‘Preparing for University Learning’ – a great place to start
Here at Open Universities Australia (OUA), to ensure our recommendations for students are spot on we’ve decided to take some of our courses for a road test. This time, we’ve taken on a short unit called ‘PREP03 – Preparing for University Learning’ to see whether it would really prepare us to be exemplary university students.
OUA students have a lot of things in common. Most of them are ambitious, they’re driven, and they’re juggling a million things at the same time. Another thing that a lot of our students experience is the realisation that studying at university is something of a fine art; the skills required to collaborate online, meet and work with others, write academic essays, conduct academic research… these are skills that don’t come to us naturally, they’re picked up in the wonderful world of academia. They’re also largely transferrable into the ‘real world’ of work – so it is well worth the effort to perfect them.
This brings us to PREP03, essentially a short course you can take before you begin a university degree that teaches you how to study a university degree. PREP03 is said to be a real confidence builder, and we can see why – students who undertake PREP courses are proven to be more likely to get Credits, Distinctions or High Distinctions!
What’s it all about?
PREP03 revolves around the critical study skills you need to succeed at university.
When we talk about study skills, we’re talking about a variety of different things you would otherwise pick up only after years of doing it tough – everything from academic terminology, knowing where to find things online, how to write study notes that will help you at exam time, or how to create an academic essay.
Who should do this course?
The short answer is – anybody! If you’re feeling a little bit nervous about your study skills not quite being up to scratch, this is for you.
The wonderful thing about PREP03 is that there is no such thing as a silly question. You can ask anything you like about online study, and how to be the best student you can be.
This unit is especially fabulous because the tutors take you by the hand and guide you through everything you need to know about living the online university lifestyle before you begin your ‘real’ university degree. That means that when it comes to day one of your degree, you’re much more confident and prepared than your peers.
What’s it like?
All of your learning takes place within an LMS (learning management system), which is an online space that feels quite like a classroom. This is good because for the rest of your online university career you’re going to be spending a LOT of time within an LMS, so this is a great time to get acquainted.
You’ve got neatly arranged materials ready to go, a tutor to guide you, and classmates to exchange thoughts, questions and ideas with. The course material is presented like a slideshow, allowing you to click your way through the topics. In addition, you’re provided with interactive quizzes to help you check your knowledge along the way.
At the bottom of your screen is a discussion forum, which feels surprisingly warm and homely for a virtual space. Students get actively involved, offering support to others and sharing questions about specific problems they’re stuck on. In the discussion forum, you’ll meet your PREP Coordinator, Tom, and the PREP05 tutors who are a great help both on the forums and via email directly.
Why it’s worth it
The people you meet while you study this unit are a great reason to enrol in PREP03. Your tutors are friendly and invested in you, and are willing to go the extra mile to ensure you understand complex ideas or topics.
You also get to meet all the students who are studying for the first time along with you. New friends who understand how you’re feeling and are in the same boat are priceless.
The wrap up
Overall, we think this is a great – and thorough – introduction to online university. If you’re a nervous first-starter, or if you suspect that your study skills are in need of some brushing up, this is a great confidence and skills booster.
PREP03 costs $55 AUD, or you can study for free if you enrol with any other paid award unit of study with OUA (typically, a unit of study that is part of your university degree).
To find out the next intake date, check out the OUA prep unit calendar.