The Open University

#1
Have any of the history buffs amongst us done the OU History degree? Im looking at it now as an option to fill up my time.

Would you reccomend it?How did you find course content?Or any other thoughts/info would be appreciated.
 
#2
I started it in February 09 with the introdutory course 'What is Art'? - recommended if you haven't done any academic work for a while - it's only about £100 and only gets you 10 points towards the degree but does get you back into the swing.

This summer I completed my first 'proper' module 'Arts Past and Present' which was excellent. May seem odd doing all this art stuff but OU strongly recommend this course (it may be mandatory if I remember rightly). It covers literature, philosophy, music, architecture, classical history, religion, art, modern history and other bits and pieces, which give you a good grounding towards a history degree 'proper'. Next I'm doing 'Enlightenment to Romanticism' (1780-1830), then 'Introduction to the Classical World', then history 1400-1900 (can't remember the title off the top of my head). At level 3 I'll probably cover 'Empire 1492 - 1970' and whatever classical course is running then (they're changing things round inthat department right now).

I have thoroughly enjoyed it all, though music was a struggle for me, and certainly recommend the course. You can, of course, pick and chose different modules to suit your personal interests, though some modules are mandatory. Go for it and good luck.
 
#3
You can do what's called an Open Degree, where you essentially pick the courses that interest you to make up all the credits toward your degree. If you don't need specific topics or a named degree title for employment reasons, it's a good option.
 

RP578

LE
Book Reviewer
#4
I'm currently doing the Arts Past & Present as the first step to a BA Honours degree in History. Find myself having to grit through the Cézanne and Divas units, but you do stumble across some interesting units too; Cleopatra and Faraday were good (the Stalin unit was disappointing weak though). Still, it is an education about things that I wouldn't normally have thought twice about.

As for the History degree itself, the choice amongst the Level 2 and 3 modules isn't that broad, frankly. For my level 2 modules I'm currently planning to do; Exploring history medieval to modern 1400-1900, Exploring classical world. It's not till level 3 that I get to the stuff that interests me; Empire 1492-1975 and Total War & Social Change 1914-1955. Of course other modules could become available between now and then.
 
#5
Can I ask a really boring and academic question, what do you want the degree to do for you? Is it just for interest or to lead on to further academic research, or better prospects. Many Universitys have part time courses, or distance learing programmes, which can be as flexible as OU. Also, there may be generally more options and a range of topics. Birmingham and Kings London have history and military related. Exeter have a good naval maritime base. Bristol and Glasgow have what is called conflict archaeology, battlefields and theory of warfare. (You don't necessarily have to dig).

I started the OU course but it didn't suit me. I later went to Southampton and read Archaeology. Now have B.A. and M.A. Was going to do PhD., but needed a break.

I am ex-RAF Regiment as well, Rock Apes can read.
 
#6
Cheers bookman, you answered my question just as I was about to ask it!!

I'm interested in The Great War, from a British perspective, and want to firm up my knowledge (gained through books,documentaries, the internet and travelling to the area) in an academic way.

If it leads to some form of employment down the line then all the better but its not that important.
 
#7
Dear imbiber, have a look at birmingham uni web site and their WW1 programme. They have a range of topics which are quite interesing. Or if your in glasgow area, battlefield archaeology M.A. is excellent. Too far for me and would be pure indulgence doing another M.A. I have met Tony Pollard who heads up the course and he is a real battlefield nut. But getting ahead of myself, depends where you are located of course.
 
#9
Cheers bookman, you answered my question just as I was about to ask it!!

I'm interested in The Great War, from a British perspective, and want to firm up my knowledge (gained through books,documentaries, the internet and travelling to the area) in an academic way.

If it leads to some form of employment down the line then all the better but its not that important.
Why not sign up for an Arrse tour? Been on several now travelling from the Fatherland and you will find it hard to find a better guide or group of people to go around looking at the old battlefields/memorials etc. Thouroughly recommended.
 
