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This is probably the wrong bit of the forums, but I'm about to start an O.U. English Language and Literature degree (in a bid to make me even more unemployable than my History degree already does).

Has anyone here done anything through O.U.? Any advice?

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This is probably the wrong bit of the forums, but I'm about to start an O.U. English Language and Literature degree (in a bid to make me even more unemployable than my History degree already does).

Has anyone here done anything through O.U.? Any advice?

 

Hey how did this go?  I'm looking at the English Lit and Creative Writing degree just now.  Sorry it took 6 years for someone to reply to this...

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For what it's worth I did a distance learning degree through Aberdeen Uni and it was a fucking nightmare. You need to be disciplined as a motherfucker and really make the effort to create a "school space" where you go and turn your phone off and have no TV or distractions and watch lectures/read notes etc. I tried for ages to convince myself that spending 4 hours studying which half-watching TV or listening to music would be more productive than an hour with just me and the books... I was so fucking wrong.

 

xx

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Not to sound dismissive, but why would you want to do an English lit and creative writing degree now? Obviously not for career advancement right? If it's more a labour of love then maybe some specific classes would be better?

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Edit: That's not a very useful comment. I just think that a huge part of the english lit/creative writing degree thing (or any other arts degree really) is the experience you have in-class. You maybe have a tutor who really inspires you to write or experiences with folk in your groups that moulds your interest for a certain type of literature. Whatever it is, interaction is essential. In a self-learning environment, it seems to me an arts degree would be very difficult in terms of what you actually get out of it.

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Not to sound dismissive, but why would you want to do an English lit and creative writing degree now? Obviously not for career advancement right? If it's more a labour of love then maybe some specific classes would be better?

 

Definitely not for career advancement. More for my own amusement/challenge.  Always been in the back of my mind that I could have done English at Uni instead of Computing but instead I decided to go down the vocational route rather than the literature one.  The flexibility of the OU means I can pick away at it over 6 years or more.  

 

A more focused short course is also option but I quite like the idea of getting the formal qualification as well and being back in a university environment.

 

I also want to do more writing and think that having a structure around my writing to motivate me into keeping it going will help.

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Makes sense. If you want an English degree then i'm sure the OU route is totally fine. In terms of creative writing, i'd question it though. There needs to be a 'fit' with something as personal as that. Is an online schedule and email feedback really gonna push you to write your best stuff? Didn't there used to be a creative writing meetup at the Lemon Tree? There's gotta be an in-person class or something you could do.

 

Purely anecdotal, but I was just speaking to a writer friend of mine who did creative writing at Uni years ago and said that the 6 week course she did a couple months ago did more for her than the 4 years at uni.

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Maybe do it part-time at either Aberdeen or RGU? Though I guess it'd be hard to get even a few hours off mid-week, if you're in a mid-career 9-5 job, could be the better option if you can swing it.

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Maybe do it part-time at either Aberdeen or RGU? Though I guess it'd be hard to get even a few hours off mid-week, if you're in a mid-career 9-5 job, could be the better option if you can swing it.

 

RGU don't have an English department.  Aberdeen are expensive and irritatingly bad at answering questions on the flexibility of their courses.

 

I think it's the variety of study that appeals to me for the degree option.  But if anyone has experience of good short courses other than "writers retreat" weekends I'd definitely take a look at that (my wife would probably prefer that from a cost perspective too).

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Not sure if relevant, - and it may have changed since I left - but the Ab U English lit course is very much geared towards literary study from a critical perspective as opposed to creating your own literature.  More of an expensive book club than an expensive writers' retreat.

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Don't meet the entry requirements. I've got a BSc (no hons) in Computing rather than a 1st in a humanities degree.

 

As someone who runs a taught masters programme, I would strongly recommend that you enquire directly with them to see if they might accept you.  There's generally a presumption in favour of accepting people onto masters programmes (at least so long as they're able to pay the fees!).

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Damn Edinburgh Uni has some great short courses:

https://www.course-bookings.lifelong.ed.ac.uk/courses/CW/creative-writing/

 

Shame Aberdeen doesn't do anything like that.

