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Student and tutor module reviews

Personal lives and social policy

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  • Points: 60
  • Code: DD305
  • Level: 3

Student reviews

This course was my second Level 3 course and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The TMAs were different from other courses and some involved a lot of preparation, so being organised and not falling behind is essential. DD305 requires some personal information and anyone who would find this difficult would not enjoy this part of the course. The EMA was interesting and I was lucky that I had a very helpful and supportive tutor. I would recommend this course.

Course starting: October 2012

Review posted: August 2013

I really enjoyed this Social Policy module which was very hard-work but stimulating and challenging. Much of the concepts and evidence are informing my day-to-day interactions long after the work is finished.

It's a shame this module is 'wrapping up' because it was an excellent study experience with fantastic tutor and student peer support - I was pleased with my 2.1 result.

'Personal lives and Social Policy' encapsulates themes of agency and structure which ran through my degree and this module ended my BSc (Hons) Social Sciences nicely. Really pleased; love the OU!

Mark Anthony Smith

Course starting: October 2012

Review posted: July 2013

I really enjoyed this course the TMAs came along very rapidly so I would suggest you keep on top of study plans and your time table. This was my fourth year with the OU and my first Level 3. I managed to get a grade 2 pass and didn't feel the jump from Level 2 was as challenging as I thought. The course was very informative relevant and interesting.

Having no exam at the end was a bonus however the large examinable essay at the end was a challenge but it is simple if you read the material and put in the work you will be fine.

I would recommend this course it met all my expectations. Good Luck

Course starting: October 2011

Review posted: August 2012

While this course has been time-consuming and challenging, I have greatly enjoyed it and learned a great deal. I had little previous experience of studying social policy - the equivalent of a 10-credit, Level one course at a brick uni - but the high quality of the reading materials allowed me to find this course both manageable and interesting. There are different styles of TMAs, including a report and a research project (which you work on in two TMAs, one of which is double weighted), and I really enjoyed the variety.

The one warning I would give about this course is that the end-of-module 3000-4000 word assignment (EMA) requires a lot of time and work if you want to achieve a good grade. It seems many students from this year (2011 start) have dropped one or more grades on this course due to the EMA, demonstrating it requires a lot of thought and work.

If you do take this course, please don't leave it until the last week - my advice would be to start a month before the deadline if possible, to allow for plenty of time for re-reading the course content, planning, reflection, and of course actually writing and editing it. It doesn't simply take double the time of a standard TMA because it's double the length! It is doable though - I worked hard and achieved a distinction. If I can do it, anyone can :)

Course starting: October 2011

Review posted: August 2012

I chose this course apprehensively as a Level 3 top-up for my degree. I found it difficult at first to work with several resources at once (the CDROM, study guide, Course Companion, RAAB, and the modules' books).

However, after a few weeks it all clicked into place, and I realised that DD305 teaches upmost the skill of research (of information for learning, of topics for particular researches), and secondly the technicalities of social policy and their impact on personal lives.

The best bit for me was the interractivity of the module. You cannot escape the interractivity! TMA03 and 05 place you 'in the middle of it' by having you choose and perform your own research. TMA06 takes this task a little bit further. TMA03 and TMA05 are invaluable small-scale research tasks, and will teach you so much. TMA06 is the most interesting and creative piece of work I have ever had to do. The design of the TMAs in DD305 really helped to understand and apply all those 'abstract' notions related to social policy.

DD305 has been the most interractive module I did and even now after a few months after finishing it I still think about the themes in it, mull over the research I had to do, and use what I learnt there as reference in my next modules. It really is invaluable!

Corina Roxana Cuciureanu

Course starting: October 2010

Review posted: November 2011

This course was quite demanding with lots of reading so be prepared! I took this course as part of the CYS degree as I had already done quite a bit of Social Policy at Edinburgh Uni but unfortunately is wasn't anything like it. The course assignments jumped from one thing to the next and it was difficult to follow, there didn't seem to be a logical order. Saying that though I did enjoy the interviews and research part and also the ECA at the end and passed the course. I had a very good tutor too and that is a Godsend.

Nicola Kellock

Course starting: October 2010

Review posted: October 2011

I choose this course because it sounded interesting but was a little apprehension because I do not have a social science background. However, the course material is very well written and easy to understand which helped me tremedously to grasp the key concepts of the 'personal', social policy and 'mutual constitution'. The TMAs were interesting and some are different from the traditional essay TMAs. I found after doing each one my knowledge and understanding of the course deepened. So much to say I unexpectantly gained an excellent grade both in my OCAS and OES.

One or two of the TMAs are time consuming and require more planning and thinking through but you cannot expect it to be easy, after all, it is a Level 3 course. As long as you set aside time each week to read and work through the activities and plan your TMA it is very manageable.

I would highly recommend this course because you gain great insight into how social policy does shape your lives and also how we can influence policy.

Thanks OU for putting together such an thought provoking and interesting course.

Course starting: October 2009

Review posted: August 2010

Fascinating course that really took me out of my comfort zone and made me think. Workload high as included interviews and transcription as option for one TMA, but this is to be expected of a Level 3 course. Tutor support not good, which was disappointing at this level.

Overall I would recommend this to anyone interested in how social policy affects lives and how lives have been able to influence policy in our modern society. I certainly learned a lot and have become more academically aware.

