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back to article Stob latest: It was a cunning trick, says Open University

Why does the Open University set its students gibberish, Verity Stob asked here recently? We decided to investigate. As our enquiries continued at the Open University, it became harder to find anyone who took the issue seriously. Two weeks into one of the modules in the OU's Comp Sci postgraduate course - M885 Analysis and …

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Pirate

Sadly, the OU has quality assurance issues...

I've had similar experiences with my partner's courses at the OU. Although there's huge amounts of good stuff and many well developed courses, others are badly run or badly marked, and there's no ability to challenge it, even when everyone on the course seems to agree. It seems to be accepted that every so often a course will just be rubbish, no refunds, no marking it better. They're basically a bit of a government monopoly for what they do, and I think it shows.

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Waste of £380 a course if you ask me.

I think you’ll find that most, if not all their courses are full of off topic, incomplete ramblings, and random gibberish. Into my 4th course now and I’m still waiting to learn something new. Still, it’s a degree at end of the day.

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Convenient

Amazing really. Be good to hear from any others who've taken this (or similar) courses to see whether they routinely plant these bogus questions/papers...or whether ALL the research papers were complete gibberish.

It calls into question the integrity of the other computing courses the OU runs, frankly.

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Anonymous Coward

I for one

Welcome our question avoiding overlords.

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Ash

Not just OU courses

Many university courses have similar problems, this isn't unique to the OU.

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Heart

I forgive Stob everything.

Her first two or three articles I skimmed, incredulous that such unfunny tripe should escape from Britain, Birthplace Of Funny, Wit, Selfdeprecation, Deadpan and so forth. Then I remembered Benny Hill and let it slide.

This OpenU debacle however is interesting, sad/funny, wellwritten... I forgive everything.

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Great article!

Sounds like the OU is a money grabbing sham though.

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Alert

Please...

...keep us up-to-date with any developments on this story. I was just inches away from booking myself some OU tuition when Verity blew the initial whistle, and now I'm losing faith with each new bit of cover-up and denial they come out with.

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Alert

Do they know what they are on about?

I found it interesting that someone who has not even bothered to read something and then ask student to comment on dose not fill me with confidence. And if the said doctor cannot be bothered then they should leave the OU and try something else......like building a house out of stones...without the stones.

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Unhappy

How very Nu-Lab

Standards have slipped - the refusal to engage is typical. The lies, spin and hypocrisy - I could weep for the soul of a once august institution.

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first course

I'm in the last 2 weeks of a forensic computing course. Its the first time its been run and on the most part its been excellent. Very hard, and challenging on levels I didnt even realise it would touch on. Its far too much for a 15 point course, and i spend 30 hours a week on it easily which is making me very tired. Toward the end the content tailed off and the final ECA (think:exam) is total bollocks in my opinion. The course content for the first 3/4 was fantastic.

It probably helps that it was written by Peter Sommer who seems to have an impressive reputation in the field and isnt OU staff.

From speaking to a friend who used work there, there is an endless "acdemics vs the business" environment. The course materials are often stunningly good, but at a cost. The academics refuse to budge on quality, the business wants to lower quality slightly to ensure they can keep running. I believe academics there have a sort of tenure, and rule the roost. The business is slightly more with the times and has to balance that against current economic factors.

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Good work Andrew

Good work, Andrew. Keep it up. These people are supposed to be the cream of our intellectuals; if they don't have the backbone to condemn the linguistic slush Verity uncovered then they shouldn't be teaching. And while we might not be able to catch all these jobsworth academics, maybe the efforts of the fourth estate can make them think twice. Critical thinking? My arse!

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Flame

Kya hua sarjan ji?

Much of the printed OU material has been outsourced to a company in India. It is collated and typeset there, but still printed in the UK. Maybe they are now creating the content too?

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Tutors

The tutors are little help as well. More wrapped up in their own self importance than helping & advising.

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Happy

Liar Liar pants on Fire!

They were caught sleeping on the job and are caliming they were just stress testing the sofa.

Verity should take this up with the trading standards office. She paid good money for a course whose materials had clearly never been read by the author of the course and were clearly not fit for purpose!

I hope this runs and runs!

P.S. Sorry Verity, but, somehow I think you are going to fail this course for disturbing your tutors sleep.

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Anonymous Coward

Seen it from the other side....

I used to work in HE, my job title was "Senior Lecturer".... I work in industry now where my job title is "programmer".