 

Also found some interesting courses at a private writing school in Edinburgh:

http://www.skrivawriting.com/

 

 

Makes sense. If you want an English degree then i'm sure the OU route is totally fine. In terms of creative writing, i'd question it though. There needs to be a 'fit' with something as personal as that. Is an online schedule and email feedback really gonna push you to write your best stuff? Didn't there used to be a creative writing meetup at the Lemon Tree? There's gotta be an in-person class or something you could do.

 

Purely anecdotal, but I was just speaking to a writer friend of mine who did creative writing at Uni years ago and said that the 6 week course she did a couple months ago did more for her than the 4 years at uni.

 

The Lemon Tree lot seem to be based in Torry now http://www.lemontreewriters.co.uk/about.aspx

 

I think you make a good point about getting feedback.  

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in terms of available info/courses there are plenty of online resources available of course. I follow a few writing subreddits (which are generally terrible) and the odd interesting thing will pop up. e.g. this full BYU lecture course

 

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in terms of available info/courses there are plenty of online resources available of course. I follow a few writing subreddits (which are generally terrible) and the odd interesting thing will pop up. e.g. this full BYU lecture course

 

 

Yeah I follow some writing subreddits too.  They're not great.  I have been picking up some "how to write" books though to remind me of all the stuff I've forgotten since higher english.  Stephen King's On Writing was excellent and reminded me why I read his books when I was younger. There was a 50 writing tools book which was good too.  Elements of style up next as both the other books mentioned it.

 

Just wondering if this is worth taking into a seperate thread... should we have a wee writing discussion thread in the books forum?

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Like Dr Owl I might also have recommended the postgrad option; I'm not sure about not having honours though. Does one even get a Bachelor's sans honours (I thought that was otherwise an associate's?).

 

I got accepted onto an Msc (my undergrad was the same arts degree as Old Gold's) for which I didn't meet the advertised requirements. I don't think I met the advertised requirements for one I eventually did either (an MA or Msc depending on modules). Also, semantics, but it asks for a 1st degree (i.e. an undergrad degree - your first degree) with "only" 2:1 honours. This may be moot, and I may be acting like a total dick, if you genuinely don't have an honours undergrad though...

 

Postgrad option is presumably much cheaper (though I guess you'd need to pay in 1 go), it being a 1/4 of the length, and I think the government would essentially pay half the fee (reflected in "home" rate?) as opposed to a second undergrad?

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Like Dr Owl I might also have recommended the postgrad option; I'm not sure about not having honours though. Does one even get a Bachelor's sans honours (I thought that was otherwise an associate's?).

I have a Bachelor's without honours, mainly due to not completing my fourth year and getting a job instead. I think there were about 5 of us in my class that got a standard BSc.

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I have a Bachelor's without honours, mainly due to not completing my fourth year and getting a job instead. I think there were about 5 of us in my class that got a standard BSc.

 

Yup this is what I did.  Bailed out after 3rd year to get a job.  Not many IT employers care if you have (Hons) after your degree title.

 

 

 

Back in the vicinity of the topic; there's apparently a Creative Writing class in Stoney at the Community Centre. So I'm waiting for someone to call me back about that.  Might satisfy the need for creative feedback and give me a taster before deciding if I want to commit to a more formal, lengthy and expensive course.

 

All of this faffing around looking at creative writing courses is obviously just procrastination to put off the actual act of writing though...

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I think it may be too late for me career wise, 15 years of jumping from entry level job to entry level job has put paid to that, plus if I start in 2016 by the time I graduate I'll be 42 (!).

I guess it depends what's really important to you, but I don't think there's any reason why, if you take the time and effort to plan it out and execute it, you couldn't build a great career starting in your 40s or even later. This sort of thing interests me a lot, because I've seen with my own career in the last 2 years that if you stop arsing about and start applying yourself fully and engaging with the process of building a career, identifying and addressing strengths and weaknesses, understanding who you need to influence to get ahead and having a strategy for achieving this, etc then it can be done. The secret tho, is wanting to do it. Before I didn't really care (or I told myself that I didn't really care and my behaviours and attitudes followed that) but now I really do and that is what has made the difference.
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