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Student and tutor module reviews

Creative writing

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  • Points: 60
  • Code: A215
  • Level: 2
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Student reviews

This is a great module, with some excellent tutors.

There is plenty of good material in the coursebook to help you think about how to write, and all three genres covered (short story fiction, poetry and life writing) are presented well.

There were no physical tutorials or day schools, but the tutors did a great job with the online replacements (tip: sign up for and attend as many as you can, and not just those with your own tutor, as this will help a lot).

Your tutor group forum, and the async tutorials, are the key to getting the maximum out of the module. All it takes is two students, and the forum will be worth an enormous amount because you get to know and appreciate the feedback that is being offered.

My strong recommendation would be to steer clear of Facebook or Instagram or WhatsApp groups that some students will inevitably set up, and focus on the tutor group forum.

My excellent tutor oversaw the tutor group forum, and I received invaluable feedback from other students on my tutor-marked assignment (TMA) work, that would simply not have been possible through any other medium (at least, within the OU regulations). The async tutorials in the forum were fun and extremely useful.

By my estimation, the feedback that I received was worth at least one grade boundary. Not only that, but the feedback also helped enormously when writing the process/learning review portions of each TMA and the end-of-module assessment (EMA). Additionally, I found the act of commenting and providing feedback on other students' work improved my own writing, and helped me to edit my TMAs to a much higher standard than I would have believed possible at the outset of the module.

A final tip: don't wait until the last minute for the EMA. Instead, jot down ideas as you go along, as the TMAs come thick and fast after the festive break, and it will help to have some ideas in the bag.

Overall, I would rate this as an excellent introduction to creative writing. It is enormously enjoyable, and with the support of a great tutor and the encouragement of my fellow students, I even managed to write some half-decent poetry, which was a welcome surprise. (I was dreading poetry, but it was fine.)

I highly recommend it.

David Wheeler

Course starting: October 2020

Review posted: July 2021

I really enjoyed this module, the tutor-marked assignments were nicely spaced out, and the module materials were good giving you step by step instructions to get your creative juices flowing.

This module is not designed to make you a writer but it will improve your writing greatly. I have learnt a lot of small things which together have improved my writing immensely.

I thought the module was fairly easy but I enjoy writing. A lot of people don't realise there is still an academic element in the module in the way of commentaries. Also some people thought you would be able to write what ever they wanted, this is not the case. You do have options to choose from but you have to write to show you have learnt from the module materials and tailor your writing to show the techniques you should have learnt.

I also believe that marking on this module is subjective as although the tutors have to follow a marking criteria the tutors still interpret it differently as was proven when one tutor told me to alter a part of my work which I did and then another tutor didn't like that part and I got a low score.

If you like to write this is a great module with the potential to get good scores as long as you tailor your writing to your tutor and the module materials.

Course starting: October 2019

Review posted: July 2021

I signed up for this module with a degree of trepidation; it's one thing learning how to write an academic essay but quite another to write creatively and I wasn't sure I would be up to it. However, the big red course book takes you through everything step by step in an engaging and manageable way so that you build your skills as you go along. My tutor, was efficient, encouraging and supportive and I was surprised and delighted to pass the module with distinction and to have a small piece published online. I absolutely loved the module and was sorry when it finished. I would recommend anyone to give it a go even if, like me, you are worried about your abilities. I will definitely be doing the Advanced Creative Writing module at Stage 3. But before then I have to get back to writing academic essays!

Course starting: October 2018

Review posted: July 2019

I loved this module, which opened up a whole new field to me. The exercises and assignments were fun, well paced and fulfilling to complete. The workbook was excellently put together. I had a very good and attentive tutor. The module opens up your creative abilities, and boosts your self image! But it should be noted that it is quite hard to get really good marks, the subject matter and the result of the assignments is fairly subjective. I would recommend it to everyone, a great source of satisfaction.

Caroline Vidican

Course starting: October 2017

Review posted: January 2019

It is easy to get a pass in this module by simply demonstrating the skills the module material asks you to.

I worked really hard for this module because I discovered a love and talent for poetry and got a distinction. Some times it is necessary to alter your work to ensure that you are covering the devices and skills that the material wants you to demonstrate, but it's always going to be like that when you're studying something creative academically.

My tutor was amazing and honest in her critique which has helped me to grow in skill and confidence. I would recommend this course to anyone.

Course starting: October 2017

Review posted: November 2018

This course was a whirlwind. At times it felt a little 'easy' or as if there wasn't much to the course. Lots of writing in comparison to reading. I do recommend posting your work on the allocated forum as critique of your work is part of the process. Begin the course with a thick skin, You will have people marking your work, don't be disheartened if your tutor doesn't agree with what you have written. It's all part and parcel of learning to become a creative writer.

Course starting: October 2017

Review posted: September 2018

I enjoyed this course more than I thought that I would. As well as creative writing I learnt quite a lot about writing poetry, in its different forms. I will probably go on to do the level 3 advanced creative writing course.

