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Open University

(82 Posts)
mollie Tue 04-Feb-14 19:30:48

I quite fancy doing a course and have been browsing the OU site but I'm disappointed by the choice now and shocked by the fees! I did some OU courses in the mid-90s so I knew what used to be on offer but I guess the change reflects the current demand. Does anyone else study with the OU or an alternative?

HildaW Tue 04-Feb-14 19:42:00

Finished my OU degree 5 years ago and had a great experience. Yes, its pricey - mainly because Gov funding was slowly withdrawn over the decades making all those lovely Summer Schools far too expensive to keep going. That being said it's 'proper' teaching and recognised throughout the world so I'd still be happy to recommend it. I loved every minute of my Humanities/English Lit degree.

mollie Tue 04-Feb-14 19:49:21

Congratulations HildaW. I did three courses in the mid-90s including one summer school and enjoyed every bit but had the opportunity to transfer my points to a full-time university course in 1997 and graduated with a history/eng lit degree in 2000. Pity about the funding but I suppose the OU's reputation stands it in good stead amongst all the other unis but it's taken it out of the scope of the pleasure/leisure student...

annodomini Tue 04-Feb-14 20:27:22

I did three OU French courses in the '90s because I had long regretted not taking languages at University in my youth. Now my DS2 is doing the OU French course, having done Spanish in conjunction with a Business course at Uni. I also enjoyed a creative writing course a few years ago. Now I don't think I can afford any more OU courses. sad

Eloethan Wed 05-Feb-14 00:09:56

I did several modules in the 80's and thought the materials provided, lectures, summer schools and feedback were excellent. It wasn't cheap then but I think it's very pricey now.

HildaW Wed 05-Feb-14 12:30:13

Yes, the OU has kept its standards high and thankfully it's qualifications stand alongside other Universities, in fact there were ever increasing numbers of younger students taking courses when I was studying. Many younger people study more vocational courses alongside their full time careers. Stepson is near completing a computer (all gobbledegook to me) degree course he started in his early 30s. His employer has paid for a large proportion of the course.

I'd always recommend people our age (??) finding out about their local U3a. They do vary depending on area and personalities involved but many run fascinating courses.

TwiceAsNice Wed 05-Feb-14 16:45:25

I got a BA Hons with the OU finishing in 2003. It took me 7 years because I could only do one module a year usually 60 points but it took me an extra year because I was really interested in doing a course one year that was only 30 points and I had to do a corresponding 30 points to make up. I couldn't,t do more than one course a year as I was working full time whilst I was studying. I did find it very interesting and met a lot of people. I went to one summer school and opted often to attend study groups. It was fairly expensive I remember but nothing like the cost of attending university full time. I,d say give it a go maybe try a short course if you,re unsure. The standard of teaching I found very good.

whenim64 Wed 05-Feb-14 17:20:48

I loved studying with the OU and got my BSc (Hons) then carried on doing more. Got myself two degrees, much to my mother's astonishment. Summer schools at several universities were so enjoyable. Having been a grammar school truant whose reports read 'Carol will never get anywhere with an attitude like this' I have been a champion of the OU and encouraged quite a few people to go for it. My daughter didn't like uni, but did like the OU, and did the same psychology degree (updated). Hard work, especially when my children were small. I often fell asleep over my assignments, and have crept up tutors' driveways at 3am, posting my TMAs on the deadline, once setting off all the security lights as I crunched along the gravel driveway. My good friend, a retired teacher, is now doing OU at the rate of 15 or 30 credits at a time, and has got a diploma to spur her on towards her degree. Great stuff!

wisewoman Wed 05-Feb-14 17:28:57

I am another ou addict. Have done two degrees and now embarking on a third. So much to learn, so little time!! It is expensive now but as a hobby it is cheaper than golf or many other pastimes. If you divide the cost by weeks in a year I think you will find it isn't too bad. Having said that, have you heard of MOOC courses (massive open online course)? (You can find them online) They are completely free and are taught online. Courses are from universities all over the world I am doing an Introduction to Philosophy course from Edinburgh University. Have just done the first two weeks and it is really good. It can be done in a couple of hours a week but there is loads of advice about further reading if you want so you could do as much or as little as you like. So far I am a fan. If, like me, you are studying for interest rather than qualifications it is great.

