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Burnthem
10-12-2007, 18:15
Hey everyone, im giving serious thought to starting what will in a few years time end up being a degree with the Open University. I'm looking over a few prospecti that have been sent to me at the moment.

Has anyone here done any courses with the OU? Is anyone currently doing anything? are there any tips you can give me or any pointers that you found useful when doing something?

Cheers...

Weavetoucher
12-12-2007, 14:00
My wife did some open uni courses, she just cherry picked ones she was interested in rather then aim for a degree though, you biggest issue to check is where the seminars and tutorials are, one course she did the only place the tutorials where held was a 60 mile round trip late on a wednesday night...also look out for 'summer schools' some courses have like week long complusary attendance live in schools, the two my wife attended were in stirling for one course...(like 5-6hr drive) and nottingham for another one (5-6hr again)!!! oh and partners/kids are not allowed to be accomadated on the school sites...

lord_fenric
14-12-2007, 18:40
I might be wrong, but I *believe* that any degree from the OU will NOT count as an honours degree, and therefore from the perspective of future employment be virtually worthless.

Of course if it's all in aid of furthering your own knowledge then its all for the good and doesn't matter.

Burnthem
14-12-2007, 18:53
I'm not looking at doing an honours degree but thanks all the same - are you sure this is correct though? With the amount of people that gain an OU qualification each year (70,000 according to the OU site) it must be worth something??

lord_fenric
14-12-2007, 19:16
It will count, in terms of employment, for as much weight as the person reading it places in it. Which in my experience isn't very much when compared to other degrees from other universities. Of course, that depends on the quality of the university department issuing the degree, which is different from the overall perception of the university, but it still comes up pretty short. In terms of personal fulfillment then that's another matter entirely.

Looking at there web site it seems they now offer both.

Burnthem
14-12-2007, 19:39
Well personal fulfillment is one of the reasons i want to do it, the other being i want to get a major qualification before i hit 30. I agree that the worth of anything is only as much as your prospective employer thinks of it, but all the same, having done one shows that you have the commitment to stick at something difficult for a long time to achieve something you want. And thats something ANY employer wants :)

lord_fenric
14-12-2007, 19:51
Qualifications are a funny thing, and this is speaking from the perspective of software engineering do it might not be all that relevant to other industries.

Where I currently work (and I have taken part in the recruitment process) Having a degree on your CV is a requisite, preferably in Comp Sci and if it isn't a 2:1 or 1st it isn't considered. In that way having it on your CV isn't anything special and no one I work with treats it as such. We're a pretty small team but the lowest qualified person *only* has a first class degree, every one else is at least Masters level and we have 6 PhD's in the team (now there is a pointless degree in the real world but, very, very hard to get and *is* still worth quite a bit (but only to the right people)).

So we treat degrees as something which says you *might* be able to do something. When someone comes in for an interview we then make sure they really can do it by making them do a couple of tests because the what we need most is technical competency and experience which tend to go hand in hand.

For some reason i'm being very negative for some reason, which is bad ad anyone who wants to do a degree (as long as it's not in Klingon) is a good thing, so I wouldn't listen to me at all and just do it ;)

Burnthem
14-12-2007, 20:03
so I wouldn't listen to me at all and just do it ;)


I think i'll do just that :D

Minister
18-12-2007, 00:04
One key point with any degree course in anything: make sure the thing is recognised or accredited (as appropriate) by the relevant body. For chemistry (the only ones I've looked at) this is the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Being in the closing phased of an OU module myself I will say two things:

Firstly, they (at least in some cases) put far too little stuff at the start of the suggested schedule, which lulls you into a false sense of security, and then cram in everything at the end so that you're doing more and more difficult stuff. Throw in a week or two with a rotten cold and it's easy to fall into trouble. If you can get and maintain the stuff a week or two ahead it gives a safety blanket.

Secondly, do go to tutorials if at all possible they generally run a handful for each course so you can talk to your tutor and classmates in person, which is dead handy.

Thirdly (of two, which goes to show how organised I am), avoid doing things at the last minute. Cliché, I know, but one of the assignments bit me in the **** in grand style when I found out just how much effort was required for a stupid little question.

Burnthem
18-12-2007, 09:05
Cheers mate, i've heard elsewhere that the work load at the start is vastly disproportionate to the work load towards the end, so thanks for confirming that, i will be careful!

I am looking at doing an Open Science degree, mainly so i can keep to the subjects that interest me and also to keep open the possibility of including a little of another subject if the fancy takes me. Are Open degrees officially 'worth' more or less than area specific ones? Or is it more just people's personal opinion as to whether they compare?

Weavetoucher
18-12-2007, 12:43
Its like any degree, its worth is entirely within the eyes of a potential employer... I got a crappy degree but a great job whereas my mate got a first in photgraphy and graphics and spent 10 years in a record shop basement for pants pay... use your degree to sell yourself and your skills not as the be all and end all of life.