#10
KCL also have an excellent military programme and there is at least one contributor on ARRSE who could give very sage advice. Pm me if you're interested.

Good luck!

Regards,
MM
 
#11
Can I ask a really boring and academic question, what do you want the degree to do for you? Is it just for interest or to lead on to further academic research, or better prospects. Many Universitys have part time courses, or distance learing programmes, which can be as flexible as OU.
Yes Edinburgh uni does them . I've done a lot of the film courses just need to complete two more courses in the next year till I get my certificate . Here's the website

Open Studies brochure | Open Studies 2010-11 | Open Studies

As bookman said most universities will have something similar
 
#12
Cheers bookman, you answered my question just as I was about to ask it!!

I'm interested in The Great War, from a British perspective, and want to firm up my knowledge (gained through books,documentaries, the internet and travelling to the area) in an academic way.

If it leads to some form of employment down the line then all the better but its not that important.
If that is the orbit of your interest then the University of Birmingham is the answer for you. As bookman says it is their CFS (First World War Studies) which leads the field. If it is more a conflict archaeology/battlefield thing, then Bristol or Glasgow are both excellent schools too. As an aside, not all of the best military history courses are brigaded under History faculties - a search through anthropology and archaeology courses may prove interesting.
 
#13
Have any of the history buffs amongst us done the OU History degree? Im looking at it now as an option to fill up my time.

Would you reccomend it?How did you find course content?Or any other thoughts/info would be appreciated.
It's ten years since I got my BA (Hons) from the OU but I would throroughly recommend it. Hugely enjoyable, even the summer schools were a great crack. I would recommend that if you haven't studied for a few years you start off by doing the Arts foundation course - as I recall there were modules on literature, music, history, art and religion, all centred on the Victorian period - and as someone who hasn't been in a church in forty years, I can tell you that the religion module was fascinating - the Victorian crisis of faith brought about by increasing advancements in scientific knowledge - really interesting. This course is also a 60 pointer, fine for the BA, not so great for honours.

In the following years I did levels 2 and 3 in Modern Europe 1914-1945, Modern Scottish History 1707 to the present day (via an affiliated module at the University of Dundee), The Enlightenment and Classical Greece and Rome.

The Arts degree is pretty cheap as well. Although you could join the barricades in London demanding that we all club together to pay you through it....
 
#14
It's ten years since I got my BA (Hons) from the OU but I would throroughly recommend it. Hugely enjoyable, even the summer schools were a great crack. I would recommend that if you haven't studied for a few years you start off by doing the Arts foundation course - as I recall there were modules on literature, music, history, art and religion, all centred on the Victorian period - and as someone who hasn't been in a church in forty years, I can tell you that the religion module was fascinating - the Victorian crisis of faith brought about by increasing advancements in scientific knowledge - really interesting. This course is also a 60 pointer, fine for the BA, not so great for honours.

In the following years I did levels 2 and 3 in Modern Europe 1914-1945, Modern Scottish History 1707 to the present day (via an affiliated module at the University of Dundee), The Enlightenment and Classical Greece and Rome.

The Arts degree is pretty cheap as well. Although you could join the barricades in London demanding that we all club together to pay you through it....
In the early stages of doing mine, just passed An introduction to the social sciences, currently doing a History based 15 pointer and due to start Exploring History next year. Has the OU Degree benifetted you career wise?
 
#15
I’m not sure if the system for building up “credits” towards you BA degree is the same as circa 1972-1975, when I studied.

Back then, after your “Full” credit foundation course, you could take at subsequent levels “Half” credit courses.

Be warned!

From experience, I can confirm the amount of work required to successfully complete a “Half” credit course is about 60-70%, not just 50%, of a “Full” credit course.

Best of luck.
 
#16
Perhaps I should explain more about what Im looking for, Im a sproggy type but looking to fulfil my 22.However I do have an eye for a career after I leave, and a degree would seem to help in that respect. As to subject matter I feel History, specifically military history is a subject I feel I could make myself work towards.
 
