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I don't think studying maths at university level is a solution for failing it at A-level.

Edited by Odd Dob

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In the sense that the entry to the maths courses do not require A level maths, so they provide modules which bridge the gap. e.g.

MU123 - Discovering mathematics - Open University Course

or even the more basic

Y162 - Starting with maths - Open University Course

These aren't qualifications in themselves, they're stepping-stones to the more advanced courses.

I still don't get what you're trying to achieve though. I don't see how you think any of the problems you outlined with getting on with maths at AS level will be solved by doing a distance learning course. Not trying to discourage or undermine you, but I don't see how this would help and they are very expensive courses. It would seem more rational to just resit A-level maths in, say, an evening class.

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I understand that, and i was also looking at S151, which going by the "Are you sufficiently prepared for S151?" page i would be able to do. Just throwing it out there, but i'm guessing that such modules would look more appealing on a university application than simply all three sciences and no maths what so ever.

No matter when a class is taken, it's always going to be an A Level class. An A Level class involving the same, uninteresting modules. It's just not an environment i learn well in unless it's something i'm actually interested in, and is explained in a way that i can get my head around (as is the case with the Sciences). Whereas learning on my own, with access to as many external resources as i can find, and studying something that i have choice over (much the same way i do my 'casual' learning and research when it's not 'for' a qualification) always seems to work far better for me. Does that sound more rational? :)

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But i don't, mainly because i don't enjoy it.

...

Anyway, ideally i'd like to go into Physics, for which Maths is extremely helpful if not vital.

I fear you might need to look at this another way.

Maths is the language of Physics, it completely underpins it and describes it.

Depending on how far you want to go with Physics, you need to take the maths along as far.

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Which is where the problem lies - yes, Physics is basically just Applied Maths. What that means to me is that i can understand it, and visualise how it works. But i can't learn Maths well enough in the environment i'm currently doing it, hence why i was inquiring about OU courses :)

Edited by Superewza

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Anyway, ideally i'd like to go into Physics, for which Maths is extremely helpful if not vital. So what would you say to taking a Maths-y course at the OU, equivalent (Level 3?) to an AS

OU Level 3 is final year undergraduate level. For physics I would think the bare minimum would be MS121 and 221, and preferably MST209. Don't let this put you off! It does all come together and you have to have some faith that what seems like some fairly abstract mathematics does turn out to be immensely useful in physics and astronomy later on. The OU maths courses are first rate, M208 is without doubt the best bit of mathematics education I have ever had.

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I should clarify, when i said Level 3 i was referring to FHEQ, not OU Level, which it looks like the OU starts at 4, although it seems that MST121 covers a lot of the stuff in the Maths A Level. But thanks for the pointers, i'm thinking about taking their advice and starting out with a short (OU) Level 1 course to get used to it (maybe S151?), then moving onto something more challenging next year.

I can see my "child's bond" coming in useful :rolleyes:

Edited by Superewza

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Andrew Norton posted this last week on the physics and astronomy forum at the OU.

"A new 30 credit maths module at Level 2: MST224 Mathematical Methods is planned to launch in October 2013. This will then be the recommended maths route to Level 3 Physical Science modules within the B64 Natural Sciences degree."

Happy days! Could be just in time for me.

For those with access http://learn.open.ac.uk/mod/forumng/discuss.php?d=702169&expand=1&timeread=1318977497

Edited by palebluedot

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Coming quite late to this discussion but thought I would share my experiences.

I started with the basic S194/S196/S197 courses, having been out of education for 30+ years. I had done maths, physics and chemistry to O level.

I found the S1* courses straightforward, partly I suspect because I was interested in the subjects (always helps!), and also because these courses are assessed rather than examined. Some of the maths was challenging, but the lack of an exam made that less stressful. I also did a 20 credit course from Jodrell Bank (Exploring the Radio Universe) and found the maths there much harder.

I should add that there are assumptions in these courses that you understand some basic science, and that is the reason for them offering general science courses as introductions.

With that in mind I did S151 to complete the Certificate in Introductory Astronomy, that was also quite challenging, but rewarding in the end, and I hoped it would be enough to help me through the S2* courses.

I've now embarked on S282, and I would say there is a big step up in the maths requirement. Fortunately there is a lot of support from tutors and other students, and well worked examples in the material. I'm not looking forward to the exam though! And I should have taken more heed of the "are you ready for" materials, because I probably wasn't!!

