I’ve recently finished studying for B204 Leadership, Influencing and Change, I thought I’d share my B204 feedback. It’s not a module I can recommend, for a variety of reasons. Some of these are to do with the specific tutor I had (who I didn’t find effective) and some are around the course-work and assessment. I’m posting this before I know what my final mark is, just to avoid the ‘sour grapes’ aspect of failing it (which I doubt, I scored in the low 60s for my continuous assessment).

In the spirit of constructive feedback I copied down my responses to the OU’s end of course student questionnaire to get B204 feedback. I doubt any of these comments will feature in their prospectus, so I thought I’d post them on my blog for future prospective students of B204 to find. Feel free to ask questions via the comments.

B204 feedback –¬†Tutor

The comments on my TMAs showed that my tutor had no idea of what I, or my team did, despite the explanations across five TMAs. I tested the explanations with other B204 students on Facebook, and they seemed to understand them.

Generally my TMAs were criticised unconstructively, deficiencies were pointed out in vague terms and there was little practical advice on how to improve. In particular there was a refrain to be more specific and practical. However there were no examples of what was meant by specific or practical, so I had to guess. I am a senior manager, with decades of experience, which seemed unusual amongst my cohort. This makes me look at the bigger picture and sustained patterns rather than focussing on individual interactions.

Getting the student’s name correct on feedback sheets adds to the credibility of the marker, because then I believe that they might actually have been paying attention when they read and marked it. He also called me by the wrong name on two pt.3 forms and left off his comments on a third TMA. Unlike tutors on other courses (including some at Level 3) there was no specific suggestion on how to improve (I scored 42 on TMAs 1 & 2 when I usually score firmly in the Grade 2 range). I also found the scoring somewhat random as there was no clear breakdown of the marking guidelines on the TMA questions (also unusual given my previous experience with the OU).

General comments on B204

B204 was a compulsory module on my degree pathway. I deliberately left it to the end as I have decades of leadership experience and thought it might be an easier finish to my degree. Unfortunately it was one of the woolliest I’ve done. The assessments lacked detailed criteria for how they were marked and guidance from my tutor was abysmal.

Building course materials for online study is very unhelpful. I work full time and have a family, so I need to be able to study anywhere I find I have time, including on my train commute and when waiting in the car outside my daughter’s dancing lessons. I managed this fine when there were PDF versions of course material (but not where I need to work online – and the OU website isn’t terribly mobile friendly).

B204 feedback РThe Positives

The only two things that saved my sanity were the fact that the result didn’t count towards my degree classification (because I already had more than 240 points at levels 2 & 3) and the Facebook group for my fellow students of B204. The latter demonstrated that it wasn’t just me, but that many others were having a similarly poor experience from this course.

On the plus side I did use some of the course material at work, and I learnt a lot about how to deliberately effect a change in culture. Something that I’d hitherto believed to be hard to plan (but I have done it, I just didn’t know how to do it deliberately). My staff are happier than they were when I arrived and are performing better. Our customers like it too.

If you have any B204 feedback please feel free to share it too.