Course starting: October 2017

Review posted: September 2018

The harder I worked to demonstrate the skills taught on the course in my assignments, the lower my resultant marks were. I did far better when I just winged it. Essentially the course teachings made me worse! A very easy course to pass, but a very difficult one to score highly in, in my opinion.

Course starting: October 2017

Review posted: August 2018

Quite simply the best course out of the dozen or so modules I have undertaken over many years. Challenging but a rare opportunity in a module to make your voice heard and do things your way. It didn't make me into a writer (in fact it showed me why I'm not) but it did help me understand the writing process, which I'm sure will be of benefit on future literature courses. The course materials (and an excellent tutor) ensure anyone who is considering this course should both enjoy it and do well. Though slightly less formal in structure the module still demands personal discipline and investment in the exercises to develop skills and techniques.

David Taplin

Course starting: October 2014

Review posted: September 2015

I took this course as a free choice module because I enjoy writing.
It was anything but easy to gain a good mark, but the exercises were so fun to complete between the TMAs I spent far too much time on them, and too little on the work I sent in. I took the course along side a science module, and there were times, particularly in the last month, when I really struggled to keep up with everything.

I believe to gain the really good marks it would be very beneficial to have studied another literacy module first to gain a greater understanding than I have of the written word, you also need a great deal of natural talent and a good vocabulary.

The observing and editing skills I learnt from this module will help me immensely in my future studies and I am glad I took the course, but if you are a person relying on the result of this module for your degree classification, consider very carefully if you have the very useful background and ability. I believe even if I had taken this module alone and given 100% I still wouldn't have got a great result but for anyone only needing a pass it's an easy 60 credits.

Course starting: October 2014

Review posted: August 2015

I really loved this module and my tutor was both encouraging and supportive, especially as I was studying A215 alongside A230. This got challenging around EMA submission and exam revision time but being able to switch from pure literature to a creative module made doubling up far more pleasurable.

I thought that I would struggle with the poetry element but in fact, this was where I gained my best marks.
The module was also really helpful when studying poetry for A230, which was an unexpected bonus!

We had two 'day schools', spaced quite widely apart but the online tutorials were both lively and helpful; like all the online tutorials/forums, they would have been better if more students had participated.

I am still making up my mind about the Level 3 Creative Writing module, but will certainly continue writing poetry.

Pamela Newton

Course starting: October 2014

Review posted: August 2015

This course was brilliant and I wanted it to go on longer! I really enjoyed reading other students' work on the forums too. There is a good range of course work. I surprised myself that I enjoyed the poetry part of the course.

I was blessed with an excellent tutor who was really enthusiastic and supportive. I know that the whole point of the Open University is distance learning but I would have loved more face-to-face tutorials where you can meet fellow students. A residential school would also be great.

Anthony Wood

Course starting: October 2013

Review posted: April 2015

I thoroughly enjoyed A215 Creative Writing and the experience pushed me to go on to try A363 Advanced Creative Writing for which I received a grade two pass. On the same day as I found that out, I was notified that a poem submitted for inclusion in an anthology had been accepted.

Course starting: September 2012

Review posted: July 2014

I wanted to enjoy this module so much and I had looked forward to it with so much excitement. I was so disappointed. I found that it was quite limited - I don't really know what I expected in terms of 'leeway', but I just felt constrained and it wasn't until the EMA that we were sort of free to do what we wanted and I received my highest mark.

I also didn't feel a connection with my tutor - my tutor seemed to 'pick' at the tiniest of details, maybe that is a good thing? Maybe I'm being harsh but the feedback was definitely way too subjective for my liking. I did not like this style of marking at all.
I had planned to do advanced creative writing, but this module completely put me off and I changed my pathway to psychology/social sciences.

If you get a good tutor and don't mind subjective feedback then you may well enjoy it. But it can be difficult to gain high marks if your tutor just so happens to dislike your 'style'.
A good writer can be appreciated even if their style isn't to your taste.

Course starting: September 2012

Review posted: June 2014

Faculty response

A215 is designed to develop students' writing skills in a range of different genres, so it's true that there are constraints on what you can produce for each assignment.

Please be reassured, though, that neither marking nor feedback are subjective: all tutors are required to apply the same criteria in assessing their students' work. And the assessment scale they use is available for students to refer to.

Assignments are not marked on the basis of the style in which they're written; they are rewarded for their successful use of the methods introduced in the A215 Creative Writing Workbook.

This course was hugely enjoyable. We had a great tutor who gave us tremendous support and encouragement. Our forum was very active. I think we all gained a great deal from listening to advice from each other. It was fascinating to compare some of our earlier scribblings with what we were churning out towards the end of the course. Above all, it was fun and when it had ended it left a great gap which has been hard to fill. I wanted to start it all over again!

Sheila Anne Williams

Course starting: September 2012

Review posted: May 2014

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.

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