During the mid-nineties, I found myself single and living in a grotty B+B during the week whilst providing consultancy to Nortel in Harlow. To relieve the boredom during the evenings I signed up for an OU course. I really enjoyed the style of teaching and back then it was low cost too. My contract with Nortel kept getting renewed, and so I continued to study a new module with the OU, for 4 years in total. The courses I studied were:
- M101 – Mathematics: A Foundation Course
- T202 – Analogue and Digital Electronics
- MST204 – Mathematical Models and Methods
- T322 – Digital Telecommunications
For each module I received a Distinction. I also received 180 points of transferable credit, providing me with another undergraduate degree, although I never got round to cashing it in. Back then, the courses were made up of reading loads of detailed A4 sized booklets and handing in CMAs (Computer Marked Assignments) and TMAs (Tutor Marked Assignments) to check progress. Some courses (M101, T202 and MST204 for me) had 1 week residential tuition during the summer, which were great fun (I think mine were at UMIST and Reading). There were also TV programmes to watch (often at 6am presented by bearded professors with corduroy flares and huge shirt collars!), as well as a practical kit in some cases (for T202 I received an oscilloscope, circuit breadboard and multimeter in the post). And then of course there were the final exams, which were usually in October.
I have fond memories of my OU experience. Sadly though it’s now far too expensive, making it inaccessible for many. I so wish Gov.uk could afford to invest properly in our education system!