By Leanne Goodall
Waiting for that OU TMA to come back can bring out a huge mix of emotions
Let’s be honest, that’s the question that everyone wants the answer to when they first submit assignments with The Open University. We put all of our blood, sweat and tears into the TMA itself and can’t think beyond it yet the moment we’ve submitted it we begin to think about the result and exactly how long it takes to mark the TMA.
In my experience it varies from tutor to tutor, from module to module and even from one assignment to another within the same module. Tutors are given 10 working days to turn around their marking of your TMA which actually equates to 2 weeks. Those two weeks can be the longest two weeks ever and have been known to send students literally bonkers. The fastest TMA turnaround that I think I’ve had is 2 days but that was quite a shock as most of mine have tended to be nearer the full 2 week marker.
Waiting for those TMA results can be such hard work – how many times exactly can you refresh your Student Home page in one day?
For those that don’t know what I’m on about there: the results are loaded onto your OU Student Home page for you to see. You then get sent an email to tell you that the results are ready and that you can view them.
OU students constantly log-in
The problem is that the email is often delayed by several hours and so it’s only natural for us students to let our minds wander: maybe those results are sat waiting and we don’t even know because that email is STILL in transit… So the standard thing for many OU students is to constantly log-in to their Student Home page and check for themselves. Loads of us do it, it just can’t be helped. We need to be put out of our misery one way or another. If we’ve done well then great – let us celebrate. But if we haven’t then we still need to know so that we can commiserate that evening read over the tutor’s comments, see where we can improve and set about what to do next.
One of my TMAs was actually returned after the 10 day period. Yep, even that can happen. Obviously your tutor will do everything that they can to get them all done within the 10 days but just occasionally there will be a reason that they can’t do it. Just as we can apply for an extension from time to time, they can go over that 10 day period if they really need to. Don’t fret though, this isn’t common practice and they will let you know if they need a bit of extra time.
Try not to crash Student Home
You also need to remember that the 10 working days only starts from the day you submit your assignment. If you have submitted late due to an extension (which always needs to be pre-arranged with your tutor) then your tutor still gets the full 10 working days to mark it and get it back to you. Of course this doesn’t apply if you manage to submit early. If you do that then you just have to wait a bit longer.
So I hope that’s helped a bit for anyone who has been wondering how long it takes to mark a TMA and, more importantly, get your results back. There will be many students waiting to get the first TMA result back from their newest modules right now (me included) so good luck and try not to crash Student Home by checking it too frequently.
Leanne is half way through a BA (Hons) in History with the Open University and enjoys writing as a freelancer as well as on her blog. Find out more here. You can catch up on all of Leanne’s excellent contributions on STOU here.
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I’m waiting for my TMA to be marked so thanks for the info on how long it could take. And yes I’ve been logging in numerous times a day just incase the mark is there!
Did they ever mark it for you Tom? Lol.
To be honest it feels like a really long time, but then you think about the fact that they are marking what, 30 of these maybe? and they have to wait till the cut off, and they dont have to work at the weekend. So I think even if you worked flat out, it would still be like a week for every student. The way I see it, I want the best and most detailed feedback possible with the most accurate marking possible. Taking extra time is what achieves those targets, and thats OK with me. (I mean, unless im waiting for one. I ate 12 cheese strings I bought for my god daughter in one night because I was so nervous).
I’m waiting for one at the moment Angel for H800. A week has gone by and the tutor asked if we mind waiting another week as she’s busy. I don’t mind to be honest, I’m happy to wait in the post-TMA purgatory where you’re happy because you’ve submitted it but not sure what the result will be!
I am an OU tutor. I have maybe 20 TMAs to mark at the same time, although some come in early and some are given extensions. To make things easier and for consistency I mark all the question 1s first, then all the question 2s, and so on. I have a full-time job in industry and also a wife and two children, one of my children is autistic and needs that little bit more time. So it usually takes me about the 10 days to return them although sometimes it is quicker. TMA marking is a time-consuming exercise. To do it properly, you need to comment properly and often present the correct solution, but it tailored to the style of the student, to show them how they could have adapted their work to gain full marks. I love my job at the OU but around TMA time the family don’t see much of me!
Thanks for your comment Paul. It’s always good to hear from someone at the coal face, so to speak, and I’m sure this insight will help a lot of our readers.
