In august 2012 I applied to the OU on an openings course to start 1st September, I was nervous and exhilarated at the same time. The course chosen was Understanding Management (y179) my first formal education in nearly fifteen years and I work 40 hours a week. Course materials came a week early and I was in contact with my tutor so I started reading and taking notes, I really enjoyed learning again. The tutor would contact me every two weeks on the phone; she was a joy to talk with, helping me and giving little nudges in the right direction. I started an introduction post on the forums my learning was beginning.
The OU openings courses are available almost free if you are on a low income and offer much support to those returning to education. After a week of reading it’s time to start my first essay, lucky it seemed to go very well drawing from my life and work experience, I had it written after a few weeks. The materials from the OU are very well written with everything explained and tutor email support if you have questions. The OU has eight criteria each with a mark of achieved, just achieved, not quite achieved and not achieved.
The OU use a system where you upload your work to them, environmentally friendly saving paper. And the tutor returns a mark sheet and your work with some notes added. I waited for my work to be marked could take a few weeks I was told, so I started reading again, learning new theories, reflecting a lot , and always carrying a pen and note book. At this time my father was just moving house which required me to project manage the move, buy the furniture, decorate and clear the garden. Whilst decorating and repairs to fathers old property continued alongside. Father likes to procrastinate and I had little time but we managed to motivate each other and I recorded every task of the project from beginning to end.
I didn’t really have time to be nervous waiting on my first essay .I was going to the canteen for my break and my phone chimes, an email from the OU! Quickly I check the content of the mark sheet and elation spreads through me like glowing wave 7/8 of the criteria achieved. WOW! But this soon faded and I had to wait to get home before I could seek more information on these criteria that I needed to Improve. My 2nd was shortly uploaded and the wait started again but I was reading, the noting taking was even enjoyable, reflecting on my daily habits. Why haven’t I but this endless curiosity and questions to good use? But now I am I think to myself.
So just when I am thinking life is a bit calm I have a computer to rebuild for a friend and my girlfriends phone to fix in my spare time , I am ahead with the OU work so I have a practical few days. I arrange to sit in meeting at work and analyse behaviours: very professional and productive. My 2nd essay is returned to me 7/8 again, this time I am frustrated but I must improve. I buy some to books deepen my knowledge about management after finishing the OU material. And start working on my final report on managing a project, ideas for projects I had: loft conversion, building a computer, replacing the big end and pistons on a vintage vehicle, research and purchase of electrical goods, buying a house or vehicle, holiday or excursion. I had detailed notes on helping my father so I started planning the report and reading the online materials for my course. There was a test for the online materials with no waiting for results, 19/20 there is always room for improvement. I send off my final report and am still waiting on the results.
I start to plan the next courses, start dates, costs, durations, number of essays and assessments. If I continued with the OU it would cost me £15000 and six years. I really liked the OU it was a great match, great support, flexible, distance/online, but the duration and costs made me reconsider my learning options.
So I took the information I had and started to look around at what I could do in those years and for less. This will covered in my next post about TheDistanceLearningCentre.
Many thanks for reading.