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Open University

Discussion in 'Training & Development' started by dmarsh, Sep 1, 2008.

  1. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    I'm thinking of undertaking some OU study, I was thinking of doing two 30 point courses at once which is apparently 16 hours per week.

    Anyone have any idea how accurate these estimates are ? Are their timescales accurate, or are they higher or lower ? What are your personal experiences ? Do you find you need more or less time and if so why ?

    How are these times broken down ? How much of it is watching TV or DVD ? How much book study ? How much assignments ?

    Many thanks !
     
    Certifications: CITP, BSc, HND, SCJP, SCJD, SCWCD, SCBCD, SCEA, N+, Sec+, Proj+, Server+, Linux+, MCTS, MCPD, MCSA, MCITP, CCDH
  2. wizard

    wizard Petabyte Poster

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    As far as I'm aware the OU have done away with most of the TV programming nowadays, depending on the course, you would have weekly tutor groups in your area, also on-line tutor groups via their "First Class" Platform.

    I am due to start a 30 point course in October and that is going to last until June.
     
    Certifications: SIA DS Licence
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  3. Arroryn
    Honorary Member

    Arroryn we're all dooooooomed

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    I am also starting my first OU course in October, so have no current basis for comparison.

    The TMAs you get depend on the individual course, as far as I can gather. The one I'm on is simply a 10 point taster before I start a 60 point course in February. The 10 pointer has 2 TMAs, and is set to last 12 weeks (I've already read the set text, and I think it won't take too much pain and effort - it's just to dip my toes before jumping in).

    *most* 30 point courses have 4 TMAs - *most* 60 point courses have 6 TMAs - you would possibly generally get more work this way round.

    I have a friend who did an OU computing degree and did 2 x 30 point courses at the same time - doing them at the same time is generally harder than doing a 60 point course, but it is achievable and she ended up with a first.
     
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  4. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

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    I've done a couple of years with them.
    It's pretty intense.

    The hard part is the TMAs.
    There is a very strict deadline to get them in by, and you can't start them early because you haven't covered the required material. If you fall behind with the course material, you can't answer all the TMA questions.

    I lost many a long weekend trying to finish one off.

    If you miss more than a couple it becomes impossible to pass the course even if you ace the exam.
    Both years I lost about 40% of my tutorial group throughout the year.

    Having said that, the material is good, the support is pretty good and the firstclass/community stuff is excellent.

    I'd recommend it - but you have to hang in there!
     
    Certifications: MCT, MCTS, i-Net+, CIW CI, Prince2, MSP, MCSD
  5. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    Hi Jonny,

    How much time do you spend a week on study for how many units ?

    What form do the TMA's typically take ? How many of them are there for a 30 point course and how long do they typically take you ?

    How long do you typically get to complete a TMA ?

    Do you agree with the 30 points = 8 hours per week guide or is it more or less ?

    Any other advice or good links ?

    Mind if I ask what you are studying towards ? :D

    thanks !

    dave
     
    Certifications: CITP, BSc, HND, SCJP, SCJD, SCWCD, SCBCD, SCEA, N+, Sec+, Proj+, Server+, Linux+, MCTS, MCPD, MCSA, MCITP, CCDH
  6. Modey

    Modey Terabyte Poster

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    My question is .. .what's a TMA? Some kind of assessment?
     
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  7. wizard

    wizard Petabyte Poster

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    Tutor Marked Assignment.

    You submit it to the OU site and your tutor will collect it, mark it put any comments on the document and then upload it back to the site for you to collect and inwardly digest any comments made.
     
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  8. jo74

    jo74 Byte Poster

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    Which courses are they? M150 by any chance?
     
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  9. jo74

    jo74 Byte Poster

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    There is a website dedicated to selling OU courses, so you could get ahead of the course. Some of these used courses include TMAs so you could get practice (though not with the answers unfortunately). Also there are sometimes complete OU courses for sale on ebay.
     
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  10. jo74

    jo74 Byte Poster

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    I'm about to start OU courses in Java and Visual Basic, which have the advantage that they're courses in programming languages which can be studied prior to the course starting with books on those languages. I don't have to wait for the course materials to arrive to get going.
     
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  11. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    I already have a Comp Sci BSc, I was looking at the OU Certificate in Mathematics...

    I was a little worried about over committing myself, have decided to just do the 30 point unit to start for now...
     
    Certifications: CITP, BSc, HND, SCJP, SCJD, SCWCD, SCBCD, SCEA, N+, Sec+, Proj+, Server+, Linux+, MCTS, MCPD, MCSA, MCITP, CCDH
  12. Mathematix

    Mathematix Megabyte Poster

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    A word of advice, don't go into a maths course with a lack of confidence - go in knowing that you can pass it! During my second year of study for my computer science degree I was unexpectedly invited to a private open day by one of the UK's top two universities to to read for a Masters in Mathematics (Pure or Applied). As I've pointed out before I never got round to it because I was unsure of my commitment, and given that it was considered the toughest degree in the country, I would be lying if I said it didn't send shivers up my spine.

    Given the level that you're going for, I reckon you could at least start off with the diploma. :)
     
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  13. zebulebu

    zebulebu Terabyte Poster

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    LOL - braindumps for degrees!!
     