#17
Perhaps I should explain more about what Im looking for, Im a sproggy type but looking to fulfil my 22.However I do have an eye for a career after I leave, and a degree would seem to help in that respect. As to subject matter I feel History, specifically military history is a subject I feel I could make myself work towards.
Start now, don't procrastinate, i should've started years ago......then again i did have some fun!
 
#18
Start now, don't procrastinate, I should've started years ago......then again I did have some fun!
Agreed. Start NOW. The longer you leave it, the more difficult it will be to re-start studying . . . that is assuming you have already done some "further education" :)

After completing an HND (Business Studies - Advertising & Marketing), I started my first job with Fodens; I had bought a dog; bought a house (in need of some work); bought my first car; was just commissioned in the RCT(V); was chasing anything and everything in a skirt; and for some reason decided to try for an OU degree . . . I think I may just have identified other reasons why I found it difficult to apply myself . . . ! :)

Anyway, after about twelve months from leaving college, just the required discipline to apply myself, sit down, read, and again study, was very difficult.

As for subjects, others with greater/wider experience may be able to confirm . . .

I understand that a degree gains you a "tick-in-a-box" as evidence of your ability to apply yourself, research, think, and express yourself. My understanding is that the subject matter is/can be, largely irrelevant - in a general commercial environment. It did/does seem strange to me, when I heard the wide range of degree subject graduates that are employed (for example), in the Civil Service! That is in contrast to the French, who I believe have degree courses in "Public Administration".

It is going to be hard work. It is not easy, or else everyone would have a degree . . . as the populous was led to believe/lied-to would happen, by the last manipulating, misleading, administration . . . who declared that an arbitrary percentage of the populous should/could/would to go to university . . . FFS !!

Therefore, unless you have an ambition to go on and teach/research a particular subject, I think I am correct in saying, chose a subject that you enjoy, already know something about, and want to know more :)

PS. If you have done some “further education”, do enquire about exemptions with the OU. When I studied, one year’s full-time study towards an earlier qualification, earnt you an exemption from one full credit towards your OU degree. :)
 
#19
Just to clarify, in order to harmonise with both UK and EU HE they are no longer called credits, but much the same system is still in place. A 60 point course is now the equivalent of a whole credit, with 30, 20, 15 and 10 point courses also available. 360 points are needed for a degree and 480 are needed for an honours degree. A degree can still be built by taking subjects from a mixture of areas.

Prior learning and accreditation is taken into account subject to application. It varies a great deal, but a HND or equivalent will typically count as 120 points, but sometimes more or less.

Students are usually expected to take 60 points a year (i.e. the equivalent of half time study), but taking more or less is acceptable (any more than 60 in the first year is not advised). Most OU students have other commitments such as work, and so variations in the number of points taken in any one year are expected and catered for.

As others have said, start now, don’t overreach yourself to begin with and expect 30 point courses to require more than 50% study and assessment. Good luck :)
 
#20
Just to clarify, in order to harmonise with both UK and EU HE they are no longer called credits, but much the same system is still in place. A 60 point course is now the equivalent of a whole credit, with 30, 20, 15 and 10 point courses also available. 360 points are needed for a degree and 480 are needed for an honours degree. A degree can still be built by taking subjects from a mixture of areas.
Sorry, going to have to correct that - 300 points are needed for a degree without honours, 360 for an honours degree - so at 60 points a year, an honours degree will take 6 years, still the equivalent of half-time study.

If you have recent academic experience, however, 90 points in a year is very achievable. Do make sure you ask about any credit transfer you may be eligible for, if "having a degree" is your goal - it can hugely cut down the time (and hence money) required. However, if you're in it for the pure academic pleasure of study, don't bother - by taking credit transfer, I've ruled out a couple of modules that I would otherwise have probably enjoyed.

sm.
 

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