Degree Completed

After three months since my submission, to conclude a nine month IT project and final module, the long-awaited final module results came through. The results not only complete a module but also, conclude four years of study toward an undergraduate degree. The mark on the final assignment would determine the final module result which, in turn, determines the classification of degree awarded to me – upper second class (2:1) or first class. For fellow OU students, Tim’s calculator at cleveret.net provides a nice GUI simplification of the infamously obscure OU classification algorithms

Open University Coat of Arms
Open University Coat of Arms
As an OU student (I’m not sure if this unique to the Open University) I’d become accustomed to forget about results due; and only then, do the results unexpectedly get posted – nevertheless, long-anticipated. In short, the module result is a distinction and a Bachelor of Science degree (First Class with Honours) is conferred on me – at some point. I’m not quite sure how that works but I think it is technically, unceremoniously and undramatically, a certificate through the post. There are ceremonies available to book where you get to dress up as Harry Potter characters but I’ll have to wait until March to be, well, ceremoniously dramatic.

What has occurred in the few hours since the result: A classification was offered to me and I then accepted it. Then I got an email to accept my acceptance. (Presumably the double-acceptance process suggests scope for negotiation, softens any disappointing results and reinforces ‘self-acceptance’ of results). I’ve informed the various stakeholders (friends and family) and my ‘intellectual’ achievement invited more physical congratulations, in the form of pats on the back, from some colleagues. I contemplated a novel period of suffixing my email signature with a BSc (Hons) and that I would have to unashamedly dispose of batches of unused business cards at work to get an order past the scrutiny of the Accounts department for a replacement stock of unused business cards – with my subtle ‘BSc’ addition.

Of course, the presence of either declaration would be irritatingly unnecessary and I am kept in check by Ricky Gervais’ monologue at the Golden Globes where he sardonically reminds the recipients that the awards mean more to them than anybody else. I am joining a pool of thousands of graduates and, at the age of thirty-five, much later than average. The observation here implies a labour-market perspective on the value of my degree and inevitably any discussion about the value of a degree considers the subject and awarding body. Perhaps there is no more apt a medium than a personal blog, to discuss opinion and credibility. Perhaps the labour-market-value perspective is too narrow and the academic pursuit of a scientific programme has more meaningful implications; than its token presence on a CV.

I know this is a significant milestone in my learning and career but I feel more relieved than elated: I now have a ‘de facto’ award to certify what I know. I have studied at other universities and the quality/content is no different at the Open University. The course content was current and informative; and the material complex enough to engage my attention and consequently I’ve loved, almost, every moment of studying with the Open University. Perhaps what does add gravitas to an Open University awarded degree is the context in which I and many other students study. It is self-directed and alongside other commitments at the typically older stage in life, it does require discipline. I have been entirely self-funded (not even a loan) and even though my current job as an IT Manager relates to (and benefits from) the subject, IT & Computing with Business, my employer neither contributed toward my studies financially nor provided time-off for study in the four years throughout. Naturally, compressing a full-time course into four years’ worth of evenings and weekends affects one’s time available for socialising, hobbies, pursuits and even leisure. Managing this time effectively has been challenging and managing it successfully, is what I am proud of.

The modules I studied were:

Academic Summary
Academic Summary

If you have studied with the Open University or are considering study (I highly recommend it) and have a question then, by all means, leave a comment.

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