By Leanne Goodall

The course that changed my life.

For me, I didn’t choose AA100, it was compulsory. As a multi-disciplinary course I didn’t understand how the majority of the content would be relevant to me. I was heading towards an English Literature degree and the idea of studying other subjects was daunting. As questioned on my blog, ‘how was I to cope with the likes of history, music and philosophy at university level?’ Anyway, fast-forward to my first tutorial and it all became clear. The course is a great introduction to a number of different arts disciplines and builds you up gradually.

AA100 grabbed me from the start. I went from signing up because I ‘had to’ to embracing everything about it. The very first topic focussed on Cleopatra and why she is so well known. I found this completely fascinating and began looking for ways to immerse myself into the subject. I watched various versions of the film and found that the course books helped to spark all kinds of interesting conversations at home. In just two short weeks, I was hooked.

cleopatraThe course content is broken down into themes which are all thoroughly interesting to consider. The first book considers famous people and their reputations. If Cleopatra doesn’t capture your interest then maybe the study of Stalin and his atrocities will. You might enjoy listening to Madonna tracks as you consider her status as a diva or you might prefer the traditional image of the operatic diva. The other course books are focussed on the themes of tradition and dissent, cultural encounters and place and leisure. They tackle subjects that are embedded within our everyday lives but help us to consider them in new ways.

The themes are then broken down into the different disciplines. So while you’re studying Cleopatra, you’re also considering the subject of classical studies. Madonna falls under the study of music and you soon realise how all these subjects can weave into each other and are rarely separate entities. The subject choices are interesting and the breadth is exhilarating. One week you will be looking at Ireland’s history and the way that traditions were invented and another week you’ll be having philosophical debates about common themes in society. You’ll see the way that authors and poets select words, tones and characters to evoke powerful feelings within a reader and consider how their work relates to the world that they live in. The course content is a whirlwind of excitement which will both interest and challenge you.

AA100 really opened my eyes

As the course progresses you’ll consider more than one discipline on a given subject and see how they work together as well as divide ideas. This culminates in the EMA at the very end of the module. For me, it was about the seaside and the questions asked us to consider things like industrialisation and ideas about health in society within the context of the development of seaside resorts. It was a thoroughly fascinating subject and I can no longer visit the seaside without conjuring up a whole lot of fond memories (as well as new knowledge) from my studies, on the subject.

My eyes were opened because of AA100. Since completing it I have become open to new ideas and discussions. I think about things in a different way and I get involved in debates about them. I see the ‘bigger picture’; I’ve developed as a person and want to know more. The course encouraged me to develop my interests and I have since changed to the BA (Hons) History pathway. This course changed my life and gave me the confidence to do even more. If you choose to do AA100 then you can expect to be hooked from the start. Your overall knowledge about the world will be broadened and your thought processes deepened. The Open University have put together a superb and interesting course in AA100 – The Arts Past and Present. So if you’re thinking of enrolling on this module, simply do it. I’m pretty certain that you won’t regret it for a single moment.

Overall rating: 92% – “A strong ‘first class’ module that was a delight to read.”

Leanne is half way through a BA (Hons) in History with the OU and enjoys writing as a freelancer as well as on her blog. Find out more here.

Have you taken the Open University AA100 module? If so, how did you find it and are you in agreement with Leanne and her assessment? Feel free to join the debate by leaving a comment below or a LIKE/TWEET/SHARE across our social media platforms if you prefer.