Skip to content The Open University

Student and tutor module reviews

World archaeology

see module description

  • Points: 30
  • Code: A251
  • Level: 2

Student reviews

Very interesting module, I learnt a lot of things I did not know before. It was difficult at times, especially if you have little knowledge of Archaeology. I found the TMAs and EMA challenging but that's what we expect from a level 2 module. I was working 5 days a week and with other commitments I still found the time to fit all the reading and essay writing in, which is a credit to how interesting it was.

I was very pleased with my grade 2 pass and felt I had earned it.

Course starting: November 2012

Review posted: February 2014

This was one of my favourite courses although for 30 credits at Level 2, I found it to be more difficult than 60 credit Level 3 courses. Although it has only 4 essays, the research through the thick set book and online research is very time consuming. I would strongly recommend not to take another course at the same time as this, otherwise you might end up struggling to cope.

Mohammed Mohsin

Course starting: November 2012

Review posted: July 2013

I studied for this course as I needed 30 credits at level 2 and the choice is rather limited (the alternative for me was Latin!). In its favour, compressing the course into 4 months was definitely an advantage for me personally and helped to keep my interest.

The negative side to the course, was, in my opinion, the use of a huge book as the course book (which we only studied about half of); rather than a course book written within the OU (which all my other courses have); I do wonder if this is the OU trying to produce a course "on the cheap".

Despite this, I did enjoy the course and managed to achieve a Level 2 pass.

David James Atkins

Course starting: November 2012

Review posted: July 2013

I had high expectations of this course but to my surprise found the TMAs to be rather turgid. I quickly realised too that the online tuition/tutorials were often lacking focus and therefore seemed to be time wasting.

The course book was, however, very good but students need to be aware much of the work is done via online research.

The Level 3 courses I have completed have been far more dynamic.

Course starting: November 2011

Review posted: May 2013

I chose this course after a friend recommended it. The course book was huge, but easy to navigate and the index was brilliantly constructed. The online resources were a bit hit and miss, but we were encouraged to find our own internet resources as part of the course. Very enjoyable and warmly recommended.

Janet Edith Godden

Course starting: November 2011

Review posted: April 2013

I thought this was a brilliant course, and probably my favourite so far. There was a lot of reading involved (particularly as I did this alongside A200 and A151), although this was always interesting and engaging.

Despite being initially apprehensive about there being no face-to-face contact, this subsequently didn't matter. Indeed, in this instance, I found that I preferred the additional independance.

I noticed on the forums that many people struggled with the TMA questions, although I myself encountered no such problems. I found the TMA questions stimulating and engaging, and enjoyed writing and researching them moreso than on any other course thus far.

However, those expecting a course solely on the study of material culture and archaeology may be disappointed. There is a large amount of anthropology involved (although I found this a welcome addition, and particularly pertinent to the course).

In conclusion, I would definitely recommend this course!

James Wilson

Course starting: November 2011

Review posted: March 2013

Blimey, there was a lot of reading on this course. Very interesting and being such a compact course it was over and done rather quickly which is great if you are run off your feet like me. No tutorials but the tutor forum online was excellent and kept you thinking. An excellent course.

Karen McArthur

Course starting: November 2011

Review posted: January 2013

I took this course as I thought it would give an interesting extra dimension to my history degree but I was very disappointed. It was the worst OU course I have completed. The Study 'Guide' was very unhelpful, it seemed to mostly tell you to read an enormous swathe of the set text and then followed it up with little to no discussion on the material under consideration. I did not feel there were many exercises to help with one's understanding and as there were no face-to-face tutorials to help ensure you are on the right track this was very frustrating. I also felt that the course reading and Study guide were not terribly helpful in preparing one for the TMAs and felt I floundered somewhat before each one.

This was reflected in my results, on previous courses my results had been within an 8 point margin of each other but I got my highest ever result and my worst ever result on a TMA during this course. The online tutorials were not helpful at all as the tutor posted up so many questions at the beginning of the week before I had a chance to read the mass of material that I felt swamped before even beginning. The feedback on the TMAs was very limited too with little in the way of suggesting where improvements could be made.

As a personal preference I would have liked to have concentrated on fewer areas to be able to really focus on them and learn about the various themes within the context of each area as the course did seem to take a whirlwind trip through the centuries.

All in all a disappointing experience, I am glad this was not my first OU course or I think it would have put me off doing any more, very frustrating as I feel this is an area I would like to learn much more about.

Course starting: November 2011

Review posted: July 2012

I really enjoyed this module! The material was interesting and I now have a passion for archaeology that I didn't have when I registed. If I had the chance I wouldn't hesitate to do it again.

Having said that to get the most out of the course you need to dedicate a lot of your time to it (I did this alongside another module which, in hindsight wasn't the best thing to do due to the amount of reading this course requires - and that's without any outside references!).

If anyone is considering taking this course I would say that if you find archaeological aspects of any interest do it... but definitely don't take another module at the same time unless you don't have a full-time job, family commitments, etc.

