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October 2007

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ARCHIVE - October 2007

31 October 2007


The Nature Of Britain

Join Alan Titchmarsh as he travels from the river's source to the sea, to reveal the beauty and spectacle of Freshwater Britain. Discover the real Loch Ness Monsters, the venomous mammal stalking the Hampshire countryside, and the unexpectedly romantic side of the predatory pike. Watch kingfishers diving, salmon leaping and a songbird that swims underwater. And find out why a drop of rain is the key to keeping all this wonder and beauty alive.
The Nature Of Britain: Freshwater Britain, BBC ONE, Wednesday 31 October, 21:00

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29 October 2007


You've got to be in it to win it!

As part of its ongoing development users of the OU Life Screensaver will have the chance to get their hands on a range of prizes.

The screensaver – which aims to keep students, staff and alumni up to date with OU news, courses and diary events – will now feature regular competitions, the first one being for three lots of book vouchers worth £50.

For your chance to win download the OU Life screensaver by clicking either the button on the left or the link on the right.

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25 October 2007


OU student wins Guardian teaching award

Ian picks up his award from singer Matt Willis

Ian Jamison, a PhD student in the OU's Religious Studies Department, has won the 2007 Guardian Award for Teacher of the Year in a Secondary School.

The judges said of Ian: "Since arriving at Kingsbridge, Ian has shaken the religious studies department upside down. He has brought into school representatives from faiths as far apart as Pagans and the Church Army, taken a group of sixth formers to India to study Buddhism, Hinduism and Sikhism, and led an expedition up a local moorland, when students were studying the concept of pilgrimage. He has fundamentally remodelled the curriculum, and his GCSE students somehow manage to get through their course in half the usual time, and still do well."

22 October 2007


Explore Shakespeare's age

The Open University in London, in association with Globe Education, is offering an excellent opportunity for students to explore aspects of
history, drama, music and literature from the age of Shakespeare at Shakespeare's Globe.

Open University advisers will be available throughout the day to answer your queries and provide advice about choosing Open University courses.
You can also join in with short course taster workshops, which run
throughout the day.

OU students will receive a £2 reduction on the cost of entry to the Shakespeare's Globe Exhibition (normal entry £6.50), which also includes a guided tour of the theatre.

The event will take place from 10am to 5pm on Saturday 10 November. See the document to the right for more information.

More information

18 October 2007


Football, fishing and astronomy at this year's Guildford Book Festival

<i>Footballer Graeme Le Saux will be appearing at the festival

The Open University in the South East will be working in partnership with Guildford Book Festival, which is taking place from now until 27 October, to promote Open University courses to wider audiences.

Now in it's 18th year, the 2007 festival presents an exciting line-up of some of Britain's best writers and personalities in a wide ranging celebration of the written word. Authors making an appearance include comedian Barry Cryer, broadcaster Gyles Brandreth, bestselling authors Adele Parks, Colin Dexter and Louis de Bernières, crime writers John Connolly, John Harvey and Mark Billingham, biographer Simon Sebag Montefiore and footballer Graeme Le Saux.

As part of the partnership with the festival the OU will be running two creative writing workshops on Saturday 27 October. Suitable for beginners the workshops will provide plenty of advice and encouragement for budding writers.

Tickets can be obtained by calling the Box Offices on 01483 444334 or 01483 444789.

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17 October 2007


The Nature Of Britain

Farmland isn't just part of Britain's countryside; it is the countryside, covering nearly three quarters of the entire British Isles. Join Alan Titchmarsh on a journey through Britain's farmland, as he discovers how wild creatures can find a place to live in our fields, meadows and hedgerows. Discover how bumblebees are the key to producing the perfect tomato, why some Scottish sheep prefer seaweed, and meet the fastest creature on the planet – all living in our green and pleasant land.
The Nature Of Britain: Farmland Britain, BBC ONE, Wednesday 17 October, 21:00

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15 October 2007


Half price tickets available

Generous anonymous sponsorship means that a limited number of half price tickets are being offered to Open University students wishing to attend Interdependence Day, which is taking place on 20 October at the Royal Geographic Society in South Kensington.

There will be plenty on the day of specific interest to OU students with OU academics facilitating workshops and talking about their research on environment and development issues. But there will also be talks, displays, arts installations and performances, all coming together to 'make new maps for an island planet'.

Apart from the workshops, there will be world class cheese and apple tastings plus talks and debates on slow food, water and fossil fuels; a cycle powered cinema and 'guerrilla crafts' to name a few!

Please contact Jan Smith (see contact details to the right) for details of this offer. Tickets are also available from Ticketline on 0871 424 4444 or or on door for £12 (£9.50 conc).

