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Hi all, I'm interested in the science and physics behind how the universe 'works' from gravity to the expansion of space itself. I've learnt alot from documentaries, books and my local astronomy course but I want to take it further. I love the analogies they use as examples but I want to understand the real thing. The open university seems to have many interesting courses. Im wondering if anyone on here has studied here before and if so what starting point and path did you take? Is it a long road and could you offer me any advice. I haven't studied since I left school 14yrs ago. Any comments would be welcome and appreciated.

Thanks.

Richard

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Hi, a few years ago I embarked on a Physics & Maths degree with the OU.

I started with two very basic 'openings' courses, then went on to two Maths units (these were necessary to be competent enough to understand the Maths within the Physics elements).

Unfortunately I had to stop, although I'd love to take it up again.

To me, the hardest/most important thing was self planning & self discipline. You need to be really strict with yourself, so many distractions at home. I ended up studying in the library, this overcame those distractions.

It's well worth doing IMO.

Ed

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Hi Richard,

I am nearing the end of S104 Exploring Science, and have thoroughly enjoyed the course and can highly recommend. It is quite intense as it is a 60 point course and they recommend 16 hours per week. I have not studied since '92 when I did a HND in computer studies so it took a couple of assignments to get my hand back in. If this course looks a bit tough, then there are some short courses they do to prepare you.

Give them a ring, I have found them very helpful.

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I am currently studying a natural sciences degree with the OU and should all being well complete my studies at the end of 2012. I would suggest if starting out on a science degree with the OU completing S104 (exploring science) as your first course as this is a general science course covering chemistry, biology, physics, environmental, geology etc. This will give you the introductory study skills required for OU study and from then on specialise in whatever disciplines you wish. Also the short 10 point level 1 courses such as S194 (Introductory Astronomy) and S196 (Planets: An Introduction) are very good courses and introduce the OU's style of study.

I am covering astronomy, planetary science, geology and evolution within my degree. They also provide other qualifications with certificates and diplomas available in the sciences should you not wish to complete a full degree.

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I graduated from the OU in 2001. My degree was made up of environment/geography courses, which helped me change career, and I enjoyed the whole experience, right up to the end of my graduation ceremony.

My approach was to start with a level 1 science foundation course (S102 back then), before moving on to level 2 & level 3 courses in further years. I thought the level 2 courses were a bit general in content, with the level 3 courses more specialised. Due to work and family committments I chose to study one course per year, so with a mix of 60 & 30 point courses it took me 7 years from start to finish.

The level 1 foundation course got me used to studying and developed the reading and learning techniques that I would use later. There were all sorts of people, from 20-80 years old studying alongside me. Some were clever and some weren't, but the OU way of studying helps everyone along. Self-help groups were very valuable, and my tutors were just a phone call away.

As I remember I preferred to study in the evenings and at weekends. But, it was my 'hobby' so I enjoyed doing it, though I did feel a bit lost when each course was over until the next one started.

Apart from clearing time to study I think the most difficult part of the courses was the amount of reading I needed to do, though some courses were easier than others for this. I must have gone through a load of fluorescent marker pens over the 7 years!

I would recommend the OU to everyone. So much so, that my wife went on to complete a BA Hons 2 years ago :D

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I graduated from the OU in 2001.

and you want to tell everyone? You should have gone to a proper university like me init. I went to Luton cause im naff but de brothers back in da homeland recommended it innit.

:D

Edited by Whippy

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I am currently studying s194, introduction into astronomy and it is great. A fully comprehensible guide into most of the different parts of astronomy. Accompanied by many practical projects they offer as sidelines, I can get out in the field and really put what I am learning into practice :D

HTH

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I've done seven courses from the UCLAN/Liverpool John Moore's/Jodrell Bank consortium and greatly enjoyed them. I really must do some more and stop all this faffing around with CCD cameras!!

