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Overseas OU Students

I’ve just been made aware of a great site that has only recently been set up. It’s for students who are studying or are thinking of studying at the OU outside of the UK and Ireland. If you fit the bill, the website is at open university.edu.

If you’ve read any of my other posts, you’ll know that amidst the moaning, I am a big, BIG fan of the Open University. It helped me finish my degree when my lack of funds was preventing me from going back to a more traditional uni.

Carrying on in the spirit of distance learning, I’ve signed up for some courses from Coursera and FutureLearn (FutureLearn is wholly owned by the OU so you know it’s gotta be good). I have been indulging in my love for history on FutureLearn and anthropology on Coursera. But now I’m working, I’m finding it very hard work. It’s hard to pluck up the motivation. And that just made me want to give a big shout out to all those people who study with the OU whilst managing a family and/or a full-time job: you guys are machines. Serious respect!

I’m still good, by the way. Working as a copywriter which I love 🙂 I know I don’t update much as I want to keep this blog a resource for people looking to study with the OU and I don’t want to clog it up with my ramblings! If you’re interested in my life, cheek out my personal blog over yonder (although I am terrible at updating this too!)

Nikki x

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Posted by on February 3, 2014 in OU

 

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An Ending

I haven’t written in here since NOVEMBER and I finish my final (if I pass!) OU course on May 31st. Needless to say, the end is nigh for this blog. That said, I want to keep writing, and more regularly. If you are so inclined, please do check out my very new personal blog over here.

Anyhoo, for my last course I managed to scrape a 2:1; hoorah! The hope is I can continue the trend with my current course (AA315: Renaissance Art Reconsidered). For my first two essays I received a 2:1 but I’m not that optimistic for the final two.

My next essay is due in April 5th, is worth 40% of my final grade, and I only have a week to do it (which I think is UTTERLY unfair). And I don’t understand the question. Granted, I haven’t asked for any help or checked out the forums so far, so hopefully my understanding will be better this time tomorrow!

I have received back my proforma for my final Independent Essay and things aren’t good that end either. The direction I wanted to go in is pretty much a dead end so I have to re-evaluate what the heck I want to write about. This isn’t easy as I have discovered I dislike Renaissance art greatly and don’t care about any of it – and if you don’t care, it’s unlikely you’ll write a good essay.

Having said this, I am pretty motivated to pass this damn course because I refuse to spend another second of my life studying; I am utterly fed up of it and just want a grown up job with some monies please!

This year, a few things have changed with the OU which I dislike: the main one being their constant fiddling with the submission time of essays. When I first started, it would be Friday at midnight. Then it moved to Friday midday. Now it has moved to Thursday midday. This effectively cuts out two days of essay writing for the average person and I am not happy with it, at all.

I also don’t understand my next essay being worth 40% and only having a week to do it, whereas the Independent Essay is worth 50% and for that we have six weeks.

I don’t understand such changes and I just thank my lucky stars that I have parents willing to support me because no way could I do this amount of work, hold down a full time job and still hope for a social life! I do sometimes wonder if this is why the OU appeals to the older student: at 24 I need a social life! Also, after being in education for twenty years, my motivation for textbook based learning left me a good long while ago.

Oh well, moaning over! Hope you’re all well and thank you for reading 🙂

Nikki x

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2012 in Art, OU, TMAs

 

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Long Time, No Write.

Gosh, September 8th was when I last wrote here. Since, then I have finished my EMA, collated it and sent all three copies off to Milton Keynes.

I was confident with it at the time, but with hindsight my confidence has dwindled. Last year I thought I did really well in my exam but I only got a Grade 3 Pass (a 2:2. I have been told this is the degree classification of the partier, which would be rather accurate. I do like a good night out). I did do better on my TMAs this year compared to last year though so who knows? I do have to admit, I found it much easier to secure 2:1s when I was at actual university than I do with the OU. Lord knows why, because I never used to pay attention in lectures. My friend and I used to pass notes to a guy who sat in front of us. About dolphins. It was very bizarre! (But we were drama students, so I think we can be forgiven.)

Anyway, AA318 has finished and I have embarked upon AA315; Renaissance Art Reconsidered. I am actually finding this course more enjoyable, I think because there were set rules artists had to follow and these are easier to digest than a 20th century artist putting forward odd notions about what exactly made him enlarge Brillo boxes.

