NATIONAL OPEN UNIVERSITY OF NIGERIA’S MODE OF OPERATION
How the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) operates
Among the prominent Open Universities include:
- The Open University ( located in the United Kingdom but Operates worldwide)
- Korea National Open University, among others.
Talking about the NOUN, many of my countrymen tend to consider it inferior to the conventional higher institutions because she does not require JAMB and her mode of academic delivery. They even tend to regard her students as “second class products” compared to that of conventional ones.
The people with all these negative insinuations are only myopic towards the institution. Until you experience something you can never tell its real experience. The National Open University of Nigeria is not inferior to the conventional ones she only has her own distinct attributes which differentiate her from the rest. Among these attributes is FLEXIBILITY.
Her flexibility is one of the core reasons people consider her inferior and equally the core reason some lazy prospective students rush into her thinking that she is a “joking” academic avenue or an avenue to earn a free degree. No wonder people with such mentality never graduates. They either drop out or run back to conventional institutions.
To earn a degree in NOUN you must be ready to work hard twice as that of a conventional university student. This is a fact from experience. There are no lecturers to bribe and you are always on your own. You don’t even know the marker of your script let alone inducement.
Below are the highlights of how the institution operates.
NOUN has study centres scattered across the federation. Each state of the federation has at least one study centre. The study centres can be referred to as satellite campus but they are more than that in nature. Unlike other satellite campuses, as seen in Nigeria, the study centres can grant or decline admissions, screen students, organize matriculations, conduct exams, approve projects, and even recommend rustication of students found wanting. Students files are also housed by the study centres.
The study centres equally act as the gate to the headquarter. That is, as a student whatever you want to obtain from the headquarter be it complain or anything you must go through your study centre.
Assuming you want to write a letter to the headquarter concerning missing of results such a letter must be submitted to your study centre. It is the study centres that will deliver it to the headquarter. If you send it through backdoor nobody will attend to it.
NOUN runs on a full-term basis with flexible terms. Flexible in the sense that individuals are allowed to progress at their own pace. In order words, students are free to choose how they progress in their academic curriculum. The institution is semester oriented rather than a session.
A student can skip a semester or a session if he/she is facing financial constraints. A student can also reduce the courses meant for him/her if he/she feels he/she could not handle all of them in such a semester. In NOUN two individuals could be at the same level but in different semesters. These are are some of the unique attributes that distinguish her from conventional universities.
This is a more or less the students’ dashboard where every activity as regards registrations is carried out. Such registration includes generation of RRR, payment of school fees, registration of courses and exams, printing of I.D card, as well as checking of results, and submission of tutor-marked assignments. Academic histories and exam results are also stored on the portal.
|NOUN student’s portal logged-in view.|
This is a kind of tutorial carried out by contract lecturers from the conventional universities for students of 100 and 200 levels. It is not compulsory but vital for the new students. It is geared towards intimating the students with their course materials. It is however not a criterion for doing well academically as far as NOUN is concerned. Extensive reading of the course materials is. This is because the facilitation is always for a very short period in a given semester and the facilitators hardly touch half of the course materials. The facilitators are not the ones that set the exam questions, as questions are sent directly from the headquarters and according to the content of the course material.
Tutor-Marked Assignment (TMA)
The tutor-marked assignment is part of the academic curriculum at the National Open University of Nigeria. It is an online-based test that is geared towards helping in developing regular study habits in students and gives students practice in writing responses to questions thereby having a kind of rehearsal in the preparation for the final examination especially in 100 and 200 levels. It, however, carries 30% of the total grade of any course.
This is where most students get it all wrong. Because the tests were not done under supervision, students tend to abuse this liberty by looking up the answers in the course materials and disregard reading the materials, some even pay people to help them solve it. But the advert effect is that most of them fail the exams which are done under very tight supervision. And ironically most of the questions in the TMAs are also repeated in the computer-based exams and most students still fail it.
And the policy of the institution is that regardless of your score in the TMA you must still score at least 40 marks in the exam before you can pass the course.
How then do you measure a student who scored 30/30 in TMA but could not muster 40/120 or 40/150 in the exam?
Every course in NOUN has its own material both in print and electronic copies. These are lecture-like books designed in such a way to represent the classroom lectures. They are written in units and grouped in modules. The books are not sold separately but are distributed according to the courses registered by the students. The print copies are, however, subject to first-come-first-serve basis and when they are exhausted in a given semester, students are then referred to the electronic copies online.
|A sample of course material|
NOUN’s exams are in two forms, e-exam and pen on paper (POP). The former is for 100 and 200 level courses while the latter is for 300 level and above. All law courses are POP.
The e-exam is a computer-based examination conducted under very strict supervision students are not even allowed to come in with a pen or pencil because it is believed that they only need the keyboard. Good knowledge of computers is an added advantage in the e-exam especially in the area of keyboard shortcut usage. The numbers of the questions in the e-exams are determined by the credit units of such courses. 120 and 150 questions for 2 and 3 credit unit courses respectively and students must earn at least 40 marks to pass any course. The computer-based exam consists of objectives and fill-in-the-gaps.
The POP exam is the regular exams we all know I mean the ones we normally call “theory” during secondary school days. They are usually 5, 6, or 7, questions depending on the department and course. Students are always required to answer three or four questions within two or three hours.
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