Advice for someone studying whilst on tour

Z

Zarathustra

Guest
#1
Later this year I will be going on a MOD sponsored holiday, this is very inconvenient as I've just started a new module with the Open University. I'm not new to studying with the OU but this will be the first time I've studied whilst on tour and I was wondering if anyone can offer some advice or point anything I might have missed whilst preparing to study whilst on tour.

I've already spoken to the OU to ask about what would happen if I couldn't submit a TMA on time due to unforeseen circumstances like Op Minimise or a fastball to move to a different location. Their reply was that they would be as accommodating as possible, but I think the best way for me to handle this would be to complete and submit TMAs as early as possible to avoid any last minute rushes.

I also spoke to them about the limited bandwidth while in theatre and they sent me paper copies of all the online material.

Can anyone think of anything I've missed or any tips that might be useful?




The reason I've put this here is because I don't think it fits in to the education forum as it isn't a resettlement course or anything similar, and I think I'm more likely to get a response here.
 
#3
You can make arrangements to submit all TMAs in paper format to your tutor (you aren't strictly required to submit them online). Make sure you do this as submitting with BFPO regardless of access to internet would then (presumably) be possible.
 
Z

Zarathustra

Guest
#4
You can make arrangements to submit all TMAs in paper format to your tutor (you aren't strictly required to submit them online). Make sure you do this as submitting with BFPO regardless of access to internet would then (presumably) be possible.
I had thought of that, however sending mail from theatre that has to arrive by a specific date is probably as unreliable as relying on having internet access. There doesn't appear to be many arrangements needed to submit my TMAs by post.
 
#5
I'm long out of touch, but don't the ETS support you? I dimly recall them being involved in helping guys doing OU in NI whose ability to meet the exact requirements for submission was hampered by ops - and I know of at least one CMA completed in a Belfast attic and collected under cover of darkeness ...
 
Z

Zarathustra

Guest
#6
I'm long out of touch, but don't the ETS support you? I dimly recall them being involved in helping guys doing OU in NI whose ability to meet the exact requirements for submission was hampered by ops - and I know of at least one CMA completed in a Belfast attic and collected under cover of darkeness ...
A friend went to the local education center and spoke to them about doing an OU course whilst on tour and was told he couldn't do an OU course as he had to have daily contact with his tutor. This showed to me that they don't actually know anything about studying with the OU, though I'll probably speak to the education officer whilst in theatre.
 
#7
What are you studying, c_b? (Sorry to derail slightly).
 
#9
I did my degree, mostly on tour in Boz, all I did was inform the OU that I was off on tour, they are quite flexible with TMA dates if you let them know, and all I did was email my tutor to let him know that the TMA was on its way. The hardest thing is finding somewhere quiet to study in, and getting all your study materials to theatre. Good luck with it.
 
#10
I had thought of that, however sending mail from theatre that has to arrive by a specific date is probably as unreliable as relying on having internet access. There doesn't appear to be many arrangements needed to submit my TMAs by post.
I continued my OU course while deployed on Op Telic. Although I didn't have access to all my books during March and April 2003, my tutor was perfectly happy for me to submit TMAs (by post) as and when I could. I remember that I didn't submit the TMA that had been due at the beginning of April until sometime in June.
Best to speak to your tutor directly, but I've always found the OU to be very flexible when warned in advance of possible delays.
 
#11
I had thought of that, however sending mail from theatre that has to arrive by a specific date is probably as unreliable as relying on having internet access. There doesn't appear to be many arrangements needed to submit my TMAs by post.
You just need to get your tutor's permission. I'm sure they'll understand that delays are inherent.
 
Z

Zarathustra

Guest
#12
I continued my OU course while deployed on Op Telic. Although I didn't have access to all my books during March and April 2003, my tutor was perfectly happy for me to submit TMAs (by post) as and when I could. I remember that I didn't submit the TMA that had been due at the beginning of April until sometime in June.
Best to speak to your tutor directly, but I've always found the OU to be very flexible when warned in advance of possible delays.
I spoke directly to the OU about it, but my course doesn't start till the end of the month so I haven't been assigned to a tutor yet, but when I do I will make sure to get in touch with them.
 