The only part of this course I don’t like is architecture. I think it is half down to the way the author wrote the chapter, half because I find it very difficult to visualise in my head, even after watching the DVD. I have never been interested in architecture, I find it too technical. However, I found learning about how frescoes and altarpieces were created very interesting indeed. The jury is still out on sculpture because again, I find it hard to visualise. But it’s easier to get my head round than architecture!

This is (hopefully) my last course with the OU; in June I should have finished! However, because this is my last year, for some reason I seem to have lost an awful lot of motivation. From what I can gather, this is pretty common. I have been studying at degree level since 2006, with a large break in 2008. That’s four and a half years. It’s tiring! I never thought I’d say this, but I’m getting fed up of education!

That said, I have started my proper Swedish classes which result in an OCR qualification. I can’t help myself! My CV is getting to the point where I have to have a few different ones depending on the kind of jobs I want to go for, because I have a lot of superfluous crap on there. (eg I have Childcare and First Aid qualifications. I got out of doing the Food Hygiene one!)

Anyway, I think I will upload a video soon of everything that came with this course. It’s all become a lot more internet based since last year which is to be welcomed, although I DO wish we could submit our EMAs online. Recorded delivery is bloody pricey!

Hope you’re all well, and sorry for not writing for two months!

Nikki x

 
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Posted by on November 14, 2011 in Art, OU, Universities

 

Fees.

It was inevitable, I suppose. The Open University is going to be charging a lot more for its courses. Full information can be found here.

For students in England studying with us for the first time from 1 September 2012 there will be a standard fee of £5,000 based on 120 credits of study. This is equivalent to a year’s full-time study at traditional universities.

Now the majority of OU students study part time, like me. Part time study equals 60 credits per academic year and that will cost £2,500.

Currently, each course costs a different amount. My next one is AA315 and that has cost £700. However – and here is what really encouraged me to study with the OU – I have been awarded financial support. I have not had to pay for any of my OU courses, which is what made it so very attractive to me as a 23 year old who only works part time and already owes £8k to the Student Loans Company. Now I believe I am correct in thinking that from September 2012, gone are the days of financial support: now you have to be like any other student and have a student loan.

Previously, student loans were not available to part time students, but they are now, which obviously makes the plan more feasible.

Now, for those who are already an OU student working towards a certificate, diploma or degree, it’s a little bit more complicated, but there is a nice guide and video for you here.

I have to be honest… these changes anger me. I am not, in any way, angry at the OU. These changes will not affect me. But I am angry for the group of kids who happen to be a couple of years younger than me and will pay over twice as much for the same standard of education that I received. I am angry at the government who received their education for free. I feel our generation is being left behind by previous generations who had everything handed to them on a golden platter.

The most irritating thing about all of this is that it only applies to students in England. Not Northern Irish, Welsh or Scottish students. So if you aren’t English, well done on living where you do now.

These fees are still way below what other universities are charging; £4,000 less. This is good; it will make the university a lot more attractive to students who balk at the idea of paying £9,000 a year (which I frankly think is a disgusting amount). Also, less fees means less interest.

But it is a blow to the idea of education as a right. I believe education is a right. It is not a privilege. Knowledge is not something that should be denied to those who are unable to pay. It’s a shame for those students who are ‘hobbyists’; who study for the pure enjoyment of studying. Paying such extortionate fees will turn education into a commodity; something that can be bought and sold, and not something that is valued as a pastime in its own right.

Many people ask why I study History of Art. I study it because it interests me. I have never been one to think about future job prospects. I study for the pure enjoyment of learning, and I fear that such fees will change how we view certain subjects, particularly the arts. A world without artists, dancers, actors, musicians is a very bleak world indeed. A country where the vast majority of the population stopped studying at 18 is also very bleak. How are we expected to compete with China, Japan, Germany? Many people moan about immigration, but think of how many immigrants work in the NHS. More will be needed now.

These fee hikes were inevitable, and we should not be blaming the university. They are still offering fees at a far lower price than all other universities, and that is something to be proud of. But it is a sad day for education and the notion of life-long learning.

Nikki x

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2011 in OU, Politics

 

DVDs.

