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Environmental Management

FootprintsStudent Stories

Why take our Environmental programme?

Rodney Painell (2017)

I am very interested in environmental issues so when I saw the OU were offering a BSc (Hons) degree in environmental studies I decided to give it a go. I had previously done a taster course with the OU so I knew it was something I could do.

I did my degree in 5 years and I thoroughly enjoyed everything in it. It was absolutely brilliant and I got a first class honours degree at the end of it.

For me, at my age (63) the biggest challenge was getting back into learning again full stop. I’m very disciplined and focused though so I didn’t really find distance learning as a learning style that difficult to manage. When I had my business I always used to start work very early, so when I was doing my degree I’d be up at 7 and spend two hours on my studies and then maybe spend another hour in the evening. If you are disciplined and organised then your studies should be quite manageable.

My degree has not only helped me to understand the world even more and taught me how to put an argument forward in a coherent way to someone else, but also to listen to their argument coming back to you. Previously I would just argue abstractly about environmental issues, but now I am much more focused on how I explain my views and thoughts to someone and how to listen to theirs. It’s a case of not just coming out with abstract facts but thinking about what you’re trying to convey to someone in a discussion and putting it across in a much more coherent and less abstract way. I think the OU has definitely taught me how to focus on learning again too.

In general my tutors were absolutely fantastic and the study material was absolutely brilliant as well. I loved the tutorials because you got to meet with other students and you could bounce ideas off of them and have constructive arguments.
My advice to anyone considering OU study would firstly be to find a subject that you’re passionate about and are interested in and then to ensure you’ve got the time to dedicate to it. Try and think of what you want at the end of it, do you just want to fill in a gap in your education or do you want to get a degree? It’s one of those things that’s quite specific to the person, but for me it’s about finding a subject that you’re passionate about and then really just taking it on board and loving it, which I did. 

It’s simple really if it wasn’t for the OU I wouldn’t be where I am now. Without doing the OU degree in environmental studies I would never have dreamt of coming up with a renewable energy idea to develop. It’s been a wonderful experience.

Star Molteno (2017)

I did my first degree in Human Sciences at Oxford University but after graduating I travelled and didn’t really settle into a career. I had done a bit of research work in the fields of environmental and human ecology and found it interesting so I wanted to be able to access more jobs in that area but I felt like I needed a further degree in order to do this.  I looked at what was on offer and The Open University really suited me because I could fit it around my children and other commitments.

I started studying towards my MSc in Environmental Change when my youngest was at nursery. I really liked the independent study aspect that OU study offers. I could fit it in when I wanted and I take things off further if I was interested in them.

I did one unit at a time so was able to take it slowly, mull over and digest things and integrate concepts and ideas in a way that you’re not able to if you’re on one subject one week and another subject the next week. I’m an absolute OU convert and I think it’s a great way of studying.

I found the tutors really helpful – it was nice that they introduce themselves at the start and check regularly throughout on how you’re doing with your work. I think without that contact the TMA’s could feel a little bit impersonal. There was one module in particular that was a trial module, and I found that really interesting because it was put together by a professor at the OU. They wanted to look at the lived experience of climate change and through the course of the module, because there were only about twelve of us doing it, we all really connected and developed a good relationship with the professor – it was really nice. We also ended up keeping that connection alive afterwards.

I have two jobs at the moment which I do alongside my OU study. Both are in the field of social research. One involves public consultation on issues that will affect the local community, where we run workshops and I carry out the follow up data analysis and report writing. The other looks at community projects and, as with the other role, the work is very hands on. To a certain extent this work does link into my OU studies and what I want to do in the future.  Once I’ve finished my Masters I’m going to be looking at work that makes use of the what I’ve learnt on my degree and where I can develop the work skills that I already have.