#13
I'm studying towards a BSc (Hons) in Psychology, but the module I'll be doing while on tour is Introduction to the Social Sciences.
From what I can tell, all the materials for DD101 are available electronically, so maybe an e-book reader capable of displaying pdfs would help. If you were going to spend long hours rattling around in the back of a vehicle it'd be a handy way to keep up with your reading as well as pass the time.

As to submission, why not speak to your tutor to make sure they're aware of the circumstances. You may be able to arrange that you post off a first draft of your assignments on the understanding that if you later submit a final version through the eTMA service they'll mark that one. It's been nearly 20 years since I studied with the OU but they were pretty accommodating with me when I was on tour and that was in the exclusively-paper days.
 
#14
I spoke directly to the OU about it, but my course doesn't start till the end of the month so I haven't been assigned to a tutor yet, but when I do I will make sure to get in touch with them.
I'm doing a Criminology & Psychology degree with the OU at the mo. If I were you I'd go onto your module website on OU Studenthome as soon as it opens and download all of your course materials either to a laptop or memory stick & then email to an account that you know for sure you'll be able to access when you're on tour just in case.
 
Z

Zarathustra

Guest
#15
From what I can tell, all the materials for DD101 are available electronically, so maybe an e-book reader capable of displaying pdfs would help. If you were going to spend long hours rattling around in the back of a vehicle it'd be a handy way to keep up with your reading as well as pass the time.

As to submission, why not speak to your tutor to make sure they're aware of the circumstances. You may be able to arrange that you post off a first draft of your assignments on the understanding that if you later submit a final version through the eTMA service they'll mark that one. It's been nearly 20 years since I studied with the OU but they were pretty accommodating with me when I was on tour and that was in the exclusively-paper days.
When I emailed the OU I asked if it was possible to get the online content on disc or paper, they sent me it all on paper format, while not ideal it should be good enough as due to medical reasons I'm going to be confined to main bases anyway so I won't need to worry about the possability of going to a CP in the arse end of no where.


I'm doing a Criminology & Psychology degree with the OU at the mo. If I were you I'd go onto your module website on OU Studenthome as soon as it opens and download all of your course materials either to a laptop or memory stick & then email to an account that you know for sure you'll be able to access when you're on tour just in case.
I'll probably download as much as I can to my external harddrive, but I think that some of the stuff such as videos and audio recordings might be too large to download and save so I'll have to take the hit that somedays I won't be able to send emails/browse Faceache or ARRSE because I'll need the bandwidth for my OU stuff.
 
#16
I took MST209 materials to afghan in 2010. Tutor was more than happy with any late TMA submission except the final one which to be in on time. Had also arranged to sit the exam at the theatre education Center at kaf.

However, about 4-5 months into the course and 2 months of the tour had to sack it due to changing job remit that saw me fob hopping all around the bloody country. The OU normally would have only given a tiny percentage of the course fee back due to time on the course but once I explained and submitted letter with my boss's signature on it got every penny back. Very grateful.

Good luck with the studying and the tour.
 
#17
My advice would be to manage your own expectations quite carefully. As you know, an operational tour is not the easiest environment to study in: heat, dust, strange hours, lack of personal space, no peace and quiet, other people who don't always "get" what you are doing, make it quite a difficult environment. Still very do-able - but try not to get too frustrated when it seems harder than it should...

Best of luck and enjoy it!
 
#18
I think a lot of it comes down to the job you will be doing out there. As had been suggested submit a draft TMA as early as possible with the understanding of your tutor than you may send a final draft by the cut off or as close to it.

My degree is all handwritten. No eTMAs at all but I've not had to do any from tour.

I presume from your degree that your TMAs will be dissertations or similar? The ETS in theatre will be able to help even with it not being their specialist area. Some may have had bad experiences of ETS but I've always found them extremely helpful and have one as my mentor for my PGCE/Cert Ed course.
 
#19
Crow_Bag,

Get in touch with the ETS in Theatre, they should be able to assist or at least advise what is available out there.

Shiny
 
Z

Zarathustra

Guest
#20
Thanks, will get in touch with the ETS when I get out there.

SgtSlaughter - I'm still doing level one courses but my TMAs from other modules have all been reports and essays around the 1200 mark and a quick flick through the assignment booklet for this next modules shows that the TMAs for this will be of a similar length.
 

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