The materials are good but unfortunately the tutors are really variable. Some tutors add extra requirements, some even go on holiday in the middle of studying, a lot of them are very slow at replying / marking and don't give much feedback. Worst of all is the fact that different tutors have different marking standards. In one module FB group all the students of one tutor were getting really low scores. The examples they gave of what they were being marked down for were things nobody else was. There are even people who've had a tutor make a mistake marking, admit it but refused to change it! After complaining the OU who corrected the mark but wouldn't change the tutor and they had to have their mark corrected for the remaining TMAs as the tutor disliked them. It's a shame because there are good tutors at the OU and the materials are good but when even people who recommend the OU say they've had a bad tutors it really should tell you everything. Tutors are the face of the OU to students, they really should prioritise them! From what I've read nearly all OU tutors are part time and not paid well which explains a lot. This is a side gig for them and while some go above and beyond there are others that don't care and/or are ill suited to being tutors. The OU has worse reviews than other unis for a reason. Yes, people complain more if they have a bad experience but that's true for other unis too and they don't suffer as many bad reviews. Even a lot of good OU reviews mention bad tutors! Kind of says it all doesn't it? There are other UK unis that offer distance learning and are flexible, don't make the same mistake I did, go to one of them instead!
Has some careers advice and online bits but not that useful. Can't blame them too much with all the students being distance learners it's hard to do but they really don't offer much.
The course content is usual decent, well presented and engaging. The website isn't too bad, could be better but it's alright. The tutors on the other had vary from great to awful!
Not much use, they have a few FB groups and put out a magazine. Don't really do much else.
N/A really as it's all online.
Tutors range from good to terrible (some students have had to deal with tutors that dislike them and mark them down!). The OU doesn't offer things like counselling
First and second year - wonderful. Final year - hell. The final year is the hardest by far, but it's impossible when the support is non-existent. This is further exacerbated when the module team makes mistakes with essay guidance and only fixes this when it's too late, forcing the majority of people to re-write their work. Your whole degree also hinges on your tutor. When you have a good and helpful tutor, it is enjoyable. However, there is every chance that you'll get an unhelpful and overly harsh tutor who won't help, won't answer questions and misleads you. Please, if you have any other options but this, take them!
The books are well written and the module website easy to use, however, the lack of support and actual tutorage is difficult to navigate.
Students union was essentially just a forum, you aren't allowed to discuss any essays or projects, so you can't bounce ideas off one-another. It's practically useless.
Didn't have any.
I thoroughly enjoyed my first and second year, however, the final year was a hair-pulling, mental break down encouraging nightmare. Student support was AWFUL. I have some mental health problems and learning difficulties, which is why I chose distance learning. However, I got no support for either. My final year tutor was dismissive, rude, overly harsh with her marking, and didn't appear to want to do her own job. If I could say anything to anyone thinking of going here, I would simply say that when Open University is good - it's great, but when it's bad - it's really, really bad. You have to be really self-sufficient, especially since you are teaching yourself absolutely every last scape of the module material and if you confuse yourself, that's it. No help, no support, and your marks suffer. You can't voice your concerns, you can't talk them out, you can't talk with your fellow pupils to find out if you're getting everything wrong - you are completely alone.
I adore the Open University. I left college with AS levels because at that time I didn’t find it very interesting and I wanted to be working. I like the Open University because I’m fairly intelligent and can do a degree but didn’t have to have the previous qualifications to show that. As mentioned, you gain very good skills with the Open University as it takes more discipline to study distance learning. For myself, I want to do my Masters at a traditional University via distance learning and part of the application is showing you have the skills to do so. Learning to do this full time and work 37 hours a week has if anything made my skills seem that more impressive as many people wouldn’t consider doing both. The recommended time for full time study is 37 hours a week but I’ve never found it takes that long- maybe 6 hours for a week with all activities? Different people study differently however but I’ve still managed firsts so all is well. I love the OU and all it offers, with all the staff being brilliant.
The Open University had a careers advice service that I’ve found very helpful. Furthermore, they have a recruitment site that you can sign into as a student. The whole notion of distance learning requires determination, discipline and organisation, skills that are invaluable to any job.
I like the online aspect with the variety of different sources and access to the Library which has everything you need online so it’s quick and easy to find, without leaving your seat. Tutorials are good in person although I don’t attend them all and never the online ones. With the tutorials I went too I find that some are slightly unfocussed and just being talked at doesn’t work for me but then every tutor is different.
I don’t get involved with the SU because I work full time as well as study.
I haven’t visited the campus at Milton Keynes but the places where tutorials are held are usually colleges so good resources.
They have them but I’m not involved.
