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View Full Version : Thinking of studying at Open Universities (AU)... need advice



Chrus
June 3rd, 2009, 09:11 AM
Hey peoples

So im thinking of returning to study. I work full time so actually going to uni isnt really an option.

I was looking at studying Bachelor of Technology (Computing Studies) (https://www.open.edu.au/wps/portal/What_to_study_qualifications/?WCM_GLOBAL_CONTEXT=/wps/wcm/connect/OUA2/What+to+study/Qualifications/Qualification_Data/RMI_CPT_DEG&WT.ti=Technology%20(Computing%20Studies),%20Bachel or%20of) at Open University, and it looks like a pretty good option.

Has anyone here studied anything at OU? Whats it like? Any advice? Any words of wisdom would be appreciated.

Enrolments for next study period dont close till august, so ive still got time to think it over... just trying to get as much info as i can before i make a decision.

Cheers

Chrus

WatchingThePain
June 3rd, 2009, 09:52 AM
Hi,

Two of my freinds studied with the OU.
They rated it highly.
I have seen the study books and they are well written.
I think they send you the books then you attend a class meeting every now and then.
The fee's seem pretty similar to what you would pay at a University.
Beats sitting in a classroom (unless you want to socialise) and they probably have ways to contact the intructor if you need help.

Probably easier than being at University and trying to talk to the Tutor because they are normally unavailable.

beercz
June 3rd, 2009, 10:06 AM
Hi Chrus

As some one who spent 9 years studying with the Open University (and another 3 years part time studying for an MSc with the University of Kent) I think I am well qualified to answer this. So here are my tips that worked for me.

Have you any gardening, decorating or other project to do? If so, get it done before starting!

I compared it to those who are serious about running - they have to do it every day. When I studied, I always tried to do a little bit every day - it kept the momentum up, and I didn't get behind (many fellow students did and struggled to catch up and their marks suffered).

Make sure you plan your time and get yourself organised. For me between 9pm and midnight was my study time.

Find space that is comfortable for you, is "your" space and is quiet.

Get into the habit of reading and making notes on a regular basis.

Always carry your current study materials with you, you may well find you have an odd 5 minutes here, half hour there to do a quick bit of reading, studying (e.g. travelling on a train, waiting in a car park whilst my wife did a bit of shopping).

Vital: Make sure you have support from your family, friends and employer etc. You will find you may spend quite a bit of time away from them. Be open (no pun intended) with those around you, tell them your plans and the fact that you may spend chunks of time away from them - and that you are likely to be stressed at assingment deadline time and especially at exam time.

Communicate with fellow students and your tutor, attend tutorials and self help groups (where groups of students on the same course get together informally) - if you can't find a self help group, form one! Two students are enough to form one - you will probably find that communicating with others is so valuable - trust me!!

I only did one module per year, so I paced myself (I wasn't in a great hurry to finish), so I was able to concentrate on one thing at a time and I avoided things like assignment deadline clashes and exam clashes, and it was also easier for me not to fall behind.

Don't be put off though. Go for it!! It will not be easy (wasn't for me at least), but very rewarding! Also, the kudos when you tell others that you are studying with the OU is great and employers hold studying/studied with the OU in high regard - they value qualities needed to do it (organisation, time management, self motivation, analytical skills etc).

If you have doubters, then ignore them, when I suggested to my wife that I was going to study with the OU, she laughed and commented "You'll never do it!" - that spurred me on.

After 9 years, I ended up with a BSc - 1st Class Honours, something I am very proud of.

Finally, I hope you do undertake it, and good luck with it. You will find it a rewarding and fulfilling experience.

Hope the above helps.

geekygirl
June 3rd, 2009, 10:15 AM
I was looking at studying Bachelor of Technology (Computing Studies) (https://www.open.edu.au/wps/portal/What_to_study_qualifications/?WCM_GLOBAL_CONTEXT=/wps/wcm/connect/OUA2/What+to+study/Qualifications/Qualification_Data/RMI_CPT_DEG&WT.ti=Technology%20%28Computing%20Studies%29,%20Ba chelor%20of) at Open University, and it looks like a pretty good option.