1) In my (limited - I only worked at 1 Uni for just over 5 years) experience a lot of un-verified tat ends up in HE courses, basically the staff either don't have the time (the dilligent ones who try and do everything well) or can't be arsed (the less dilligent ones who spend 3 hours in the pub every day) to develop good assessments. It takes a lot of time and care to do it right.

2) You will be waiting a long long time to get an admission that something was WRONG from an HE company/institution - they are now a business, the students are customers. If they admit they did something sub-standard, think how much it will cost them.

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It's a bad paper

but to be honest, I've read much worse.

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The OU has smashed itself in the foot

Many of us in IT only have lower level qualifications such as my own HNC.

We would like to 'tick the box' and get to degree level as this could also help with our careers - and as we're working full-time the OU is the only option.

The worry here is that not so much that gibberish has been handed out to students who have wasted their time but that the OU don't seem to care.

So - I've now removed that unticked box from my mind and will concentrate on decent qualifications such as LPI etc.

The OU should remember that it stands or dies by its reputation and should do more to look after it - and there's no more anal people than us techies and we won't put up with BS.

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Paris Hilton

Academic norms

You do, from time to time, come across articles like that plagiarized piece of nonsense. It's important to recognize that this problem isn't limited to postmodernist journals, like the infamous Sokal Social Text affair.

I've done Computer Science to masters level, and I don't think I've once been assigned a nonsensical paper. I'm now doing a degree in politics and sociology, and the quality is still high. The choice of course materials invariably reflect on the course designer, and it seems that the damage limitation began from the beginning - with new levels of damage limitation introduced as each preceding one failed. I.E. Epic fail!

I wonder if there's anything in the quantity of nonsensical papers being indirectly proportional to the age of the discipline involved. Postmodernist social theory and computer science (separate to mathematics) are similarly young disciplines. Also, note the wide variety between mathematics-heavy computer science courses taught at Russell Group universities, and the business-oriented approach of new universities. Computer Science is simply not well institutionalised, but the bar would probably be higher if it was.

Paris, because she's jealous of Britney's PhD in semiconductor physics (google it).

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This post has been deleted by its author

Not surprised: Ince is incompetent.

I'm not surprised by this story. About 15 years ago I reviewed one of Ince's books on OO. It was complete crap and showed he had no understanding of OO.

About 7 years ago I took two MSc courses with the OU. One was excellent, User Interface Evaluation and Design, and the other, by Ince, was the predecessor to the course Stob is commenting on. It was awful. The quality of the course materials was laughable. The sample code provided was embarassing and there were major elements that demonstrated that Ince is still a charlatan.

Professor Daryl Ince is the living embodiment of the expression: If you can't do, then teach.

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[+1] Keep it up el Reg

oh - my comment is in the <title>

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Well I had considered doing an OU course but...

... now I think I will decline.

The worrying part for me is that the tutors involved had failed to read the paper in question in detail. It's not cheap to do an OU course, I'd like to think that the tutors involved were taking it seriously. This whole episode calls the tutor's involvement into question. I don't think that I'll be throwing any money at the OU anytime soon.

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Anonymous Coward

Unicycles aren't popular?

I would stay clear of Sandford in Dorset this weekend if that's what you think. There will be a few people who disagree with you. www.unicycle.org.uk/BUC15

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"It was a trap to test critical thinking"? lies.

Bollocks. Sorry I don't believe this.

When I took the predecessor course to this one it came with some truly awful Java "server" code to which you were supposed to write some client code.

I decided to re-write the server code: hey perhaps they were looking for critical thinking. I also wrote the required client, completely compatible with the crappy OU server code and my server complied with the interface as well. Woohoo extra points for me!

What actually happened? I lost 25% of the marks for re-writing the server code, even though I completed the exercise correctly. I was told to only do what I was asked to do.

So I am sorry, Mr OU PR man, but I think you're lying.

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Paris Hilton

Doobery

I'm actually surprised nobody has criticised IEEE for allowing such publication to be published. Regarding the cost of the course... it's £940+ and not £380 as stated in an earlier post. There is no state subsidy for post-graduate education. I've studied with the Open University since 2000 and even though some courses had it's problems, generally the standard of their course materials are quite high. As the complainant of M885 was studying this course as her first Open University Course, I wonder if the complainant had visited the Open University Library to review the course materials first (or speak to a student advisor) before taking the course? Probably not.

Paris Hilton.. because she likes to do things first and then complain later.

