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Last updated: July 2017

Studying with The Open University

Three years ago I decided to take an Open University (OU) course. I've had it in the back of my mind for years, but I'd reached the point where I'd got my home exactly the way I wanted it to be, I had great carers/PAs I could rely on and I needed a new challenge.

I decided to start with an access module. I haven't studied for years and these courses aim to give a broad taster of OU study and gently introduces you to what is required. One of the biggest advantages for me is it allowed me to try different learning techniques and see what worked best in view of my disability - the things I was most concerned about were my slow typing speed, nystagmus and physically handling the course materials (for example turning pages). I also wondered how I'd get on with telephone tutorials.

The access module I decided to take was called "People, Work and Society" and it covered a broad range of subject areas including children and young people; health; law; management; psychology; and sociology. I enjoyed this so much that I decided to further my studies by taking "An Introduction to Health and Social Care".

Some modules the materials such as books and DVDs were sent to my home address before it began. However I think the OU are moving towards online study which I find ideal as I find books really difficult to handle and depend on digital copies (PDFs and web versions) anyway.

I keep in touch with tutors via telephone, Skype and email and tutorials take place online which works really well for me as I can replay the recordings and take notes in my own time.

I haven't had to sit an exam for any modules I've taken so far. Assessment has instead been based on written assignments (TMAs), online activities (iCMAs), and a final assessments (EMAs). Detailed feedback is always received from tutors and this really helped to develop my skills and build my confidence. I submitted all assignments online which made the process really easy.

I've really enjoyed the courses I've taken (I'm studying for enjoyment rather than any qualifications aspirations) and the electronic/online element of the course was definitely the thing that made it doable for me. Being able to download course materials took away my difficulties in handling course materials and as my computer is set to display large text this minimised the effects of nystagmus. Perhaps the biggest advantage to studying with the OU for me though is the fact that I was free to organise my own study schedule which meant I could allow as much time as I needed for each task and study it in the best way for me.

I look forward to studying "Science and Health: an Evidence-Based Approach" next year.

This website has been around sinse 1998, and although it's changed a lot over the years it's always been about me and my disability. Over the years I have used many different hosts and website design packages. For the past ten years or so I have used 1&1 as my host and I have always been very happy with it. I have always wanted to learn how to build a website from scratch using Adobe Dreamweaver, so about three years ago I got in touch with Polar Solutions and arranged for a trainer to come out to my home to teach me at my own pace. So I now design this website using Adobe Dreamweaver and the skills I learned on that course. I designed the buttons using Cool Text.