Has anyone here studied anything at OU? Whats it like? Any advice? Any words of wisdom would be appreciated.

I am have just started SP2 with RMIT through OUA, currently doing CPT121 - Java Programming.

I am studying Bachelor of Technology through RMIT and I can say that having studied on-campus at JCU, and now with OUA the level of learning that is expected is no different, except you do require a lot more discipline when it comes to studying!

Feel free to pm me of you want any more details about it :)

Sublime Porte
June 3rd, 2009, 11:25 AM
I started the same course in SP3 last year and have just done software engineering and scripting languages (python and perl) in this SP. WIll be doing java 2 and web programming next SP.

I personally find it really good, as you can study at your own pace. The materials are excellent, although sometimes the lecturers don't speak up enough, so it's kind of hard to hear them in the recorded lectures.

They also seem to focus a bit on open source programming, like using python and perl, and in web programming next SP we'll be doing php and javascript. This is good since some other universities are now starting to fall under the Microsoft spell and are offering everything .net

There's also subjects for unix essentials and c programming, which would be fairly focused around Linux I would assume.

Chrus
June 3rd, 2009, 08:22 PM
Thanks for the replies... they are all really helpful.

Another question...

How is the course material delivered?
Do you get bits and pieces each week? Do you get it all up front with a plan of what you should be doing each week? Or everything up front and 13 weeks to do it, sort out your own plan of attack?

Elfy
June 3rd, 2009, 08:34 PM
The OU courses I have taken usually send the material either in one package or two - courses might be different from one another however.

They do give you a 'plan' - from memory based on getting to the assignments in good time.

I tried to get and then stay a week or two ahead of the 'schedule' - life has a habit of getting in the way whn you least expect it.

Not a great deal that could be added to beercz's post...

Do they do any pre-course material for the one you intend to study for - some course do have.

Stay on top of the work and you will do fine I'm sure - it is good fun as long as you do manage to have some contact with others doing the same course. There was when I was doing mine contact with others with s system similar to IM or irc

Good luck :)

Paqman
June 3rd, 2009, 11:36 PM
I tried to get and then stay a week or two ahead of the 'schedule' - life has a habit of getting in the way whn you least expect it.


+1 to this.

I'm doing a BEng through the OU right now. If you get organised and plan your study it's not too hard to keep on top of it. I use Remember the Milk and Google Calendar to plan my study. Getting yourself ahead of the suggested plan is a really good move though. You have to make allowances for the fact that you might need to take time off for holidays or illness.

Some courses have an exam, but some don't. If you're lucky enough to be doing a course that doesn't have an exam it's a good idea to complete your assessments as you study. Don't leave them until just before they're due. And if you do have to retain knowledge for an exam later, don't forget to include revision in your plan.

geekygirl
June 4th, 2009, 12:20 AM
Thanks for the replies... they are all really helpful.

Another question...

How is the course material delivered?
Do you get bits and pieces each week? Do you get it all up front with a plan of what you should be doing each week? Or everything up front and 13 weeks to do it, sort out your own plan of attack?


Well you buy your textbooks that same as any other degree, they have a mob in S.A. they will link you to for the text books. The CPT121 Java textbook cost $135 delivered so its about average in that regard.

As for content, well you get a login at the University where the subject is administered, in my case RMIT and you just login and use Blackboard the same as you would as an on-campus student. In otherwords, you download podcasts of the lectures, access the subject Discussion Board, (we are also using MSN to keep in touch with each other in our class), download tutorials and prac documentation - all in .pdf format. So I would suggest at the least you need a computer (der :p ) and a printer.

Apparently, and I am yet to see mine for this SP, any documentation and information you require for the course will be sent out during the first week or two.

Best thing about studying this way is I can take my textbook and study materials and study whilst at work during the slow periods and fit study in with my life rather than having to fit my life around on-campus study. I do miss the class interaction and campus life that you get at a 'normal' (if you can call it that lol) Uni, but its all about studying anyways!