Good! I’ve read reviews that say tutors don’t have time to offer much feedback however if I’ve ever had a question about my marks I just email the tutor and he always provided further support and help. The only problem I had during my first year is my tutor seemed to mark quite harshly compared to my friend who had a different tutor and got higher marks; saying that, my tutor was very academic and I was given good guidance on how to write more academically so it went in my favour. Also found out tutors have their marking reviewed to ensure it is all fair. Ive never accessed any type of councelling however I’m sure there is a service available and every time I have spoken with course advisors or tutors etc they have always been really supportive and helpful.
Graduated in 2017 with a 1st class honours degree thanks to some excellent tuition with final module and got a significantly better job shortly after, so definitely worth the hard work. Overall, mostly very good courses, well taught and interesting so if you have the commitment to see it through, a very rewarding experience.
Relevant courses and materials for the most part towards current technologies and flexibility with courses to utilise real world work and problems (and vice versa) with study. Software engineering and related courses very relevant. Helped get current job and still refer to some of the architectural course material even now.
Generally very supportive tutors and established courses well refined with excellent support. New courses and initial presentations can be somewhat flakey and some course material very poor, but staff supportive forums usually very helpful for these.
Not involved so no comment. Nothing to do with the Uni, just with distance learning and other commitments had no time for this.
Online library fairly good, although not the easiest to use. Tutorials could be a bit more local.
Excellent. Personal feedback on every coursework and tutor assessment as well as ad hoc support with any other intwrmed issues. Tutors also great with helping out and understanding personal situations too. All in all, faultless.
Waste of time and money. When it was first launched, the Open University was geared for mature students. Now, because of the influx of younger students not wanting to leave university with a huge debt (power to you, I have no issue with that), they seem to be employing tutor, whom in my experience, were there simply for the added income.
The OU used to have good hard copy editions of their material. The technology now used is awful. The standard of tuition (ahem) is questionable.
Drab and embarrassing.
What you make it.
From a scale of 1 to 10, in a good week, 3.
I'm current on level 2. Since starting with OU, I my anxiety has been helped a lot because of the confidence I've gained from meeting people, collaborating, realising I'm not as stupid as I'd first thought. I'm a mum of 5 and my husband works shifts, so studying with the OU has been great for me to concentrate on me and my own prospects whilst still carrying on with daily life. It gives me something positive and I actually look forward to studying... Most of the time, anyway! I've only encountered minor issues myself, including tutor's taking longer than the guided 10 working days to return marks on TMA's. Most have been considerate and have pre-warned us that it would be late, but every so often one comes along that is hard to get hold of. This puts a lot of us off being able to carry on studying properly as we need to know what we have to work on, but can't without our last TMA's feedback. This is minor though, doesn't happen often and is only really needed once we actually start our next TMA. Our tutors do have lives too, but a quick email to us, saying when we should expect it, would put our minds at rest a bit. Overall I'm so glad I'm with the OU. I left school before I had the chance to do my GCSE's and had to work straight away. I then had a view of myself that I was nothing, would never be able to achieve anything. This wasn't helped by toxic people and family I'd been around. Then at the age of 29, I'd cut those people out of my life and started doing things for me instead of waiting for others' approval. I have completely surprised myself and am doing really well. The OU weans you into learning nicely and you start to get a gauge for what you should be doing quite quickly. I honestly don't know what I'd do without the OU.
The OU has career sites with access to internships, jobs and events, among other things. You learn the standard skills from being at uni, but also some added, extra valuable skills from being a distance learner that can really show things such as your motivation and time management whilst having a full time life alongside. This gives people that have to work a full time job, have caring duties or a family and household to uphold a great opportunity to show what they're made of. Something that wouldn't be as likely at a birck uni.
With Combined STEM, you don't have to stick to one pathway in particular. Personally, I'm interested in some psychology, forensics and genetics, so am able to mix it up and choose modules from each accordingly. You're also able to add in a couple of non-STEM modules. I am doing A215: Creative Writing currently for my first level 2 module, then will be doing Human Biology and Cell Biology to complete level 2, fitting with my desired pathways. I love that I've been able to add something a bit less full on as an interest and that it still goes towards my degree. It's given me the chance to get a taste for all areas. The modules are taught either fully online or partially online with books and/or CDs to accompany online learning. I prefer modules that aren't fully online as it's nice to have something physically there, but it's also great that everything you need to know is on your study planner on the website where you can see exactly what you need to do. Some online modules will be mainly reading things online, but others have lots of videos and audio, to break it up nicely and keep you engaged. My tutors have mostly been approachable and have given great constructive criticism. My Creative Writing tutor has made extra efforts to send our tutor group his 'Top Tips', where he breaks things down a bit and gives advice on what he's hoping to see us show in our assignments. This puts me at ease a lot. The tutorials are great and you're not expected to watch them, but they can be very helpful by going more in depth.