mollie Wed 05-Feb-14 17:36:24

I keep going back over time hoping that some of more courses have been added, particularly on the short course list, but they are very focused on the degree courses. When I first did my Social Sciences Foundation course there were lots and lots to choose from and some very diverse ones at that. Yesterday the courses that interested me were all on their last outing - my timing isn't good, is it! I wouldn't mind doing another undergraduate degree but at up to £5k a module it's a bit steep for my pocket...

annodomini Wed 05-Feb-14 17:39:41

Thanks for that tip off, wisewoman. I might well have a look at those courses. I need something to keep me away from daytime TV! blush

whenim64 Wed 05-Feb-14 17:47:02

Coursera is another good online source. Free courses from top universities around the world, with a vast range of subjects. I did an American poetry course a couple of years ago. You can put as many or few hours in as suits you.

Ana Wed 05-Feb-14 17:53:00

Thanks for that information, wisewoman and when. Just what I need to stop my brain from rusting up

annodomini Wed 05-Feb-14 18:01:13

40 years ago, a friend suggested that I could get a job as a foundation course tutor with the OU but I didn't pursue the suggestion. How I wish I had. Another friend is a tutor and is able to take courses free of charge.

wisewoman Wed 05-Feb-14 18:05:31

I have never seen modules at 5000 pounds!! A third level full credit course is around 750 pounds which divided over the year isn't so bad.

wisewoman Wed 05-Feb-14 18:06:53

The MOOC course I am doing is under the umbrella of Coursera. It seems well organised and the online lectures from Edinburgh University are really interesting.

whenim64 Wed 05-Feb-14 18:19:25

They've shot up now, wsewoman. Some students who started their studies before the changes in uni fees are having their last year at old rates, but have been told they must either complete their studies in this year, or start paying the new rates. Still less than they usual uni fees, but very expensive.

A few alumni (myself included) I have spoken to are getting begging letters and phone calls, asking for donations to help with fees for mature students who cannot manage the costs and aren't eligible for help with funding.

wisewoman Wed 05-Feb-14 19:47:04

I did a thirty point half credit course last year and it was 430 pounds. I have registered for another half credit this year and it is 430 pounds again. The post graduate ones are very very expensive but didn't think the undergraduate ones were in the thousands.

wisewoman Wed 05-Feb-14 19:53:38

Looked at prospectus you linked to when and it seems that a 60 point (what us oldies called full credit!) is between 700 and 1000 pounds.

60 credits a year £775 – £1015

Divided by 52 weeks it is still not a super expensive hobby though I am aware that for some people it is too much. I am too lazy to go and look for a calculator!! In Scotland if your income is below a certain amount you can apply for support. Not sure about England though I am sure there is support there too.

I really believe the OU is a great institution and I hope that no one is prohibitied from studying with them because of cost though realise that this will be the case for some people.

mollie Wed 05-Feb-14 19:59:46

They are quoting just over £5k for 120 credits for an u/g degree to start later this year. That is the equivalent of a years study in an ordinary uni which are, of course, pricier. No idea what the usual 60 credit courses are as i couldn't find any details today which was odd.

whenim64 Wed 05-Feb-14 20:08:28

We might be looking at different sections, wisewoman. This us the info I was looking at, which is what my friend has been told she will start paying after she completes her current module.

'Our standard fee for 2014/2015 is £5264 – based on 120 credits of study – which is equivalent to a year’s full-time study at a campus-based university. If, like most of our students, you choose not to study 120 credits a year, the price you’ll pay each year will be a proportion of this fee:
Credits studied each year 1
Percentage of standard fee
Cost per year
Time taken to complete a 360-credit honours degree
30 credits a year
12 years part-time study
60 credits a year
6 years part-time study
120 credits a year
3 years full-time study
At today’s prices the total cost of a 360-credit honours degree would be £15,792.
1 For illustrative purposes only – in most cases, you can vary the number of credits you study each year. Most OU students study an average of 60 credits a year.'

wisewoman Wed 05-Feb-14 20:17:45

Good grief!! That is scary. I might have to think again about future psychology ones. Will maybe stick with MOOC since I am doing it "for fun".

Tegan Wed 05-Feb-14 20:40:18

Aren't OU courses free if you live in Scotland?

Soupy Wed 05-Feb-14 21:24:01

It's approx. £2,500 per 60 point module now but people can get Student Loans to pay for the course.

Ana Wed 05-Feb-14 21:39:26

Student loans for pensioners? What if they have no assets and never pay it back...?