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11 October 2007


Training or learning while at work?

A new course from the OU allows people to use learning at work as credit for a higher education qualification. U122 Recognising achievement: credit for your experience provides online course materials and assessment which will help students to reflect on their experiences of learning at work – whether in the paid or voluntary sectors.

This Level 1 course will be particularly relevant for those who are new to university study.

Course chair Dr Terry Di Paolo said: "Over the six months of the course, students will deepen their understanding of their past learning at work and they will work towards building a collection of resources that document their past achievements. By the end of the course, students will have a clearer understanding of their personal development from their past learning, and will be able to plan towards future achievements in their work and career."

For more information about the course, which begins in November, click on the link, right. Registration closes soon so hurry!

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09 October 2007


The Nature Of Britain

<i>The Nature Of Britain

New series: In the first episode of this landmark series on Britain's wildlife, Alan Titchmarsh travels from the top of the British Isles to the bottom, to discover what makes our island home – and its wild creatures – so special.

From boxing hares to blonde hedgehogs, swirling starlings to swooping seabirds, and fighting seals to leaping dolphins – Britain's rich natural heritage is full of wonder, spectacle and surprise.

The Nature Of Britain: Island Britain, BBC ONE, Wednesday 10 October, 21:00

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09 October 2007


Team behind Beagle 2 to help diagnose TB

<i>Professor Colin Pillinger and Beagle 2

Technology developed for the Beagle 2 and Rosetta space missions could soon be used to help diagnose tuberculosis (TB).

The project was announced today (4 October) at an event to mark the 50th anniversary of the launch of the first satellite, Sputnik (replica pictured).

Scientists at the OU and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), led by Dr Geraint Morgan, have been awarded a £1.34 million Strategic Translation Award by the Wellcome Trust to develop a mass spectrometer capable of detecting TB in countries where resources are poor.

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08 October 2007


Do companies support staff development?

According to final report of the Leitch Review of Skills, which was published some months ago, a third of employers in the UK offer no training at all to staff.

Have you had any negative experiences with your employer's attitude to training or supporting your studies? sesame is hoping to run a feature on the reality of staff development in the UK. Just how willing are companies to support their staff in terms of training and development?

Please email with your experiences - good or bad - to


05 October 2007


Win OU course gift vouchers!

sesame has got its hands on £1,000 worth of OU gift vouchers – redeemable against any OU course - to give away to three lucky winners!

1st Prize - £600
2nd Prize - £300
3rd Prize - £100

To be in with the chance of winning one of these prizes, email (with the subject line 'Vouchers') or send a postcard to: Voucher Competition, sesame, The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA. Please include your name, PI number and a contact email and / or number.

The closing date is 22nd October. Winners will be drawn at random after the closing date and will be contacted by email or telephone. The names of the winners and the towns in which they live will be published in the next issue of sesame.

To see a list of courses that you could spend this prize on, visit

TERMS & CONDITIONS: Competitions are open to all readers except employees of The Open University. Only one entry per person will be entered into the draw. Prizes must be taken as offered and are not transferable or exchangeable for a cash equivalent. Winners will be the first three entries with all required details that is drawn after the closing date and will be notified within 28 days by email, post or telephone. Entries are taken as acceptance of these terms and conditions. The name and town of the winner will be published in a future edition of sesame magazine. The editor's decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

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03 October 2007


Discovering science replaced

S103 Discovering science is to be replaced by S104 Exploring science, which will commence in January 2008 (not October 2008, as printed in sesame).

Though much of the material used in the replacement course is taken from S103, it has been completely updated and improved to aid accessibility and workload management.

As with S103 some teaching is delivered via computer-based multimedia packages, and video sequences (both being delivered on DVD). The course will use its own website as a focus for communication, distribution of assessment material, some computer-based activities, and contact with a tutor via an online tutor group forum. Therefore, access to a computer and the internet is essential.

A variety of topics are explored on the course including the origin of life, genetics, evolution and biodiversity. Also looked at are sources of energy and global warming, earthquakes, volcanoes, food and drugs, the structure of the atom, the solar system and the origin of the Universe.

As with S103, successful completion of S104 will earn a Certificate in Natural Sciences.

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02 October 2007


Get clicking!

The Open University's Library Services have launched a new website which will allow you to explore, control and interact with information wherever you are.

The website includes a system that makes it mobile-friendly, automatically adapting its contents to mobile devices such as mobile phones. The new online environment is easy to use and has been structured around the tasks that you perform.

All feedback about the new site is welcomed so please send any comments you have to

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