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Happy

In support of OU tutors

I'm getting to the end of an OU computing degree and though there have been some downers (Anyone ever read 'Blown to Bits' for example). Overall the standards has been very good and the tutors I have had have been excellent. Being part time most have both industry and academic experience.

I must say that whenever the subject of training and education comes up dozens of 'I knew more than my tutor' or 'I was right everyone else was wrong' comments come out. Usually with 'that's why I gave up/failed' attached.

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Not just the OU - critical thinking not really welcome

Critical thinking appears now to be little more than a voodoo mantra trotted out by academics of all disciples to demarcate "us" (the academic jobsworths who are selling it, and therefore must be assumed to have it in order to sell it) and "you"/"them" (the student customers of academia - sic- who don't, and are there in order to buy it, and hey, it's not going to be valued if it comes too cheap). How else can one account for the self-evidently contradictory corner the OU has retreated into under some simple scrutiny from the Reg? (Say boo!)

Whatever, the OU has on the face it admitted either that it is competent as a whole but bungled the assessment of Ms Stob's submitted work, or that it is simply incompetent but not necessarily negligent in regard to one specific case. Were Ms Stob so minded, I think a letter for reimbursement of all outgoings incurred in signing up for this OU tripe should do the trick. If not, then the pleasure should be all Ms Stob's and her legal representative's.

Surprisingly, the jobsworths on the humanities side of acadmia are not always so leaden-brained. A couple of years ago, I attended a university modern languages course, whose content turned out to be just as intellectually dubious, without an underlying rationale that the perpetrators wished to defend in any rigorous way. Two critical essays were submitted. The marks they were awarded were impeccably fair. The first was given exactly 50%. The second was given a mark precisely midway between the 1st grade and the fail grade. In neither case was it clear that the import of the submissions had been understood. In one case the tutor actually justified her appraisal as: "I am confused by this essay. Therefore this essay is confusing. Therefore this essay is confused". So it's worth remembereing that if you've nothing better to do, and you want a good laugh, there is always university - as long as nothing depends on it. Of course I cannot recommend that establishment for that particular course.

Regrettably "critical thinking" and allied mantras and rituals (gatekeeping, politically correct kowtowing to fashionable notions, tribally hierarchic access to the public teat) can be observed holding back intellectual progress in many different domains. But in a hyperreal world, why should ivory towers be an exception?

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In defence of the OU's computing courses

Between 2003 and 2006, I studied seven modules from the same OU postgraduate computing programme as the module taken by the redoubtable Ms Stob, and with only one exception, they were excellent, intellectually challenging and entirely devoid of gibberish. Several of them involved reading and analysing research papers, which is entirely appropriate for graduate-level courses.

The exception was T853 "Information Systems Legacy and Evolution", which was the final course I took for my postgraduate diploma. It felt much more like a social sciences course than an I.T./technology module. The course material included references to Jurgen Habermas, a social theorist, for example.

I managed to pass the course, although my exam mark was substantially below anything I'd achieved in the six previous courses, and also well below the mark I'd obtained in the assessed coursework for T853. I felt a good deal better when I discovered that 86% of the class had scored 54 or lower (out of 100) in the exam. More than half of us fell in the 40-54 band, and nobody had an exam score above the 55-69 band.

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Unhappy

Better to go to a proper uni..

My missus went to a 'proper' uni while I did a OU course in the evenings. After talking to some of her fellow students I found someone who was doing the same course as I was. His material (from the 'proper' place) was clear and understandable, he had far less work, and didn't turn up to 3/4 lectures. Exams came and 3 years later he has a good degree after working hard for the exams. I gave up after 3 months as the volume of work (6+hours a day), terrible material (as per the article) and unhelpful tutors were doing my head in. Better to save for a few years and enroll at a decent university, skip lectures and work hard at exams. That way at least your degree will be worth more than the paper its printed on when you go to another country...

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Boffin

double shame

Firstly, for the OU: any course tutor worth their salt (1) READ the material they recommend to their students (even I did it, and it was a catch-up course on A-level chemistry!) and (2) when crap material is included (mistakes happen) do something about it, no push their head in their arse and go LALALALALALA.

Secondly, for the IEEE: I now work in science publishing (hence AC), and any suggestion of plagiarism on the extent demonstrated here would lead to the paper being retracted, with apologies from the editor in chief for letting such crap through. We actually threatened to ban an author from publishing in our journal because he insisted on including a figure from another paper, for "illustration" purposes. I believe he was told we don't publish image books. If the IEEE really is a "respected publication", as the consensus seems to be (not my area, can't judge), they have to crack down on this as it discredits them and the peer-review system.

