I went into this module full of hope and expectations. I know this is a level 2 module, but it is a beast and it has almost swallowed me whole and spat out my bones!

Block one was all about ITIL, which in itself is the most boring subject known to man, but unfortunately, the OU have made it even more soul-shattering. There are huge blocks of text and a hell of a lot of acronyms that they explain once what they stand for and then assume you know them by heart. I found myself constantly going through my notes or earlier parts of the materials to jog my memory of what they stand for. At the beginning of each part, like all OU modules they tell you how much time it should take to study that particular part; my advice, would be to double it and you may just survive. I did struggle with block 1 mainly to do with the amount of theory there is with it in a subject that I have no interest in, but I have to do this module as part of my BSc. I know I did well on the TMA but that was from mainly Googling what I needed to know, I found a lot of excellent websites that helped me to understand what I was meant to be talking about.

I was looking forward to Block 2 because it was to do with SQL databases and we would be programming databases using the CLI (PSQL). I was looking forward to doing a lot of practical work, but again, the OU gave us copious amounts of text to wade through, and for a lot of people on this module (me included) they are not very familiar with SQL. By the looks of it, they already assume that we either deal with SQL in our professional life or we just happen to know about it! of course, for me and plenty of other students on this module, this is not the case. The way it is explained is very difficult to understand, there is a vast array of grammatical errors as well as general mistakes, not only in the module materials but on the TMA's as well, there is a long list of errata on the module website so not only do you have to keep checking out the news feeds for the cockups that have been made, you then have to wade through treacle to try and grasp some sort of understanding on what the OU is meant to be teaching us. There have been so many complaints from students with this module and by the sounds of everyone's comments on my WhatsApp group as well as the module forums, there is a lot of confusion, frustration, and anger, that the OU has the audacity to allow this module to go live when there are so many things wrong with it.

I am sure I will update this post or add a new one when I start Block 3 - apparently, that is all about project management and I think there is a group activity either for the TMA or just an activity.

The thing is, that this module has the potential to be really engaging, I will paraphrase "The Big Bang Theory" and say that "The OU has taken a relatively boring subject and made it totally unbearable" it seems that the OU has missed the boat on this one. A lot of students have complained to the SST (Student Support Team) about this module and apparently, the OU is aware that there are problems with it and they have already cut a lot of material out of this module for this year. I just hope they have another really good clean-up and reword of the module and give better, clear examples. To obtain any knowledgeable information from reading the module text is a bit like cracking the enigma code the information is there but you have to dig deep for it, I am sure that there are students that have enjoyed this module and that they absorb information like a sponge but unfortunately for me and other students we are not so lucky.

I am, however, one of the lucky ones in that I am only doing one module this year, many other students are doing two or more, I really do not envy them and I wish them luck - I wish us all luck that we come out the other side with a pass with our straight jackets on, ready for the nice trip to the hospital, to be placed in a nice cosy padded cell where I can bash my head repeatedly against the wall!



James Fox

2 thoughts on “Thoughts on TM254

  1. TM254 is already on my "don't do" list - I've heard nothing but seriously terrible comments about it!!

    I wish the OU had more practical modules and less theory e.g. a modules that teaches you how to build a website from HTML to Java Script etc. Web technologies (TT284) seems to assume you already know the coding side.

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