Question about OU vs Brick(17 Posts)
The impression I am getting from some FB friends and sometimes MN is that OU provide you with all of the material to write your essays/assignments on. Is this correct?
I am middling OU and spend a huge amount if my time looking at library catalogues finding material (history degree) reading outside if reading lists etc.
In order to get a good mark do you not have to do this with OU too? My friends seem to be getting good marks with what they are provided with.
I am at a brick uni because I lack the motivation when left to myself so this is in no way a criticism I just wondered if my assumptions are correct.
Overall pretty much everything is provided for you especially on level 1. However for your final year modules you will be expected to do more challenging research or look outside the course materials.
What subject are you looking at?
I study history. I lack the commitment for distance learning. I am always awed by the commitment on here it is amazing.
As you go further up they exirct you to read around and source research articles also conduct your own research sometimes.
The OU provides alot if materials I think to make it easier all round in terms of logistics. But they are hard markers.
I have done a wide range of OU modules at all levels from the most basic to final year Masters. The OU say that you can score well on assignments by only using the materials they provide. But as you progress through the levels more critical thinking is required, and reading around helps with that.
So howuch do they actually provide, because my friends are doing really well (they are lovely and intelligent) but are literally only really using what's provided. I get that for logistical purposes this is necessary particularly as academic libraries can often require subscription.
All unis are hard markers I think and ime this differs between lecturers more than anything. Is the marking scheme different though e.g. It isn't graded 2:1 erc?
You do get lots of reading (which I guess takes the place of the face-to-face lectures students at brick universities attend), and suggestions for additional reading. Fewer tutorials, and IME the quality of tutor varies quite a bit.
Bear in mind though that working through a single OU module is the equivalent of part-time study. We all have busy lives - jobs, families, hobbies etc, but if you are studying full-time your friends might have less study material to concentrate on and fewer assignments to write. You will be finished sooner as well - my Masters took me 4 years, and the degree I'm doing now (to help me change career) will take me 6 . My brick undergraduate degree took me 4, and that was with a year overseas (languages). And it didn't feel such hard work
I did my MA through the OU and it was a course requirement that I have access to a proper university library. There's no way I could have done it without. They provided a 'textbook' which had a few articles in it but I think if I'd just used that I'd have got 0 marks! Absolutely impossible not to have access to an academic library at that level.
I did a degree at a brick uni and found I could get a good mark by regurgitating everything from the seminars and lectures, but because you have to back everything up with references and it's not enough to reference "John Smith, tutor at university X" I went through the suggested reading list for each week of the course and downloaded every one which looked interesting and was available electronically on the university library. I was lucky actually because my university had a policy that meant ALL of the essential reading has to be available electronically and often the recommended reading was too. It was great because it meant I had access to it without actually going and spending precious time in the library.
I'm only in my first year of an OU degree and up until now have used all of the resources that they sent me for my essays. This has been text books, books of illustrations, DVDs and CDs.
In the last essay I did however I made use of external websites. All of these were suggested by the OU as extra resources.
Everything is surely not available online though. I could probably write an essay just using journals I can access but ofteni need the books or some books anyway. My degree is part time and I am working and have you g children too. I am lucky that I live very close to a university that has a great department and a decent mature student intake and have family around to help. OUs sept for history has some great names and if only I could actually work effectively I would have no scruples about doing it via OU.
Anne absolutely everything with them is online. They have the most up to date academic libraries I've seen. A friend of mine is doing Phd at Oxford and doesn't have access to some of the 2013 journals I do so comes round to print stuff out!
You are sent a variety of text books per module and then there's all sorts of other stuff on your vle. Completely depends on the faculty what sort of resources you'll have access to though. For most modules you'll also need to analyse audio/visual content that is again available via the website.
You asked about marking. To gain a distinction (1st) you need to score over 85%. A 2:1 is 70%.
I'm doing psychology with the OU and yes you do get all the material you need for assignments in the module materials.
You can go outside of these but I've never needed to and I get between 70-85 for my assignments, I could probably get higher marks if I didn't have four DCs under 6 to look after.
Forgot to say these give level 2 pass for overall score and good / high pass for the individual modules.
Ask your library staff - a lot of them are. At my university (Warwick) a lot of the books were scanned (some complete with notes in the margin!) I started my degree in 2010 and it was policy then for all of the essential reading to be available. Definitely not just journals.
It's worth searching using google scholar too, you can find interesting journal articles that way, and if you add your university log in it will search the university library for you as well as the internet in general.
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