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Student and tutor module reviews

Voices, texts and material culture

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  • Points: 60
  • Code: A105
  • Level: 1

Student reviews

Perfect for analytical and curious minds (and for those not afraid of a bit of workload!), this module covers a wide range of subjects in depth and is an excellent start to develop critical analysis skills and other essential academic skills. Even more interesting when combined with AA100, as the two modules complement each others in many ways.
If you are looking for a course that will keep you out of boredom - A105 is your answer!

Audrey Sophie Davies

Course starting: October 2017

Review posted: June 2019

Like many students, I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to study when I first started with the OU so I was a little wary of A105 as the second foundation module on the Arts and Humanities path, covering a myriad of topics rather than the one I was interested in.

By the end of the of the module I had developed an interest for classics which I had not expected and slightly changed my study path to suit.

Just like AA100 did, A105 covers the basics of Arts and Humanities but in greater depth, focusing on the relationships between the topics of history, literature, classics and religion to name but a few. It also has a greater emphasis on material culture.

The module is well structured and the material is varied enough to hold your interest and enticing enough to tempt you to go for a visit or two at your nearest museum, or historical site.

It will also challenge you to get out of your comfort zone. For me, it was group work that challenged me the most, but what I learned from other students was invaluable.

If there is one thing I would take for this module, it is to keep an open mind.

Virginie Busette

Course starting: October 2017

Review posted: June 2019

I loved this module and the variety of material covered. It helped me decide on a change of pathway and continue to study Classics.
My tutorial support was excellent, backed up with very readable module books contributed to a very happy year.
I found the exam hard, it was over 30yrs since I had sat a formal paper in exam conditions. I didn't like it very much, but survived.
Other than that the Wiki exercises were a little stressful. Trying to gel team efforts into a readable offering for marking was difficult. Especially when trying to avoid offending other participants.
I would whole heartedly recommend this module, I learned so much.

Theresa Coultas

Course starting: October 2017

Review posted: February 2019

I enjoyed A105 probably even more than the wonderful AA100. A105 reinforces the message in AA100 about reading a text 'against the grain' to try to understand who it was written for, and why. A running theme throughout the module is how various authorities, individual or institutional, decide in favour of one piece of art, or text, or music over another, and how latter authorities might disagree and, in their turn, completely reshape what is valued most highly. The final book encourages students to question texts in the context of others written in the same period.

I particularly enjoyed the last chapter of Book 4, which deals with the highly topical debate between cultural patrimony and cosmopolitanism; the argument about who actually owns the objects in museums - should they be returned to the place of their origin, or are there other factors to consider? I also loved the creative writing opportunity with one assignment and the module wide forum which supported this. I did not think of myself as creative at all (still don't) but the techniques and exercises that tutors posted on the forum were great fun, and I surprised myself by doing very well on this section.

A lot of students worry about the collaborative wiki. I actually found that discussion with other students really helped me formulate my argument, and deepened my understanding. At the end of the day, the collaborative exercises are a very small part of the module, and represent a small percentage of the OCAS mark. I would say that the more you put in, the more you are likely to get out of the experience.

Having not sat an exam for years, I worried about this aspect of A105. So many students are in exactly the same boat, and the OU understands this and there is a lot of help to this end. Information about which chapters will feature in the exam are posted about a month before. The tutorials on exam preparation - both face to face and online - are really helpful. Would highly recommend downloading past papers from the OUSA shop, and practicing timed answers before actually sitting the exam.

Enjoy it - I did!

Course starting: October 2017

Review posted: September 2018

The course is very varied which can make choosing a specific area to study difficult. The course is an Arts course which challenges you to look deeply at your thoughts and opinions on a number of aspect of arts and culture. What is Voice? What purpose does it serve? What constitutes a voice? How are text created, how do they change depending on interpretation context and generation? How does Material Culture grow? What purpose does it serve and does it have a place in modern life?

Course starting: December 2016

Review posted: February 2017

I thoroughly enjoyed the course. Like A100 it broadened my knowledge of the arts. A200 covered such diverse areas as the study of objects, Classical Greek drama, Buddhism, and Art History. It also provided a good grounding for my history degree, particularly those components that addressed the Reformation, and separately the Industrial Revolution, and its impact on Manchester. In that regard the Charles Dickens novel Hard Times was studied during the course and it provided another, albeit fictional viewpoint of its impacts on both the working and upper classes. It inspired me to go onto independently read Elizabeth Gaskells novel North and South.

Philip Martlew

Course starting: October 2015

Review posted: November 2016

I took A105 in its first presentation and I was a little worried that there would be teething problems, it was totally the opposite.

I found the course to be excellent and the materials well thought. The TMAs seemed a step up from AA100 but I feel they prepared me for my first level 2 module this year.

I was also concerned about the collaboration work but again it was unnecessary and really enjoyed the chance to work with other students.

Would definitely advise doing this module.

Nicola Jane Mayren

Course starting: October 2014

Review posted: February 2016

Please note

Each of the views expressed above is an individual's very particular response, largely unedited, and should be viewed with that in mind. Since modules are subject to regular updating, some of the issues identified may have already been addressed. In some instances the faculty may have provided a response to a comment. If you have a query about a particular module, please contact your Regional Centre.


Module satisfaction survey

The figures below are taken from a survey of students who sat the exam/completed the end-of-module assessment for the October 2016 presentation of A105. The survey was carried out in 2017.

506 students (a response rate of 31.8%) responded to the survey covering what they thought of 10 aspects of the module.

Please note that if the percentage of students who responded to this module survey is below 30% and/or the number of responses is below 23 it means that only a small proportion of students provided feedback and their views as shown here may not be fully representative of all students who studied the module.

See this page for the full text of questions and more information about the survey.

% Count
Overall, I am satisfied with the quality of this module 80.4 405
Overall, I am satisfied with my study experience 79.9 401
The module provided good value for money 59.7 295
I was satisfied with the support provided by my tutor/study adviser on this module 79 396
Overall, I was satisfied with the teaching materials provided on this module 84.4 422
The learning outcomes of the module were clearly stated 90.2 450
I would recommend this module to other students 69.8 351
The module met my expectations 68.3 343
I enjoyed studying this module 69.8 351
Overall, I was able to keep up with the workload on this module 89.8 448
Faculty comment: "Open comments suggest that respondents are comparing their experience on this module and The arts past and present (AA100) module which are very different modules. This module is designed to help students step up to OU level 2, so has less contact time with tutors and more demand on students to work independently and with their peers than AA100. We are aware that students may not like collaborative exercises. These assignments often take students out of their comfort zone, but working with others promotes deep learning that is overwhelmingly positive. This strategy may affect student perceptions about value for money. However, this specific feedback will be passed on to management for further consideration. "
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