Open University

I vowed when I left Isleworth Grammar School that I would study science with the Open University and although I set off to follow my career in computing, I did fulfill that promise in the late 80s, studying Einstein's Special and General Theories of Relativity with the OU's S354 Understanding Time & Space course and Faraday and Maxwell's Equations with SM352 Electromagnetism. I became an associate student, in order that I could go straight to these courses at the 3rd and highest level for the OU, as my study was purely for my own interest and I did not want to study at the lower levels and gain points for a degree

S354 Understanding Time & Space

To the left is one of my TMAs (Tutor Marked Assigments) for S354 in full, with marks

Below is one of the original BBC2 Open University programs for the S354 Time & Space
  Julian Schwinger, who takes part,  is a Nobel Prize winner and
worked with my "physics hero" Richard Feynman

This is a full playlist for all the S354 programs

To the left are all of my CMA (Computer Marked Assigments) results fro S354, with an example paper -These questions were not like the multiple choice of a typical IT exam, they were a lot more involved and often needed the maths of a problem to be worked through to get the correct answer

To the right are all of my TMA results with marks and comments from the tutor - they start off pretty darn good but trail off slightly - it's intersting for me to compare with my school reports...


Here's a summary of all my CMA and TMA marks and my overall grading with the exam result for S354

I am not a great lover of the time pressure of examinations (is there a time limit on understanding the physics of the universe?) and my score probably represented this - my average score of 76%+ for CMA and 85%+ for TMA clearly helpedwith mt Grade 2 Pass

Here's what matters though, a grade 2 pass for my combined coursework and exam efforts

As 1988 was 10 years after I left the 6th form at Isleworth Grammar School, when I decided not to go to university but always said I would study with the OU, I allowed myself a feeling of pride at this achievement

SM352 Electromagnetism

To the right is one of my TMAs (Tutor Marked Assigments) for SM352 in full, with marks
One of the questons includes proving that light is an electromagnetic wave travelling at velocity c

Below is an original BBC Open University for SMT356 Electromagnetism, which replaced the SM352 course. The content is, of course, very similer, if not identical

To the rightt are all of my CMA (Computer Marked Assigments) results fro SM352

Here's a summary of all my CMA and TMA marks for SM352 and you can see where I've worked out my avaerage scores, which were 86.6% for the computer maked CMAs and 89.8% for tutor marked TMAs

My pencil calculations were there for a reason...

I made the classic error of not turning over the exam paper and realising that there were twice as many questions! I did say I'm not a great lover of the time pressure of examinations - this time it had gone too well but now I knew that even with excellent answers, my exam mark could only be up to 50% and that this would bring down my overall grading and that I would be lucky to pass

Actually I scored 36% in the exam (which equates to 72%, factoring in the fact that I only answered half of the questions) and things were close

My hard work on the course work really did pay off though and the 88% there gave me a grade 4 pass