Is the Open University too open?

One of the great things about the Open University is that you can sign up for pretty much any course that takes your fancy yet that’s also one of the problems with it too from the student point of view.

It’s fine if you know what you want to do. No hassles with having to prove that you meet the entry requirements for a course: just register for the course and you’re accepted. That applies in exactly the same way for honours level courses as it does for those aimed at prospective students who have no prior qualifications at all.

As far as the different levels go, clearly the best plan is to start at the lowest level and work your way up. However, if, like me, you have some prior qualifications then you don’t have to go through the major hassles that can arise when you fancy doing something new but in a similar line to something you’ve done before.

Where you do hit a problem though is when you don’t really have a clear idea of where you’re headed with your qualification. The sheer number of courses can make selecting your next course quite a challenge. Not only that, but you can come seriously unstuck if the series of courses that you think you need isn’t the series that you really need. Apparently one student who’d set their heart on teaching thought that the best plan was to do all the courses listed in the education faculty and only found out some six years down the line that they’d have to start all over again.

For the really undecided there’s even the option of an “open” degree (the equivalent of the general degree of other universities) which can include pretty much any courses that are offered.

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