I am now in the second year of an undergraduate degree in mathematics and I definitely recommend studying with the OU especially if you need to earn qualifications alongside working. There are many benefits:
- Typed lecture notes: One of the best things about studying with the OU is the fact that they actually provide you with typed notes which really facilitates understanding of the material. For courses like mathematics, this is pure gold! A lot of math textbooks are undigestible especially if you are new to undergraduate mathematics. Hence, having notes that are easy to understand means you end up learning the material better than most brick universities. For this reason alone, I am of the opinion that the OU offers better value for money. The notes are designed to to be read and understood by self-studying. Most students studying with the OU are mature students who already have families and other responsibilities. It therefore helps to not have to spend a lot of time making your own notes or trying to understand badly written textbooks.
- Learning at your own pace: You can take as many or as little OU credits depending on your availability. This means the learning is tailored to your needs. You can take courses at your own pace and you can also take breaks in between courses.
- Tutorials: Each student is assigned a tutor and usually the tutors also organise tutorials either online or in-person. I’ve found both online and in-person tutorials very useful.
- Entry qualifications: The OU is not rigid on entry qualifications. They give you a chance to prove yourself and if you get along well with the material, you can carry on with the course. This is quite helpful for certain courses where there is a big jump between A levels and University (e.g. mathematics).
- High academic standards: The cut off for a distinction at the OU is 85% (yes-85%). This means you have to work very hard to get the top grades. In most brick universities, you can obtain a distinction from 70%. This is reason why employers value OU qualifications.
- Network of other OU students: As a student of OU, you will soon realise that the OU network is very vast. Wherever you go in the world, chances are you will find someone studying with the OU.
- Future of education: I’m convinced that the future of education is increasingly leaning towards the online model. More courses will be offered online and I feel the OU is already pioneering this model and was probably way ahead of its time.