Feedback can be helpful for future students, whether positive or negative, but is it accurate?

by David Wells, editor at Surviving the OU

After putting out a post on social media recently asking for feedback on the Open University experience, I was surprised at some of the responses. There were plenty of positive comments and a few negative ones. The negative ones often followed a theme that they were down to personal gripes with tutors or fellow students, marking issues or emotional issues exclusive to that individual rather than any ongoing structural issues.

The OU library is absolute rubbish

Not once did anyone say that. Nobody criticised the IT department or the finance officers in the OU head quarters in Milton Keynes.

I have visited the OU library and can confirm that it is excellent.

One of our feeedbackers (yes, I just made that word up) said he had “recieved fantastic support during my English degree”. Considering he was studying English we shall put the incorrect spelling of received as a mere typo and take that feedback at face value.

The phrase “life changing experience” came up a few times as well. Indeed, the Open University offers opportunities and opens up doors to disadvantaged students who otherwise would not be able to take part in education.

The issue of accreditation and accessibility came up. One student achieved an OU degree and had issues getting it recognised or accepted in South Africa. Whilst there have bee students from all over the world on courses I’ve participated in (Nigeria, Pakistan, Malaysia and many more) it is always worth checking this out.

The Open University IT Degree is a rip off

This was one student’s assessment. He was expecting to find his dream job and reckons he got dealt a bad hand. Another bad experience was relayed to us about exam times being switched around and a personal problem with the tutor. Sometimes we have to put these down as personality clashes. I’ve had various types of tutors, who operate with different ideas and methods, but I’ve never felt inclined to openly criticise any of them.

The OU offers plenty of student support

Finally, student support was mentioned. I would agree with this. Every problem I’ve had has been dealt with and I’ve always found the OU support network extremely, well, supportive.

How have you experienced studying with the OU? Let us know in the comments. I’d be interested to hear from you.

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