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Being an OU student
Being an OU student

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2 Your module website

Your module website is the key focus for your studies. It’s where you’ll find your module-specific material, tutorial arrangements and assignments.

Each module has its own set of resources, activities and discussions but the layout of the module front page is built on the same structure for every module.

You’ll usually be able to access it around three weeks before the start date for the module, so depending on when you are studying this course, you may or may not be able to access your own module website on StudentHome yet.

Watch the following video to familiarise yourself with a typical module website.

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The common features on the module website are as follows.

The study planner

This shows the module activity week-by-week. You’re given the date that the week starts and any specific resources you need to access. If your course has an online guide, then there are clear links to this as well. You can use the planner to keep track of your progress by clicking the progress indicators on the planner. You have the choice of having either a narrow view (just the current three weeks of information shown) or an expanded view (showing all weeks). The planner is a great way of finding out what you should be doing when and helping you to get there quickly.

Here is a video explaining how the study planner works.

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Your tutor’s details

Most modules have dedicated module tutors – you’ll find out about the role of the tutor in Session 3. If you have a specific tutor allocated to you, then their name and contact details will be shown on the module website.

Assessments

Details on your assignments can be found here. You can access the questions and your marks once you start receiving them. You’ll look at assessment later in this course.

Tutorials

Many modules have tutorials. These may be face-to-face or online. Details of the tutorials, their location and a tutorial booking system can be found on your module website.

Forums

Most OU modules give you the opportunity to engage with other students, discussing academic ideas, asking questions or generally chatting. These discussions take place in the forums. Your tutor may also use the forum just for your tutor group to post instructions for module activities, notes from tutorials or general feedback.

This video explains how forums work. We’ll take you through them in more detail in Session 4.

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Resources

Some modules provide you with additional resources that may be helpful for the module. These will be found, perhaps unsurprisingly, under the heading of ‘Resources’. This is also where you’ll find downloadable copies of some of the module material for you to store on your computer or mobile device to use when offline.

News

Rather than filling up your inbox with lots of messages, the OU will post general information for you and specific-module information on the module website. If you want this information emailed to you, you can choose to ‘subscribe’ to this. It’s also very easy, and instant, to ‘unsubscribe’ from any messages.

A note about travelling to different countries

You may find problems in signing into OU websites from some locations. The locations we are aware of are:

  • Crimea Region / Sevastopol
  • Cuba
  • Iran
  • North Korea
  • Syria

If you’re travelling to one of these locations, or anywhere where your internet connection might not be reliable, you can download your module materials in advance by going to the ‘Resources’ tab on your module website.

In some of these locations students use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to sign in to OU websites. If you're planning to study via a VPN, it is your responsibility to ensure that you are aware of any legal requirements or restrictions in that location.

Activity 4 Checking information on your module website

Timing: Allow about 15 minutes

This activity can only be completed if your module is due to start within the next three weeks. If your module start is more than three weeks away, then the module website may not be available, so come back and try this closer to the start date.

  • STEP 1: Go to StudentHome and click on the link to your module website from the central panel.
  • STEP 2: Explore the site and find out the following:
  • the name of your tutor or study adviser
  • how many TMAs there are for the module
  • when the first TMA is due
  • if there are any messages on the course-wide forum
  • whether there are any messages in the tutor group forum.

Did you manage to find all this information?

Discussion

There is a lot to get used to in the first few weeks or so of studying. Just try and spend a little time getting to know where things are in the module website.

Next you’ll look at the OU websites dedicated to qualifications and wider subject resources, rather than individual modules.