Victoria Louise Spindler

Course starting: November 2011

Review posted: June 2012

I found this course highly beneficial. It has provided much interesting information on the ancient world and the development of societies which is highly relevant to the modern world. It has developed my skills in essay construction, library use and information sourcing via the internet. The workload was reasonable given the very short duration of the course, the same amount of time needed as a 60-credit module but for a much shorter time.

The course description is accurate and should be read very carefully before the course is chosen in case people infer a different content from the title. I particularly enjoyed writing essays that needed me to do independent information sourcing, rather than relying wholly on course materials. I would be pleased to see a further 30-credit module rom this team.

Annette Facer

Course starting: November 2011

Review posted: June 2012

I absolutely loved this module! By far the most interesting module I have done with the OU.

It is a condensed module and because of this there is a very heavy workload, especially when you think that it is a 30-credit module, be warned! Having said that, the tutor was fantastic, very supportive and she knew her subject area inside out. I've always been fascinated by ancient history and archaeology and partly due to this module, I'm currently researching anthropological linguistics.

Any criticisms? Yes, there should be a follow on module at Level 3!

Nykola Joanne Lee

Course starting: November 2010

Review posted: June 2012

Interesting course but very much a 60-credit course in the guise of a 30-credit. Too much reading given the length of time you study for.

Course starting: November 2010

Review posted: March 2012

I enjoyed what I learnt but not necessarily the way I learnt it. I found the course material dull, and as it was covered at break-neck speed there was little time to reflect on anything. Too much work for 30 credits.

The online tutorials were a waste of time, few people took part, and my tutor did little to try and encourage participation. I didn't find my tutor very supportive compared with other students' experiences as detailed on the forums.

Despite getting a very good mark I wouldn't recommend this course - just go out and buy the book you can read it at your leisure and get 30 credits elsewhere.

Course starting: November 2010

Review posted: March 2012

When I was considering this course I read the reviews and one or two people mentioned that there was a lot of reading involved. I love reading and so did not pay much heed. That was a mistake. I have completed many OU courses but never have I experienced a course with SO much reading. The text book that accompanies the course is not well set out and is HUGE - far to big to sit holding it at all never mind holding it comfortably (it needs to be either on your lap or on a table), which is restrictive.

The tutor I was allocated was not at all helpful and I only got to speak to the tutor about two weeks before the End-of-Course Assessment was due in. Note- no tutorials at all! The only feedback I received was from the assignments and there were often minor picky gramatical things. It was so difficult to judge if you were on the right track with the assignments and often I did not understand the question because they were rather ambiguous.

This course had all the makings of being wonderful as the subject matter is extremely interesting but the course layout and the fact that there were no tutorials just made it a real disappointment and a nightmare. Despite all this I did manage to pass the course with flying colours - goodness knows how though! Good luck to anyone who gives it a go - hope that you are a bookworm with strong arms!

Course starting: November 2010

Review posted: January 2012

Faculty response

Yes, it's true the course book is heavy. There are pdf files of the chapters that are studied available on the course website, but a computer is needed to read these. The tutorials for this course are all online and there is no face-to-face tuition.
The Course Team are glad you did well despite the issues you encountered.

Course Team A251

I absolutely loved this course and was sorry when it ended. It is a short course and is only 30 credits. I would have loved it to have been a full 60-credit module. Sadly it is also the only archaeology module. Hopefully this will be an area for expansion in the future.

The workload was quite heavy but it was such an interesting module that I was more than happy to put in the hours and do extra-curricular reading as well. My tutor was also very helpful and supportive.

All in all it was well worth the money and effort.

Course starting: November 2010

Review posted: January 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.


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 November 2011 presentation of A251. The survey was carried out in 2012. 41% of our students responded to the survey covering what they thought of 10 aspects of the module. See this page for the full text of questions and more information about the survey.

Overall, I am satisfied with the quality of this module 74.3 %
Overall, I am satisfied with my study experience 70.7 %
The module provided good value for money 66.4 %
I was satisfied with the support provided by my tutor/study adviser on this module 69.8 %
Overall, I was satisfied with the teaching materials provided on this module 70.7 %
The module met its stated learning outcomes 75.4 %
I would recommend this module to other students 57.6 %
The module met my expectations 61.2 %
I enjoyed studying this module 64.7 %
Overall, I was able to keep up with the workload on this module 72.9 %
Faculty comment: We are disappointed that the survey results are below the Faculty averages. The survey feedback and individual student comments suggest this is largely due to the fact that the module is more intensive than others and requires studying at the pace of 60-credit module but for only half the time and some students found this a big challenge. The module also makes more extensive use of a set book unlike other modules that use more extensive study guides. The module is being comprehensively reviewed in Autumn 2012 and the results of the review will inform the future presentations of the module and when looking at future curriculum.
Enter a module code to find a review

To send us reviews on modules you have studied with us, please click the sign in button below.