Thursday, August 06, 2009

Open University 40th Anniversary

Stirling University - My first Summer School!
In 1980 I made probably one of the boldest decisions of my life. I started studying with the Open University with a view to getting a Degree! I had looked at other options for getting better qualifications, but when I read about the OU and the prospect of a Degree at the end I thought it was the best option. At this time I was a qualified electronic technician, but still had no GCEs. You didn't need them to study with the OU! Fantastic!
The first year I did the Maths Foundation Course M101, this was a make of break course, if I could pass I would carry on, but if not I would just give up! I had a lot of applied maths experience from my courses in electronics, but the pure maths stuff worried me! I was lucky, I met a guy from the corner before I started. He was sat at the bar in the social club around the corner with another guy discussing some questions. I overheard and asked him if it was OU stuff. It was and they were doing M101! He lent me the units and and some preparatory stuff and this gave me enough confident to make a start.
Discipline was the thing, I had to adapt to working two hours a night in my study room, away from the TV and Radio stuff!
I did it...I completed the course, passed and then never looked back!
Followed it with the Science Foundation Course S101 and then second and third level courses. OK, sometimes I struggled, but I passed every course!
It took me eight years to complete and finally become a Graduate!
Congratulations OU! It changed my life!

"23 April 1969 saw the birth of The Open University but its intellectual roots go back much further. In 1926 the educationalist and historian J C Stobart wrote a memo on a ‘wireless university’, while working for the BBC. By the early sixties many different proposals were being debated such as a 'teleuniversity', which would combine broadcast lectures with correspondence texts and visits to conventional universities - a genuinely 'multi-media' concept. "

Gosh...packages through the post every week, books, resources. Six in the morning watching the course TV program, cassette tapes to listen to!
That was in the analogue days of learning, I wonder what it would be like to do the courses again in the digital age?
High quality TV productions on TV, Sky + Box, DVDs and CD Roms, memory sticks and Laptops. Interactive Whiteboards and Visualizers. E mail your TMAs and CMAs on line! Blogs, Twitter, Forums and the Internet! WoW!!!

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