Anne Elizabeth Hubbard

Course starting: October 2008

Review posted: June 2010

I found the course to be very engaging, encouraging students to learn a number of skills; using these both in their TMAs and potentially their future worklife. It was particularly interesting to write a report and write a narrative, looking critically about how my own person is affected by policy, and how in turn I affect it.

The course materials supported the more practical aspects of the course well. Some of the requirements of the course (such as carrying out the research project) can take more time that you might envisage so over-estimate how long you think it will take to allow sufficient time. That said, it is managable so please do not be put off by this.

A good tutor for this course is key. Mine was dire in many respects, which tainted my view on the course, however feedback from another tutor who was covering for my tutor during an extended period of absence, along with feedback from my ECA was very encouraging. This ensured my last course with the OU did not leave a bad taste in my mouth. Thankfully, this does not seem to be the norm, as my previous tutors have been very helpful.

Overall, the last 6 years with the OU has been fantastic and I have learnt so much. I would definitely recommend studying in this way and I am really pleased to have achieved my degree here!

Course starting: October 2008

Review posted: August 2009

I did learn a great deal on this course although the Tutor support and input was poor. In fact of all the courses this was the only one that I would not recommend.

Course starting: October 2007

Review posted: April 2009

This was my first attempt at Level 3 study and I can honestly say it was a very rewarding experience. I managed to obtain a good result but my view would have been the same if I had not (indeed, I wanted to write a positive review prior to my ECA result but it's not allowed!).

I found the move away from the conventional TMA style to be challenging and yet very satisfying to complete (don't worry there are some 'normal' TMAs too). For me, the best aspect of the course was getting the opportunity to produce my own research project. The course materials are excellent at guiding you through this exercise. However, it's important to be organised in getting interviews arranged, transcripts typed up (takes a lot longer than you think!) and carrying out the thematic analysis. However, there isn't as much reading as with some courses so it's not as if you are juggling the two. You have plenty of time to do the project but don't let that lull you into a false sense of security. If you are organised, you'll be just fine. I hope you enjoy it as much I did.

Toni Christine Cressall

Course starting: October 2007

Review posted: September 2008

DD305 was a completely different course to those which run on conventional essay style assignments. It was this that made the whole experience rewarding. Writing a report, as well as planning, undertaking and analysing interviews conducted by myself was invaluable. The variety of study material requires quite of lot of organisation, but for me this is was made it interesting.

To me the aim of this course was to connect with a variety of different skills in addition to essay writing - so the weighting of the end-of-course assessment (as most seem to be with the OU) was a little contradictory to its aim; but then I was hoping for a slightly higher mark because I found it so rewarding!

Course starting: February 2007

Review posted: January 2008

This was my 7th course with the OU and was beyond doubt the least enjoyable. I enrolled on the course as the content seemed interesting however the structure of assignments proved to be a major setback. The assignments are very unconventional as there are only 2 essay style TMAs and the rest are interviews, reports, qualitative research and reports on personal experience, all which I found very stressful and much more time consuming than a 'normal' essay question.

The whole course is based very dogmatically on the concept of 'mutual constitution' and I felt that this became very repetitive and this course therefore lacks any real depth. For anyone who is interested in taking this course, I would strongly suggest that you think carefully about the unconventional nature of TMAs. Sorry OU but I think you got this one wrong.

Nargis Suleman

Course starting: February 2007

Review posted: December 2007

Coming back to study after a 10 year gap, I found this course extremely challenging. It was less about specific policy than I had imagined and more about the elements of the personal that would affect or be affected by policy. It also required you to reflect on your own personal experiences. However with some time to reflect, I can say that in general I did find this course overall enjoyable but very hard work. The research project was very interesting and rewarding. I also had the support of a good tutor which makes an enormous difference on a course like this.

Diane McElroy

Course starting: February 2006

Review posted: June 2007


Tutor reviews

Students initially felt challenged by this new course on the intersection of social policy and personal lives, but have come to find it one of the most interesting and engaging that they have done. The course involves some unusual TMA tasks, including writing a report and carrying out a small qualitative research project of their own. This has been a bonus for some who find writing academic essays difficult, as it requires skills of a new kind which they did not know they possessed. It's still in its first year, so we don't know yet what the final marks will look like, but students do enjoy it, they find it exciting and within their abilities, and the supporting material is full and excellent.

Review posted: September 2004

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 DD305. The survey was carried out in 2017.

97 students (a response rate of 32.7%) 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 66 64
Overall, I am satisfied with my study experience 71.1 69
The module provided good value for money 56.2 50
I was satisfied with the support provided by my tutor/study adviser on this module 86.3 82
Overall, I was satisfied with the teaching materials provided on this module 68 66
The learning outcomes of the module were clearly stated 78.9 75
I would recommend this module to other students 58.3 56
The module met my expectations 54.2 52
I enjoyed studying this module 60.8 59
Overall, I was able to keep up with the workload on this module 71.9 69
Faculty comment: "The module team was pleased to see that students rated some aspects of studying this module highly, including the new look website, tutor support and updated online learning materials. There has been significant improvement in student workload, making a challenging but rewarding module more manageable for students. However, student satisfaction, expectations and enjoyment of the module did not show the improvement we expected. Learning the lessons from the first presentation of the revised module and wider University changes we are confident that more students will be able to engage with the unique approach and contemporary social issues covered in this module as life-changing learning."
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