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Open To Change at The Open University

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      24.06.2008 14:02
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      I wish I had signed up years ago

      I have always regretted not getting a degree when I left school so I began to research my options for study as an adult. Studying full time was out as I don't want to live on student loans and I didn't fancy the evening study options offered by the universities nearest to me. I decided to look into the Open University because of the flexibility it would offer me. The degrees themselves seemed good but I had some doubts about signing up. The biggest question in my own mind was about the lack of contact with tutors and other students, the level of support available and whether I would have the self discipline to make myself sit down and work when there are so many distractions. I was in luck, the OU decided to open a study centre in my area and held an open day about the openings courses. The openings courses were designed for people in my position, people who were interested in studying with them but lacking the confidence to enroll. Following this session, I enrolled on the Open To Change course. This course is worth 10 credit points at level one, you need 360 points to get an honours degree but various diplomas and certificates require fewer points. The course costs £110 and there is financial help available to many people. I got my fees paid by the Student Awards Agency for Scotland but you can use an ILA or pay with Tesco clubcard vouchers as well as various flexible payment methods offered by the OU itself. The course examines the role of change in each of our lives drawing on a mix of disciplines such as business studies, psychology and sociology. You need to submit three pieces of written work, two tutor marked assignments and an end of course assessment and complete a short project which involves planning and making a small change in your life. All of the materials you need during the course are provided for you in a handy bag to keep all your materials together. The image of the OU I had was of dry TV programmes on at 2am with presenters with odd 1970s hairstyles but I found all of the materials were modern, clear, relevant and easy to follow. Each student is provided with a tutor during the course. My tutor phoned me at the beginning of the course to introduce himself and arranged phone tutorials every three or four weeks. My tutor was friendly and approachable and I found this support invaluable in keeping me motivated. I was able to contact my tutor by phone or email if I had any problems between sessions with him. I found that I received good feedback after I submitted my written work. I was ready to give up when I received a "just achieved" after my first assignment, but with my tutors help and support managed to make improvements and comfortably pass the second assignment. I have just submitted my final piece of work and am confident I will pass the course overall. The only niggle I have about the course is that it will take two months for my results to be available. I think we are too used to everything being available instantly to us these days so waiting for anything seems alien to us now. This course comes highly recommended by me if you are interested in studying with the OU but lacking the confidence to sign up. The course only takes twelve weeks so isn't a massive commitment. I have just started my second course, my only regret is that I didn't sign up years ago.

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