Edwina O'Leary
Fri, 01 Mar 2013
A Sense of an Ending?

A Sense of an Ending?

My dream is fast becoming a nightmare.

I wake at night in a cold sweat worrying and clutching my chest in terror.

Could it be true that my beloved Open University (OU) are going to take my lovely books away and replace them with cold, sterile online PDF’s which will make it hard for me to underline, annotate and highlight ?

I have spent many a happy hour with my books in gay abandon in order to make my studying easier in order to chase that elusive assignment mark.

I could list my many reasons for my disdain at this proposed change to online studying which would be a retrograde step in terms of my health, but the main reason is purely because I love my books.

They travel with me almost everywhere allowing me to study whenever and wherever I choose.

I don’t have to worry about lugging a laptop to check a reference for a page number. I can jot down notes to myself in the margins and fold down corners of the pages to remind me where I have to start rereading from.

The pure joy of leafing through a book for that elusive theorist or obscure quote can’t  be replicated on screen as scrolling through page after page of a PDF is a sure fire way to upset my concentration and cause me terminal boredom.

There are many good reasons to go down the route of completely online learning, as it is for many students the most preferable method of study.

However, there are as many reasons why it is not a good idea for students with disabilities as it doesn’t take into account the physical aspect of studying, staring at a screen for a long period of time and sensitivity to computer screens.

In these recessionary times the cost effectiveness of doing an online course has to be considered. And if the OU are going to charge the same fees for a course with only online PDF’s, surely they will adjust their fees accordingly?

For many students like myself I feel there may be many more sleepless nights ahead until the end is in sight.