Olly

Edited by ollypenrice

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I'm also part way through S194 "Introducing Astronomy" with the OU. A very good basic course. A few people seem to be finding some of the concepts a bit taxing, but perhaps because I have had a previous interest in the subject, I've not found that a problem.

I did have quite a lot of refreshing to do on the math side of things though, having not really done any studying since the 70's, so the first few weeks were a bit hectic with the amount of time I found myself having to dedicate to getting up to speed.

I've still managed to learn a lot that I didn't know. I had intended studying the course over the longer period (there is a choice in how long you wish to take to complete it - 3 or 6 months) as I hadn't done any studying for years, but got totally engrossed and am now finding myself about a week ahead of the 3 month schedule.

I'm intending going on to another short course "How the Universe Works" after this one. Would highly recommend "Introducing Astronomy" to anyone with a basic knowledge of the subject who wants to find out more.

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Thank you all for your comments. Very helpful. I've been looking today. I'm going to start with 'science starts here' which should get me to grips with the basics for further courses in science. There is a path that can lead to a 'natural science degree' which has loads of course options and many are based around astronomy. Thats what I'm thinking of aiming for with a couple of the short courses mentioned above thrown in as they count too but I'll see how it goes as it's a lot to commit too with a job and a family. Thanks again folks :D

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Good luck with the degree path!!! Not done that course myself but have heard good things from some fellow students who have studied this.

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I jumped straight into S281 back in 1997 - Astronomomy and Planetary Science, which is now S283. I then followed this by 4 years of IT subjects.

The Astronomy and Planetary Science is an interesting course which does involve some maths, physics, geology and also observational elements.

It was fun and worth doing, and get me back into studying with an interest attached.

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I'm alternating 60,30 and 10 point OU modules to give a chance to balance other stuff....incl the same modules as AndyExton. As it's a hobby, linking it to practical stuff really helped with motivation. But balancing home, job, kids etc. does make it a tough drain on the hours, hence the strategy...

Don't care how long it takes. Totally recommend it...Go for it!

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Possibly a daft question but how are you able to be in touch with fellow student on a distance learning course?

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Applied for the introductory course and will hopefully move on to the 60 credit level 1 exploring science then maybe a short course or two before moving on to the astronomy specific level 2 and 3 courses. Thanks again for your input :)

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Possibly a daft question but how are you able to be in touch with fellow student on a distance learning course?

They have their own forum and email system called First Class, this is being phased out however, they are in the process of moving it all over to Google. They also use teleconferencing.

The bizarreness lecture I went to was on an island they own in Second Life! Wasn't part of my course though.

Edited by palebluedot

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They have their own forum and email system called First Class, this is being phased out however, they are in the process of moving it all over to Google. They also use teleconferencing.

Each course also has its own forum outside of the FirstClass system, accessed from the course website within StudentHome. You get access to it when you become registered for the course.

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Each course also has its own forum outside of the FirstClass system, accessed from the course website within StudentHome.

This is still part of FirstClass conferencing system and can be accessed with the FirstClass client. Theres just a link to it from the course page.

Edited by palebluedot

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Yes the student forum is very good esp. for those that can't/won't go to class sessions. Helping each other with interpretation etc. In some courses, it is a requirement that the students collaborate in research together. That's very good.

Mike

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Hi Richard

I too am just embarking on an Open University journey.

My aim was to start with S104 Exploring Science (60 credits) but as that doesn't start until October I'm filling the time by doing S194 Introducing Astronomy which is only 10 credits and should hopefully give me an idea of whether i'm capable of the study discipline before forking out £700 for the bigger module.

Out of interest do you have a particular aim for doing the course? I'm doing it because I want to have a complete career change and become a physics teacher however I currently have a Business degree and no science A-levels so it's going to take me a bit of time to get up to speed!

I look forward to hearing how you get on.

Sian

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I'm doing it because I want to have a complete career change and become a physics teacher

:):icon_salut:B) 3 cheers to you!

Edited by mikeknowle

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