Stretching the Most Able–Using OU Modules with School Sixth Formers: An Exemplar for the University of Bristol

The Open University is offering short courses for 14-19 year olds across a range of degree subjects and Tim Harrison, Bristol ChemLabS School Teacher Fellow, has been involved in setting up some of these in the sciences.
Tim gave a presentation about these courses in July 2005, which covered the following aspects:

  1. Introduction to the Short Course concept
  2. What’s in it for the students?
  3. What’s in it for the school?
  4. Running the course
  5. Funding issues
  6. Student experiences
  7. Aspects that still need tackling
  8. Question and Answer session

Tim described some example courses giving a flavour of the subject material covered and some case histories of students taking them, the benefits to the students and the prospects of Bristol running similar courses in the future.

Quote from a parent:
“It (an OU short science course) enabled my daughter to pursue in more depth an area of personal interest. It relied on self motivation and independent study which are both tools for life and qualities that impress any university admissions officer.”

Quote from a student:
Emma Walton, a former Rednock School student, discovered how a YASS course can help with university applications when she took the ‘Food and Health–A chemical Story’ module.
“I was thinking about studying biochemistry, so doing the course made me choose this route. I thought the course would set me aside from other students and look impressive on my university application. I really enjoyed it and I found out interesting things that I didn’t know before, such as people used to drink gin and tonic to ward off malaria.”
The module proved to be a big factor in helping her achieve her dream of studying biochemistry at Oxford.

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