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Student and tutor module reviews

Children's literature

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  • Points: 60
  • Code: EA300
  • Level: 3
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Student reviews

I loved this module; I am studying for a BA(Hons) in English Literature and had been looking forward to Children's Literature right from the beginning of my degree.

I had a brilliant tutor, who had also tutored me for A230. Her feedback was detailed, positive and helpful.

I found the work both fascinating and challenging, thoroughly enjoyed writing the EMA and was thrilled to get a Distinction for my first Level 3

I agree with the student who said that this is not an 'easy option' just because we are looking at Children's Literature - in fact, the influence of childhood reading on writers of adult literature should not be underestimated!

My one criticism would be the timing of the Wiki - it came distressingly close to the EMA. As a project though, it was actually enjoyable and I can't help feeling that the work that we and other students have done could provide a truly useful Children's Literature resource (though it could be easier to navigate!).

Suffice it to say that this module has encouraged me, finances permitting, to seriously consider a Masters in Children's Literature when I finish my degree.

Pamela Newton

Course starting: October 2015

Review posted: September 2016

This is a very varied and stimulating course. It is challenging too, as a Level 3 module should be. The TMA questions require independent thought, thorough analysis and interpretation of not only the books themselves, but also of the academic research and various theories presented in the Readers.

As with all OU courses, the key ideas are accurately presented in the Module Description. We were encouraged throughout to keep revisiting the core themes that run through the course, and this is especially important for the EMA.

I particularly enjoyed writing the TMA on Peter Pan. Who would have thought that a close study of stage directions could be so engrossing!

You may not enjoy reading every book or agree with the discussion of each one, but there is a choice for each assignment. I would recommend having a look at the EMA questions early on and perhaps answering TMA questions on the books that you would NOT use for the EMA. I did this and avoided the problem of repeating the same ideas in the EMA, which is not allowed.

Just because this is about children's literature, do not think it will be an easy option. I approached EA300 as a lover of adult literature but found the materials and ideas just as challenging and enjoyable.

Course starting: October 2015

Review posted: August 2016

I found this to be a fascinating course, but a word of warning for those who feel that this is an easy OU level 3 option. It really isn't! There is a lot of critical thinking to read and get to grips with and although some of the books are an easy read, it is somewhat more difficult to disect these books and analyse them than it is to analyse adult fiction. I found this course to be very enjoyable but it took up a large amount of time. I would recommend it, but don't choose if you don't like the idea of your favourite childhood novels being exposed, and sometimes not in a very pleasant way!

Course starting: October 2014

Review posted: May 2016

Having only a literature background rather than one in child development or education I researched the course carefully before enrolling as my last BA Literature module. Although I really feel I have learned an amazing amount about the history, traditions and development of children's literature I never felt I 'gelled' with the course materials and subsequently had the lowest grades for submitted TMAs of my whole degree.

By the time the EMA came around I had a better grip on what the themes for the course were, helped by my always helpful and enthusiastic tutor to formulate a plan and start the EMA in plenty of time not to rush. This meant I had the best grade of my degree for the EMA score, oddly compared to my previous marks.

In summary, good for literature students but be prepared for poor grades if you can't get a grip of the critics and style of the materials.

Carla Gee

Course starting: September 2013

Review posted: August 2014

This really is a fantastic module. I was a bit concerned about signing up for it as I had not done an OU level 2 literature module as part of my Humanities (with English Language) degree.

I was already planning to go on and do a full-time Education centric Masters after completing my degree and the childhood studies elements of EA300 have cemented that decision.

We had a wonderfully expert tutor and while our forum never really took off (5 modules in and I have yet to find one that has!), our core group of students that showed up for every tutorial generated some really lively and worthwhile debate.

One note of caution: The module is a few years old now and one or two of the TMA questions were a little bit "eccentric" as the course leaders appeared to struggle to come up with new angles on certain parts of the module content.

There is a lot of reading to be done but if you don't feel compelled to soak up the excellent critical module readers that underpin the study of such an amazing range of set texts then you are probably studying the wrong module.

Early on in the module you are told that Children's Literature is far from a trivial area of study. By the time I had unpacked the two boxes I had worked that out for myself.

I was very happy (and surprised!) with my result....just E301 to go now!

Course starting: September 2013

Review posted: August 2014

I found this course very interesting, but also found it quite difficult which was not what I was expecting. With overlapping two modules at the same time I found it difficult to keep up with the work load especially during deadline week. My tutor was great! Really helpful and informative with the work.

Course starting: September 2012

Review posted: March 2014

I found this course to extremely interesting and stimulating. The choice of set books is good ranging from the classic texts such as Little Woman to Reeve's Mortal Engines. The only book that I could not engage with because I personally found the subject material too disturbing was, Coram Boy.

The reading load is manageable in comparison to other Level three courses that I have done. My tutor was really helpful and supportive. I would advise attending the tutorials as they help to make sense of what can appear as ambiguous assignment questions.

I attained a pass 2 of which I was happy and would certainly recommend this course to anyone as it sheds new light on children's books that I would never have considered before.

Linda Mary Bamford

Course starting: September 2012

Review posted: September 2013

This was my first level 3 course and I approached it with some trepidation having never studied literature in any depth previously. It was hugely enjoyable. The choice and range of texts were excellent and developed my critical analysis with the combination of literature and childhood studies.
Yes, the workload is sometimes heavy, as it is a Level 3 module, but made easier with a concise planner and interesting and insightful materials on hand.