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Unhappy

Paper withdrawn from IEEE

Did the reg contact IEEE (who published the paper)? The link to the paper given in the OU's question takes you to their page where it is stated that, due to plagiarism, the paper "has been found to be in violation of IEEE's Publication Principles."

So IEEE have apparently eaten a slab of humble pie - will that pass a bit more incentive to OU to do the same?

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Happy

Oh the irony!

I love the irony, the advert on the comments section is for Open University courses in IT.

I think I'll pass and go for something like LPI instead.

Really good article, I can't believe the OU get away with this.

Rob

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OU course quality

I've studied at the OU and other universities. The OU's course quality (in psychology) was first rate. This sounds like rubbish, and it's a shame, because I'm in the process of picking a post-grad course.

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Flame

Trick question?

Isn't that a bit like the Bill Hicks sketch regarding dinosuars, with St Peters at the pearly gates casting you down to hell for believing they were real?

"You asshole, God was fucking with you!"

"But it seemed so plausible - aaaaargh..."

Seriously, I'm all for high and exacting standards of education, but Jesus fucking Christ, there's a limit to how much piss you can take, isn't there? I was thinking of backing up my practical experience with an OU degree in CompSci or business processes of some manner, but if that is how they operate, I don't think I'll bother.

There is a lot of talk about how degrees are worthless these days etc, perhaps it's gone full circle and the people who are setting the courses are the thick ones?

Flame, because this sort of excuse making - why can no-one just hold their hands up and say "Yes, that looks a bit dodgy, we screwed up and we'll change it"? - really fucks me off to the hilt.

Steven R

PS: Cheers for the quote, I was just disappointed I removed the reference to 'mewling cabbages' being the ones operating the shredder and holding the tub of PVA glue from that line before I posted it...

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Law
Flame

That's just education....

While studying my degree at a pretty decent university, one of my first lessons involved getting to grips with an operating system.... it was completely pathetic things like change the time on the machine etc... but compulsory.

The problem was, the machines we were to use were admin controlled networked systems - completely locked down, so we couldn't do simple things like change the time, or system information or control panel, we couldn't even change the screensavers!!

Eventually I had the option of attempting to hack the machine (which at the time was fairly easy) or show that it couldn't be done on the machines given, but explain it verbally so she understood I knew how. So I chose the non-violation of university rules way and chose to explain it all to the tutor. I said "We have a problem, it can't be done on these machines because they are locked down, see..." then I showed the error messages. Her reply was "If you can't do it, then it's a fail.".

So I got a fail for the unit, as did the whole of the class, and we got threatened with being thrown out. A few arguments by most of the year and the department agreed we would have the unit ignored and we could all stay... not a pass, not an apology, nothing like that - just ignored. So I'm assuming she did the same thing to the next year too.

To be fair though, she was an evil whore - and to make it worst, she spent the next few years making our lives a living hell.

Perhaps an overseeing watchdog for higher education is needed, where you can lodge official complaints, and if found to be in the wrong universities are penalised somehow - and a 3 strikes rule for offending lecturers/examiners... then again... maybe not

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Linux

Good OU courses

have done S102 science which was excellent, B120 business which was excellent and last year T175 "Networked living: exploring information and communication technologies" in which I had a tutor who (almost) didn't exist. The tutor was *so useless* that I'm sure I'd have got better and faster marks if an unseen university orang-utang had been my supervisor instead.

Worth doing the OU courses tho', in my case employer coughs up a bit for them and it goes on the CV and is seen as a very positive thing for continuing employment prospects.

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Boffin

OU Consistency Issues

I'm just finishing S279 (Geology / Earth and Life) - yes, I know it's not IT - and the whole of Book 1 was just mind-numbingly badly written. The forums on the OU lit up with people berating the standard of the writing - it was written like chinese stereo instructions and as Tom Baker classically once said 'Are you sure this wasn't translated from the f***ing Albanian?'.

They were asking questions in TMA's about detail that just wasn't in the book, and teaching you phrases for something and then asking you questions on something totally different which just confused everyone.

I for one want to get my Degree that I never got, but not if I keep on having to get Bletchley Park to translate my course books into English for me.

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Flame

OU

OK, I'll quite happily set myself for a flaming.

I'be been doing a number of courses at the OU - finished my 8th earlier this year, all at PG level. I would now be preparing to start my Masters dissertation, but there are a number of projects at work under way, and I won't have time for the research etc, so I'm going to do a couple more courses just to keep my hand in until next year.