For me, though, I'm not looking for a degree or a career change (I'm probably too old for both), so I'll continue doing courses until I reach the limit of my abilities or interest - I can't see myself spending months on a more complex maths course just so that I can do 3rd year courses.

So, really, it all depends on what you want out of it. If you want to complete to a degree or beyond, then I'd say make sure your maths is up to it, as several people have said already, maths is fundemental to astronomy and physics.

If I was starting from scratch and wanted to achieve a degree, I would certainly start with the general science and maths courses and then specialise into astronomy.

One other thing to mention is that the OU often have presences at conferences and events; Astrofest, and some of the 1-day events at Cambridge (SPA, FAS, etc) spring to mind. It's well worth stopping by to chat and ask questions, and they usually have sample course materials to flick through.

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Andrew Norton posted this last week on the physics and astronomy forum at the OU.

"A new 30 credit maths module at Level 2: MST224 Mathematical Methods is planned to launch in October 2013. This will then be the recommended maths route to Level 3 Physical Science modules within the B64 Natural Sciences degree."

Happy days! Could be just in time for me.

For those with access http://learn.open.ac.uk/mod/forumng/discuss.php?d=702169&expand=1&timeread=1318977497

Awesome! (watches plan go out of window .....) :)

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I'm not entirely sure if I've got this right, but from my understanding, for many studying at the OU may be a thing of the past.

The government's "restructuring" of the fees system has implications for studying at the OU. Wheras before you could just do whatever you want pretty much and pay on a module by module basis, from my understanding it's changing to a system where students are going to have to pay £5k up front, which will cover 120 points worth of modules.

This not only reflects a significant investment upfront (even if done with finance, it's still a considerable financial commitment) but reflects on overall increased in cost of study (e.g. S282 Astronomy is £400 for a 30 point course, pro rata that would be £1250 under the new system!).

Bit rubbish really.

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I'm not entirely sure if I've got this right, but from my understanding, for many studying at the OU may be a thing of the past.

It may be for some - but not for the reasons you cite.

The government's "restructuring" of the fees system has implications for studying at the OU. Wheras before you could just do whatever you want pretty much and pay on a module by module basis, from my understanding it's changing to a system where students are going to have to pay £5k up front, which will cover 120 points worth of modules.

This not only reflects a significant investment upfront (even if done with finance, it's still a considerable financial commitment) but reflects on overall increased in cost of study (e.g. S282 Astronomy is £400 for a 30 point course, pro rata that would be £1250 under the new system!).

Bit rubbish really.

I believe its more a case of 5K for a full time equivalent years worth of courses, but you only pay for what you do. So if you did a years worth of full time courses in a year, that would be 120 points, and cost 5K.

Unless you're unemployed, 120 points a year is a bit crazy anyway! However 60pts would be pro rata 2500 - a not insubstantial sum. Many of their course are 30pts though, so that would be 1250, a big increase on the 400 or so currently they cost. So if you were doing the courses "just for fun" its probably going to price a lot of people out of the market. There are other issues with getting student loans, and ELQ funding and so on.

However it you are already an OU student, or can be come one quickly by taking a course, you'll continue to get the old rate prices until 2017 (I think it is) - so its well worth signing up for a course now if you're thinking about it, to get the cheap rate.

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Verified the transitional arrangements:

What this means for current students in England

We’re putting in place transitional arrangements that mean that if you’re a current student with us your fees will not be affected by the government changes so long as you are studying towards an undergraduate OU qualification, for example

A Certificate

Diploma

or a Degree

To be eligible and remain eligible for these transitional arrangements you must also meet the following important date criteria:

you will start a module that counts towards your qualification between 1 September 2012 and 31 August 2013

AND

you have completed a module which began between 1 September 2010 and 31 August 2011 OR you’re studying a module that starts between 1 September 2011 and 31 August 2012

If you meet these criteria your fees will follow the existing pricing structure and you’ll have access to the same financial support options, so long as you continue to study each year until you achieve your qualification.

Transitional arrangements will not apply to any modules that start on or after 1 September 2017. If you wish to complete your study under transitional funding arrangements you will need to have finished your qualification by then.

