.

Unless you're doing it full time, they don't recommend doing more than 60 points in one year, which is supposed to = half a year's full-time study.

More than enough for most working people I should think, though in my experience courses did vary widely. I did the bare minimum for one that turned out not to be nearly as 'meaty' or interesting as I'd thought (bad choice, nearly put me off the OU altogether) and still came out with a very good pass.

Other courses were much harder work, but equally much more rewarding. (These were all Arts courses though.) I've nearly always found the course materials excellent.

The OU route does need a lot of self-discipline, but I guess that's why employers respect it.

I've been on the OU website, looking at the various modules that are available in area I want to do. It seems as if i've got to watch for what modules are a pre-requisite, and what other course(s) I would need to do in order to achieve that qualification. I've noticed that you can do "short courses" - normally 10 points each. It didn't realise that 1 point = 10 hours study, so a 360 hons course would be 3600 hours! I can't remember my HND being 2400 hours in length!

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I've been on the OU website, looking at the various modules that are available in area I want to do. It seems as if i've got to watch for what modules are a pre-requisite, and what other course(s) I would need to do in order to achieve that qualification. I've noticed that you can do "short courses" - normally 10 points each. It didn't realise that 1 point = 10 hours study, so a 360 hons course would be 3600 hours! I can't remember my HND being 2400 hours in length!

Aren't most of the 10 point courses at lower levels? (though I might well be out of date here.)

As far as I remember, they used to say that a 30 point course would need around 7-8 hours a week, a 60 point course double that.

Which is quite a lot if you're working and trying to fit in family/social life as well.

But again, a lot depends on the course and how hard/easy you find it.

One thing I'd say, whatever you do, don't be tempted to take on too much.

I did that once, and what with work deadlines and elderly parent stuff I had to drop out of one level 3 course because I simply couldn't keep on top of it as I wanted to. I could probably have muddled through the TMAs*/exam and ended up with a bare pass, but I didn't want to do that.

*tutor marked assignments.

If it's still the same, half your course assessment comes from an average of your TMAs, half from the exam. And you have to get the same in both for a particular level. i.e. you can get a distinction average in your TMAs, but unless you also get a distinction in the exam you won't end up with an overall distinction for the course.

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Interesting reading all this, I'm planning on doing an OU course at the end of the year a Geography or Geosciences HND all being well. I haven't looked too much into it yet though the only thing that worries me is my maths is a bit pants and part of the course involves maths (scientific notation specifically) so I'll have to bone up on that before applying methinks. I've got an English degree but it's been about as much use as tits on a bull.

I'll be working full time so I may have to become a bit of a Billy No Mates but it has to be done :)

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Hello, good luck with it.

I took a BSc Open ( I chose my courses instead of taking the specified ones for a named degree) and a Postgrad certificate in Technology Management. I got a 2:1 and a 'merit' respectively.

I have always been a bone-idle b'stard and I always leave everything to the last minute....and probably always will.

I think that if you are scrupulous, read everything around the subject etc and do every single little task in the key course texts then you probably could need the 16-20 hours but it is eminently possible to do well if you only have a few hours a week....I managed to fit in three 'level 3' courses (90 points) while working long shifts abroad and i wasn't at all familiar with one of them, so it can be done.

I hope this helps

How did that particular course help you with your career and was it well recognised? I work in electronics and have thought about doing an MBA but only completed my MEng 3 years ago - the thought of 15+ hours a week on further work isn't so appealing right now.

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I did the first year of an MA in Art History. The course was excellent, and the amount of time required I managed around work. Wouldn't have a hope these days, with kids in tow.

It was a great way of getting a bit of breadth in my life in my twenties. You can only go out and get pissed in pubs so many times before it gets boring.

The wife is doing a BA in Psychology now, and it can be frustrating at times as she struggles with the poor guidance at times, but it is do-able with relatively little time spent and is convenient in other ways.

The OU is an institution to be really proud of.

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I am currently studying at the OU. BSc(Hons) Mathematics and Statistics. The degree takes over your life. So be willing to cancel some of your social time with others for your degree if you want a first.

The TMAs and CMAs can creep up on you if you are not diciplined. You need to compare the opportunity costs of time vs study as when you go down this route, it's a big chunk of your life given away.

The exams are fairly difficult because you get use to taking your time answering the questions when sending back your TMAs. Practice before going into the exam room.

OU is good for your hand writting, it will hurt in the beginning but you'll get use to it.

Enjoy it.

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Do not be fightened of mathematics. I used to have a real phobia about numbers, but once you get started, it becomes enjoyable (an acquired taste I supposed).

Scientific notation should not be a problem for you with a bit of practice methinks. ;)

Agreed on the arts / humanities degrees. I`ve got BSc (how the hell is it a science??) Politics with International Studies: `Chips with your burger sir?` :rolleyes:

Cheers for that, I have some kind of phobia of numbers but it's getting tedious now and I want to sort it.

I hear you about the Degrees, my 'Did you put two sugars in my tea you Gomer? (Hons)' certificate was oh-so worth the time and money. :angry:

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I'm just wondering if anyone has done a degree on the OU? I'm thinking of topping up my HND up to a full BSc, and I'd rather go through the OU, rather than getting a degree from some rag shite uni. Reading about it, it takes 16-20 hours a week...How did you manage your life around it?

My mother did OU back in the '70s, as soon as her brood were old enough to be at school during the day.

Took a lot of application to be up at all the unsocial hours for the broadcast modules. She gained some good friends through it. Certainly learned a lot, and (I strongly suspect) did more to earn her degree than I did. Recommended if you're willing&able to make time for it (and time is flexible - no penalties for going slowly if you don't have much time).

Mind you, she never got a very exciting or well-paid job out of it. We all blame ageism.

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