Although at the OU we don’t always get to meet our students face-to-face (but see here for an insight into how our teaching is carried out), here in the Classical Studies department we enjoy finding alternative opportunities for engaging with the people who are studying our modules. One way in which we do this is through the use of online forums. This summer several members of the department ran an online discussion forum aimed at students who are making the transition from Level 1 study to our Level 2 modules (the equivalent of the step up from first- to second-year undergraduate study elsewhere); the forum was a place where we could offer help and advice, and share our enthusiasm for the subject, and it also allowed our students to make contact with each other before the online forums for their individual modules opened. As a result we ‘met’ a whole range of students who form this year’s cohort. As always they’re a diverse bunch, spread over a wide geographical area, and with a variety of reasons for undertaking Open University study – there is no such thing as the ‘typical OU student’. We asked them to introduce themselves and to tell us a little bit about why they’ve chosen to study with us, so here are a few of their stories:
– Sasha, who lives near Leicester, told us that, with four young children and another on the way, the OU enables her to combine studying with raising a family in a way that would not be possible via a ‘brick’ university; having enjoyed the classical elements of the OU’s interdisciplinary Level 1 Arts module (in which students encounter, among other things, Sophocles’ Antigone, Plato, Cleopatra and Roman archaeology) she has decided to pursue a single honours Classical Studies degree.
– Several students cited a lifelong interest in ancient Greece and Rome as their inspiration for beginning formal study. Brian recalled a school trip to Chester and studying Latin at ‘O’ Level in the 1970s as fuelling his enthusiasm, and, having studied several history modules with the OU, is now embarking on Exploring the Classical World, our wide-reaching Level 2 module which introduces our students to the literature, history and culture of ancient Greece and Rome. Trevor, who is studying the same module from his home in the Scottish Highlands, told us that he’s been studying with the OU since 2013; he’s enjoying reading all manner of ancient texts and plans to go on to study our Level 3 module Myth in the Greek and Roman Worlds next year. Another of our students, Alisha, lives in Switzerland, and dropped in to tell us that she’ll be studying the myth module along with our brand new Level 3 module The Roman Empire. Philip in west Wales, meanwhile, is a local guide who spends a lot of time talking to tour groups about the Roman heritage of his town, so he’s joined us in order to find out more about the Greeks and Romans.
– Our new Level 2 Latin module, which we are offering for the first time this year, has been eagerly anticipated, and we met several students who are looking forward to learning the ancient language. Among them are those for whom the study of the language offers them the opportunity to enhance their understanding of the ancient world, and others who plan to study Latin as a way of complementing their knowledge of a variety of modern languages.
– Meanwhile we also give our students the opportunity to learn ancient Greek, with a module which teaches the language from beginners’ level as well as allowing students to gain a deeper understanding of some key literary texts by reading them in translation. Gale told us that, having retired after a long career in the NHS, she now has the time to take up formal study; she confessed to feeling a little daunted by the challenge of studying ancient Greek but is fascinated by the ways in which the ancient world continues to influence our own society.
If you’d like to know more about what we offer please visit our departmental website, where you’ll find information on our modules and courses (at both undergraduate and postgraduate level) as well as free taster materials and contact information.
Wishing all our students the very best of luck with their studies for the coming year!