I was also left with the impression they are talking to Student Loans to enable OU students to have the same deal as them (pay later) for the tuition fees. (You will still need to pay the course fees though at time / through OUSBA.)

Finally I've just seen a post on the Physics forums, as of 2013 all Lvl2 courses will start in Oct, 2014 all Lvl3 courses start in October.

This could well help/hinder peoples plans. It actually shaves 9 months off mine which means I can get it all done under the transitional agreements, woo hoo!

Edited by Stephen

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The prices for starting courses in Feb hasn't changed as yet.

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The prices for starting courses in Feb hasn't changed as yet.

I don't think it will to be honest, the monetary amounts are different things - it's not as though they are "upping" the cost.

Course fee / tuition fee - handled separately I expect.

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No I don't think that's the way it will work. The courses themselves will be inflated, so S382 costs £400 at the moment for 30pts, so it will change to cost £1250.

Then its a case of how you pay for it, and you may in the future be able to get a student loan that will pay it if you meet the conditions that allow you to get one.

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Just to jump in here ...........

I think the changes at the OU in terms of fees are a very backward and disappointing step.

The OU used to offer a truly level playing field where anybody of any age and level of poverty with a bit of effort and determination could enjoy the benefits of higher education.

The motivation for doing so didn't matter. It could be learning simply for the pleasure of it.

Now I know they will offer various student loans but who, retired or on a low income. in their 50's, 60's or older will want to take on a loan?

I am not, nor ever have been an OU student but I think it's very sad. We are witnessing the end of something special and for which the UK could have been justifiably proud.

Just wanted to say that :)

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Absolutely. This will radically change the OU, and will effectively deny access for a lot of people. I'm not usually prone to hyperbole but this really could be an end of an era.

Apparently the costs of modules is/was subsidised by the government, I'd read somewhere. I can kind of see why some may feel that it's not really a high priority to subsidise some pensioners' little hobby, but I think it's a shame.

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It will indeed be the end of an era. One the OU recognises. I talked to several staff at the OU, and they could see the first casualty of the fee increase would be the 'hobby' learners. Those doing the courses for fun, or without a career change in mind. A completely unscientific survey, but I think about half the OU students in know are in that position - retired and doing it to keep the brain active, doing it just for interest or similar - rather than as a first degree for a career.

Yes - the OU use to get a big subsidy from the government for every student that completed a course, so that is what kept the fees lower. Now thats been taken away, and the OU have to charge the full cost of the course, they can't do much else.

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Agreed, and that's just where I fit in. I enjoy studying astronomy, but wouldn't benefit from a degree (apart from personal satisfaction). And it's a trade-off for me too - money I spend on courses is money I can't spend on other aspects of astronomy.

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I also feel that the OU will suffer by having to compete with all the other institutions offering full-time degrees.

Suddenly the OU will not be seen as a cheap way to get a degree for younger applicants especially when all the other benefits of attending a traditional higher education institution are factored in.

Is it the case that an applicant in their 50's, 60's or older is eligible for a student grant? Particularly as it is unlikely to ever be repaid? Or do we also have age discrimination creeping in to the situation?

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I have arrived! I mean my S282 Astronomy course material has. I have been sooooo looking forward to it after putting in all the effort in for the prerequisites over the last 18 months. A good amount of observational activities I notice :icon_salut:

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I have arrived! I mean my S282 Astronomy course material has. I have been sooooo looking forward to it after putting in all the effort in for the prerequisites over the last 18 months. A good amount of observational activities I notice :)
:icon_salut:

Enjoy - my favourite course, but beware - it sucked me into further study and now I'm ion the thick of it! :)

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Just thought I'd jump in here too. It's a huge shame that the OU is having to put its fees up, but if you feel like giving it a go, the time is now! If you register as working towards a qualification (Cert HE, Dip HE or BSc) in time then your fees are protected at the current level, which when combined with the fact that OUSBA exists (a very easy to use, low interest loan system to pay monthly for your fees) is quite affordable.

I signed up for Introducing Astronomy as a hobby module, found I had a real thirst for learning and now I have plans to take my studies as far as I can. I finally feel like I'm forging myself a path and I have some sort of career plan. I love the OU :icon_salut:

Lee, I know your excitement! I'm waiting for my materials to be sent to me for my next module.

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