I’ve done all my singing, I’ve done my first ghost tour. I’ve booked the train to go to the Tate Modern for June 27th. So now all that’s out of the way I can concentrate on my course! Hopefully 😉

 

One thing I dislike about my course are the DVDs. You might be thinking; ‘What?!’ but hear me out.

The DVDs are like lectures. One of the reasons I disliked ‘actual’ university were the lectures. I am not an auditory learner. I can’t sit there and take it in unless there are lot of pretty pictures and emotive speaking. I don’t know why professors are so scared about letting their voices have emotions. It makes for a very dull programme!

One programme that I think the OU should take note of is The Seven Ages of Britain which was presented by David Dimbleby (who is an actual legend). Now this programme was made in partnership with the OU. I think our course DVDs should be as fascinating as that programme was. Just throwing it out there… 😉

But this is just my opinion; I’ve not met many people who complain about the DVDs. But for me, it’s a battle to stay awake. It’s the same with the audio CDs; I’ve had to download the audio transcripts because I can’t just listen to something. Unless that something is music 😉

Nikki x

 
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Posted by on June 13, 2011 in OU

 

Video and Singing.

I put together a little video of how I study and prepare for TMAs. It’s not that fascinating, but I show you what my course books are like:

I have spatial synaesthesia, which means I have a pretty good mental calendar. However, this calendar only operates on fortnights, and so much stuff is happening recently that I have given in and bought myself… a Filofax!

I’m actually really excited about getting it (I bought it off eBay), it’s super cute, look!

Last Sunday, I got an unexpected invite to go see Derren Brown’s show Svengali. One of my best friend’s sister is the manager at the Alexandra Theatre and she had some complimentary tickets left, and I got invited! This made me ever so happy, because I worship Derren Brown and the only reason I hadn’t booked tickets to see Svengali was because my mom preferred to go see Legally Blonde (which we do have tickets for). We could have sat in the stalls but we went for the dress circle; what fools! Haha but seriously, he was amazing. I want to marry him. But he’s gay. Oh, such a waste!

In other news, my job has roped me into singing at the Stratford Fringe Festival on Saturday 28th. People are going to pay to come see me sing songs from musicals. Like, what?! This job is just insane but I’m taking it in my stride! I’m uber excited, even if I end up only performing for my parents and 2 other people :mrgreen:

And to top it all off, my local newspaper (Solihull News) have phoned me and want to put about me in their Entertainment section! Haha it’s all so insane. So I have no idea when I will be able to study because I have far too much to do at the moment, but it’s all good!

Nikki x

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2011 in OU, The author, Videos

 

Essay submission.

I find it odd that no other universities seem to use electronic means of essay submission. My neighbour’s daughter is at uni in Manchester but was at home to finish an essay. She believed it was due in on Friday. On the Tuesday her friend texted her and asked her if she had submitted it. Turned out it was due in on the Tuesday. So her mom had to drive her all the way from Earlswood (on the Warwickshire/West Midlands border) to Manchester uni.

This is so bizarre. It’s 2011! Deary me. Thankfully the OU uses electronic submission which means you really can leave it until the last minute to submit your essay (although of course, computers and the internet aren’t infallible).

I got my latest TMA back on Thursday and it was great to be able to check my result on my iPhone on the train on the way home from work.

Well, what else have I been up to? On Saturday I had a few friends round and we watched Eurovision. I was unimpressed with Azerbaijan’s entry, and I voted for both Sweden and Ireland. I really liked Jedward’s song, which disgusts me in so many ways haha. I was sort of gutted Sweden didn’t win because I had planned to go to the Eurovision next year if they were hosting it.

I also booked my Stockholm holiday for August on Saturday! 25th-30th and we’re staying on a yacht! Well, it’s a yacht that is permanently moored and has been converted into a hotel. It’s in the centre of Stockholm, and we picked it because of the price. For a hotel within walking distance of Gamla Stan you’d pay triple what we did. The hotel is called Mälardrottningen and this is it:

I went to Stockholm last year and I am going again because I hope to study for a masters there. I speak a little Swedish and am hoping to take classes at Brasshouse from September instead of doing drama. It’s a little bit more beneficial than being in the chorus for Me and My Girl 😉

Nikki x

 
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Posted by on May 17, 2011 in OU, The author, TMAs

 
 
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