The tutor was an expert in the subject, very supportive and I would recommend that anybody studying the module should attend the tutorials which really helped to formulate arguments and embed the learning ready for writing the TMAs.

My only reservation now is that my next module might not live up to this one, which I enjoyed more than I expected. A brilliant course.

Chris Evans

Course starting: September 2012

Review posted: September 2013

Of the four courses that I've completed so far in my quest for a BA in English Language and Literature, Children's Literature is definitely my favourite. The set texts and accompanying chapters in the set book are truly fantastic. I was also lucky enough to win the 'Tutor Lottery' - thanks to her help and guidance I was able to raise the standard of my essays, culminating with a grade 2 pass - my best to date.

Whether you like a classic novel, such as Little Women or a more contemporary read, such as Melvyn Burgess' Junk, there is something for everyone in this course.

I gained an even further appreciation of the brilliance that is Robert Louis Stevenson via his classic, Treasure Island. I had previously read The Beach of Falesa in A230 and thought it was a great read.

If like me you are not enamoured with poetry, but can appreciate the talent of its authors, fear not! You can pretty much avoid it because there is always an alternate TMA to choose from.

So what would I advise?

1)Plan in advance and give yourself as much time as possible to do the TMAs - it will be worth it.

2)Read the TMA questions in advance and then highlight passages of text from the set books that seem pertinent.

3)Do EA300 - It's awesome!

Good luck.

Sean Roocroft

Course starting: September 2012

Review posted: August 2013

I did not enjoy this module. I went into this module with high expectations as a literature student and as a mother with an interest in children's reading material however I was sorely disappointed.

My assigned tutor was poor and did not bring the subject alive for me. I feel the module sits uneasily between trying to be a serious literature module to attract literature students (like me) whilst focusing (too much in my opinion) on child development and child studies. In my opinion, regretfully it succeeds at neither.

The module material did not link well to the TMA questions. There was too much irrelevant material in the Study Guide which had no connection to the TMA option questions and did little to add any value to my understanding of the subject. The 'Peter Pan' section is an example of this fault in my opinion.

The timetable was straightforward however and reading the set texts very easy to do. There is, by far, a lot less reading and study to do with this module than 'The Nineteenth Century Novel' which is great on one hand yet seems to me disproportionate in terms of workload for study at Level 3 on the other. I absolutely loved studying 'The Nineteenth Century Novel' module and I was very surprised at the limited literary critical analysis and virtually non-existent literary theory within the 'Children's Literature' module.

Therefore, I would not recommend this module for literature lovers and I did not find it intellectually stimulating. I did persevere with the module until the end and received a very good grade however I believe this was down to my own determination to do well in the module and my success lays in pursuing independent study away from my assigned tutor and EA300 module materials.

I also attended alternative tutorials some 50 miles away from my home in order to get better information and this alternative tutor was excellent; well organised, with coherent tutorial delivery and gave intellectually stimulating and enjoyable tutorial sessions. It is a real shame, due to my locality, I was not assigned this alternative tutor at the beginning of the module.

Course starting: September 2012

Review posted: July 2013

Faculty response

Congratulations on your good result and I'm glad you were able to attend tutorials you did enjoy. It is unfortunate that you experienced problems with your assigned tutorials. We would always encourage students to give the University feedback so that things can be put right.

EA300 does not cover child development but like Children's Literature courses elsewhere, it is interdisciplinary and is not simply a literature module. The study of changing ideas about childhood is an essential component. Students have a choice of TMA options and questions change every year, so there is never a straightforward link between the TMAs and the Study Guide. Students are free to concentrate on content most relevant to their chosen options if they wish, although many do choose to read more widely.

The 'Peter Pan' section includes some of the best known theory relating specifically to Children's Literature. We encourage students to form their own view of it and of all the critical articles in the EA300 Readers which are based on the set texts.

This is a fab course. I learnt so much from a wide variety of brilliant tutors besides my own as I love attending OU tutorials. Great subjects and books. Loved it and picture books will never look the same to me again.

Sheila June South

Course starting: October 2011

Review posted: July 2013

I simply loved this course. Super tutorials and a lovely tutor made this all the more enjoyable. Helpful hint is to read as many of the course books as you can beforehand. I was lucky that many of the set books were classics I had read in childhood and I loved Little Women. I also watched as many film versions as possible of the set books which really helped with the understanding of the narrative. Great course.

Course starting: October 2011

Review posted: March 2013

Really enjoyed this course. If you want to go straight into Level 3 , this is a good course to begin with as some of the others are a lot more demanding and the planning for others is not so friendly. This course has an easy to follow planner, simply read the text and relevant chapter and then do the TMA.
The texts are enjoyable and take you back to your own childhood or for the older student reminds you of reading to your kids, age depending! Go for it, I wish I had seen this type of review before I took the course, would not have had so many doubts before starting.

Course starting: October 2011

Review posted: January 2013

Loved loved loved this course. Learnt so much. Picture books now hold a fascination for me with their wonderful illustrations. Brilliant tutors where no question was too small in super tutorials. Tutors brought lots of extra material to tutorials which was really appreciated. This was my final course for my BSc Open degree and was lovely to see my tutor on the stage as I was presented with my degree. Anyone taking this course will love it.

Sheila June South

Course starting: October 2011

Review posted: December 2012

Excellent course. Hard work, very demanding, but I enjoyed every minute of it.

Course starting: October 2011

Review posted: December 2012

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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