I am a student at OU with 3 kids and part time job. and around few weeks before tma needs to be submitted my family doesn’t see much of me either. Working flat out , getting everyone ready for school, school runs, job. Then at
home cooking, cleaning, looking after small baby, study and work , while he pulls at my skirt to get attention and love and just play time with mummy. It’s hard and I wish I have done studying part, when I was young and had no kids, so I didn’t have to sacrifice my family life. But there it is. And at the moment I am waiting for result for another tma ? hard work from all sides ?
You’re right anonymous, it can be hard work but all worth it in the end hopefully! I didn’t start studying until I was older and with a family as well so I can empathise.
It’s nice to see the tutor perspective on things it’s understandable we all have family’s and homes and other jobs as well as our studies but I think ou have been amazing and patient with me bo complaints here except I can’t focus on anything else until these results comes that’s the adhd part of me lol
Glad to hear you’re getting on well, Julie. Keep it up!
Great article. Soooo true. First TMA and I am literally going crazy. One week to go I guess….
You’ll be fine! Good luck.
I usually submit my assignment a week in advance because I am a bit ahead. This means I usually receive it at around 1am the day after it was due. This time that hasn’t happened though and it makes me more nervous because it doesn’t usually take this long haha.
does the tutor always inform you of a mark even if its a fail, I seem to have been waiting more than 2 weeks.
Yes you will get informed Jayne, don’t worry.
This all sounds very nice but I’m at level 3 an pd in the process of writing my EMA but am waiting over two and a half weeks and still no sign of my TMA. This might not be so vital were it not for the fact that my tutor has never marked a single TMA thus far, including the performa. Each TMA has been marked by another tutor (upsettingly) and I have no idea of what this one will be looking for or what impact this will have on my EMA as she will be it’s first marker. As the EMA is worth 50% of my overall marks the stress this is causing makes studying difficult.
It can certainly be tough Karen, you’re right. Stay positive and hopefully some good news will come along soon. David.
I’m studying Law through the OU and most of my TMA’s have come back on the verge or over the ten day period without notification. As a student, if we miss a deadline for submitting an assignment we get penalised and a zero score, therefore a knock on effect for our acas. Why should experienced and qualified tutors differ? Guidelines are guidelines, and as an excuse for tutors not working weekends, why not? we have to allocate full time hours over a whole week and the units covered do not allow us to take two days off every week. This is just one drawback of distance learning, no classroom hours, just a plethora of blocks, units and hours we have no choice of stuffing into our study time with much overspill into personal time. If we want to pass, we have to crack on. Tutors should be no different.
My TMA was due back yesterday according to the two-week rule, but the exam was the day before yesterday so I was hoping for it sooner. Sadly it still hasn’t arrived, but I got the following today by e-mail:
I am really sorry for not marking yet your TMA04.
I have downloaded in two batches the submitted TMAs. However, I failed to copy one batch of TMAs in the correct folder.
I would like to apologise for the inconvenience it has caused and I will marked as quickly as I can.”
These things happen I guess, but it does make me wonder why the TMA and exam were so close together. It certainly would have been good to have the opportunity to review the TMA feedback before the exam,
Overall I have found that very few tutors exceed the 14 day limit (one in particular made a point of getting them returned within 48 hours). I have been very impressed with the OU in general.
My final TMA for a module is now 28 days from the cut off (35 from when I submitted.) I’m getting worried now I’ve read these responses. I guess 35 days must mean something has gone wrong.
I’m a bit worried about submitting TMA’s now. I’m doing level three modules. I understand you should submit them before 12 noon on the day they are due. There is also a 12 hour grace period to submit them up to midnight. I have a habit of submitting them up to midnight. It wasn’t an issue before, however the tutor I have now said that they must be submitted before noon. I’m confused. I thought the deadline could be a bit flexible. I was told the 12 hours grace was for if you had a technical fault with your Internet connection. Does anyone know for sure if I can submit the TMA before midnight or will it be before 12 noon? I am confused.
Can I submit my TMA before midnight on the day it is due or must I submit it by 12 noon? In previous modules this was ok but on this one the tutor said that the 12 hours grace is only for technical difficulties. I am confused. I haven’t had my TMA marked and I’m a bit worried.
You should be submitting by noon & as you say the 12 hour grace period is to allow for any technical difficulties. The tutor doesn’t know whether your internet is down or your computer has crashed so………..
I basically can’t move forward with mu studies because of how anxious I am of the results of my Tma02 I just can’t focus on anything else