They seem to be doing a great job.
They have numerous ways they can help an array of people. There's a lot of help for disabilities. There's help for when you're struggling and need some assistance in working out what your best choices could be. They're empathetic to each situation and act accordingly.
There are quite a few clubs and societies through the students association. I haven't joined any myself though.
You're able to talk to Student Support via email or on the phone about any problems. They can help with anything and can point you in the right direction as needed. I've managed to cancel modules, change my degree from Health Sciences to Combined STEM, ask for help with certificates etc, all online. They reply within a day or so by email and act promptly with any changes. Tutor feedback is mainly great. Some are a bit vague, but most tutor's will explain more if you need them to. There is access to mental health support through Big White Wall and Nightline. There's help with disabilities and adjustments can be made to suit individual needs.
It's been a great 10 years, and I hope to get my second degree and a masters in Astronomy soon. Looking forward to my graduation ceremony (you only get one, and I wanted it to be for my Astronomy degree, not my business degree).
I've been studying with the OU since 2009. Got my BA in business, and then switched to Astronomy. Got my certificate in astronomy, and now I'm working toward a diploma. All I can say is it's a fantastic university for me, as an autodidact. I've got 2 kids and a job, and even though I have very little time to study, I enjoy doing it. Finding the right field is essential. Business didn't do it for me at all, though the courses were fine and I learnt more than I ever did at my first uni abroad. But now that I finally found my calling, astronomy, I couldn't be happier. It's a lot of work, and every course is different. Don't think just because you took one course you know what it'll be like in a couple of years. This university has changed a lot this past decade. There's a lot of flexibility in your pathway to a degree, so compare courses, ask people who took them what they thought, and focus your energy on something that's right for you. But if you've got a job, kids, and other commitments, or you're too young, too old, too busy, awkward around other people, or physically unable to go to regular unis, try this one. The tutorials are very engaging, with anonymous responses to tutor questions, the assignments require you to think outside the box, and the tutors are always ready to help. The material is excellent and the online portal has been spruced up recently. Get involved in student panels to help them tweak their software, vote for your representatives, take their surveys, do the tutorials, and submit your work on time. If you do that, you're bound to do well from the get-go. I've never failed an exam or an assignment in my 10 years of studying with the OU. For that matter, I never asked for an extension. Yes, it's a lot of work, and you need to commit. But if you've got the drive and the grey cells, and you enjoy studying by yourself, you'll get through it. Also, try some of their OpenLearn and Futurelearn courses to get an idea of what you'll be studying. Good luck!
My likes: Anonymous tutorial polls, so you don't feel embarrassed if you don't know an answer Residential school not compulsory Tutors friendly and eager to help (you see them on TV sometimes, but they're very humble and accommodating people) Excellent material written by professors who also teach at Cambridge and Oxford, and printed in partnership with top universities Lovely collegial atmosphere on the forums My dislikes: My one issue is that the forum gets too cluttered sometimes, and there's no tagging system in place for the threads so students know if any of the content will help them with the assignments before they begin reading. That said, the comments in students' online journals and electronic labs can be tagged.
I vote for my representatives, but that's about as far as I go for the union. They're doing a great job, though. You can tell from the way the online portal has changed and how the information is accessed by students now, as compared to several years ago.
The online portal has everything you need for your courses, tutorials, assignments, and exams. It's all there, from previous tests and down to stationery like printable graph paper. I've never been to the uni in Milton Keynes, but the one in Camden seemed well-equipped. I sat my exams in a variety of buildings, including churches and conference halls. Everything is always impeccably organised, down to the last detail.
London is London. You either like it, or you ...like it.
There's always something going on.
The tutors are all top-notch. The Student Support Team, however, take ages to get back to you. When they do, they're not always helpful. The team that handles qualification requests also takes forever, and by golly, was one of them condescending when he refused to make my course count toward a degree. First time I'd seen question marks after my every sentence, forwarded in his reply. Like I'm supposed to see that and continue the conversation with that man like nothing happened.
My university experience so far is good because I am able to complete all my assignments on time as well as gain essential transferable skills whilst doing so. Furthermore, the tutors support and the facilities is great. Overall, I have adjusted to university very well as I have made many friends and I am now an confident individual, who thrives to do my best in any situation which an open mind and a positive attitude.
At university I have to work hard and be motivated at all times, this is a good skill as it will help me do my work to its best standard when I am working in an professional environment. In addition, due to university I have developed my time management skill as I have to ensure my assignments are submitted before the deadline. I have become a more confident individual at university since I have to often do presentation as class work, this also interrelates with developing my verbal and non verbal communication skill as I am able to speak in a well and professional manner. Also, I am able to use positive body language to keep the audience entertained and be portrayed as a confident individual. Furthermore, this has ensured that I am able to do pitch a presentation in a professional manner in the near future. I have gained other useful skill whilst studying at university. One of which is being able to evaluate, analyse, summarise and critically think when I need to regarding my assignments. I believe critical thinking is a key transferable skill needed in a working environment, as it is essential for one to be able to critically think and asses any situation at work or elsewhere.