The courses are at Post Graduate level and I would expect them to be seen as such. However, I regularly see people commenting on material, and I have to ask if they understand the difference between school learning and the kind of guided tuition that comes with HE. Of the courses I did, all but one I found to be enjoyable, challenging, informative and very worth while; the that I did have issues with, I feel much the same way as Verity about M885 - but I still feel that I learnt something.

HE is not for everyone, despite what the politicos say; and it's foolish to think that everyone will benefit from that route. However, for those (like myself) that for whatever reason chose not to go to Uni, the OU offers the opportunity to do the kind of study at a higher level that would otherwise not have been possible.

Is it perfect?; no, absolutely not. However, generally the courses seem to be on par with those from other institutions and in some cases, better. Certainly the level of satisfaction amongst students is higher - but that could be because we are more mature / more motivated.

Just my two pennorth. Let the flames commence

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Boffin

Try Birkbeck for degree study in the evenings

They ain't perfect but certainly a lot better than this and other examples I have seen from OU.

A collegue did an OU course and all the questions were about obsolete technology that wasn't reelevant to the central topics nor useful to any professional.

Birkbeck do have a decentish IT department too. I did my degree with them while holding down a full time job.

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Unhappy

You can't judge a University on one paper/course/professor

I did my bachelor's with the OU. I had struggled with maths for years ( I failed "A" level maths, but did slightly better at HNC) I did a second level maths unit for my Technology degree and it was if a blindfold had been removed; I suddenly "got" maths. By the end of the course I had gone from struggling with Laplace to being comfiortable with multi-dimensional vector morphisms, and got a distinction for the unit. That is quality teaching which I hadn't had in 10+ years of secondary education.

Other units were just as good and challenging, and the OU made money by selling the materials to other Universities.

At the time I worked as a technician at a trad university and not only was the Reader for my course also the senior professor of my department at that University, but he had written the set book for my HNC course. The department I was in used OU materials as part of their degree teaching too.

Obviously things change over the years and some courses have issues, but that shouldn't put people off. Talk to other OU students for the course you want to take, rather than believe comments by people that wouldn't know a TMA from a CMA.

(If you want poor teaching material, then you should have seen my son's GCSE Electronics course book; the example circuits had short circuits, reverse biased electrolytics and other basic faults. Most would never have worked as described in the text. Unfortunately his teacher didn't have the ability to understand why no one in the class could get them to work.)

GT (BA Open)

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Not all distance learning is crap

It just depends on where you go. The Uni I just graduated from offers a remote Masters program in CS, and from talking with some folks that run the distance learning programs, and knowing that the school lavishes resources on its technical side, I would see it as being a good program.

Having said that, you get what you pay for. It's a US based school, and expensive on top of it. Average private undergrad is under $24,000/year. (Source: http://www.collegeboard.com/student/pay/add-it-up/4494.html ) This place, I was paying $28,000 just for tuition. It is more expensive, sometimes significantly so. They charge extortionate rates, but you learn a lot from them.

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Anonymous Coward

One Bad Egg

"Obviously things change over the years and some courses have issues, but that shouldn't put people off. "

This is true, one bad egg and all, the problem is when the establishment refuses to admit that the egg is bad and change it. This then sullies their entire reputation, and like other people have said they will live and die by this.

The OU can stop this by saying, yes this course material is sub standard we are sorry and will rectify it before the course is run again. And if the same lecturer is constantly bad sack them. Job done.

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Gates Horns

A familiar story

I both work in HE and I'm studying for an MSc myself. This looks like a familiar case where a module name is updated for marketing reasons, but some/most of the content is from a past incarnation.

As for the language of the paper, I now recognise it as part of the scholastic journey to adopt the academic style and to mimick the incomprehensible gibberish. The more obtuse the language and dissembled the ideas, the harder it is for others to shoot you down . In fact true esteem lies in being barely able to understand your own ideas. Therefore, the simple answer to the question posed, is to re-arrange the order of these words using an algorithm of your choice with a few terms borrowed from another discipline e.g. sociology, thrown in for good measure.

It is important not to confuse academic writing with communication - a common, real world mistake. The skills of academic gibberish are fully transferrable to learning management gibberish. So if you want to progress, don't be put off, stick with it.

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IT Angle

Forensic Computing

Can I thank Dave Ashton for his kind remarks about OU M889, the Digital Investigations and Forensic Computing course?