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  14. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    Only diploma I can see is postgrad, (unless you mean the education one?) I was looking at undergrad courses.

    My concern was to make it challenging but enjoyable, doing 16 hrs every single week, plus possibly 50-60 hours work, plus who knows what else might not be any fun.

    The certificate is their lowest math qualification as far as I can see, I'm deliberately starting off easy as I've not been in education for 13 years. The point is to enjoy learning something new and perhaps gradually build up to harder stuff.
     
    Certifications: CITP, BSc, HND, SCJP, SCJD, SCWCD, SCBCD, SCEA, N+, Sec+, Proj+, Server+, Linux+, MCTS, MCPD, MCSA, MCITP, CCDH
  15. Arroryn
    Honorary Member

    Arroryn we're all dooooooomed

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    The buddy I mentioned previously lent me her textbooks for the Open Mathematics course.

    I don't mind lending you them, so you can get a feel for the level of course content (which they recommend you do) and the work hasn't been done *in* the books, so I ain't *dumping for you :)

    PM me if you're interested.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, 70-410, 70-411
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  16. jo74

    jo74 Byte Poster

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    No they're not. Maybe I should've put an emoticon after I wrote 'though not with the answers unfortunately' :dry.

    TMA (continuous assessment) questions aren't exactly the same as the year before. And they're not multiple choice like the 'A+'.

    An OU course will include a sample exam paper with answers anyway, and they sell past exam papers (without the answers :)).
     
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  17. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

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    Just be careful with these - while it may not be braindumping, you can be accused of plagiarism.
    The OU have rules against this sort of thing.

    8)
     
    Certifications: MCT, MCTS, i-Net+, CIW CI, Prince2, MSP, MCSD
  18. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

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    I did a couple of 60 point courses.

    The problem is with the point system that if you take 30 point courses it takes you years and years to get even a diploma.

    I did T171, computing and the Internet and M209 (I think) Object-oriented programming.

    How many hours you spend a week depends on the nature of the course.
    For example, T171 was mostly reading which I did in my lunch breaks etc, so it comes down to how fast you read and digest.
    For M209 you had to carry out tasks in a development environment, so you had to be on your PC.

    Same for TMAs.
    For T171 the questions were a mixture of short questions like 'explain briefly what is meant by DNS' and longer ones like 'discuss the implications of the introduction of TCP-IP'.
    The trick was that your TMAs had to be submitted as a web page, so you had to learn HTML at the same time.
    TMAs varied in size and got harder as you went along. There were anything between 4 and 7 for a 60 point course.

    TMA's can either be uploaded on the eTMA system or posted to your tutor with a covering form.
    For some reason, despite M209 being an IT course, our tutor insisted on having them printed out and posted to him.

    I found the hardest thing was that you were expected to structure them properly, with a synopsis, introduction, summary, references etc. You will get picked up for missing out relevant information, so you need to be thorough.

    It was pretty interesting.
    With the timing, you had a submission date for each TMA, so you could start it whenever you wanted, provided you had covered the relevant material.
    I guess on average you had about 3 weeks to complete a TMA realistically.

    The trick is to check out your TMAs as soon as you can, and start answering them roughly as soon as you have covered the relevant chapters.
    That way, towards the end date all you have to do is polish them a bit rather than rush to do the whole thing.
    That's my gem of advice.

    M209 was much harder.
    The course wasn't too bad, but the TMAs required you to develop a solution to a problem in code.
    Usually each question built upon your previous answer so if you got stuck at the beginning you were in trouble.

    I hated these as the final question was usually fairly hefty and I spent many a long night wondering why my solutions were always one place out.
    I sent sevaral back incomplete as I ran out of time.

    I was going for a Diploma in computing, but dropped out of my third year due to time constraints.
    T171 has retired now, so I can't use those points any more towards a qualification (you have to use them within a year of the course retiring).
    So I've pretty much given up on it now.
     
    Certifications: MCT, MCTS, i-Net+, CIW CI, Prince2, MSP, MCSD
  19. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    Sorry to hear that Jonny ! Thanks for the feedback, its been very helpful !

    Sounds like my experience of college, keeping ontop of assignments is always easiest way.

    Yeah, coding can be hard when you first start out, gets a lot easier with practice, I think most people could learn to be good coders if they had the inclination.

    You can get upto 180 points of credit based on prior learning. Could help bring down a part time degree from 6 years. Theres also credit available for MCSA cert exams.

    Going for a non honours degree can also save a year.

    I think a part time foundation degree or HNC at local college will be easier for most, but if you don't have that option OU seems a good bet...
     
    Certifications: CITP, BSc, HND, SCJP, SCJD, SCWCD, SCBCD, SCEA, N+, Sec+, Proj+, Server+, Linux+, MCTS, MCPD, MCSA, MCITP, CCDH
  20. wizard

    wizard Petabyte Poster

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    Even though I did say I was starting an OU course in October, this is my third attempt at starting, one thing after another got in the way of completing the course.

    Back in 1993 I started the M150 and the old T171, made the mistake of trying to do both of them in the same year and got hopelessly behind in both, due to lack of discipline and ended up dropping out of both.

    So third time lucky :D
     
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