What I like most about how my course is taught that is that the lecturers explains the topic clearly and if I don’t understand it. Then the lecturers will repeat it and try to explain it to me in different ways to ensure I understand. However, what I like least about how the course is taught is that it is hard to adjust to the techniques the different lecturers use. It is hard as each lecturers have their own way and I personally find it hard to adapt some techniques into my assignments and class work.
I am not involved in student union and the reason why I havent joined student union is because I didn’t find it necessary to.
My university facilities is overall good. I am able to access the printers, cafeteria, classrooms, library easily.
The city life is good as there’s new things to explore everyday also the price of everything in Leeds is decent. However, at times the city can get a bit hectic.
I have not joined any clubs therefore, I am unable to explain how the clubs and societies are.
The support offered by university is good as the tutors are there when I am confused regarding a particular topic. Also, the university offers a librarian who personally helps me personally if I have any inquiries. Lastly, the best support my university offers is counselling. This is very good as it provides support to people suffering from mental health.
really good, i find the material must easier to diguest and the formulas are better explained than i had in my first attempt at a normal uni. although losing weekends sucks.
They offer some support but i don't need that as i've had a job lined up from before enrolling.
I like most that there are so few group projects, and because it's part time from home i'm able to do it while having a decent job, and i like that it's about self discapline and self teaching, i dislike that if something seems wrong or i don't understand it take longer than it would in a normal uni lecture.
I don't get involved in that, because i'd rather spend that time doing something else
the site's nice, but there really aren't any facilities provided
Depends where you're studying from, I'm in a nice medium size town, on a quiet road and the view out my window that's infront of my desk is pretty.
they're nice but online mostly
feedback depends on tutor, i don't know about counselling.
I've been so chuffed with my experience so far! I'm only half way through but the support I've received has been so valuable. My employer at the interview was really impressed with my study with the OU and made me stand out against the other candidates so I got the job. I can study around my job and family so easily. All the help from the tutors and OU staff has helped my academic career beyond words. I think all the people moaning and leaving rubbish reviews have either got terrible scores because they didn't apply themselves or are simply too dim to get a degree. An OU degree is worth more than a traditional uni because it's down to yourself to earn it and show your determination, it's not handed to you on a plate. Pull up your big boy pants and study more. Its worrying that someone said that the OU is more expensive than a traditional uni- I hope that person wasn't studying maths because not one course is more expensive. So far I've saved around 8k and that's before all of the other living expenses of being a student of a brick uni. I'd recommend people do their own research before listening to that nonsense.
Distance learning is so much harder than attending a traditional brick uni and employers know and admire this. It shows determination, ability to own alone and time management skills, to mention a few.
I love that I can study in my own time. I work full time and have 3 kids so this is crucial. I love the way the course is set out and is easy to access, understand and work on. I'm comforted with the fact that my lecturer is only at the end of the phone or email and we have to the choice to attend day schools, evening tutorials or when I'm too busy, to do the tutorials online. If I can't make tutorials at all then they're recorded to listen to when I have time. I love that the student advisors can help with almost anything when I'm having a wobble, technical issue or can battle Student Finance on my behalf. I don't dislike anything about the course but I'm only 3rd year and it's only going to get harder
I'm aware of them but I've had no reason to be in contact as all is good.
I'm local to the HQ so I use the library on my days off. It's absolutely huge and well stocked with any book I need. They have desks or big bean bags to sit on, free WiFi, and clean toilets. Facilities are good so I can easily get a coffee or walk a minute to the many restaurants on campus.
It's ok, it's Milton Keynes so mostly shopping, pubs or bars for adults.
I don't have much chance to use them but they looked ok when I poked my nose in. The people are pretty friendly and happy to make me feel welcome, which I thought was nice.
I'm in awe. All my tutors have become almost like friends, all very friendly and very happy to advise. One gave me a reference to get the job I'm in now. Feedback has usually been good on assignments but I've had to ask for clarification a couple of times which I got quickly and was able to use it better to my advantage. Student advisors are open until 8pm and I've made good use of them as they are able to help with almost anything. They're all very friendly and very willing to help. All that I've spoken to so far have been students of the OU and are graduates so they can really understand and empathise with any problems I'm having, such as when Student For England don't do their job so they're able to liaise with them or when I changed my course. They have experts in all areas so I know someone will be available or get back to me quickly depending on the problem.