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General Chat Thread, School Funding an OU Degree in General; Hi guys, I floated the idea of an OU degree to my boss and he has encouraged me to gather ...
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    School Funding an OU Degree

    Hi guys,

    I floated the idea of an OU degree to my boss and he has encouraged me to gather some more information.

    I would have to prepare a document as to why the school would benefit. Has anyone here done this? My role is ICT Systems Manager of a large secondary school, with budget control and line management duties.

    I'm cautiously optimistic that this might come to fruition, but a strong case to back me up would really push it over the line.

    Would also be interested to hear of experiences when studying with the OU.

    Many thanks in anticipation,

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    steve's Avatar
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    Having recently completed my OU degree, on a personal level you'll find it rewarding - I paid for it myself and was given no time off so my employer had no influence on the course I took. For your school it would depend on the modules / degree you undertook.

    I took an open degree that allowed me some flexibility to take both IT and other courses (management / personal development).

    I'd suggest you look at a pathway that interests you - IT / IT with management / etc. Then look at the modules topics and try mapping that to some of your roles / responsibilities, along with ideas on how you could use opportunities that arise.

    It'll be about doing what you do now but better and doing new stuff that will improve the service you offer.

    For example I took the module: - Managing 1: organisations and people (B628). This had the following topics -

    Being a Manager - Developing management skills - dealing with stress / pressure (identifying this in others), time management.

    Communication - Improving skills for communicating within the team and to the service users.

    Making decisions and solving problems - (Not IT problems, management problems) Introduced problem solving techniques, using SMART recommendations.

    Planning, controlling, monitoring and evaluating - Using techniques to ensure plans are implemented in a managed way, reducing risk.

    The receipt and processing of information - What is good quality information, learning from information, using information to influence.


    The above are just a few quick examples that show how you could argue that it will improve your management of the service, improving the users experience, improving any staff working for you.

    All the courses I've done improved my writing of reports (you'll do hundreds).

    From IT courses, you can use the knowledge to improve systems, design / implement new systems.

    One thing to note is it will take you several years so don't let anyone expect for things to happen overnight.
    Last edited by steve; 20th February 2014 at 10:59 PM.

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    Gardinho (20th February 2014), speckytecky (21st February 2014)

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    GREED's Avatar
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    I approached my first school I with the same idea... dropped like a stone... left a year later.

    I am always wary of companies paying for big qualifications they tend to want to throw it back at you at any opportunity... but of course depends on the boss and company.

    OU was better 10 years ago you could get grants and all sorts based on income, as well as each module costing as little as £250... not now!

    OU is defiantly worth it though.

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    Thank you @steve. That's great advise.

    That's an interesting point @GREED. One which I will definitely take into consideration. Seems like a good opportunity to get an expensive qualification though.
    Last edited by Gardinho; 20th February 2014 at 10:40 PM.

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    witch's Avatar
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    Many universities do distance or part-time learning degrees now - might be worth looking into?

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    Gardinho (20th February 2014)

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    Thanks @witch. I've looked a little into it. It appears that distance learning at the other unis require an element of day release, which unfortunately isn't an option for me.

    Please correct me if I'm wrong.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gardinho View Post
    Thanks @witch. I've looked a little into it. It appears that distance learning at the other unis require an element of day release, which unfortunately isn't an option for me.

    Please correct me if I'm wrong.
    I've just had a look and some definitely do online courses with no requirement for day release - Herts uni was the first one I saw
    Last edited by witch; 20th February 2014 at 11:06 PM.

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    Gone down a similar route to yourself and completed a number of modules towards my degree via OU. Would advise you to research it properly first as i'm sure you are as its time consuming and expensive.

    Long distance learning requires a fair amount of dedication. Some modules which are level 3 (like B628 which @steve outlines, i've done that module as well) OU suggest it can take as much as 37 hours study per week. In reality is wasn't really that many, but it could be when you include the time you spend on reports and assignments and depending on if you understand what your reading etc.

    I don't want to put you off, but do consider the time it will take. I thought I would be ok, and started out bright eyed and bushy tailed, but by the time i'd worked an 11 or 12 hour day, sat in a traffic jam on the way home the last thing I wanted was to open up my uni books to study.

    Possibly start out with a module that contributes towards a smaller qualification or undergrad degree? But can also count towards a full degree - that way you will see if you can stick with it and find the time to study and if not in some cases you can do one or two more modules and still get something.

    Not to sure how working environments see degrees these days to be honest compared to technical qualifications and to complete a degree would take as @steve says a number of years.

    Either way good luck - hope your letter / proposal goes well.
    Last edited by Max_Power; 21st February 2014 at 07:57 AM.

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    Gardinho (21st February 2014)

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    All valid points from everyone. Thanks to all who has contributed.

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    Just be sure you are ready to give up your evenings and part of your weekends most of the time ! I see the value of the degree as I have been doing it and gaining additional professional skills but like has already been stated it's hard to get enthusiastic after a day at work ! Be mindful of any major changes in your future circumstances as well which will take away from this time. The modules are very expensive now, I am currently on the old pricing scheme so it's not too bad but people on the same modules paid more than double what I am currently paying.

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    The foundation degree has slightly different modules (some I'd be interested in - ie Project Management).

    Would you advise going down that route and upgrading in the future once I know I can stomach the work load?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gardinho View Post
    My role is ICT Systems Manager of a large secondary school, with budget control and line management duties.
    If you're going to put time, effort and money into furthering yourself, are you quite sure a degree is the best way to go about it? In the time it takes you to do a degree, and probably for a smaller cash investement, could you just get on and write a mobile app, or a web-based service of some kind, or if actual programming isn't your thing, use someone else's software to set up a service? At the end of it, instead of a degree you have your own business, hopefully making some income.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    If you're going to put time, effort and money into furthering yourself, are you quite sure a degree is the best way to go about it? In the time it takes you to do a degree, and probably for a smaller cash investement, could you just get on and write a mobile app, or a web-based service of some kind, or if actual programming isn't your thing, use someone else's software to set up a service? At the end of it, instead of a degree you have your own business, hopefully making some income.
    It's not my own personal money, the school would be funding it. Otherwise I would agree with you. They're encouraging me to look at long-term CPD.

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    I'm in the middle of a degree from Anglia Ruskin, that is all online with no day release. It is more about developing as a person, with regard to the work setting you are in so can be molded to most situations. In my cohort there is a peripatetic music teacher, a HLTA, a business analyst and me (IT Tech) we are all using the elements of technology around us to work through the 3 year course. I would say that i am funding myself, and finding my own time, although there seems to be enough as its set up for slightly older people than me, 22, who have family or other similar commitments. Hope that helps.

    The Course

  22. Thanks to fs171 from:

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