Blogging from A-Z: O is for OU

O is for:


As I wrote in an earlier post, after biggest boy was born I started an Open University course for no real reason other than to keep my mind occupied – I had plenty to do, but didn’t really feel that the stuff I was doing, taking baby places and doing household stuff, was quite satisfying my brain! All of my other academic endeavours had been in humanities, so to add a bit of variety I decided to something sciency. The OU had a perfect course for me, the Certificate in Contemporary Science, which was made up of your choice of six 10-point modules from a fairly extensive list, covering all areas of science. Having done very little science stuff since school I chose Science Starts here as my first module.

Under normal circumstances I wouldn’t have been able to afford to do the course as each module costs £150, but under the Tesco Clubcard Deals scheme, you can swap your vouchers for Open University vouchers. At the time I was able to swap £10 of Clubcard vouchers for £40 or OU vouchers and given the amount we spend at Tesco, it didn’t take long to save this amount!

After completing the introductory module, which included basic maths for science and various basic experiments, including measuring the amount of water in a potato and measuring the growth of yeast in a jug of water, I then decided to study Volcanoes, Earthquakes and Tsunamis. I had studied these types of natural disasters in Geography lessons at school, but this was a much more in depth look at the processes that control tectonic plates and the problems caused when they rub each other the wrong way!

My third module was Darwin and Evolution and I really enjoyed it as I’m quite interested in the Darwinism/creationism debate, falling very firmly on the Darwin side!! I also had to do some fieldwork by counting the species of snail in my back garden and submitting the data to the Great Snail Hunt website.

The next two modules were Elements of Forensic Science, which I really enjoyed and Life in the Oceans: exploring our Blue Planet, which was deadly dull and I barely scraped through! The forensic science module was all about techniques used within crime detection and covered evidence chain of custody, crime scene analysis techniques and what DNA really is and how its analysis is really used. If I was to carry on study from this course, it would definitely be in this area!The less said about the damned fish module, the better – it was so not how I expected it to be and let’s just say while watching one of the videos I accidentally nodded off :0/

The final module was Archaeology: the science of investigation and this was also a really interesting module covering some fascinating archaeological finds abroad and in this country and showing how digs are carried out and documented and how the finds are then stored and interpreted. I guess the most interesting was a major dig in York, which you can find out more about at Dig Hungate.

So after three years of study (with another baby in the middle!) I’ve finally finished and am wondering how many Tesco vouchers I might have to save to do something else! There are a wide variety of modules I could try across many subjects, as the prospectus shows. I quite fancy one of the history modules…

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9 Responses to Blogging from A-Z: O is for OU

  1. Cath says:

    Ooh you’ve done some really interesting ones. I’ve eyed up the Darwin one in the past, but finances haven’t been kind, and clubcard vouchers just come off the shopping bill I’m afraid. The forensic science one also looks interesting too. I’d love to get back into my ou study- I did a 60 point science course plus a few short courses. Life of mammals was one which i found very interesting, although I’d imagine it to be a similar to the blue planet one as they’re both based on Attenborough programmes after all.
    Maybe one day I’ll start it up again…

  2. I fancy the forensic one now, do you reckon it’s useful for crime writing?
    You can only use Tesco vouchers for level 1 courses I believe now, which is a shame and we’re down to three times face value.

    • Stacey says:

      Those stingy bastards! I reckon it could be useful if you want to go in depth about DNA and for example how to identify a criminal from a DNA database match of a relative, or how DNA is used to convict. It was my favourite one of the course.

  3. Jay says:

    Ooh, some of those modules sound absolutely fascinating! I’ve often wished I’d taken Geography instead of History and learned more about volcanoes and earthquakes. The forensic sounds fascinating too. Shame they’re so expensive. I may have to start shopping at Tesco. Schoolage via Tesco – who’d have thought it?!

  4. Good for you! I did a degree with the OU and it took me eight years! It’s a wonderful way to study but they do work you hard, don’t they!

    • Stacey says:

      I was quite lucky – the courses had a choice of hand in dates, so I was able to put one off because of my terrible morning sickness!

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