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General Chat Thread, Open University in General; Been considering doing some sort of qualification from the OU. Have been talking to a geek who's doing the same ...
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    Little-Miss's Avatar
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    Open University

    Been considering doing some sort of qualification from the OU. Have been talking to a geek who's doing the same thing and looking at the different options. What confuses me is they have starting dates of when the course is due to start but sometimes for example a level 2 starts before a level 1. Can you do the level 2 first?

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    teejay's Avatar
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    You can do them in any order you want, however level 2 courses build on stuff learnt from level 1 courses, but if you have a general understanding of the area of study already it's not usually a problem. It's more difficult when doing level 3 courses before the level 2 courses.

    Edit: Just to add, if you haven't studied an academic course for a while, it would be worth doing the level 1 first to get you back in the ways of academic study. Also, don't take too much on at once with the OU, it's more time consuming than it looks ;-)

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    Little-Miss (28th February 2011)

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    somabc's Avatar
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    From Open Programme | Undergraduate Courses, Degrees, Diplomas, Certificates and Qualifications - Open University

    Where to start in The Open Programme

    Wherever you start, it is a good idea to think about the courses and subjects you may want to study in the future. At the OU, courses at Level 2 build on Level 1, and courses at Level 3 build on Level 2. It is therefore common for courses at Level 2 and 3 to recommend or require you to have previously studied specific courses. Don't forget, you can talk to an adviser if you need help considering options.

    Starting at Level 1
    If you haven't studied at university level before, you should start with a Level 1 course. Our Level 1 courses are designed to introduce you to Open University study and to help you develop distance-learning skills while gaining a solid grounding in a particular subject.
    So you can start with a Level 2 Course.

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    Little-Miss (28th February 2011)

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    limbo's Avatar
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    I am currently studying a level 1 course, and although not too taxing, it has taken some time to adjust to the way of working and get into the swing of it, and there is a lot of reading to be done.

    I thought about starting with two level 1 courses or a level 1 and a level 2 simultaneously, but glad I opted just for the one - I think it would have been too much to start with (and with a lot of other things on my plate at the mo too).

    I think it does depend heavily on the individual module and how your own existing knowledge fits in with it. With the module I am doing I have not found the assignments too taxing, although time consuming, but I know a couple of people who have struggled because there is a lot of Java coding in this particular module, and they were completely new to programming of any kind. It could be that there are some level 2 modules that hit the spot with your existing knowledge and are easier for it, whereas some of the level 1 modules may be all new content and therefore a challenge.

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    Little-Miss (28th February 2011)

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    Most folk I know suggest starting with no more than a 30 point course in your first year, whether it is level 1 or 2 ... mainly due to the workload around the 60 point courses. Make sure you find out about the local OUSA as there are usually some good folk local to you who can give you pointers and support on how to study best ... nothing subjects specific, but some time management tips for TMAs, etc

    Try and have an end goal of a particular set of courses, but don't be disappointed if, after doing a few units, that you find you want to change what you are studying and it no longer fits in with the chosen degree. The Open Degree (or Open Degree with Hons) is pretty handy at giving you a wide range of options.

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    Little-Miss (28th February 2011)

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    joe90bass's Avatar
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    I started with two 30 point courses at level 1 and managed okay. I then did one 30 point at level 2 and it was much more work than the two thirty pointers together! It can depend on the modules you do, on that basis I won't be doing two courses at the same time again in a hurry - just in case.

    If you're in UNISON you can get 10% off some OU courses, and UNISON do have a small pot of money available as well. I only just found out, after doing 4 OU courses.....

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    teejay's Avatar
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    Oh and if doing a level 1 course, check if you have any Tesco Clubcard points kicking around as you can use them towards the cost of the course. Unfortunately you can't use them beyond level 1 now :-(
    You can also get grants from the OU to help with the cost as well.

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    jdoyle's Avatar
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    currently working on Cert in Web Applications Development through the OU mainly as I get no training through school and want to round off some of the stuff that's mainly self taught.

    Straight into Level 2. No major problems but it did take a bit of time to get into the swing of the OU.

    Finished TT280. Report writing - horrible. Now on TT281 and for a course with the same points it's a lot harder....

    C39 - Certificate in Web Applications Development - Open University Qualification

    Worth getting the NUS Extra card if you do sign up with the OU.

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    I started in October last year with a level one course on Finance, I didn't know anything about it but level one is a great starting point and gives you a good grounding. You can do them in any order you want as long as the end result matches the spec for the qual you're after. I also suggest plan what courses you want to do in advance, but be prepared to change your plans regularly as you find different quals or courses you'd like to do. I've planned my whole degree without any exams (I suffer from stress when exams come into things) and have found myself changing my future qual aims/plans several times.

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    I agree with the starting at level 1 if you havent studied for a while. I went straight into a level 3 and the amount of work required along side my real working role is massive. I have just today handed in a 5000 word assignment and added to the weekly activities it was over 18000 words long. There is a fair bit of work and dedication required.

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    I started on a level 2 course as it was what I wanted to study and the first to come up. It was a 60 pointer but I managed it. on my second now and just started the third at the same time, (30) points each. It depends if you are familiar with the subject as this helps. I get 50% funding from the school too.

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    GREED's Avatar
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    The thing that is often confusing is that modules are stand alone, you can do what you want, when you want and really in what order you want. This is the opposite to the normal run of things where you would follow a set structure for a course of study. Because they are stand along and people will taken them all over the place, the start times have no bearing really.

    Yes you can do any level when you like, but it is recommended you do at least one Level 1 course first.

    PS this is easier than typing the conversations out on my iPhone FB app to you!

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    Little-Miss's Avatar
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    lol Thanks Graham!

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    NP, keep us all informed how you get on and what you choose to do!

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    My first OU course was a 60 point lvl 1 chemistry course. I followed it up a year later with the Lvl 2 course that followed on from it, and the 2 10 point residential courses that go with both of them.

    I've since tried and gave up on the 30 point lvl 2 course in astronomy (others seem to like it, I found it utterly boring), and completed last year a lvl 2 course called building blocks of software (not for the faint hearted, takes a VERY mathematical, logical and almost philosophical brain), and most recently a 10 point lvl 1 course in Linux.

    You need to be methodical in your studying, and have good support from your loved ones; there's no mates around doing the same subject you can work with, and you don't get the same level of support from the tutors as normal I find.
    It's very easy to fall behind, or to get distracted.

    From my experience the difference between 30 and 60 points is not that much; 30 points is one assignment every 2 months or so, 60 points is one every month; but i found myself putting in the same level of work regardless due to the amount of reading required.

    I have yet to do a lvl 3 course, as I haven't really found one that I want to do with them yet.

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