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Skills Check 0

The Skills Check is a short survey which should take you no more than 3 minutes to complete. Once you have completed the Skills Check we provide you with a personal learning plan targeted to your personal study needs and goals.

Sign in to work on the Skills Check.
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  2. Computing skills
  3. Using your computer
  4. Benefits of developing computing skills

Benefits of developing computing skills

You will need only some basic skills to start your study with the OU. However having confidence that you can at least use word processing software and access materials online is important for students on most modules. Here are a few more details of what you are likely to need to do, to help identify any computer skills you might want to develop.

Access your study materials

You will find

  • study materials,
  • resources and
  • news on your module website.

Although some modules send you printed materials, other study is done entirely online. Some materials are sent on a CD or DVD.

Keep in touch

As an OU student you can use a computer and the internet to keep in touch with your tutor and fellow students. You might use emails, which are like sending electronic letters. You can send a message at any time and the recipient can reply at a time that suits them.

Online forums work in a similar way, and OU forums are an integral part of keeping in touch with other students. You can use your computer to post messages to a module forum and engage in dialogue with other students. See Forums for more information.

Write assignments and store your documents

Some OU modules require you to use a word processor for your assignments. Word processing is often more convenient than handwriting because you can

  • amend your work more easily
  • save a copy on your computer
  • print a further copy
  • go back to your document later
  • base a new document on something you have already stored.

Send in your assignment and collect your results

As a student you have a StudentHome page that holds your module information and study records, and is where you can send in your assignments online. You can also collect your assignment and exam results as soon as they are ready, so even when you are away from home you can still get what you need.

Stay in contact with the OU

The OU uses emails and bulletin board messages to keep students up to date. Your module has its own website for news and resources.

There is lots of online help and information available to

  • help you with your study,
  • improve your skills,
  • give you careers guidance, or
  • help with OU-provided software or IT services.

You can also book modules or residential schools and deal with other administrative issues online.

Use OU online tools

There are lots of different online tools available to help you to communicate with other students and keep organised during your study. These include a

  • personal calendar and study planner,
  • forums,
  • and the option of signing up for Google Apps for Education (with an email account).


The Google Apps service will be temporarily unavailable from the 20 April 2015, however, we are working to rectify the problem as soon as possible. This problem will only affect those students who try to register for OU Google Apps from 20 April 2015 onwards. If you have already created your account, you can continue to use Google Apps.

Some modules use an audio conferencing tool. The OU Computing Guide has more information on all of these different online tools (see previous Computing Guide or new Computing Guide - depending on whether your module uses the new or the previous OU website type. Both require login details).