Being an OU student
Being an OU student

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Being an OU student

5 The OU community

You’ve seen now that even though you are learning at a distance, support and community are always close at hand.

Some of the ways in which you can get involved in the OU community include the Students Association, online interactive events and social media. Let’s look at each of these in turn.

The OU Students Association

As an OU student you are automatically a member of the OU Students Association. You heard from a Students Association volunteer earlier in this session. The OU Students Association [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] enables students to influence how the University is run. They exist to promote your interests and to ensure the OU is more than just a place of learning – it’s a student community.

The Students Association aim to help you make the most of your time studying. Depending on what you’re interested in, they can help you get in touch with other students, take part in extra-curricular activities, find information and news, get help, attend events and access services to support your learning.

Like many student unions, they also run a freshers’ fair – so new students, like you, can find out about all the opportunities to get involved. This tends to take place twice a year.

Student Hub Live

The Student Hub Live (SHL) is a series of live, online and interactive events open to the whole OU community. The popular study skills workshops cover a variety of themes, from time management and creative note-taking to how to prepare for your exam or develop a good academic argument. As well as the workshops, SHL also offers remote live broadcasts, radio shows and podcasts

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Our Student Hub Live Skills Workshops are held in the same online rooms as OU tutorials. These extracurricular, non-modular workshops offer an hour of structured skill development, and we focus on a different aspect of study in each session. We begin with some information about the subject, and then we invite you to apply that to your own learning, through anonymous polls, text boxes, and also in the chat box. We work through some prepared examples as a group. And you can chat to each other and ask questions while we go through those. And then you'll break into smaller groups to give you an opportunity to share your ideas with other students and hear about the different ways people plan to apply their new skills to their study. You can find our workshop outlines on our website. And you can catch up on recordings of the previous sessions there too. Coming along in person is ideal though, so let me fill you in on how the sessions work and what to expect.
The Adobe Connect room opens 15 minutes before the session starts, to allow you to log in and familiarise yourself with the setup. It's also a good opportunity to adjust your audio levels. And we begin sessions promptly. And there's a lot to cover, often with a lot of people attending. You don't need any special equipment, and you can access the room from any device, including a mobile phone. You can take part as little or as fully as you'd like to. But I will say that the more you put in, the more you'll get out. Some people just prefer to listen, and others like to chat. But there's no pressure to interact if you don't want to. You don't need to prepare anything in advance, and it's handy to have a pen and paper there with you too.
Student Hub Live is for all students, at any level, and we offer generic, not module specific advice. And many students say that, as well as the skills we teach, mixing with other students and academics from different disciplines is valuable, because they get a chance to experience new perspectives and different ways of looking at things. It can be so reassuring to find out that you aren't the only one with a question about something, and that others are experiencing things in the same way you are. Space is limited in the Skills Workshops, so you'll need to reserve your spot via Eventbrite. If you can't make it, please cancel your ticket though, so that we can offer it to someone else on our waiting list. Visit our website to find out more. And I hope you can join me at one of our sessions soon.
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The SHL events allow you to get involved through the live chat, interactive activities and by putting your thoughts, comments and questions to the guest speakers. They are a fantastic way to meet fellow OU students, find out about the exciting things happening at the OU and meet the academics from your module materials, as well as other members of the OU. Students often say that the sense of community that they find at SHL is so important to their studies.

The SHL website has all the information you need: how to book an event, watch a session on catch-up, link to the podcasts and SHL blog, and how to subscribe to the newsletter and follow on social media so that you can stay up to date on all that is happening within the SHL community

This next activity gives you a chance to explore what’s going on in the OU community.

Activity 3 Getting involved in the OU community

Timing: Allow about 10 minutes

Go to the SHL website and find out what events are happening soon. Book to attend any that interest you. Near the start of your module there will usually be events specifically to welcome new students so look out for these

Also check out the opportunities the OU Students Association offer to meet OU students online. There are clubs, groups and societies you can join, volunteering opportunities and regular meet-up events – both online and face to face (where possible).


Are there any events or activities that you’re interested in joining? All of this is completely optional but can support your studies as well as offering opportunities to have fun and meet other students. Remember to check back regularly for the latest events and opportunities.

Next you’ll explore another way to get involved in the OU community: social media.


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