What is it like studying with the Open University?


Interested in finding out what it is like studying with The Open University?

I've been studying with the university for many years now, i started my OU journey back in 2010 and I've only just realised I've not created a blog about my experience studying with them yet. 

I've had a very mixed experience with work and study, i actually went to college for my As levels (in psychology, sociology and business studies) before transferring to study law via lexel whilst working full time as a paralegal in a law firm this was when i was just 16 years old. After a couple of years I realised working in an office just wasn't for me, i put on weight and i found that i was very unhappy so i decided to leave, working in various different job roles whilst i went back to study at a local university. I chose initially to study for a degree in 'childhood studies and education' i completed my first year whilst working part time. In 2010 i was pregnant with my first son Reu, this is when i took a break from employed work for a while, though i did at this point turn my creative hobby into a side business and chose to transfer to the Open University to complete my studies. I was able to transfer the credit from the first year of degree studies i had done with a local university over to them and complete my degree as an 'open degree' choosing subject modules at the different required levels studying part time. 

Through the success of my hobby business i decided to open a shop, whilst also caring for my then two young sons. I took a break from study for a while due to health, life situations including raising my two boys, moving house etc and other commitments but i finally completed: 

Credit Transfer - 120 credits 
2010 - Arts past & present  (60 credits) 
2015 - Creative writing (60 credits) 
2016 - Art of the twentieth century (60 credits) 
2016 - Innovation - design for change (60 credits) 
BA Open Degree completed 

2019 - Masters in philosophy year 1
2020 - Masters in philosophy year 2 - current 

I'm currently in the final year of my MA, i've had my TMA's back and passed all of them I've just got my dissertation left to complete and submit by September. 


Any regrets about not going to a traditional university? 

I guess in some ways i regret not going to university when i was younger for the atmosphere and the experience of it. I possibly missed out on the socializing aspect too. In terms of education, i don't have any regrets at all. I've been really pleased so far with how the Open University has worked for me. It fitted perfectly into my lifestyle and meant that i could get the qualifications i wanted without having to give up having a family or a full time job. 

What was difficult about attending the Open University? 

I think the most difficult thing about attending the open university was that i had to be really self motivated from day 1. The website is fantastic they have a module record, tutorials, forums to talk with other students etc but at the end of the day you have to motivate yourself to get things done as you are not physically meeting with anyone regularly who is checking in on you to make sure you are doing the work. 

Is there a social scene at the Open University? 

In all honesty this is something that i think could do with a little improvement, to be fair it is improving and has been over the years but its something that i felt was a little lacking when i started at the OU in 2010. There is i think a social scene with the OU but i don't really know how to access it, i'm not sure how it all works and i wish there was more help for students my age to understand how to get more involved. I think more virtual events would be good, maybe make use of zoom meetings a little more within tutor groups so groups can connect and chat more. 

Would i recommend the Open University? 

YES. 100% yes i would. It if wasn't for the open university i wouldn't have the qualifications, the skills, the knowledge or the confidence that i have now. I owe a lot to the Open University and i'm so thankful that they are there as a more accessible university for people who are in situations that don't allow them to attend traditional universities.  

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