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Do you have any questions about studying a course or qualification with The Open University? Open University have answered your questions

(76 Posts)
EllieMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 20-May-19 10:11:36

Answers are now back - you can find them on this page

Returning to education can feel like a bit of a daunting prospect, especially if it’s been years since you last studied. Whether it’s studying to improving your career prospects, or fulfilling a life-long ambition, The Open University would like to know what’s stopping you from achieving your dreams and if you have any questions about studying a course with The Open University. Amanda is a student at The Open University and Kimberlie works for the The Open University as a Student Recruitment and Support Advisor, both of whom will be answering any questions you have about returning to study.

Here is some more information on Kimberlie Johnston: “Kimberlie is a Team Leader in the Student Support Centre at The OU and a single mother of a 6-year-old boy. From finding the right course for you, to helping with registration, Kimberlie and her team of advisors have helped thousands of students realise that it’s never too late to set a new goal and study towards it with The OU.”

Kimberlie says: “Having children should not have you thinking that your time to achieve your dream has passed. At The Open University we are proud to be the UK’s leading distance learning provider, giving you the flexibility to continue to work, take care of your little ones or stick to your usual day-to-day routine all whilst being able to study in your own time.”

Here is some more information on Amanda Trotman: “Amanda had longed to gain a qualification but after becoming a widow with four children to look after, this seemed like an unachievable aim. But with the flexibility and the support offered by The OU, Amanda has been able to study for an Open Degree, focusing particularly on Forensic Psychology, resulting in a huge confidence boost."

Amanda says: “I chose to study with The OU as it was the only way that I could achieve my goal, whilst still having the flexibility to maintain my job, provide for my children and manage all the other commitments in my life. Looking back, I can see that my studies are what kept me going during the hard times and my confidence has grown so much as a result.”

Would you like to know more about your options for studying around your job, family or other commitments? Perhaps you have some questions around a specific course, the application process, or the support you’ll receive during and after your qualification?

Whatever questions you have for The OU, post them on the thread below and we will choose approximately 10 for Amanda and 10 for Kimberlie to answer. Everyone who posts their questions will be entered into a prize draw where 3 MNers will win a £100 voucher of their choice provided by Mumsnet (from a list).

Thanks and good luck with the prize draw.

Standard Insight T&Cs Apply

OnePotMeal Mon 20-May-19 11:29:22

My question's more for Kimberlie. I actually studied with the OU when my children were tiny and have a BA in Social Sciences. They're older now and I'd like to do an MA in Art History but I'm not sure if I should do some interim study (possibly elsewhere) first? I graduated in 2005, so it's been a while and I'm rusty, so that's one thing, but also my first degree had no art history component, so I'm wondering if I should do a lower level course elsewhere first, whether just some relevant reading is sufficient, or whether the taught MA courses assume no specific prior knowledge and teach you (or signpost you) to any foundation knowledge you need? Also, is there a research component to the MA and would I need to work somewhere relevant that could facilitate that? Thank you! smile

(I don't know how on earth I'm going to pay for it either, but that's a whole other question!)

user1496959500 Mon 20-May-19 12:26:07

What are the employability rates for professional degrees? Are they respected as per established uni degrees? I'm thinking about law and social work. I have a good undergrad degree but location and family situation don't make further study easy now.

How do costs compare? What support is available? Is feedback given on work throughout modules? How are assessments completed? (Essays/exams etc.?) How is reading material accessed? Costs for a few masters I've looked at seem to be about 1/3 of typical degree costs, but what are you getting for that?


BristolMum96 Mon 20-May-19 12:51:39

Are the course standards the same as brick unis? Considering the courses are a lot cheaper, is the content fairly similar? Or is it you get what you pay for?

NeverTwerkNaked Mon 20-May-19 14:08:14

What are the funding options? I don't have much spare income but would really like to do some further study that would help my career. I don't think I would be eligible for any type of student loan. It's the affordability that deters me, I would welcome suggestions that might overcome this hurdle which currently feels insurmountable

BursarsDriedFrogPills Mon 20-May-19 18:33:14

How do you manage to stay motivated over such a long time frame (6 years if doing part-time?) and how much interaction with other students of OU do you have? Would you say you can make friends from your course?,

sharond101 Mon 20-May-19 18:41:59

Is there any funding available to help complete a course?