I hope he will persist with the End of Course Assessment (ECA) despite his current view that it is bollocks. What he is asked to do is discuss the preparation of a Forensic Readiness Program (FRP) for a specific organisation. FRPs are first-cousins to traditional contingency plans but focus on the ability of an organisation to produce reliable evidence from its systems. FRPs are a requirement in HMG Infosec Standard No 2 because it is far better to have planned to be able to produce good evidence rather than hope that, during a panic-stricken event, some computer forensics wizard is going to find the goods - always supposing some amateur has not inadvertently destroyed the evidence anyway.

As he says, the course is on its first run and we hope to improve as we go on.

Can't comment on any other OU course, as Dave also says - I am not OU staff.

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Paris Hilton

Should've replied with 'mu' :-)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mu_(negative)

Good article, good student, bad-to-dumb 'university'. How much time did they spend inventing that quite ridiculous cover story at the local pub?

Paris 'cos even she knows when she's reading gibberish.

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How to Attract the Igrnorant

Q: How can one attract the ignorant?

A: Open a university.

In a classic "marriage made in heaven," online universities attract a market no one else has served. This market includes those who 1) need the advanced degree, and 2) cannot afford the time, disruption, or cost of returning to those Ivy-covered halls.

Since more and more ignorant employers (e.g. government) set academic certification as their first screening hurdle, it is less important that the credential holder know the material than that s/he possess the credential. S/he must only produce the precious paper. (There exists no one in personnel nor anyone in the hiring department who can ask the appropriate questions that would reveal an academic fraud.)

This academic requirement was far easier to fulfill 20 years ago when the diploma-mill ran at break-neck speeds. (I confess, I truly wanted a Ph.D. in Samoan Art History from Pacific Western University. But alas, they were prosecuted before I could find the time to send the fee.)

The attraction remains; one side needs meaningless credentials, another side strongly desires to confer them. Some busy-body has decided, though, that these diploma mills needed oversight. (It was probably the same government agency who lit the fire under the industry by demanding meaningless credentials as a prerequisite to working for the government. The irony is delicious.)

The result is a tight-wire of conformance vs. expedience. So long as enough coursework appears legitimate, some coursework can remain worthless. Balance is met: the veneer of legitimacy covers the wormwood.

And don't for a moment think this indictment rests solely on the online educators. Brick-and-mortar -- formerly venerable and respected -- universities face the same challenges that pit fiscal and academic forces against each other. I estimate that the level of tripe in traditional universities is lower, but the tripe exists, and for the same reasons. Costs.

Those seeking nothing more than the credential will do what they must do and celebrate the end of the road when the credential is conferred. Those seeking real enlightenment will have a much smaller celebration at the receipt of credentials, but then begin the lifelong climb to the higher ground.

As always, the burden for betterment rests on the students's shoulders, not on the professor. It is this way and always has been. Those who attended the ivy-covered halls of traditional university and those who miss every aspect of that experience, save for the poor instruction, are identical in two important aspects.

Firstly, they will both have a certification that means absolutely nothing beyond clicking past that decision gate in HR.

Secondly, they will never be educated unless they personally and eternally dedicate themselves to their own merciless, ceaseless pursuit of knowledge.

My alma mater?

Wassamatta U.

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Stop

Try complaining....

Verity Stob needs to use the university complaints process. The University may be more prepared to clean up the mess privately via the complaints process than under the full vulture-sight of El Reg - although its an interesting article.

If they won't deal with it she could try complaining to the University Ombudsman (officially, The Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education) - http://www.oiahe.org.uk/

If its a matter of academic judgement they may decide not to do anything, but it is worth a go.

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Anonymous Coward

To some extent you get what you pay for

I work in post-graduate education (hence being an anonymous coward today). If you work out the costs involved in employing people, and paying overheads, and so on, and compare them with fees, you quickly come to the conclusion that universities are working on a shoe-string. And it shows.

Remember that you're expecting a master's course to be up-to-date, and so the one designing the course has to spend a considerable amount of their time staying, er, up-to-date.

Our course is rather expensive. And we devote quite a lot of effort to quality.

[Incidentally the dig at formal methods vs OO is unwarranted. Some people would go so far as to say OO is the collection of bits of formal methods that actually worked.]

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@ neil hanvey

" ... that seem to be generated by monkeys with typewriters."

Do you play Guild Wars, sir? You seem to be familiar with my guild - MwT.

I can assure you, though, that we are not involved in any way with supplying course materials for this or any other institution of higher learning.

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