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Hi, I’m Georgia. I’m a civil servant and a student at the Open University. This year I start Introduction to Social Sciences.
I’m a trainee scientist so found myself with a new career, where I have to use a lot of written words. I have to learn how to write better. I prefer studying with the Open University as opposed to another institution because I can carry on my career. A lot of people think that being an Open University student you work on your own, you’re absolutely isolated, this is not true. I have attended summer schools, those were fantastic, a week away from life, if you like, just concentrating on whatever I’m studying, nothing else matters. And I have also attended a deaf awareness weekend which the Open University organised. The idea being that students with hearing impairment are going to tell tutors exactly what we need. I’m treated the way I would like to be treated as a hard of hearing person. You have a tutor, who is always there to advise you, either over the telephone or you have tutorials where you can go and interact with other students.
We spend quite a lot of time together, despite the fact that she does study a lot, and especially in the run up to examinations, tests and tutorials. And if you plan it right you get along fine.
Find out how to learn best.
I work in London. That's a couple of hours on the train at least every day. This is my two hour studying. So my books are full of wobbly lines and my notebooks are full of wobbly notes. But I still have to do some work at home. I am a scientist. I’m more used to using symbols. So obviously looking at a textbook full of words with no formulas nothing, it was terrifying. Thankfully I had the workbooks of the Open University to help me along.
Attending tutorials to me is very important because I get feedback from other students. My first tutorial was a nightmare. I was terrified to open my mouth in case all the wrong things come out. The best thing is when I can hear other students asking the very same question that I wanted to ask, therefore I’m not stupid. We’re all the same level really.
How do we exercise power?
Well it forces a question.
You either do it or else.
There was the force wasn’t there.
She’s much more confident in expressing her views, her opinions in the whole group. Whereas before it would be more in the small groups, the pairs.
My role as a tutor is to be there to clarify anything that they’re not clear on, to go over a few key points with them and to develop their study skills. They do like to be in the company of other students and feel that they are part of a university.
When I’m stuck, somebody might say the right word which will help this point to sink in. I can also get some practical advice from them. How do we cope with demanding bosses at work because we’re all leading very busy lives and Open University, yet another thing in our hectic lives, coming out of a tutorial, usually I’m exhausted. I’m totally brain dead. But I’m always elated.
I always enjoy open days because the atmosphere’s terrific. I come to the open day because I want to find out material for next year, next course. Go to the library, have a look at the materials, ask all my questions to tutors there. Usually they come up with the right answers. It’s a good thing actually to see different perspective of the course. I see the material and I feel very motivated. I can’t wait to start my next course.
My main weakness is that I tend to get easily distracted. It’s very difficult sometimes just to do work. I will always find something else to do around the house instead of finishing my assignment, like a bit of cross stitching here, bit of knitting there. Studying is not the not the only thing I do in life. And I do have a husband I have to share this house with. So we both have to give and take a bit.
Each of us is very used to having their own time and space. I’ve got plenty of things I can get on with, and she has her studying she can get on with. And I spend a lot of the time doing the ironing.
My fear was writing essays. So the very first assignment, a short essay, about six hundred words, it took me forever to write it. The TMA came back, she very kindly sent me a whole page full of her comments, and her comments were better, it’s a lot more than what I actually sent, but I found very useful. I applied all the things I seen her comment on my first assignment, I applied to this third assignment. Would you believe a thousand words? Lo and behold it comes back, great big mark, much fewer comments this time. It’s a distinct improvement there, all in the space of three TMAs, which is brilliant.
You have to find your own method to study best, turn up to tutorials and above all sit back and enjoy it.
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Editor's note: The website Open2.net mentioned in the video merged with OpenLearn in 2010.