StickChildNumberTwo Mon 20-May-19 19:51:13

What is the highest level of course you offer? Is it possible to do a research degree with the OU?

defineme Mon 20-May-19 20:40:32

Are there bursaries available for OU degrees?

Chobotfan Mon 20-May-19 21:55:49

Is it really a recognised degree like one you'd get at a traditional university ?

50shadesofgreyrock Tue 21-May-19 00:55:25

I’ve been trying to complete Eng Lit MA remotely but can’t due to the specific requirement to attend the two sessions in MK. I’d like to ask Kimberlie if this requirement can ever be waived - I’m English with a first in Eng Lit from a UK university, and have a thesis ready to roll, but am currently living overseas. I have the research and study skills required, but am stymied because of where I am living. My intention is to complete MA and continue to PhD but I can’t figure out a way for it to happen. I can afford to travel once a year, but am disappointed that the program I need has additional attendance criteria. Kimberlie, is there any way round this?

50shadesofgreyrock Tue 21-May-19 00:58:59

Ofgs. I’m not eligible to ask a question about OU because I live outside the UK. I’m not interested in the £100 voucher. I’d still like to know about the flexibility of studying MA English worldwide though.

Prettyvase Tue 21-May-19 04:30:58

I would like a career change so what postgraduate options with funding are available for women whose children are now older and who would like to capitalise on their experience bringing up a family etc in areas such as social work or mental health?

shumway Tue 21-May-19 09:35:20

Do you have contact with other students?

TweetleBeetlesBattle Tue 21-May-19 11:54:04

I would really like to retrain, but I get overwhelmed by deciding what I should do next. Its 20 years since I studied, and I have a real fear of choosing the wrong course and its financial commitment. What advice is available to me to help steer my way through this?

ohdannyboy Tue 21-May-19 11:56:52

If you undertake a 2 or 3 year course, can you defer a year and do the course over a longer period ? I an really interested in taking a course, but feel that if I would like the option to do a year, take a year off and do the final year - I am more likely to get better results. Thank you.

lillypopdaisyduke Tue 21-May-19 12:13:59

I have a BTEC National in Business and Finance which I took in 2002, as well as 5 GCSE's, and would love to study now I have the time (and energy) to commit to an open degree, your website says you offer a wide range of flexible payment and funding options, as I don't really want a student loan. What are the options, (I work 15 hours a week and have a good credit history).

Montydoo Tue 21-May-19 12:20:59

I am a teaching assistant in school, and started teacher training 9 years ago but due to personal circumstances left. I have a Bachelor of Education (BEd), what is the best route through OU and my next steps - would I need to get a placement first - or the qualification. My Headteacher is supportive of my ambitions, but I want to take the steps in moving forward and studying part time - to fit it with family and parents.

lovemyflipflops Tue 21-May-19 12:35:43

I am really interested in moving into Children's Social work, (have 5 GCSE's and 2 A Levels including Psychology) there are so many families in this country in need of support, and social work intervention. I would want to work for an agency, or freelance - bit not a local Council (purely because of the constraints, doubling up on paperwork and OFSTED. The website says Entry to the degree must be through your employing agency' but as I am not already in this profession what would you suggest ?

crosser62 Tue 21-May-19 13:19:27

The range of choice for courses is very very limited.
I sent for the prospectus but was very disappointed.
Do you plan on expanding your choice of courses in the future?
Many thanks

jacqui5366 Tue 21-May-19 15:08:40

Do you think prospective employers value an OU qualification as high as a 'brick and mortar university ? Please give your reasons why they would ? I would consider a degree in the spare time I have available to further my career, but feel they are not 'valued' as highly. '

del2929 Tue 21-May-19 15:46:31

looking forward to reading the responses-

id also like to know re funding.

UpOnDown Tue 21-May-19 19:28:35

How long does it take to get an OU degree?

WeBuiltCisCityOnSexistRoles Wed 22-May-19 08:08:42

I know there are sometimes grants/bursaries/scholarships available (at other universities, not the OU) for students who are the first in their family to go to uni.

If a parent obtained a degree via the OU, would this make the student ineligible (is that a proper word blush) for these grants?

ButterflyOfFreedom Wed 22-May-19 09:50:28

Is there much / any actual physical face to face contact time with other students, tutors, lecturers etc? Or is it 100% online / distance learning?

Thank you

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