Tips & tricks: preparing to start a new Open University module


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A cool feature about having a blog with wordpress is that you can see exactly what people type into Google to find your site.

This month alone I have disappointed a fellow internet user who was looking for information on ‘xxx thai massage body to body’ and stumbled across my Thailand blog posts instead. I’m not sure if I have ever advertised the opening hours of Azda in Turkey either, but Google thinks I have considering I was found via ‘azda hisaronu turkey opening hours’.

My personal favourites so far have been those practical searches like  “drink aloe vera juice near a toilet?”, or “how long does it take to queue for the isle of wight ferry” and the brilliantly random “can you microwave ainsley harriott”

Anyhow, occasionally the normal search will find its way to my site (typically those related to nutrition and yoga) but most recently it has been people wanting more information on the Open University.  At the beginning of the year, I blogged ‘Betty’s Study Essentials – tips from a student at The Open University’ and prior to that I had written ‘The benefits of studying at The Open University’

So in this post I am listening to the people, and going to share with you a few of my own tried and tested preparation techniques I follow when starting a brand new module with the Open University. (By the way, if you are here about the opening hours for Azda in Turkey, I’d say it closes about 11pm… but there are plenty of bars and restaurants nearby …)

Number One – Note important dates

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The module websites usually open a few weeks prior to the official start date. This allows plenty of time to plan your studies – noting the important dates such as assignment deadlines and exam days. I keep a little diary on my desk so I can see each week at a glance (especially handy if you are juggling more than one course at a time).

Number Two – Get your notebooks ready

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I have said before on the blog that I have a weakness for stationary (that, and alcohol). I suppose stationary is my less harmful addiction – so the start of a brand new module is a very happy time for me. A good tip when planning to study more than one course, is to set up a notebook for each module. I like to make it clear which notebook is for which module – hence, the owl with glasses for signals and perception, and the turtle for level 3 cell biology (as learning that one is going to take a while).

Number Three – Make a ‘things to do’ list

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The information is all available on the module website, but personally I like to have a handwritten list to glance at when I am studying offline. I can see my workload, tutorials, and deadlines for all my courses for the month ahead, and nothing beats the satisfaction of ticking something off a list, right?

Number Four – Plan ahead for revision time

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I admit that I did have a mini-breakdown when I saw how much I would need to know for my exams next year. But, at least it will not come as a surprise now. For previous exams, I have used revision cards to answer all the learning outcomes in the module. The technique has worked pretty well so far, albeit a long and laborious process. So for my final modules, I have pre-written all of my learning outcomes in advance, and my intention is to complete the cards as I go through the module. Well, I say that is the plan. I’ll let you know how it goes…

Are you studying for an Open University degree? What preparation techniques have worked well for you?

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