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On tutors.

I have adored my two most recent tutors. They have been a delight to work with. Interesting, engaging, and ready to help you at a moment’s notice. My current tutor is always emailing us out stuff to help us along with the next TMA, and if you email her with a problem, she will always reply within 24 hours. And her guidance is of actual use, instead of just writing some vague sentences about the question (as some tutors have been known to do!)

Contrast this to Kent. Whilst I had a lot of good (and not so good) tutors, they were a lot hader to get hold of. Many only accepted emails as a way of informing them if you were going to miss a lecture/seminar; very few used them for questions. Nooo, questions were for office hours. Office hours would normally be some obscure time where you would have to trek your way onto campus, and then stand in a queue and hope the queue moved fast enough before office hours ended.

There was a similar problem with submitting essays. I  understand that more and more universities are moving towards electronic submissions, but a lot are still too slow to catch on. It’s great being able to email your essay right up until midnight (the OU has a 12 hour grace period, the usual cut off point is midday) instead of again, trekking into campus ten minutes before the essay deadline, and then waiting in another queue to get a receipt.
Although, my final project for this course has to be posted. THREE copies of it. I don’t understand why that can’t be emailed either :s

With the unfortunate news of tuition fees, I feel a lot more people around my age will be considering the OU over campus universities, and I think my experience of both puts me in a unique position. Therefore, if there is any aspet of university you want me to comment on, ask away 😉

Also, thanks for the great comments on my last entry. All of you share similar feelings about the OU’s increase in tuition fees. It’s a damn shame that life-long learners are being penalised in this country. My only solace is that the Tories probably won’t be re-elected!

Nikki x

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Posted by on August 12, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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

 

The History of the English Language.

I went to the Tate Modern on Monday and have decided what to do about my final essay. I will explain it all in a video shortly. Not today, as my hair needs washing 😉

In other news, I have applied to be on Derren Brown’s next show, because I am clearly insane. Wish me luck!

Anyway, Hannah, who works for the OU, sent me these videos that the OU have made about the history of the English language. They’re very informative, funny, and just over a minute long. I love things like this. I’ve embedded the first one here for you, but do go check the others out!

 

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

 

In the newspaper!

I even managed to sneak a reference to the OU in 😉

 

 
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Posted by on May 28, 2011 in The author

 

Viva la Radio.

I was on the radio today! BBC Coventry and Warwickshire. It was so much fun, oh my goodness. I was there for about 25 minutes and the time just flew by; it was awesome. When the presenter said my full name I felt like a celebrity heee what an ego boost!

Anyway I was there to plug the singing I am doing on Saturday (2pm at The Falstaff’s Experience in Stratford-upon-Avon) but I of course got a mention of the OU in there. I think. Lol I’m sure I did. Anyway if you fancy listening to me, you can do so here. I come on at about 1 hour 23 minutes in.

Nikki x

 
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Posted by on May 25, 2011 in The author

 

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

 
 
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